Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Riga, Capital of European Culture: Waffen SS, Stags and Silence?


by Monica Lowenberg

The UK’s home secretary Theresa May, the Hungarian Jobbik party, and Holocaust Memorial Day have all been in the press lately. Reading how the leader of pro-Nazi Jobbik party was, in the interests of free speech, allowed to hold his rally in Hyde Park, I have to question why Ms. May allowed this man entry into the UK and hadn’t called his racist attitudes, “unacceptable” as she had in the past with, “Every Muslim should be a terrorist” Zakir Naik. What had changed?

In the capital of European culture? Waffen SS Calendar (Riga 2014)
In the Capital of European Culture: Waffen SS Calendar (Riga 2014)

The Jobbik party is notorious for its antisemitic, anti-Roma, anti-immigrant views to the extent that in 2012 Marton Gyongyosi, Jobbik’s deputy leader, a man who in the same year was guest of honor of the Lithuanian Order and Justice Party’s president, Rolandas Paksas (a former president of Lithuania) requested that residents of Jewish origin be listed for security! However, one day before Holocaust Memorial Day the Jobbik party’s plethora of outrageous views and comments were not perceived as unacceptable enough to ban entry into the UK.

Could the Conservatives overall aim to win over BNP and UKIP voters, to be seen to be tough on immigrants have had anything to do with the decision to allow Gabor Vona entry? Unfortunately, the British conservatives have, under the leadership of David Cameron, developed in recent years a very special kind of blindness when it comes to right wing extremists from former Communist countries to the point that nothing is sacred when it comes to securing votes, not even the Holocaust one day before Holocaust Memorial Day. In response to Martin Bright’s article supporting my campaign against the annual glorification of the SS in Riga, the capital of Latvia (an EU, OSCE and NATO ally), Conservative MP Daniel Hannan probably won top spot for making the most glib comment of all time when he publicly defended, in the Jewish Chronicle of all papers, the SS and those who commemorate its evil. He wrote:

“To imply sympathy for the Third Reich would be rather like a Latvian paper claiming that, because British Conservatives mark Guy Fawkes night, they still haven’t reconciled themselves to Catholic Emancipation.”

Europe Minister David Lidington when asked to try to at least speak out with credibility, maintained that it (“it” being the condemnation of Hitlerist worship) is “not a matter in which the UK has any locus to become involved.”

David Lidington April 2013 cropped

In a similar vein, Eric Pickles and William Hague believe the Latvian SS were only wearing Nazi uniforms and following orders. Martin Callanan former Conservative chief whip in the European Parliament, who oddly (and admirably!) enough signed the Seventy Years Declaration that opposes the Prague Declaration (a declaration that Baltic governments have on an industrial level been steamrolling through corridors of power since 2008 with the intent to equate Soviet crimes with Nazi crimes) very aggressively refused to sign the petition against the Latvian SS being annually honored each and every March 16 since 1998, on the pretext that the petition against the march and now signed by over 7,000 people worldwide is, “very unfortunate as it does not honor victims of the Genocide against the Jewish population” completely ignoring the ERCI’s recommendation of 21 Feb 2012:

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

So, why such bafflingly contradictory behavior? The answer is simple: uncomfortable historical facts. The brutal mass murder of 95.6% of Latvian Jewry in 1941, the second worst percentage of Jewish citizens killed in the Holocaust but to date little known or reported, an atrocity committed by German Nazis and Latvians, many of whom would go on to join the Latvian SS in 1943, has over the years been repeatedly and conveniently forgotten and excused by Baltic PR teams and politicians when the issue of votes come into the equation. The most notable excuse banded around since the 1950s being one the Americans drew up to, in many respects, excuse their integration of a number of former Latvian SS into the CIA to help fight the cold war against Russia, “The Baltic Waffen SS Units (Baltic Legions) are to be considered as separate and distinct in purpose.” Why was the Latvian SS to be seen as separate? They were to be seen as separate as the Latvian SS per se had not as yet been formed when Latvian Jewry were murdered in 1941 and therefore could not be held account for the murders.

