Edward Anders (originally Alperovitch) was born in Liepaja in 1926. His father Adolf was a grain exporter and his grandfather Israel (d. 1934) was gabbai of the main synagogue. Edward and his mother Erika (b. Sheftelovich-Levental) survived the Holocaust by falsely claiming that she was an Aryan foundling raised by Jewish parents, but his father and 24 other relatives perished. Erika and Edward got to Germany in 1944 and emigrated to the US in 1949. From 1955 to 1991 Edward was Professor of Chemistry at the University of Chicago, where he did research on meteorites and lunar rocks (Anders Biography). After his retirement he urged a survivors’ organization to recover the names of Liepaja Holocaust victims from archives in Riga, but when the organization showed no interest, he organized and financed the project himself.
Juris Dubrovskis was born in Riga in 1980. Since 1998 he has studied Political Science at the Humanities Institute of the University of Latvia in Riga. From 1999 to 2001 he worked part-time as Anders’ research assistant, recording data on Liepaja Jews from the Latvian State Historical Archives. His interests are politics, history, and languages.
Ella Barkan, born in Cyprus in 1948 and living in Tel Aviv, is the daughter of survivors Abraham Barkan and Beila Balkind (b. Jacobson). She worked as a teacher for many years but recently became an arts therapist after earning an MA in that field. Her interest in Liepaja grew when she started family research in 1999 and located 46 relatives who perished in the Holocaust. Her ancestors lived in Liepaja (Barkan, Jacobson, Sabel, Avrech) and other cities in Latvia and Lithuania. She has provided invaluable help by locating survivors and tirelessly gathering information from them. She also translated the Hebrew parts of the Yad Vashem database and the Liepaja Jewish cemetery book.
Paul Berkay was born in Los Angeles, CA, and now lives in Long Beach, CA, where he works as a computer programmer. He has a strong interest in Liepaja, as his ancestors (Berkowitz, Elterman, Faktor, and Lutrin) lived in Liepaja, as well as Subate and Jekabpils. His web site https://www.jewishgen.org/Courland/consular/cons_jews.htm has much historic material on Courland, including maps, directories, and 18th-19th century population lists that he has extracted from German and Russian records. He has been exceedingly helpful to the project by recovering prisoner records from Stutthof microfilms, providing directories from his collection, and setting up this web site.
Morris Halle (originally Pinkowitz) was born in Liepaja in 1923, but the family moved to Riga in 1929, where his father was employed by R. Feldhuhn & Co., and his mother was a teacher at the Rauchvarger school. The family had the singularly good fortune of emigrating to the USA in April, 1940. Halle was Professor of Linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA. from 1951 to 1996, where his main field of study was (and continues to be) the sound structure of languages (phonology). He is strongly interested in the project and contributes financial support.
Margers Vestermanis, born in Riga in 1925, endured the horrors of the Holocaust until the summer of 1944, when he managed to escape from the Dundaga concentration camp and join a group of partisans in the forests of Northern Courland. After the war he studied history in Riga and became an archivist in the State Historical Archives. He was dimissed in 1963 after he had the temerity to write a paper about the Holocaust, and he then worked as a high school teacher for many years. At last in 1990, when Latvia had reached the threshold of independence, Vestermanis was able to found the Museum and Documentation Center “Jews in Latvia” and has served as its director ever since. With his encyclopedic knowledge he has been most helpful to the project by providing guidance and advice.