Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Monica Lowenberg Releases Text of Letter to British ORT on Latest Lithuanian Embassy Sponsored “Litvak Do” in London

First posted on 27 November 2013 by Defending History
Add your voice to these petitions here: 
  • Salford City Radio 94.4FM  Interview in 2013 with Monica Lowenberg speaking about her trip to Latvia and the annual SS marches that take  place in the capital of Riga.
  • Nazi Heroes-  Waffen SS hailed in Latvia Television Interview with Monica Lowenberg, Joel Rubinfeld and Glyn Ford MEP, 16 March 2012   VIEWS:  over 102,000 as of Jan 2014





by Monica Lowenberg

Monica Lowenberg’s office has released for publication the following public letter sent to British ORT. 
British ORT, FAO The Chief Executive, Mr. Dan Green
25 November 2013
Dear Mr. Green,
It is with deep regret that my 90 year old father, Ernest Lowenberg, former Berlin ORT pupil and I write to you today.
On the 13 November 2013, as chief executive of British ORT, you invited my parents and me to a concert that British ORT will be co-hosting with Westminster Synagogue and the Lithuanian Embassy on Monday 2 December 2013, as part of a two-day “Litvak symposium” at Westminster Synagogue. Shockingly, this “Litvak symposium” features a professor from Kaunas who thinks that glorifying his country’s 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister who helped send his city’s Jews to their deaths constitutes “the drama of Lithuanian history” and complained that timid college administrators are “frightened that they were going to get hit over the head with a club by the Jews.” (full text; English translation; reply by the Lithuanian Jewish community’s Milan Chersonski). Another “star” of this “Litvak symposium” is the editor of the Lithuania Tribune a major mouthpiece for state Holocaust obfuscation, whose editor’s democratic values have not extended to publishing replies in his tribune (no pun intended). But he is happy to publish the state commission’s attacks on a Vilna Holocaust survivor as purported fact (background here and here). Is this really the kind of event British ORT and the Westminster Synagogue wish to be associated with?
I have copied Westminster Synagogue’s Rabbi Thomas Salamon into this mail, as well as your predecessor Robert Singer with whom over the years we have been in touch, as my parents and I feel it is important that they too are aware of where the Lowenberg family stands in this matter.
My parents and I are sadly obliged to decline your invitation as we refuse to have our names associated with a government that we have repeatedly called upon to change certain policies, including their ongoing sanitization and glorification of Holocaust collaborators as well as direct killers, a government that invests huge resources, despite trying economic times, in revising history to export a false equivalence of Nazi and Soviet crimes in an attempt to downgrade the Holocaust, which in Lithuania claimed 96.4% of the Jewish population, the highest percentage in all Holocaust-era Europe.
I have, as you know, personally informed British ORT with full documentary evidence.  It is therefore particularly disturbing and personally upsetting that despite having this information, British ORT should actively go out of its way, under your leadership, to continue co-hosting an event with the Lithuanian Embassy.
In my last email to you of 14 November 2013, further to your telephone call, I suggested that if British ORT could not back out of the event that you allow myself and my father to read out the petition at the commencement of the concert to HE Ambassador Asta Skaisgirytė Liauškienė, Lithuanian ambassador to the UK. This would take under five minutes to read out at the event. What on earth is anyone afraid of in our free and democratic UK?
I am aware that Ronnie Wolf (daughter of former ORT boy Gerhart Wolf, many of whose family were also brutally murdered in Lithuania and Latvia) has also contacted you on the same matter. We have not heard from you and therefore we can only conclude that our request has been denied and that you will continue with this shameful concert.
