Monday, 19 March 2012

Media Coverage to date of the Petition 'Stop the 16 March marches in Latvia and Latvians revising history'.   
And the march that took place 16.03.2012, Riga , Latvia.

A wreath to the victims of Nazism was placed on the steps of the Monument of Freedom in central Riga, it was removed and desecrated.

Comment by Monica Lowenberg
The flower fight on the you tube clips, (pasted below), reveal in very symbolic terms the real fight that is taking place today.  Glorification of Nazism is shrouded in pretty flowers and explained away in flowery terms (see the ambassadors letter to Monica Lowenberg March 2012 blog below). If Europeans continue to buy into this sick piece of theatre then troubling times are ahead. Latvian politicians attend the march, young and old proudly sing together songs of  mythical days of glory and a Latvian Lutheran vicar officiates the proceedings next to the Latvian SS shield coated in blood red tulips on the Monument of Freedom with the  desecrated wreath to the victims of Nazism kicked behind.  A paradox if ever there was one.  If such an event is not state and church condoned glorification of Nazism then what is? 

And a question to the Latvian apologists, if as they maintain the Latvian SS were victims of not only Communism but also Nazism and only swore an oath by God and Hitler when they joined the Latvian SS, (as they saw Nazism as the lesser of two evils), then surely a wreath placed directly under the Monument for Freedom in central Riga for the victims of Nazism is also for them? Why feel the need to remove it unless of course victims and Nazi collaborators, in this case victims of Nazism and the Latvian SS legionnaires who prior to joining the legion had in 1941 and 1942 brutally help murder 95.6% of Latvia's pre-war Jewish population, are not the same and never will be.

It is a sad and important fact to remember that a third of the Latvian legionnaires had, prior to joining the Latvian SS legion, been members of the worst  Jew killing machine the world has ever known. To honour such men is a travesty of justice. The legionnaires who were mobilised into the Latvian Legion, against their free will, are in some respects victims but as the video clips reveal their descendants do not perceive them as such as they desecrate the wreath to the victims of Nazism and hiss anti-Semitic statements. 

Aside from any EU regulations that strictly forbid days that commemorate and glorify Nazism,  for let us not forget Latvia is since 2004 a member of the EU, NATO and OSCE , apologists and supporters of the march would be wise to concede, after having viewed the You Tube clips below, that days that commemorate Nazism and any associations with Nazism will simultaneously generate anti-Semitic, homophobic and xenophic sentiments. All the flowers in the world will not dismiss this and the above mentioned tragic facts. 

Is this the way Europeans, the descendants of millions of people who suffered terribly under Nazism want to go?   Far right becomes a legitimised centre right and the leaders of the free world say nothing! Churchill is spinning in his grave. Have we become so blinded by Holocaust obfuscation that we are no longer able to tell the difference between right and wrong?  It is time to wake up!

(Archbishop Jānis Vanags held the church service which was attended by  the following members of parliament: Raivis Dzintars  (VL-TB/LNNK), Jānis Dombrava (VL-TB/LNNK), Inara Mūrniece(VL-TB/LNNK),  , Kārlis Kresliņš(VL-TB/LNNK), Dzintars Rasnačs(VL-TB/LNNK) , Inese Laizāne(VL-TB/LNNK)  , Vineta Poriņa (VL-TB/LNNK), Dzintars Kudums (VL-TB/LNNK) and Ilmārs Latkovskis(VL-TB/LNNK) .   From Riga city council Jānis Atis Krūmiņš was present at the service.)

For details re above mentioned members of parliament  see Republic of Latvia, Members of the 11th Saeima

Add your voice to the petition  'Stop the 16th March marches in Latvia and Latvians revising history' by accessing the links directly below:

1.If you are a British citizen or normally live in the UK go to

2. If you are not a British citizen and live outside the UK go to

If not victims who were the Latvian SS legionnaires?  What did they do?


