Thursday, 19 February 2015

The Baltic Marching Season Has Begun!


“A splendid opportunity for Baltic leaders to just speak up”

Efraim Zuroff’s op-ed on all four marches calls on Brussels to take a stand



LATVIA: RIGA,  currently holding the rotating presidency of the European council held an SS march on MARCH 16TH  2015 . The international community, the UK government, the European Union and NATO should condemn the Nazi event in clearer terms, as Waffen SS veterans are not seen as legitimate “heroes” in any EU member state which Latvia has been granted status since 2004.  (see Report on Latvia by the ECRI (European Commission Against Racism and
Intolerance  published 21 February 2012)

One man's journey to the heartland of fascism by Efraim Zuroff published I24 news 29 March 2015




An open Letter from Monica Lowenberg to Denis MacShane published in the New Statesman, March 2012

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

Riga, March 16 2015 

Wiesenthal centre

The Wall Street Journal

The Telegraph

Die Zeit


China Development Gateway

Reveille-Toi  with a good interview with Efraim Zuroff

Good photo reportage and video of the march

And if anyone doubts whether this march is a neo Nazi event have a look at this, they came all the way from Birmingham and two former SS legionnaires even accompanied them with schnapps and pickles

Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Dr. Efraim Zuroff leads a silent, peaceful protest of Just 2 (SWC and Defending History)

But his words at event are reported around the globe (including ABC News, Arutz Sheva, London Daily Mail, Der Spiegel, Wall Street JournalWashington Post, Yahoo News). SWC’s statement



The Nazi Hunter: Lithuanian Jew-haters gave me a heart attack - but that won't stop me exposing them
Nazi Hunter: Nuremberg-esque march no way to celebrate Estonian independence



Efraim Zuroff Leads Kaunas Protest

Defending History’s Team of 12 Monitors & Protests Kaunas Independence Day Neo-Nazi March on Feb. 16th

Monitoring team was a partnering project of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office and the Vilnius-based Defending History team.

Dozen protesters (vs. a march of up to 500) included five members of Lithuanian Jewish community (in private capacity), but no sign of any Bagels or other antisemitism (or human rights) monitors.  

Media Coverage:

AFTER THE EVENT:  JTA;;;;;;  Enlacejudí;;  FB;  Forward;  Info.smi; Interfax;  International Business Times;  Israel Nachrichten;  Jerusalem Post; JP (2);  Kauno diena;;;  Obzor;;  News02elf;;   RT;  Shalom Life;  Simon Wiesenthal Center;  Times of Israel (French edition).

RUN-UP TO THE EVENT: i24; Defending History (+ DH correspondence with mayor’s office; + SWC’s letter to the mayor).

PHOTO COLLECTIONS: Julius Norwilla;;;  Kauno diena;  Facebook.


NEO-NAZI & FAR-RIGHT  REACTION:;  Nationalist Youth Union;  Stormfront; Vyrud.livejournal;  Zeppelinus 1Zeppelinus 2.


1,500 Neo-Nazis and Far-Right Extremists Again Given Vilnius’s Main Boulevard on Nation’s March 11th Independence Day; They Parade from Cathedral Square to Nation’s Parliament





British MEP Richard Howitt, European Parliament Spokesperson on Human Rights, Issues Statement on Riga Waffen SS March

Richard Howitt, British Labour Member of the European Parliament, and spokesperson for the European Parliament Human Rights Sub-Committee today issued the following text of his statement which will be read out in Riga this Sunday March 16th.

Today brings the seventeenth annual march in Riga, Latvia glorifying Waffen SS forces from the Nazi era which brought death and destruction to our continent and which today’s European Union was supposed to consign to history.
I am pleased to hear that the Latvian Government has forbidden Ministers from attending the march this year, but condemn the Latvian High Court’s decision of 2013, forcing the Riga Mayor to apologise for all the years of trying to ban it.
Coming from Britain, I am saddened that the governing Conservative Party from my country chooses to ally itself in a common European Group with the Latvian “For Fatherland and Freedom Party,” whose Member of the European Parliament is on record as supporting this sickening celebration, even supporting its previous status as a public holiday in the country.
I am also shocked at the report that the British Conservative MEP who was head of his European group in 2012, is reported to have personally refused to sign the petition against the celebration , despite 7,000 people worldwide having done so.
The party of Government of my country should not sit with a party which has proposed the Waffen SS troops be renamed “liberation fighters.”
They are a scar on my own country.
What they should remember is that almost all of Latvia’s 70,000 Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.
Whether local boys were forced to don the SS uniforms or were eager volunteers, celebration of their actions not only insults the memory of the victims but also honours Nazism itself.
Today, the British Labour Party stands with all victims of the Second World War, all who condemn fascism, all who oppose antisemitism and other forms of racism, to express our horror at those who seek to rewrite history in order to justify those who would spread bitterness, hate and division in a new century.
This year sees the 100 years centenary since the beginning of the First World War, and people throughout Europe will come together to remember the horrors of both wars of the twentieth century and celebrate the fact fascism was defeated and not victorious.
When survivors of Nazi concentration camps in 1945 stood holding signs saying “never again,” they could not have foreseen what is happening today in Riga. These are the people we should be commemorating and this is the message we should remember.
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.