As you are aware, the Lithuanian government have been pursuing a very active strategy that as the Jewish Chronicle in December 2012 noted, at a PR event with UCL and then at Jewish Book Week in February 2013 is clearly “duplicitous” and is part of a campaign of Holocaust revisionism.  John Mann MP has referred to what is going on as an “industrial rewriting of history in Eastern Europe to excuse mass murders carried out on behalf of the Nazis.”
On the one hand we have a government who at these “Jewish events” shows a face that is open and friendly to a dialogue with, in particular, Holocaust survivors and their families,  (but not I might add when they arrive on their doorstep and deliver petitions) yet at home, in Lithuania, legalizes swastikas; allows for Nazi marches to take place on Independence days in the very center of the nation’s capital and second city, and then names the youth who participate in such events as being “patriotic”; criminalizes Holocaust survivors such as Yitzhak Arad, former director of Yad Vashem; and glorifies perpetrators amongst many other  actions that call out for dignified protest.
Tragically, it is becoming clear that many of these issues have been long-standing and are only intensifying as time goes by with Prof. Leonidas Donskis having been one of the very few voices, among elected officials from Lithuania who has truly and bravely spoken out against these things, a man who when I questioned him last year on whether the statements about the Lithuanian government were incorrect he responded in an email by saying I was not incorrect but “99% correct.”
I can therefore only conclude, as many others have, that the Lithuanian government are pursuing a very active strategy which is in my opinion clearly duplicitous. Glittering events, conferences such as those organized at UCL, book launches at Jewish Book Week, art exhibitions, concerts with British ORT are simply foils to a much larger strategy, a strategy that deliberately uses neo-Nazi marches on Independence Day (what a contradiction in terms if ever there was one) as useful vehicles to drum up nationalistic feeling. Clearly the marches are “useful” or by now the Lithuanian government would have disallowed them in the capital on Independence Day. The government’s campaign of Holocaust distortion, obfuscation includes the infamous Prague Declaration of 2008 which is the “bible” of the “Double Genocide” movement. A 2010 law passed by Lithuania’s parliament and signed by her president threatens up to two years’ imprisonment to those who would in effect deny the “Double Genocide” evaluation of twentieth century history.
As the eminent historian Professor Robert Wistrich wrote in an article this year in the Jerusalem Post, in response to a global forum on antisemitism:
“Lithuania, however, is a far worse case. For the past two decades, it has consistently omitted or minimized the massive scale of the nation’s complicity in the Holocaust, which greatly contributed to the barbaric slaughter of 95 percent of Lithuania’s 200,000 Jews 70 years ago. Rather than honestly confront this appalling record, the Lithuanian government has continuously stressed the Soviet “genocide” of Lithuanians, even insinuating that Jews were involved in these Communist war crimes.”
As I stated to you in our telephone conversation, for the purpose of historic truth and in the case of British ORT to preserve the dignity and memory of Colonel Levey and  the other brave ORT personalities who literally risked their lives to save others, it is absolutely essential that British ORT does not allow its good name to be abused and be associated with the Lithuanian government.  It is essential that British ORT does not host this concert with the Lithuanian government.
As Dr. Lionel Kopelowitz, former director of the Board of Deputies, noted when he was roped into attending the shameful UCL event, a previous Lithuanian government PR stunt in December 2012, what is said at these events is forgotten within a couple of days, if not hours, but the publicity which has the Lithuanian government’s name and logo of a proud knight on a horse on it,  is for posterity, forever linked with the names of eminent and credible individuals and bodies.
