Aknīste (pronunciation (help·info); Lithuanian: Aknysta; Polish: Oknista) is a town in Aknīste Municipality, Selonia, in the southern portion of Latvia, near the Lithuanian border. The town is located near the river Dienvidsusēja. Prior to the 2009 administrative reforms it was part of Jēkabpils District.
Gates of the Sēļi Park
|• Total||3.43 km2 (1.32 sq mi)|
|• Land||3.39 km2 (1.31 sq mi)|
|• Water||0.04 km2 (0.02 sq mi)|
|• Density||290/km2 (760/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+2 (EET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+3 (EEST)|
|Calling code||+371 652|
The town name, Aknīste, was first mentioned in 1298. From the 17th century the settlement was a panhandle of Lithuania and after the partitions of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth part of the Kovno Governorate of the Russian Empire. Since 1918, part of Lithuania, but in the 1921, Lithuania exchanged Aknīste for Palanga.
The settlement was the site of a mass killing of Jewish residents, during the Nazi occupation of the Baltic states. After German occupation forces arrived in Aknīste around the 25th of June, they created defence groups (Schutzmänner) mainly composed of Latvians. The Aknīste group was commanded by Latvian War of Independence veteran J. Valdmanis who had fought against bolshevik forces as a partisan during the war. On the 17th (or the 4th depending on the source) of July, 1941, local Jews were rounded up into hotel "Austrija", with O. Baltmanis, the commander of the Ilūkste region SS einsatzgruppe, an unknown SS oberleutnant, and two SS soldiers present, under the premises that the Jews were to be transported to the Daugavpils ghetto. On the 18th of July, under the orders of O. Baltmanis, and disobeying of said order by J. Valdmanis, the Jews were executed in the yard of the hotel by Baltmanis' Schutzmänner gathered from other parts of Ilūkste.
In 1991, Aknīste was granted the town status.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aknīste.|
- https://data.stat.gov.lv/pxweb/lv/OSP_PUB/START__ENV__DR__DRT/DRT010/; Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia; retrieved: 25 February 2021.
- https://data.stat.gov.lv/pxweb/lv/OSP_PUB/START__POP__IR__IRS/IRS030/; Central Statistical Bureau of Latvia; retrieved: 18 February 2021.
- Akniste Killings and Graves at Rumbula.org
- Destruction of the jews in Aknīste at academia.edu