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This message is being written on February 16, a month before the date of the annual march of veterans of the Latvian S.S. in the heart of Riga. A somewhat similar march, one of neo-fascists and Lithuanian nationalist extremists, was scheduled to take place today, which is one of the country's two independence days. February 16 marks the independence achieved in 1918, which is "celebrated" by a march in Kaunas (Kovno), which was the interwar capital of Lithuania, whereas on March 11, the local neo-Nazis and sympathizers march in the current capital Vilnius (Vilna) to mark the independence achieved in 1990. Hopefully, none of these events will be taking place this year as scheduled due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The reason that I am mentioning the marches in Lithuania, in conjunction with the S.S. veterans march in Riga, is because all three are inspired by the same misguided extremist patriotism and sustained by the fake historical narratives created and promoted since independence by the Lithuanian and Latvian governments. They are ostensibly held to honor the brave patriots who volunteered to fight for independence against the oppressive Soviet regime, but in reality glorify anti-Semites, some of whom were active participants in the annihilation of their Jewish citizens and other Jews.
So let's present the facts. The Latvian Legion fought in the framework of the Waffen-SS, Heinrich Himmler's army, for a victory of the Third Reich, the most genocidal regime in human history. Its defenders prefer to ignore that cardinal fact, and insist that all the men were fighting only for Latvian independence. The problem with that contention is that the Nazis had absolutely no intention of granting independence to any of the Baltic countries, regardless of whatever assistance they provided, whether it was in murdering Jews or joining the battles against the Red Army.
A second argument is that the Legion did not participate in the murder of Jews. That is partially true, since the units were established after most Latvian Jews had already been murdered. Yet what is always omitted by the Legion's defenders, is that among the men who joined the Latvian Legion, were many mass murderers of Jews from the notorious Arajs Kommando mass murder squad and the Latvian SD, hardly individuals worthy of any honors.
A third argument is that the men who served in the Legion paved the way for Latvian independence in 1990, but that too is of course totally baseless, since their service for the Nazis did not achieve any progress towards freedom, which was only obtained when the Soviet union crumbled. In fact, had the Nazis won World War II, the Latvians would most likely still be subjugated, but by the Germans not the Soviets.
All of the above are good reasons why we should be very glad that such events will not be held this year or ever after.
Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff is the chief Nazi-hunter of the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Director of the Center's Israel Office and Eastern European Affairs.
Dr. Efraim Zuroff Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center – Israel office and Eastern European Affairs Coordinator, SWC Nazi war crimes research worldwide www.operationlastchance.org
Organisers of March 16 events have withdrawn their applications due to epidemiological situation- the organisers of this SS glorification march should withdraw due to historical facts, recognising that glorifying any SS detachment in the 21st century is unacceptable. To maintain that anyone who protests against this march is working together with the Russian government is ridiculous. Thousand s of people worldwide protest each and every year against the SS march in Riga, they are ordinary people who come from all over the world, they have two things in common: historical truth and common sense.
Flemish town erects monument honouring Latvian SS!
No march went ahead.
For further reading please see:
Formation of a New Historical Memory or the Whitewashing of Nazism in Latvia with photographs of the marches
by Victor Gushchin The Baltic Centre of Historical and Socially Political Studies
March of the Latvian Legionnaires 2012- Roland Binet 8 March 2021
why-do-i-find-the-so-called- heroes-from-the-latvian- waffen-ss-so-despicable/79414
Latvian Legionnaries celebrated in Riga and, now also in Belgium, in Zedelgem
Article by Michel Bouffioux Paris Match Belgique published 20 May 2021
Important excerpt from the Bouffioux's article translated here into English:
Top Photo to the Left Monica Lowenberg in silent protest at the legionnaires march 16 March 2012, Riga Latvia PHOTO: COURTESY OF DEFENDING HISTORY.COM http://defendinghistory.com/category/lowenberg-monica
Centre Photo From left to right Monica Lowenberg (UK), Helmut Scholz, (Germany, MEP), Joel Rubinfeld, president of the European Jewish Parliament (Belgium), Efraim Zuroff, Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (Israel), Tatjana Ždanoka (Tatyana Zhdanok), EP deputy (Latvia), Janis Kuzins, Chairman of the Board for Associated Diversified Trade Unions ( Latvia) , Joseph Koren, president of the association "Latvia without Nazism" (Latvia), Hermann Dvorzak, leader of the European Social Forum (Austria), laying down a wreath to the victims of Nazism 16 March 2012 , Riga Latvia PHOTO: COURTESY OF DEFENDING HISTORY.COM http://defendinghistory.com/1500-honor-the-waffen-ss-at-rigas-liberty-monumuent-event-is-praised-by-latvias-president-condemned-by-the-european-commission/32654
Photo to the Right Volker Beck gives a speech of support to protesters at the Latvian Embassy in Berlin on the eve of the 2017 annual Waffen SS march in central Riga to his left Dr Hans Coppi, VVN Berlin PHOTO: LOTHAR EBERHARDT. http://defendinghistory.com/german-member-of-parliament-volker-beck-joins-protest-at-the-latvian-embassy-in-berlin/87225