In years to come, as the Lithuanian PR team continues to happily steamroll through the history books and the Jewish community, how will the everyday man on the street come to know the true history of Lithuania and the Baltics and what it is doing today when British ORT and Westminster Synagogue and other organisations link arms with the very government who are hell bent on distorting that history?  I am aware that ORT has schools in Lithuania and receives funding from the Lithuanian government, as I am sure many schools in Lithuania receive funding from that government but not all schools run functions with the government in London today in efforts to cover for duplicitous policy. This is something that does not need to occur to maintain relations.  British ORT has survived until now not running functions with the Lithuanian Embassy.  Do you not think it is suspicious if not downright malevolent that out of all the  hundred odd Jewish organisations in the UK the Lithuanian ambassador to London could target to run an event with this year, it should be the only one that my soon to be 91 year old father is deeply connected with?  This is an act that is as suspicious as the invitation Second Generation Network received last year to co-host an event with the same embassy at Jewish Book Week last February 2013, an invitation the Second Generation Network declined when they realized the game the Lithuanian PR team were playing with them  (Second Generation Network being the only Jewish organisation I belong to).  These incidences are not coincidences but deliberate attempts of the Lithuanian embassy to undermine and silence the voices of those who contest their government’s despicable actions that have taken place not thirty years ago, not twenty, not even ten but — today.
The concert British ORT is involved in and hosting coincides, whether you are aware of this or not, with Lithuania’s presidency of the European Union Council and it is in the interest of the Lithuanian government to be seen to be co-hosting an event with British ORT. As the documentary maker and author of  ”Tell Me No Lies” John Pilger has noted when investigating the propaganda techniques of various governments today, the Lithuanian government’s involvement in this concert demonstrates only one thing, how important PR is to that government and being associated with as many important names as possible to give them credibility at a time when they least deserve it on Jewish issues.
In view of the facts mentioned and because my parents and I recognize how important it is for anyone who truly cares about historic truth, justice and the prevention of far-right extremism currently sweeping Europe for each of us, where and when we can, challenge the Lithuanian government and their actions that happen and escalate today and because it is evident that under your leadership British ORT does not share this concern, it is with sincere regret that we need to inform you and make public that the Lowenberg family severs all ties with British ORT and do not permit British ORT to use any information, photographs, articles I have written in English and German on ORT, books concerning our family in any publicity you may choose to create for print or web publications. In some respects we are writing ourselves out of your history, as the history you will now be involved in is one that is based in lies of a heinous nature that defeat description.
This is how strongly we feel about the association you have deliberately nurtured that we are prepared to sever a life-long commitment with the organization that saved my father’s life.  Our gratitude will forever lie with Colonel Levey and the brave ORT people who literally risked their lives so that we can live today.
Monica Lowenberg
  • Gali Bartal,  British ORT
  • Robert Singer, World Jewish Congress
  • Rabbi Thomas Salamon, Westminster Synagogue
  • Rabbi Barry Marcus, Central Synagogue
  • Dr Lionel Kopelowitz, former director of the Jewish Board of Deputies
  • Dr Efraim Zuroff, Director, Simon Wiesenthal Center, Israel
  • Professor Danny Ben-Moshe, Deakin University, Melbourne
  • Professor Dovid Katz, Defending History
  • Graeme Atkinson, International Editor, Hope Not Hate
  • John Mann MP
  • Ronnie Wolf
  • Former Berlin ORT boys
PS  I would also like to draw to your attention three petitions that will remain open:
1. Petition to ban this coming year’s neo-Nazi march in central Vilnius:
2. To remove monuments to Nazi war criminals throughout Lithuania:
3. To mark progress across an array of issues the Lithuanian government could easily make progress on.