A morally reprehensible loophole that conveniently forgets that many of the Latvian men who brutally committed the mass murders of Jews in 1941, later joined the Latvian SS in 1943, forgetting that the Latvian SS 15th and 19th divisions fought for the most genocidal killing machine the world has ever known. Millions of people across the world lost their lives because of that regime.  Whatever the reasons for conscription there should be no honoring of such men in the twenty-first century. That anyone has to spell this out shows to what extent certain politicians for their own political ends, and historians seeking trinkets and junkets, have lost their moral compass. Glorification of pro-Nazi armed forces during World War II has no place in a European Union / NATO / OSCE capital which on 17 January 2014 became of all things cultural capital of Europe. Yes, you heard right. Cultural Capital of Europe!

Up until the Holocaust, Riga was a thriving hub for artists and musicians, composer Oscar Strok, violinist Sarah Rashin, the famous historian, Professor Simon Dubnow and even Wagner worked there. Due to its art nouveau architecture USA today readers named it Europe’s “prettiest city” but something the travel blogs won’t state is that only last November at a hockey match in Riga stadium, a Latvian state dance troupe took up the whole arena to perform a Swastika dance. The excuse for such a manifestation was that the Swastika is apparently an ancient Baltic symbol… The Latvian side Dinamo Riga were fined by the Russians the equivalent of one million rubles ($30,300 dollars) but what has Cameron and other senior Tories and the EU for that matter said to oppose such a blatant, provocative honoring of Nazism in an EU country. Nothing. And then of course is Riga’s reputation as the stags capital of Europe, voted by UK readers of FHM Magazine already in 2006 as the number one stag party destination in Europe. In 2009 the special relationship between Great Britain and Latvia was firmly and formally cemented in 2009 when the Conservatives ditched their more conservative allies in Europe and looked instead to Latvia for a liaison. Forever keen to position Britain as hostile to European integration (to further European Union integration) the Conservatives looked for parties who don’t like Brussels, and ended up in the case of Latvia with Robert Zile a party with just one MP in the European Parliament who associate themselves with anti-Stalinism, anti–Sovietism but also the Waffen SS. The depth of devotion between Cameron and Latvia was further noted at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral last year when Latvian prime minister Valdis Dombrovskis was one of only four currently serving prime ministers to attend the funeral, a man whose colleague President Berzins stated to world press in 2012,

“It is nonsense to see the SS at criminals, rather we should bow our heads to them.”
 In 2013 when questioned by valiant conservative MP David Amess one of only five Conservative MPs including Bob Blackman, who have stood up against such blatant displays of Nazi nostalgia, Latvia’s Ambassador Stiprais in London stated that no Nazi symbols and uniforms can be seen at the march and therefore it is kosher or shall we say legit. Photo reportages of the march in 2013 proved Stiprais and Lidington, who supported him, wrong when a big fat smiling photo of Robert Ancans, Latvian SS Obersturmfuhrer, knights cross extraordinaire was placed at the monument of freedom and anti-fascists violently attacked by Latvian politicians connected with Robert Zile and his British Conservative pals. Since Riga is the designated-by-the-EU Cultural Capital of Europe, the EU’s leaders might care to take note that one of the most popular selling local calendars of all time is not one that takes pride in its living artists today, or being a member of the Euro since January 2014, or Jan Lipke, the incredible Latvian patriot who saved about fifty Jewish citizens from certain death in World War II.

No, it is a calendar that depicts the glories of the Latvian SS. Fortunately, the Latvian tourist board web site doesn’t offer the unsuspecting visitor an opportunity to purchase the calendar via paypal but rather in the first few lines states that to celebrate becoming cultural capital of Europe there will be in Riga “a human book chain transferring books from hand to hand, from the old National Library of Latvia Building to the new ‘Gaismas Pils’ (Palace of Light) National Library Building.” In the same paragraph there is a link to the Latvian Jewish community’s website that lists a remembrance service in Rumbula but not a link to a more telling statement on the same site:

“In 2010 the papers reported an increase in antisemitism in Latvia and the chairman of the Latvian Council of Jewish Communities Arkady Suharenko stated on 14 Dec. that the Latvian Jewish Community is shocked and dismayed at the desecration of the Riga Jewish cemetery on December 8, and the desecration of the monument to Janis Lipke and other saviors on December 13. These aggressive manifestations of antisemitism seem to indicate that this is not an isolated action by some miscreants but rather a system, a pattern that is of concern to us.”
So, what has happened that such huge contradictions are allowed to manifest themselves in an EU capital? The answer is really very simple. When an EU capital is not held to task for allowing such public demonstrations of fascism to go unnoticed and unchallenged, are allowed to enter the EU in 2004 in the first place without having fully internalized the concomitant values, by being given further credibility and legitimization by the British conservatives since 2009, are allowed to join the Euro in January 2014, are made cultural capital of Europe in 2014, are honored with the rotating presidency of the European Union in 2015, like Hungary in 2011 and Lithuanian in 2013, then such public displays of fascism and Holocaust downgrading become acceptable. One can only conclude that if a little nationalism tinged with a little fascism helps some forget their economic woes and helps keep an eye on Russia then so be it. And so a special kind of blindness develops on behalf of not just Latvians and Senior Tories but the world at large, a world that would rather see Latvia as an economic success story to make themselves feel better and once more act as if the Cold War had never ended. One would be excused for believing that it was the Latvian SS who liberated Auschwitz rather than the Soviet Army who sacrificed over twenty million of their men so that Europe could be free. As UK scholar Philip Pilkington wrote in January 2013 in response to a gushing New York Times account of Latvia’s austerity measures,

“Latvia has entered a terrible place. It has become a focal point of Westerners’ fantasies and dreams; a place where we project our own economic troubles and rationalize the stupid and pointless policies being enacted by our governments. It has become the embodiment of all the economic pain that we now suffer. To impose this on another, to wrap them so tightly in our own illusions is a terrible thing indeed.”
Despite being the eighteenth member to join the Euro in January 2014 and reducing unemployment from 19% in 2010 to 11.7% in 2014 the Latvian economy, as other commentators have mentioned still faces three main problems: a debt overhang, a declining and ageing population and a high level of unemployment due to a low rate of job creation. A substantial wage differential with Western Europe encouraged over 5% of young Latvians to emigrate and drift west. To lose over 5% of one’s young people is no success story. Cheap interest rates, supported by the peg and the prospect of Euro membership meant that Latvian households and corporates were able to get themselves heavily into debt. And debt in Euros (which is why the devaluation difficulty exists). Over 85% of Latvian mortgages are Euro denominated.

And in the midst of this economic turmoil, as in Greece, ultra-nationalism and the rise of the right has been allowed to flourish to enable forgetting about the real problems at hand. Simple economics at work? In little over a month on March 16, 2014, the Latvian SS will undoubtedly, with military precision, march down the center of Riga from Cathedral Square to the Monument of Freedom. The courageous mayor of Riga will be prosecuted if this year he attempts to ban the march, as he has, unsuccessfully, attempted in previous years. Thousands of young people will with blind adoration line the SS’ path with flowers, desecrate the wreath to the victims of Nazism and declare that the protesters are KGB agents. And what will the EU and senior British Tories once more do? probably turn a polite blind eye to such an abomination because it is more “diplomatic” and suits their own political games, but if they do then please excuse me from quoting Woody Allen when I think of them.   The seemingly inexhaustible spate of literature on the Third Reich continues unabated with the soon to be published Memoirs of Friedrich Schmeed. Schmeed, the best-known barber in wartime Germany, provided tonsorial services for Hitler and many highly placed government and military officials. As was noted during the Nuremberg Trials, Schmeed not only seemed to be always at the right place at the right time but possessed “more than total recall,” and was thus uniquely qualified to write this incisive guide to innermost Nazi Germany. Following is a brief excerpt.

“I have been asked if I was aware of the moral implications of what I was doing. As I told the tribunal at Nuremberg, I did not know that Hitler was a Nazi. The truth was that for years I thought he worked for the phone company. When I finally did find out what a monster he was, it was too late to do anything, as I had made a down payment on some furniture.”