Will Intellectuals in Western Countries Continue their Silence on Latvia’s Glorification of Hitler’s Waffen SS? by Roland Binet (Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium)  Full article pasted below

Photo Documentaries of the 16 March and the Counter Demonstration, Riga, 2012

You Tube Clips:

          The laying of the wreath for the victims of Nazism by:
·         Efraim Zuroff, Director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (Israel),

·         Hermann Dvorzak, leader of the European Social Forum (Austria),

·         Monica Lowenberg , British academic and initiator of  the petition 'Stop the 16 March marches and Latvians revising history'  (UK),

·         Dovid Katz, ex-professor of the Vilnius University, owner of (USA/Lithuania),

·         Joel Rubinfeld, president of the European Jewish Parliament (Belgium),

·         Joseph Koren, president of the association "Latvia without Nazism" (Latvia)

·         Helmut Scholz, EP deputy (Germany),

·         Tatjana Ždanoka (Tatyana Zhdanok), EP deputy (Latvia)
Two Latvian young men and two Latvian young girls desecrate the wreath to the       
            victims of Nazism ( 17 mins of footage)

Joseph Koren, president of the association "Latvia without Nazism" (Latvia) and  Dr Tatjana Ždanoka (Tatyana Zhdanok), EP deputy (Latvia) try to restore the wreath to the victims of Nazism and remove the Latvian SS plaque that was placed in front.


Joseph Koren, president of the association "Latvia without Nazism" (Latvia) Dr Tatjana Ždanoka (Tatyana Zhdanok), EP deputy (Latvia) are prevented by the Latvian police from removing the Latvian SS plaque that was placed over the wreath for the victims of Nazism.


One of the powerful voices in the small counter-demonstration at last Friday's Waffen SS celebration in central Riga was Joel Rubinfeld, co-president of the European Jewish Parliament (Brussels). 'You are here to enforce the law!' Joel Rubinfeld tells a Latvian policeman.

A reporter asks Joel Rubinfeld: "What's wrong?"


25 minutes of coverage of the march which includes scenes showing the desecration of the wreath to the victims of Nazism; interviews with brave protesters including Janis Kuzins, (Latvia, Chairman of the Board for Associated Diversified Trade Unions); interviews with protester Kazimier Andrushkevich (Lithuania), Helmut Scholz, (Germany, MEP), Leonid Bard, (USA, America without Nazism); international round table discussion attended by the above demonstrators and including:  Thilo Janssen,  ( Germany, Assistant for Gabriele Zimmer MEP), Dr Valery Engel, (Latvia, Vice Chairman for World Without Nazism ,International  Human Rights Movement), Artur Nevicky, ( Latvia, Chairman of Societies of National Minorities of Latvia), Algirdas Paleckis (Lithuania, Lithuania without Nazism), Masha Girshin (USA, Blue Card) and service given by Lutheran priest to SS veterans next to SS plaque and desecrated wreath to the victims of Nazism on the steps of the Monument of Freedom, central Riga, Latvia.

8.  A British journalist gives in English a short summary of what March 16 is in Riga for Russian Today

9.  'Have you read David Irving  by the way?' asks a young Latvian man, (who claimed to be a lawyer), Monica Lowenberg and  Algirdas Paleckis.