Abandon defamation of Holocaust survivors and glorification of Holocaust perpetrators

Of interest will be the following details concerning some of the speakers:


End of the World and the Day After  and correspondence between Monica Lowenberg and UCL

4)   links to You Tube clips and articles and letters

In particular see  Look how long former Berlin ORT boy, 90 year old Ernest Lowenberg had to wait at the Lithuanian Embassy's doorstep last December 2012 to deliver an international petition against the actions the Lithuanian government are involved in today.


5.  Last UCL event, this time round not just with the Lithuanian ambassador but also the Estonian and the Latvian


Olga Zabludoff's open letter to Jerusalem Post editor Steve Linde:  5 December 2013

Richard Bloom Film

During the Shoah, Nazi collaborators from Lithuania and Latvia, helped murder more than 275,000 Jews – their neighbours – many of them known as Litvaks, 96% of those countries Jewish population, the highest percentage rate in any European country.
The film explores the search for these collaborators, the efforts to prosecute them and the refusal of countries to bring their citizens to justice.

Programme for Litvak Symposium 1-2 December 2013, London
The large-scale migration of thousands of Lithuanian Jews (Litvaks) during the late nineteenth century shaped popular Anglo-Jewish culture and identity. It is no surprise that over 125 years their impact upon Jewish history, culture and identity remains as rich as it was in the shtetls of old. The two-day symposium, organised by the Lithuanian Embassy in the United Kingdom in tandem with the heritage partners across Britain, seeks to help genealogists, local historians and British-Jewish scholars alike.
Sunday, 1 December, 2013
Venue: Lithuanian Embassy, 2 Bessborough Gardens, London, SW1V 2JE
RSVP by email: / tel. 020 7592 2841
14:00 Welcome by: Mr Šarūnas Birutis, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania
Mrs Asta Skaisgirytė Liauškienė, Ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania
Mr Vivian Wineman, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews
Moderator: Mr Ruslanas Iržikevičius, Editor-in-Chief, The Lithuania Tribune
14:15 Prof Egidijus Aleksandravičius, Vytautas Magnus University
Lithuanian Diaspora: Forgotten Pages of the Story?
14:30 Dr Nicholas J Evans, University of Hull:
The Social, Cultural and Political Impact of the Litvak During the Age of the Great Migration
15:15 Prof Michael Berkowitz, University College London:
Genealogically-informed Scholarship: Litvak Strains in Holocaust and Jewish Historical Research
15:30 Q&A
16:00 Reception
18:00 End of the event
Monday, 2 December, 2013
Venue: London Metropolitan Archives, Huntley Room, 40 Northampton Road, Clerkenwell, EC1R 0HB
RSVP by email: / tel. 020 7332 3851
14:00 Introduction: Dr. Nicholas J Evans, University of Hull
14.05 Ms Galina Baranova, Lithuanian State Archives
A Selected Overview of Documents in the Lithuanian State Historical Archives Related to the Life of Lithuanian Jews
15:00 Ms Lorna Kay, Jewish Genealogical Society of Great Britain (Manchester)
Documenting Litvak Migration in the North of England
15.25 Ms Charlotte Scott, London Metropolitan Archives
Aliens to Citizens: Collections at the London Metropolitan Archives and What They Can Tell You
15:50 Q&A followed by a visit to the conservation studio
Monday, 2 December, 2013, 7:00 pm Reception, 7:45 pm
Venue: Westminster Synagogue, Kent House, Rutland Gardens, Knightsbridge, London, SW7 1BX
RSVP by email: / tel. 020 7592 2841
A concert of Jewish Songs and Music with the Lithuanian singer Liora Grodnikaitė, mezzo-soprano, accompanied by pianist Darius Mažintas and accordionist Martynas Levickis.
The event is free of charge; donations for the ORT projects in Lithuania are gratefully accepted (ORT is the world's largest Jewish education and vocational training NGO).

COMMENT by Fabio Perselli posted on the eventot site

For British ORT and the Westminster Synagogue to co-host a cultural event with the Lithuanian Embassy in London is either spectacularly naive or brazenly provocative.

It is with sadness and alarm that I have been following Lithuania's enthusiasm for revising history in recent times: Lithuania – now an EU and Nato state holding the presidency, no less, of the European Council – was among the first in line when Hitler stormed eastwards in his Operation Barbarossa.

Just to remind ourselves: between June 25 and 27 1941, in Kaunas alone, Lithuanian nationalists (mainly volunteers) were responsible, along with the Wehrmacht, for the systematic culling of some 60-70,000 Jews. In three days. And that was just the prelude. Until then Vilnius had been celebrated as the "Jerusalem of Lithuania", a nation with a quarter of a million Jew...s forming a cornerstone of a commercially thriving and culturally rich corner of Europe. The Nazis murdered 96.4% of them, the highest proportion of ethnic annihilation they managed anywhere – a feat they could never have dreamed of achieving without such staunchly loyal collaborators. Lithuania's Jewish community now barely represents 0.1% of the country's 3.3 million.

These nationalist "heroes", so keen to fight the Russians alongside the Nazis that they would go to any length to impress, are the very figures Lithuania now sees fit to rehabilitate and salute through memorials and marches, especially on the 16th of February – Lithuanian National Day.

It's not even a case of "Forgive and Forget" – it's more a policy of "Forgive and Glorify".

The Litvat Days 2013, my gut instinct tells me, are a cynical PR attempt on the part of the Lithuanian authorities to appear cuddly and inclusive. Nothing new there. But for ORT and the WS to be led down the garden path in this way? – I am speechless. And I read with interest – and regret – that even one of ORT's historic figureheads, Holocaust survivor Ernest Lowenberg, has decided to do the dignified thing and withdraw his support for ORT after many decades.


Fabio Perselli,
Translator and editor



In the meantime it will be of interest to readers to know that only TEN days ago a Latvian state dance troupe displayed a very large swastika  on 17 November 2013 in Riga stadium, see  article in  Hope Not Hate  24.11.2013
One has to now question whether to celebrate being European capital for culture in 2014,  in little over a month,  the Latvian government will be endorsing more of this blatant fascist behaviour in an EU, NATO,OSCE country?