Add your voice to these petitions here: 



  •  Nazi Heroes-  Waffen SS hailed in Latvia Television Interview with Monica Lowenberg, Joel Rubinfeld and Glyn Ford MEP, 16 March 2012   VIEWS:  over 103,000 as of Jan 2014

  • 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.
 And for those in Berlin

Am “Tag der Legionäre” Blumen für die Waffen-SS?

6. Februar 2014

rigaflyer_klInfoveranstaltung mit Gästen aus Riga (Lettland)
Riga am 16.März:
Am „Tag der Legionäre“: Blumen für die Waffen-SS?
Gegen die Verherrlichung der Waffen-SS,
Gegen die Verdrehung der Geschichte
Solidarität mit Nazi-Opfern und Antifaschist_innen in Lettland

Donnerstag, 20. Februar 2014, 19.00 Uhr

Mit Joseph Koren, Lettland ohne Nazismus
Aleksej Sharipov, Lettisches Antifaschistisches Komitee
Moderation: Dr. Regina Girod, Bundessprecherin der VVN-BdA
Die beiden lettischen Antifaschisten berichten über die Vorgänge in Riga, ergänzt werden sie von persönlichen Eindrücken deutscher Teilnehmer_innen der Proteste vom Vorjahr. In einer Vorschau wird auch der im Juli stattfindende Waffen-SS-Aufmarsch in Estland (Sinimä) angesprochen.
Außerdem erörtern wir Möglichkeiten, die Proteste in diesem Jahr zu unterstützen.
Berlin, Café Sybille, Karl-Marx-Allee 72 – 10243 Berlin- Friedrichshain,
U – Strausberger Platz oder Weberwiese

SS-Männer sind Verbrecher, keine Helden!

Gegen die Umdeutung der Geschichte
Jedes Jahr wiederholen sich in den baltischen Staaten Lettland und Estland Aufmärsche ehemaliger baltischer Waffen-SS-Angehöriger und ihrer heutigen Sympathisant_innen.
Tausende Teilnehmer_innen stilisieren die früheren Kollaborateure der Deutschen zu „Freiheitskämpfern“ gegen die Sowjetunion und zu nationalen Helden. Die Umdeutung der Geschichte, die Gleichsetzung „Rot gleich Braun“ stößt im Baltikum auf breite gesellschaftliche Zustimmung. Dieser Geschichtsrevisionismus paart sich mit einem aggressiven völkischen Nationalismus, der viele russisch-stämmige Einwohner_innen der baltischen Staaten zu Bürger­_innen zweiter Klasse macht. Wer gegen die Naziverherrlichung protestiert, gilt damit automatisch als „Agent Moskaus“, als jüdischer Störenfried oder als Nestbeschmutzer.
Die Internationale Föderation der Widerstandskämpfer (FIR) ruft dazu auf, die Proteste gegen die Aufmärsche zur Verherrlichung der lettischen Waffen-SS in diesem Jahr mit internationalen Delegationen zu unterstützen. In Berlin mobilisieren die VVN-BdA und die DFG-VK dazu, am 16. März in Riga zu den lettischen Antifaschist_innen zu stoßen.