10.  A number of selected video clips from the day 

News Articles:
  1. Global Post by Michael Goldfarb
  2. Huffington Post by Richard Brodsky
  3. CBS News by Gary Peach
  4. Montreal Gazette by Patrick Lannin and Aleks Tapinsh, Reuters
  5. Israel National News by Rachel Hirshfeld
  6. Frank Brendle first published in Die Tageszeitung Junge Welt 29.02.2012
  7. Baltische Rundschau
  8. Sueddeutsche Politik
  9. Der Standard
  10. The New Statesman by Dr Denis MacShane MP and open letter to Dr Denis MacShane by Monica Lowenberg
  11. The Jewish Chronicle by Emma Stock
  12. Harrow Times by Anna Slater and Emma Stock
  13. Mail on Line by Will Stewart
  14. The Jewish Chronicle
  15. Is Local London
  16. Anglo Baltic News
  17. Defending
  18. published by Latvia without Nazism by Monica Lowenberg and Joe Koren
  19. Hope Not Hate
  20. Hope Not Hate
  21. Cronica
  22. Roma Solidarity News
  23. Human
  24. Icare
  26. Delfi
  27. Frankfurter Allgemeine Politik
  28.,1518,druck-821816,00.html Spiegel
  29.  Tagesschau
  30.  Der Standard 
  32.   Global Post  Eastern Europe's Hitler Nostalgia by Michael Goldfarb
  33.  Joel Rubinfeld, president of the European Jewish Parliament (Belgium
  34.  by Giovanni Bensi
  36.  Hamburger Abendblatt  by Gerhard Gnauck 
  37.  PCAA  Foundation (All Party Parliamentary Group Against Anti-Semitism, UK, March 2012  'Calls to ban Baltic neo-Nazi marches' 
  38.  'Latvia's difficult legacy' by Monica Lowenberg April 2012 published by  The Holocaust Educational Trust, UK 
  39.  AJR Journal (Association of Jewish Refugees, UK) , Volume 12, April 2012 page 4  'Latvia: A Personal March Through History' by Monica Lowenberg 
  40. De Telegraaf, Netherlands 
  43.  Dr Denis MacShane MP
  44.  Daily Mail by Allan Hall
  45.  The Guardian by Gary Peach

Petition advertised in the Latvian paper Telegraf and then written about in the main Latvian paper Delfi,

Front cover news 24 and 25 February 2012
Dialogue between Latvian Ambassador in London, UK and Monica Lowenberg

Early Day Motions made by Dr Barry Gardiner (Labour MP) and Bob Blackman (Conservative MP) UK:


1.  Feb 2012 by World Without Nazism-International Human Rights Movement

Monitoring the social foundations of the revival of Nazi Sentiment, Xenophobia and Extremisim

2.  Report on Latvia by the ECRI

In the framework of its statutory activities, ECRI conducts country-by-country monitoring work, which analyses the situation in each of the member States regarding racism and intolerance and draws up suggestions and proposals for dealing with the problems identified.
In the Report on Latvia published on February 21, 2012 ECRI expresses concern as regards the authorisation of certain public events to commemorate two incidents and the authorities’ reaction in this connection. As concerns the first incident, every year, on 16 March, a gathering commemorating soldiers who fought in a Latvian unit of the Waffen SS is held in the centre of Riga. In this connection, ECRI regrets that, in spring 2010, an administrative district court overruled a decision of the Riga City Council 27 prohibiting this march.
Moreover, ECRI is concerned that the speaker of the Latvian Parliament allegedly publicly expressed regret for the formal prohibition of this event and that certain MPs have voted for the restoration of March 16 as day of remembrance.

By Monica Lowenberg  25.04.2012

Will Intellectuals in Western Countries continue their Silence on Latvia’s Glorification of Hitler’s Waffen SS?

19th March, 2012

By Roland Binet (Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium)

The day is a festive one despite the grey and low sky.  Young pretty girls have bunches of roses which they soon distribute to elderly and solemn gentlemen arriving, row upon row ion an interminable procession.  Numerous national flags are held in a heraldic and staid way by young men forming a kind of double guard of honor.

The elderly men – some in brown uniforms of unknown nature –  accompanied by adults, young girls and men, defile.  They are singing a haunting song.  There is a sense of joy, of accomplishment, of fond memories.  There is, also, a general feeling of togetherness and purpose.
These men know why they are here.  They relish the memory of what they did, of what they were able to accomplish.

They are old combatants united in the belief that they fought to preserve the independence and honor of their Latvian country of birth.

This is March 16, 2012 in Riga.  A time of celebration.