And on Sunday 22 December from 10.40am-1.00pm as part of the Limmud conference at Warwick University,  Monica Lowenberg and Prof Danny Ben-Moshe will be speaking
Monica Lowenberg discusses her campaign against state glorification of Latvian SS veterans in Latvia today, followed by a screening of the documentary 'Rewriting History' which examines a new form of Holocaust revisionism in Lithuania, with the equating of Nazi and Soviet crimes. This will be followed by a Q&A with the film's director, Danny Ben-Moshe, via Skype.

Danny Ben-Moshe

Danny Ben-Moshe is an Associate Professor and Research Fellow at the Centre for Citizenship and Globalisation at Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia. He is the film-maker of 'Rewriting History', which explores the banalisation of the Holocaust in Lithuanian today and its creeping effect on the EU, too.

Monica Lowenberg

Defending History
Since initiating in 2012 the petition 'Stop the 16 March marches and Latvians revising history', Monica has written prolifically on the banalisation of the Holocaust taking place in the EU today and has been widely published in the UK and abroad. Monica is London correspondent for
Sunday December 22, 2013 10:40 - 13.00

The full Limmud Conference 2013 programme is available online and you can download the Limmud Conference 2013 web application. The brand new app allows you to set up an account, browse sessions and presenters and create your personal Limmud Conference planner.


"After all we survived- The Riga Ghetto." 98 Min. DVD
Director Jürgen Hobrecht

Production Polis Film

All rights reserved Berlin 2013

Details and outtakes  

(English version coming soon)

Zwischen November 1941 und Oktober 1942 werden rund 22.000 Juden aus dem Deutschen Reich nach Riga verschleppt. Unmittelbar vor der Ankunft der deutschen, tschechischen und österreichischen Juden in Riga werden an nur zwei Tagen 27.000 lettischen Juden und Jüdinnen ermordet, um Platz für die Neuankömmlinge aus dem Reich zu schaffen. Auch Tausende Deportierte aus dem Deutschen Reich werden direkt nach der Ankunft erschossen. Diejenigen, die das Ghetto lebend erreichten, erleiden jahrelange Qualen.Von 24.605 in den Jahren 1941 bis 1942 nach Riga deportierten Juden aus dem „Großdeutschen Reich“ überleben nur 1.073.

Zeitzeugen berichten in dem Film von dem Massaker an den lettischen Juden, dem Leben im Ghetto und dem Überleben mit dem Trauma.

Interessenten an Filmvorführungen in Schulen, Gedenkstätten, Museen etc. sind herzlich willkommen. Die DVD kann für 12,00 + 3,00 Versand bei bezogen werden.

Between November 1941 and October 1942, 24.606 Jews from the "Deutsche Reich" (Germany, Austria, and Czechoslovakia) were deported to Riga.  4.500 were shot on arrival. The remaining Jews were sent to the Reichsjudenghetto and Jungfernhof  and forced to live in an area  where about 13,000 people had lived previously. However, before the "Reichsjuden" had been deported to Riga,  to make room for the new arrivals, some 25,000 Latvian Jews out of 30,000, who had been placed into the Riga ghetto from August 1941 onwards were, over only two days,  shot by the Nazis and willing Latvian collaborators. The brutal murder of Latvian Jews was one of the second-worst atrocities  in  the first stage of the Holocaust and yet, until now, this terrible chapter has rarely been spoken or written about.

Those who survived the ghetto suffered for years after.  Out of the 24.606 ReichsJuden who were deported to Riga between 1941-1942, only 1,073 survived .

In Hobrecht’s new film, German and Latvian survivors speak out for the first time about the massacre against the Latvian Jews, the living conditions in the ghetto and how they survived the trauma.

Monday, 16 September 2013

Latvia’s Nazi Nostalgia


By Monica Lowenberg

Now, Woody Allen isn’t to everyone’s taste but every so often he does manage to come out with a golden nugget that makes you roar in the aisles if not chuckle.  In his film Midnight in Paris there is one such nugget.  When speaking about which era they would most like to live in, the central character says in a dead pan voice, ‘I am a little nostalgic about La Belle Époque, sans tuberculosis.’

