The Jungfernhof concentration camp was an improvised concentration camp in Latvia. It was in operation from December 1941 through March 1942, and served as overflow housing for Jews from Germany and Austria, who had originally had been intended for Minsk as a destination.
The former estate of 200 hectares in size, had built on it a warehouse, three large barns, five small barracks and various cattle sheds. The partially falling down and unheatable buildings were unsuitable for the accommodation of several thousand people. There were no watchtowers or enclosing perimeter, rather a mobile patrol of ten to fifteen Latvian auxiliary police (Hilfspolizei) under the German commandant Rudolf Seck.
In December 1941 a total of 3,984 people were brought in four separate trains to Jungfernhof, including 136 children under ten years old, and 766 elders. On December 1, 1941, 1,013 Jews from Württemberg were entrained and sent to the camp. A further 964 were deported on December 6, 1941 from Hamburg, Lübeck (leaving only 90 Jews resident in the city, and others from throughout Schleswig-Holstein. Further transports came from Nuremberg with 1,008 persons and Vienna with 1,001.
About 800 of the prisoners died in the winter of 1941 to 1942 of hunger, cold, typhus. The testimony of an eyewitness, that there was a gas van assigned to the camp, is no longer believed and is treated as unsubstantiated.
In March 1942 the camp was dissolved. As part of the Dünamünde Action Under the false representation that they would be taken to an (actually nonexisting) camp in Dünamunde, where there would be better conditions and work assignments in a canning plant, between 1600 and 1700 inmates were taken to Biķernieki forest. There they were shot on March 26, 1942 and interred in mass graves, as previously Jews from the Riga Ghetto had been.
Of the approximately 4,000 people transported to Jungfernhof, only 148 persons survived.
The Beckov castle stands on a steep 50 m tall rock in the village Beckov. The dominance of the rock and impression of invincibility it gaves, challenged our ancestors to make use of these assets. The result is a remarkable harmony between the natural setting and architecture.
The castle first mentioned in 1200 was originally owned by the King and later, at the end of the 13th century it fell in hands of Matúš Èák. Its owners alternated - at the end of the 14th century the family of Stibor of Stiborice bought it.
The next owners, the Bánffys who adapted the Gothic castle to the Renaissance residence, improved its fortifications preventing the Turks from conquering it at the end of the 16th century. When Bánffys died out, the castle was owned by several noble families. It fell in decay after fire in 1729.
The history of the castle is the subject of different legends. One of them narrates the origin of the name of castle derived from that of jester Becko for whom the Duke Stibor had the castle built.
Another legend has it that the lord of the castle had his servant thrown down from the rock because he protected his child from the lords favourite dog. Before his death, the servant pronounced a curse saying that they would meet in a year and days time, and indeed precisely after that time the lord was bitten by a snake and fell down to the same abyss.
The well-conserved ruins of the castle, now the National Cultural Monument, are frequently visited by tourists, above all in July when the castle festival takes place. The former Ambro curia situated below the castle now shelters the exhibition of the local history.