Aleksander (Alexander) Laak
|Born||24 August 1907|
|Died||6 September 1960 (aged 53)|
|Cause of death||Hanging|
|Occupation||Concentration camp commander|
|Date||World War II|
|Killed||2,000 – 10,000|
Aleksander (Alexander) Laak (24 August 1907 – 6 September 1960) was a lieutenant and the commander of the Jägala concentration camp during the German occupation of Estonia.
The estimates for the number of killed at Jägala concentration camp vary widely. The Soviet investigators reached the conclusion that 2,000–3,000 were killed in Jägala and Kalevi-Liiva taken together, but the number 5,000 (as determined by the Extraordinary State Commission in 1944) was written into the verdict.
In modern sources, the number 10,000 occurs. Some commentators have also given figures ranging from 100,000 (Michael Elkins, Jonathan Freedland) to 125,000 to 300,000 (Warren Kinsella), however, such figures contradict the findings of the Estonian International Commission for Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity and also the estimates of scholars who place the number of total Jewish victims for the Estonia of 1941–1944 at 8,500.
Aleksander Laak was also known to have arranged drunken orgies with inmates.
He emigrated to Canada after World War II, in 1948. In 1960 he was implicated in the Holocaust trials in Soviet Estonia, and exposed as living as a naturalized Canadian citizen under the name of Alex Laak in suburban Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada by the Soviet news agency TASS and Canadian journalists.
Thereafter, after reading of the arrests of Jaan Viik and Ralf Gerrets for mass killings of mostly Jewish East Europeans while under Nazi occupation, and being himself identified as a mass murderer, he apparently committed suicide by hanging himself in the garage of his home at the age of 53, on 6 September 1960.
It has been speculated that Laak was killed by the Israeli Mossad. Israeli journalist Michael Elkins claimed that Laak was in fact confronted one day after his wife had left their house to go to the movies, by a Jewish Avenger squad that clandestinely murdered Nazis. He was according to Elkins confronted with his crimes, and their intended punishment, and he accepted their offer of being allowed to commit suicide rather than be killed. An investigation of the death was reopened in 1991.