La Belle Époque, the ‘beautiful era’ a period in French history starting in 1890 and ending when World War 1 began, when peace and prosperity in Paris allowed the arts to flourish and Zola, Picasso and  Gauguin,  amongst other greats, met their friends for un cafe in Maxims, or so we believe. However, on scratching the surface, we find the era was not so belle. Time and the desire to forget trauma have a  curious way of making us distort facts and see only what we want to see, unless one reads Zola’s ‘J’accuse’ one would forget the Dreyfuss affair that highlighted French anti-Semitism during the Belle Époque, one would forget government corruption and one would forget urban poverty riddled with tuberculosis.

Nostalgia is a dangerous thing as often it is wrapped in illusions, illusions that feel more comfortable to deal with than reality. Without first hand witnesses on hand it is easy to discard historical facts, primary and secondary sources if one so chooses.  It is also easy to even distort facts particularly if one has the backing of the powers that be, as Milan Kundera so clearly pointed out, "The struggle of man against power," he wrote, "is the struggle of memory against forgetting.”


And so in view of these facts,  when I tell you that since 1998 on the 16th of March each and every year, in the very centre of Riga, Latvia, a member of the EU since 2004, a NATO and OSCE country, marches have been regularly held to praise the ‘heroism’ of the former Latvian Legion, i.e.Waffen SS veterans in their combat against the allies during the Second World War and that each year these events are receiving tacit (and sometimes very explicit and public) support from state authorities, this year from the president himself who stated the Latvian SS are not criminals but should be ‘bowed down to’ , you are perhaps not surprised?  Perhaps, it will also not surprise you that our very own British conservatives, the presumed heirs of Churchill, perhaps as an antidote to the French revolution, perhaps as a summer Valentine’s day, joined up forces on the 14 July 2009 with Robert Zile, a Latvian MEP whose associations support Nazi marches?


Of course marches take place all the time and why should one get upset about a few SS men being heralded as heroes and offered flowers?  As the Latvian ambassador wrote to me, when February this year I asked him to sign the petition I had set up against the 16 March marches in Latvia with the support of Dr Barry Gardiner (Labour MP) and Bob Blackman (Conservative MP), ‘There are no war crimes attributed to the Latvian units of the Waffen SS which was formed in 1943. Members of the notorious Arajs Komando constituted less than 1% of those enlisted and in most cases they were duly prosecuted after World War II.  All the above mentioned was recognised by western allied authorities, including the UK government, when admitting former legionnaires to their territories.  In a twist of irony, some were even enlisted by the US army to guard Nazi war criminals at the Nurnberg Tribunal...  In light of the aforementioned I cannot see how your petition would help in bringing justice to the victims of war crimes or crimes against humanity, including the Holocaust.  On the contrary, it would simply replicate some of the old but recently reheated Soviet propaganda about ‘those Fascist Latvians’.  I can only regret that your research into the history of the Latvian legion was limited to communicating with Mr.  Feigmanis (sic Mr Feigmanis is actually a historian and has a PhD) and some left wing politicians in Latvia’.  Both sides of my polite debate with the Latvian ambassador are reproduced in full by at:


Curiously enough, on the  very same day and within a few hours of receiving this email from the Latvian ambassador, Mr Martin Callanan, the chief whip, at the time, of the conservatives in the European Parliament, also wrote to me expressing very similar sentiments ,

‘It is very unfortunate that your purpose does not seem to be to clarify the historical facts about the Latvian Legion or to honour victims of the Genocide against the Jewish population, which is why I cannot sign your petition.’  A few hours after sending this email to myself Mr Callanan publicly announced that he would be leaving his post as conservative chief whip, 


"It has been a privilege to serve as Leader of Conservative MEPs for the last 16 months. It has been a tumultuous time for the EU and a fascinating time to lead the delegation. I am proud of the successes that Conservative MEPs are achieving and the hard work that we put in to defend the national interest. I would love to stay on but my commitment as the newly-elected chairman of our wider European grouping requires my full-time dedication. It was an enormous privilege to have been elected leader of the ECR last December’

So, who is telling stories here?  Maybe it is time to get a few facts straight.