Some of these men fought in Russia prior to the official formation of two SS Divisions in 1943.  Five Battalions of volunteers were formed early in 1942 and were sent to the Leningrad Front (21st Liepajas, 19th Latgales, 24th Talsu, 16th Zemgales, 26th Tukuma Battalions).  Undoubtedly, these were tough highly motivated troops. 

What did they do in Leningrad?   Preserving the independence and honor of Latvia.  And, by the way, helping to maintain the terrible blockade of that cultural city of Leningrad by the Nazis.  Helping the formidable Nazi death-machine to starve to death and bomb a population that had to survive with less than 800 calories per day, a population which had had no warming systems since the beginning of the blockade in the fall of 1941.  These men, in a small but significant way, thus contributed in killing one and a half million civilians during the siege of Leningrad.

And, before the “official” creation of two Waffen SS divisions in Latvia in early 1943, other equally tough and motivated military or semi-military units (Schutzmannschaften Battalions, Police Auxiliary Units – the Hiwis - , the Arājs Kommando, self-proclaimed partisans groups, etc.)  had acquired a large amount of military experience in Latvia in combating unarmed civilian Jews, in helping to deport them to killing zones, robbing them of their clothes and dignity, assembling them along mass graves and giving a hand to shoot them (sometimes pausing in order that someone – as for example Oberscharführer Carl Emil Strott – might take a picture of the mass massacres in Skēde in the Liepaja region).

And after the formation of the famed and much decorated Latvian Legion as part of the 15th and 19th Waffen SS Divisions, in 1943, many of these men with previous military experience dealing with Jews and partisans, joined Hitler’s elite troop.  Others, as for example the 22nd and 227th Police Battalions were otherwise busy in the summer of 1942 rounding up Jews in Warsaw for deportation to Treblinka, or later in April/May 1943 in repressing the uprising in the Warsaw ghetto.

March 16 is the day of the Legionnaires in Latvia.  And, these “wonderful” fighters are well thought of and respected throughout that nation, now a full Member State of the European Union.

Was it not Latvia’s President, Mr. Andris Berzins, who, on February 28th, said on the LNT TV channel that “the nation should bow to its Waffen-SS veterans, many of whom died for their Fatherland.”

The Waffen SS soldiers had to swear an oath of allegiance to Hitler.

These men were the ideological arm of the Nazi regime, the personal military guardians of Hitler, the defenders and propagators of the ideas he so precisely crafted in Mein Kampf.  Two of which dealt with sub-races, the Jews and the Slavs: Untermenschen.  To be eradicated at all costs.  By his armed elite.  The SS.

Some would say, a bit naively, that the Latvian Legionnaires did not participate in killing Jews, Soviet citizens and everybody smacking or suspected of Communism.

Well, let me say this: first of all, the SS in its totality was declared a criminal organization by the Nurnberg Trials of 1945/1946.  And apart from the Stalin representatives (who might have been biased), there were judges from democratic nations such as the United States, the United Kingdom and France, as well as observers from other allied nations.  The pronounced sentence of criminal activity included the Waffen SS soldiers.

Moreover, even if the Latvian Waffen SS did not participate at all in the extermination of Jews in Latvia and civilian Soviet populations – an affirmation far from proved -, the fact that they fought so well (the highest number of decorations was attributed to the men of the 15th and 19th Waffen SS divisions among all SS volunteers of Europe), so toughly “for” their Latvian Fatherland, even outside its frontiers, created the conditions to delay unnecessarily the end of the war, created the ideal conditions so that Himmler’s well-oiled destruction machine could send more Belgian, Dutch, Hungarian, Italian, Slovakian Jews, among many others,. to the gas chambers in Birkenau and elsewhere.  With millions of lives lost.
And, I may be naïve but now that the European Commission has, on February 21, 2012, put its Report on Latvia online, strongly condemning the annual march in honor of the (SS) Legionnaires in Riga, why do the European Parliament members remain silent about a EU country honoring soldiers who, directly or indirectly, participated in a mechanism conducive to crimes against humanity and genocide?

And why, also, apart from Jewish and Russian individuals, are there so few reactions from intellectuals in Western European countries?

