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Latvia unveils museum to WWII Jew rescuers

Tuesday - 7/30/2013, 8:34am  ET

Israel's President Shimon Peres looks at an exhibit at the Zanis Lipke Memorial during opening ceremony in Riga, Latvia, Tuesday, July 30, 2013. The Zanis Lipke Memorial is located just a few steps from the place where during WW II German occupation Zanis Lipke saved lives of Jews, persecuted by Nazi regime, hiding them in a bunker under a woodshed next to his family house. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov)

RIGA, Latvia (AP) -- Israeli President Shimon Peres on Tuesday took part in a ceremony to open a museum honoring a couple who saved some 50 Jews from extermination in Nazi-occupied Latvia.

The museum in downtown Riga, Latvia's capital, is located next to the property once owned by Zanis Lipke, a port worker who together with his wife hid Jews in an underground pit measuring some 9 square meters (90 square feet).

The three-story museum of dark gray wood resembles an overturned ship and is designed to give visitors a claustrophobic sense of life in a tiny bunker.

Peres took part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony together with his Latvian counterpart, Andris Berzins.

In 1966, Yad Vashem, an Israel-based center for studying the Holocaust, recognized Zanis and Johanna Lipke as rescuers of Jews.

Lipke died in 1987 and his wife in 1990.

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