„Tag der Legionäre“ -  Waffen-SS-Marsch in Riga

Die Veteranen und Sympathisant_innen der ehemaligen „Lettischen Legion“ ziehen jedes Jahr am 16. März durch die Innenstadt von Riga. Das ist der Jahrestag der ersten großen Schlacht, die die lettische Waffen-SS gegen die Rote Armee geführt hat.
Ziel des Umzugs ist das Freiheitsdenkmal. Dieses  erinnert an den Unabhängigkeitskampf Lettlands nach 1918, das zuvor Teil des russischen Zarenreiches war.  So wird eine historische Kontinuität konstruiert: Die Waffen-SS-Männer werden in den Kanon der nationalen Freiheitskämpfer aufgenommen, die – gegen die Russen! – für die nationale Unabhängigkeit gekämpft hätten.
Der aggressive Antisemitismus der Mitglieder dieser Truppe, die Kriegsverbrechen und Verbrechen gegen die Menschheit, die von dieser Truppe begangen wurden, interessieren dabei nicht.
Im Jahr 2012 beteiligten sich rund 1500 Menschen, meist aus der Generation der Kinder und Enkel, an dem Aufmarsch, der von der Veteranenvereinigung, von einem nationalistischen Jugendverband und der Partei „Alles für Lettland“, organisiert wird. Sie ist momentan Teil der Regierungskoalition.
Die positive Erinnerung an die Waffen-SS ist in Lettland absolut salonfähig. Ihre Veteranen  werden zu Vorträgen in Schulen eingeladen, das staatliche „Okkupationsmuseum“ stellt sie als „Unabhängigkeitskämpfer“ während des Zweiten Weltkrieges dar. Staatspräsident Andris Berzins sagte 2012, man solle sich vor den Waffen-SS-Männern verneigen-  sie hätten schließlich  „für ihr Vaterland“ gekämpft.
Angeführt wird der Aufmarsch von den wenigen noch lebenden Waffen-SS-Veteranen. Auf dem Freiheitsplatz durchschreiten sie ein Fahnenspalier des nationalistischen „Daugava“-Jugendverbandes. Vor dem Denkmal werden schließlich Blumen abgelegt. Ganz oben thront regelmäßig das Farbfoto eines SS-Mannes in voller Montur.

Antifaschistische Proteste

Efraim Zuroff, Riga, Lettland,
Antifaschist_innen aus Lettland und Israel protestieren gegen Waffen_SS-Verherrlichung
Es gibt in Riga seit Jahren Proteste gegen die alljährliche  Gedenkveranstaltung an die lettischen Waffen-SS-Männer, die aber über wenige Dutzend Teilnehmer_innen nicht hinauskommen. Im vergangenen Jahr konnten sich die Aktivist_innen des Lettischen Antifaschistischen Komitees am Rand des Unabhängigkeitsplatzes versammeln und die Nazifreunde lautstark mit dem „Buchenwaldmarsch“ begrüßen. Über Lautsprecher und auf Plakaten wurde an die Verbrechen der Nazis erinnert.
Die Bewegung „Lettland ohne Nazismus“(Latvija bez Nacisma)  hatte im vorigen Jahr Antifaschist_innen aus mehreren Ländern  zu einer Konferenz eingeladen. An ihrem Tagungsort hatten sich ebenfalls Freunde der Waffen-SS versammelt, die den Antifaschist_innen vorwarfen, vom KGB bezahlt zu sein und russisch-imperiale Interessen zu vertreten. Vor dem Eintreffen des rechten Aufmarsches legten die Teilnehmer_innen der Konferenz einen Kranz zu Ehren der Opfer am Freiheitsdenkmal ab. Dieser Kranz wurde wenig später von Angehörigen des „Daugava“-Verbandes zerstört..

Proteste 2014

Die lettischen Antifaschist_innen bemühen sich seit Jahren um eine Internationalisierung der Proteste gegen das Waffen-SS- Gedenken. Diese Bemühungen wollen wir unterstützen. Wie genau die Proteste in diesem Jahr aussehen werden, steht noch nicht fest. Wir streben aber eine sichtbare Präsenz als internationale Delegation an, die der lettischen Öffentlichkeit vor Augen führen soll: Was da in Riga am 16. März geschieht, steht in Widerspruch zu den Lehren aus der Geschichte, in Widerspruch zur Demokratie und zur Freiheit und stößt in Europa auf die entschlossene Ablehnung all jener, die dankbar sind für die Befreiung Europas vom Nazifaschismus.
Im Aufruf der Internationalen Föderation der Widerstandskämpfer (FIR) – Bund der Antifaschisten heißt es:
Veteranen-Verbände der Waffen-SS und andere Neofaschisten führen seit vielen Jahren Aufmärsche und offene Veranstaltungen in Estland und Lettland durch … Diese Veranstaltungen bereiten den Boden dafür, dass zukünftig auch in anderen Ländern SS-Männer als „normale Soldaten“ oder gar als „Freiheitskämpfer“ gewürdigt werden können … Selbst kleinere international organisierte Demonstrationen oder Veranstaltungen im Baltikum wären eine große Hilfe für die dortigen Antifaschisten und würden im Bereich der EU mit Sicherheit viel Aufmerksamkeit erregen.“

16. März, Riga: Internationale Proteste gegen den Waffen-SS-Aufmarsch. Gegen Geschichtsrevisionismus und die Rehabilitierung des Naziterrors!