Aren’t there intellectuals with a modicum of courage in Western Europe anymore?

Or maybe the fact that a country member of the EU is honoring Hitler’s dear children of war is not important or exciting enough to warrant comments?

The late Raoul Hilberg  documented a substantial amount of information on how Latvians, well before the formation of specific Latvian SS units, murdered first the local Jewish population and then several trainloads of German Jewish people, especially in Riga, under the loose supervision of German SS. It becomes clear from historical evidence that  Latvians (and other) so-called Hilfswilligen (= willing helpers) did not  need much encouragement to plunder and murder Jewish communities, their own and the ones delivered by the Nazis).
Relevant literature (excerpt):
• The Destruction of the European Jews (Yale University Press, 2003; originally published in 1961).
• The Holocaust today (Syracuse University Press, 1988).
• Sources of Holocaust research: An analysis (Ivan R. Dee, Chicago, 2001).
• The politics of memory: The journey of a Holocaust historian (Ivan R. Dee, Chicago, 1996).
• Perpetrators, Victims, Bystanders: The Jewish catastrophe, 1933-1945 (Aaron Asher Books, NY, 1992).
• "The Fate of the Jews in the Cities." Reprinted in Betty Rogers Rubenstein (ed.), et al. What kind of God? : Essays in honor of Richard L. Rubenstein (University Press of America, 1995).
• "The destruction of the European Jews: precedents." Printed in Bartov, Omer. Holocaust: Origins, implementation, aftermath (Routledge, London, 2000).
• Hilberg, Raul (editor). Documents of destruction: Germany and Jewry, 1933-1945 (Quadrangle Books, Chicago, 1971).
(Bibliography excerpts from Wikipedia entry RAOUL HILBERG)

Monday, 5 March 2012

Monica Lowenberg in Dialogue with Latvia’s Ambassador to the UK


From the 2009 Waffen SS march in Riga. Photo Ilmars Znotins.

Monica Lowenberg is the creator of the international petition against this year’s Waffen SS march scheduled for 16 March 2012 in the heart of Riga, Latvia’s capital city. The petition has to date attracted some six thousand signatures from every part of the planet.
Its author approached the Latvian ambassador to the UK for support.
On the link below is his letter of 1 March. It is followed by the text of Monica Lowenberg’s 5 March reply, supplied to for publication.

Latvian-ambassadors-le...nberg-1-March-2012.pdf   link to Latvian ambassadors response to Monica Lowenberg  1st March 2012


Monica  Lowenberg's open letter to the Latvian ambassador in London  5 March 2012

5 March 2012

Dear Ambassador Eduards Stiprais,

Thank you for your letter of 1 March 2012 explaining why you cannot support the petition, ‘Stop the 16th March marches in Latvia and Latvians revising history’. I appreciate the time you have taken out of your busy schedule to explain your arguments to me. In the same spirit, I feel it is important to respectfully  point out that glorifying any pro-Nazi forces in today’s European Union and NATO alliances is unacceptable, whether the men now being honoured as ‘heroes’ and ‘bowed’ down to by your prime minister, were murderers, criminals, or simply just pro-Nazis.

Latvia needs to be glorifying its real heroes who saved Jews and other civilian victims from the Nazis and their local allies, not a group of men, who amongst them were former Arajs commandos and auxiliary police who played an active role in the mass murders of 90% of Latvia’s pre war Jewish population in 1941-1942, murdering close to 70,000 Jews. Among the murderers were not a few men who later joined the 15th and 19th divisions of the Latvian SS in 1943, the 15th division being the most decorated of all SS divisions. This is frankly not one of the high points in Latvia’s long and proud history.

As mentioned in my last email to you of the 16 February 2012, it was as a direct consequence of my first visit to Riga last October that I started the petition ‘Stop the 16 March marches in Riga and Latvians revising history!’ as I sincerely believe glorification of pro-Nazi armed forces during World War II has no place in a European Union / NATO / OSCE country.