It is a sad and important fact to remember that a substantial number of the same Latvian Waffen SS (the “legionnaires”) had, prior to joining the Latvian SS legion, been members of the worst Jew killing machine the world has ever known, killing with the Nazis in the summer-autumn of 1941 some  75, 000 Jews.  To honour such men, no matter how many were involved, 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 of this year’s march which I protested at (see links below) reveal, their descendants do not perceive them as such as they desecrated the wreath to the victims of Nazism and hissed anti-Semitic statements.

 Aside from any EU regulations that strictly forbid days that commemorate and glorify Nazism, (see Report on Latvia by the ECRI (European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance  published 21 February 2012) 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, on seeing the You tube clips and the international petition site that I set up in January 2012 against the SS marches littered with anti-Semitic, homophobic and xenophobic sentiments,  to concede  that days that commemorate Nazism and any associations with Nazism will simultaneously generate anti-Semitic, homophobic and xenophobic sentiments. All the flowers in the world will not dismiss this and the above mentioned tragic facts. 

As Dr Efraim Zuroff stated in The Guardian already in 2009   ‘The results speak for themselves. Although there were numerous Nazi war criminals who could still be brought to trial, not a single one was ever punished in the Baltics, which had the worst record of local collaboration, and only two have been punished in democratic Eastern Europe. Although various leaders issued public apologies (usually in Israel, almost never at home), they failed to deliver in terms of prosecution, restitution, education and documentation. Even worse, Holocaust-related issues became the main cause of renewed local anti-Semitism, which threatened the minuscule remnant Jewish communities in these countries. 

For some reason, these issues, which should have been highly significant in determining the candidacy of these countries for European Union and NATO membership, were apparently not taken into account. Suddenly, these countries have the legitimacy of those memberships without having fully internalised the concomitant values. Miliband is correct in pointing out the obvious flaws of the Conservatives' new allies. But they are only the tip of the eastern European right wing, which is determined to rewrite the history of the Second World War in a way that no self-respecting European should accept. By joining forces with parties such as Fatherland and Freedom and Law and Justice, the Conservatives are granting important legitimacy to a false narrative that seeks to whitewash war crimes and erase the heroic victory of those who saved the world from Hitler and the Nazis.’ 

Latvian nationalists and apologists who argue that the legionnaires should be seen as distinct from the German SS, as one they were acquitted of crimes by the American courts in the 1950’s and two they guarded at the Nurnberg trials, forget two very important points:

  1. 95.6% of Latvia's pre-war Jewish population were murdered in 1941 and 1942 by German Nazis and Latvian Arajs commandos and auxiliary police, many of whom subsequently, in 1943 and 1944 freely joined the Latvian SS Legion,  the 15th and 19th divisions, the 15th becoming the most decorated out of all SS divisions. It is true that the Latvian Legion per se did not murder, virtually all of their Latvian compatriots; who happened to be Jewish, but a substantial number of them prior to joining the legion had been mass murderers of the worst kind. (The main core of the Waffen SS legion Lettland was created in 1943 from 16 battalions of Latvian police which in 1941-1942 participated in the Holocaust in not only Latvia but also Russia, Belorussia and in the executions in the Warsaw ghetto.) 
  2. With regards to the Latvian Legion guarding at the Nurnberg trials the reality is that only a third of them did so, in the exterior ring not because they were innocent of crimes but because they spoke good German!  Other rings were composed of Americans, allied troops and police.  One should also question the following, Ivan Demyanyuk, also like the Latvian legionnaires, worked for the Americans immediately after the war, does this mean he is not a criminal?

Other facts to consider are the following:

1.  The legionnaires participated in the defense of the Reich’s Chancellery in Berlin in April-May 1945, right next to Hitler defending him from Soviet attacks.  Now, if that is not collaboration what is? 

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 other 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.

7. Ceremonies in churches and cemeteries are also forms of honouring the deceased (whether they deserve it or not). Witness the masses held in Zagreb and Split, Croatia, last December in honour of the Croatian mass murderer and leader of the Ustashe Ante Pavelic.

Anyone still feeling nostalgic?

 Other articles on the Conservatives unsavoury allies, written already in 2009

I knew the day of Holocaust 'debate' would come. Just not in my lifetime

Why is it left to the US to confront the Tories on an alliance with those who distort historical truth and defend Nazi collaborators?