Auf der Veranstaltung werden wir die Optionen vorstellen, gemeinsam mit einem gecharterten Reisebus oder individuell mit dem Flugzeug nach Riga zu reisen.

Interessent_innen bitte melden bei:
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Please see the links below for related reading/viewing on this subject:

Interesting Development in Latvia

1. February 5 2014 Latvian minister on regional policy Mr. Cilinskis announces he will be attending the march
2. Despite problems in Ukraine 7 March 2014 the march is to go ahead

Hope Not Hate 9 March 2014 'Riga permits march to honor SS veterans'

3. However, by 11 March 2014 Latvian cabinet ministers are told not to attend...
Leta News Agency
Government votes to forbid Cabinet ministers from taking part in March 16 events




Actions taken by British and German Parliamentarians:

A Selection of Articles in the Press:



· Holocaust Educational Trust” (UK)- Monica Lowenberg writes on last month’s controversial march of Latvian SS veterans






·         Latvia: A personal march through history   published in the AJR Journal (Association of Jewish Refugees, UK), Volume 12, April 2012 page 4 by Monica Lowenberg  also published by Second Generation Network, Voices  May 2012
·         Latvia’s difficult legacy  What is March 16th?  by Monica Lowenberg  published by the Holocaust Educational Trust and Second Generation Network, Voices  May 2012
·         Monica Lowenberg in Dialogue with Latvian Ambassador to Uk  March 2012  published by
·         An open Letter from Monica Lowenberg to Denis MacShane published in the New Statesman,  March 2012  
·         Latvia’s Nazi Nostalgia by Monica Lowenberg
                published by Second Generation Forum 'Latvia's Nazi Nostalgia'  October 2012
·          EU- Real problem is not Latvia by Daniel Hannan  (British conservative MP) , 26 October 2012 published in the Jewish Chronicle  and response by Monica Lowenberg published in The Jewish Chronicle, Letters section, 2 November 2012 'A Special Kind of Blindness'
·         Cameron’s Latvian Liaison, one woman’s petition and one SS march latvian-liaison-one-womans-petition-and-one-ss-   march-by-monica-lowenberg/51105  by Monica Lowenberg published by DefendingHistory.Com 15.03.2013
·         Images from the March 16th 2013 Annual Glorification of Latvian Waffen SS in Riga  published by Defending  Posted on 3 April 2013 by Defending Historyby Monica Lowenberg
·         On the Eve of Yom Hashoah Great Britain sinks into littleness on the Holocaust   by Monica Lowenberg published in the Algemeiner 4.4.2013
·         The Photoshoots Hague would rather forget   by Monica Lowenberg  published by Hope Not Hate .  A Hope not Hate Special 5.4.2013  and reposted by the Foreign Office
·         You can't praise Hitler's troops and champion human rights, Mr Hague and Mr Lidington.  Opinion piece by Monica Lowenberg  published by Jewish News 02.05.2013
·         Riga, Roots and Reflections
                 By Monica Lowenberg, published by Defending 28.10.2013
·         Latvian state dance troupe displays Nazi swastika  by Graeme Atkinson, International Editor Hope Not Hate and Monica Lowenberg published by Hope Not Hate, 24 November 2013
·         Riga, Capital of European Culture: Waffen SS, Stags and Silence?
                 By  Monica Lowenberg, published by 4 February 2014  

  • Report on Latvia by the ECRI calling a halt to all forms of Nazi glorification February 21,2012:

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.

Please read documentary maker Juergen Hobrecht's important letter to the Latvian ambassador in Berlin concerning his documentary 'The Riga Ghetto' being screened in Riga this year and questioning whether the annual SS march should be held when one considers that Riga is now the cultural capital of Europe    A number of letters later and after personally delivering the film to the ambassador herself, Juergen has as yet received no response. Will he?