The petition, launched 20 January 2012, ninety years to the day from the date of birth of my uncle Paul Theodor Loewenberg who at age 19 was sent to the Riga Ghetto on the 4 October 1941, is as much an act of commemoration of the victims of Nazism as it is a tribute to the European parliamentarians, including a number from Latvia, who wisely and courageously signed on the 20 January this year 2012, the Seventy Years Declaration, commemorating Wannsee, a declaration which specifically rejects glorification of Latvia’s Waffen SS, along with Estonia’s Waffen SS and the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) in Lithuania.

The petition I launched has, in little over a month, gained from around the world over 5,800 votes and the figure is mounting by the hour, indicating that I am not alone in believing that such glorification is terribly wrong. One should also add that the ECRI, the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance had already in 2008 explicitly stated, ‘All attempts to commemorate persons who fought in the Waffen SS and collaborate with the Nazis should be condemned. Any gathering or march legitimising in any way Nazism should be banned’. The ECRI reiterated the same in their most recent report about Latvia released on the 21 February 2012.

As these ‘heroes’ march on the 16 March with Latvian politicians and are given a sermon in church and flowers, when officials and the prime minister argue that these men are not criminals as the SS Latvian legion that these men, killers among them, joined in 1943 (after they and/or colleagues had murdered 80,000 Jews in 1941-1942 on Latvian soil in their capacity as Arajs commandos and auxiliary police), was acquitted of crimes against humanity in the 1950’s by US courts, I ask them and you to consider the following:

1. Many of the worst Latvian killers served in the Latvian Security Police prior to joining the Legion. Honouring such persons is a travesty of justice and a whitewash of their heinous crimes.

2. The Legion fought under the Nazi high command for a victory of the Third Reich. They do not deserve to be honoured for fighting for a victory of the most genocidal regime in human history. Ironically, such a victory would have been a disaster for Latvia since the Nazis had no intention or plan to grant Latvia independence. Historians know very well of the Nazis’ plans to do away with the Latvian (among Baltic) peoples after the planned-for victory. There would have been no Latvia to become independent in 1991.

3. About one-third of those who served in the Legion were volunteers, many of them those who had served in Latvian Security Police units which had actively participated in the mass murder of Jews in Latvia and in Belarus, such as the infamous Arajs Commando mass murder squad.

4. When Latvian SS killed Soviet soldiers they in turn allowed Nazis on the western front to kill more British and American soldiers and in turn allowed Auschwitz and other concentration camps to continue their heinous crimes against humanity. During the years of the Latvian Holocaust, the Soviet Union was in alliance with Great Britain, the United States and other Western democracies, whose ranks Latvia has now joined.

5. Democratic Latvia should not glorify those willing to give up their lives for a victory of the Third Reich. The Latvian Righteous Gentiles would make much better role models for today’s young people in Latvia and for future generations.

6. The ultranationalists who support the march are the ones who are seeking to rewrite the historic narrative of the Holocaust in Latvia in order to hide or downgrade the crimes of local Nazi collaborators and promote the canard of equivalency between Communist and Nazi crimes.

As these men march from the main Latvian Lutheran Church towards the symbol of Latvian independence — the Freedom Monument in Riga’s central square on 16 March 2012 this year, will any of these men and politicians shed a thought for their Latvian murdered compatriots who happened to be Jewish? Will they remember how 25,000 of them were in the fall of 1941, over two weekends, marched down Riga’s streets from the ghetto to Rumbula, shot and thrown in to pits using the ‘sardine method’? Will they say a prayer for them as part of these proceedings?

As the ambassador for Latvia, a country that is a member of the EU and NATO, I feel it is necessary to quote once more the conclusion of the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance concerning the 16 March march in Latvia:

All attempts to commemorate persons who fought in the Waffen SS and collaborate with the Nazis should be condemned. Any gathering or march legitimising in any way Nazism should be banned’.

With kind regards,

Monica Lowenberg, London