The Guardian,

1.  Stephanie Butnick in Tablet on recent news in Lithuanian-Jewish affairs Novemeber 7 2013:
2.  Monica Lowenberg 'Riga, Roots and Reflections'  published by Defending  28 October 2013
3.  The Holocaust lessons by Marek Wojnar
published 5 November 2013 by New Eastern Europe
Any comments to this article  expressing a different point of view have as yet not been published by the editors.
An example comment is the following:

'As much as it is necessary for those who feel they have suffered under various occupations to be heard, it is historically false and morally reprehensible at best to:

1.       Equate Nazi crimes with Communist

2.       Create an argument where  collaborators are likened to the victims they  willingly and brutally murdered particularly

3.       When the topic is thousands of "nationalist heroes" who did the actual KILLING of an ethnic minority in their midst --- all the men, women and children of that minority ---  for then the current campaign of double-talk to equate this genocide with various other crimes becomes even more reprehensible and completely unbecoming to nations that are, or want to be, bona fide members of and partners in Western civilisation, and its European Union  and NATO alliances.

Baltic people and Ukrainians who collaborated with the Nazis are not victims, they were collaborators , collaborators who worked for the most genocidal regime the world has ever known.  A regime that murdered  on an industrial scale millions of innocent civilians, who were targeted because they happened to be Roma and Sinti and Jewish.  The vast majority of the Jews murdered had no connections to high ranking Communist leaders some of whom were Jewish, many did not even know who Stalin was.

The stubborn insistence of, in particular, the Lithuanian and Latvian governments to honour TODAY via marches and monuments for the Latvian SS, name plaques and streets after collaborators are acts that only highlight their complete unwillingness to accept  that their ‘heroes’, their liberators from the Soviets, were also collaborators of the worst kind.  This is not education this is revisionism, as is this article. '
posted by Monica Lowenberg 6 November 2013

Latvian state dance troupe displays Nazi swastika 17 November 2013 in Riga stadium
article by Graeme Atkinson and Monica Lowenberg , Hope Not Hate, 24.11.2013

You Tube Clips

1.  Monday 8 July 2013,  'Jewish Hour' on Salford City Radio  94.4FM
Interview with Monica Lowenberg speaking about her trip to Latvia and the annual SS marches that take place in the capital of Riga.

2.  Nazi Heroes-  Waffen SS hailed in Latvia
VIEWS: 95, 547
‘I am a European like you’ says Joel Rubinfeld…’The days of the Third Reich are over!’


 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, former professor of the Vilnius University, editor of (Lithuania/UK),

· 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.

During the Shoah, Nazi collaborators from Lithuania and Latvia, helped murder more than 275,000 Jews – their neighbours – many of them known as Litvaks, 96% of those countries Jewish population, the highest percentage rate in any European country.
The film explores the search for these collaborators, the efforts to prosecute them and the refusal of countries to bring their citizens to justice.
More info at

Rachel Kostanian, who was for many years director of the Green House Holocaust museum in Vilnius, and is the author and editor of noted works on the Holocaust in Lithuania, shares her views in a strictly personal capacity (not representing any institution) in an interview with Dovid Katz, formerly professor of Yiddish at Vilnius University, now editor of, a website dedicated to preserving Holocaust history and countering claims to revise and delegitimize that history especially in Eastern Europe

9.  Danny Ben-Moshe's documentary "Rewriting History" (

10.    BBC  The Story of the Jews , Episode 4 , Over the Rainbow with historian Simon Schama  first televised 22.09.2013


Documentary series. Simon Schama explores how Eastern European Jewish culture made its mark across the world, from Soviet politics to Hollywood cinema.  At 52.12 in episode 4 Simon Schama visits Lithuania and speaks out regarding what happened there.


11.  20.11.2013

Latvian dance troupe recreate a Swastika prior to a hockey match  against a Russian team in Riga's football stadium.  Riga is to be European Cultural capital for 2014...


Stop the 16 March marches and Latvians revising history!

You Can Add Your Voice To This Petition Here:



Petitioning HE President Dalia Grybauskaitė

President of Lithuania
Abandon defamation of Holocaust survivors and glorification of Holocaust perpetrators