Dialogues with Latvian ambassadors in London and Berlin since 2012
    Meeting with Latvian Ambassador  Teikman in London
    Alex Brummer (Vice president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews), alongside Public Affairs International Officer Joseph Moses and Deputy Alex Faiman met with the Latvian Ambassador. The meeting was held in a positive atmosphere. Discussions began surrounding the Jewish Community’s EU Manifesto, with the Ambassador intrigued by the document. They also raised concerns surrounding the annual 16th March SS march through Riga. Ambassador Teikman is assured us that there would be no government officials taking part and that the government condemned Nazi ideology. There was general agreement on the importance of Holocaust education. 

    The Board of Deputies of British Jews , Jewish Manifesto for the 2014 European Elections 
    For a copy of the Manifesto please click here.

    See in particular section 3, Post Holocaust issues sections 3.3 Holocaust revisionism

    In Europe, the 2008 Prague Declaration caused alarm among many Jewish communities by conflating crimes under Soviet Communism with Nazi crimes. The concern here is that some countries have
    attempted to deflect attention from the complicity of their wartime governments in the Holocaust, using this as a cynical attempt to avoid liability for compensation to Jewish victims. The crimes that
    Communist governments committed against their people should be explored and the perpetrators prosecuted, but it is important that countries acknowledge their role in the Holocaust and do not
    attempt to dismiss a very troubled period in their history by reference to what happened under Communism.
    At times, a related trope is that many leading Communists were Jews and so the Jews as a whole are complicit in the crimes of Communism. The rationale continues that, as such, Jews in general do not
    deserve sympathy or compensation for what they suffered during the Holocaust. But the fact that some Jews were leading Communists did not leave Jews – as a corporate entity – with the wealth of the subjugated people in the same way that Nazi expropriation of Jewish property remains in the hands of some states.
    Commitment: MEPs should challenge their European colleagues on these narratives that seek to minimise or downplay the Holocaust.

    and section 3.2 on restitution
    In Croatia and Latvia, the relevant legislation has been delayed. In Romania, the processing of claims and payments has been extremely slow. Recent legislation risks further delays and reductions in
    compensation payments. In Hungary, discussions continue about restitution for heirless and hitherto unclaimed property formerly owned by Jews. Poland has one of the worst records on restitution of
    private property. It back-tracked on some of the commitments it made at the 2009 Terezin Conference, and was the only one of the 47 countries not to send a delegate to the 2012 Prague Conference.
    The great injustice about the delays in restitution payments mean that some of the Holocaust’s victims will pass away without ever seeing their property returned.
    Commitment: MEPs should use the moral authority of their position to call for a just and speedy conclusion to the issue of restitution across Europe and to press the institutions of the European Union to do the same

    New documentary on The Riga Ghetto out soon

    15 February 2015

    Four Baltic marches, one dangerous racist trend


    You can sign petitions against these marches here:

    1.  Petitioning HE President Dalia Grybauskaitė , President of Lithuania
    Abandon defamation of Holocaust survivors and glorification of Holocaust perpetrators

    To find out more about the situation in Lithuania see:

    2.  Stop the 16 March marches in Riga, Latvia!
    1.  Add your voice to this petition here:

    3. For more information regarding previous marches see following interviews and you tube clips: 
    3.1 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.
    3.2  Nazi Heroes-  Waffen SS hailed in Latvia  2012
    VIEWS:  over 120,000 as of February 2015
    3.3  You Tube clip with Dr Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Israel  2014
    Photo reportage covering all three Baltic Neo-Nazi marches last year.  The reportage is accompanied by an interview with Dr Efraim Zuroff on Salford City Radio, 24 March 2014 and MEP Richard Howitt's speech condemning the SS march in Riga, read out on Salford City radio station,17 March 2014.

    The Photo shoots Hague would rather forget

     first published by Hope not Hate  5 April 2013

    By Monica Lowenberg  
    Not every day that one sees William Hague courting photo shoots with Hollywood A lister Angelina Jolie, who is also a noted human rights activist. ‘Human rights’ is the buzz word this week. When I got up Saturday morning and found a letter from Hague’s office, in response to mine about British silence in the face of EU partner Latvia’s honouring the Hitlerist Waffen SS with official support, it looked promising.

    In February, I had asked PM Cameron to write a simple letter to the Latvian president Andris Berzins who has proclaimed publicly that Latvian SS veterans should be ‘bowed down to’. I asked Cameron, an heir of Churchill, to ask for a halt to the glorification of SS veterans in an EU and NATO country. This glorification includes annual state-blessed marches in the centre of the capital city that are riddled with pro-Nazi sentiment.

    The SS veterans are seen by a growing number of Latvian nationalists as ‘freedom fighters’ who fought against the Soviet Union. Of course we should all condemn Soviet evils separately, but that is not the point here.

    Today’s letter from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office tells me:
    I understand that this is an emotive issue for all those involved. I am pleased to note that this year’s events passed off safely. The history of the Latvian Legion is complex and one which historians are best placed fully to understand. The UK believes that the abolition of Legionnaires Day is essentially a matter for the Latvian Government and I hope that you understand that this is not a matter in which the UK government has any locus to become involved’. Letter dated 27th March 2013, signed by Dave Naylor, Northern and Central Europe Team, Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

    Bearing in mind that Mr Naylor’s boss had had since 2009 rather close contact with the Latvian government, to the extent that he was prepared to support them to the hilt, it does seem strange that three years on when Latvia’s ugly past rears its head they are unable to intervene. What on earth is the British government afraid of? Or maybe getting into bed with SS lovers is not an ‘emotive’ or hot enough topic for senior Tories? Was standing up to Hitler and his cronies an abject waste of time by Britain and her allies?
    Back on October 1st 2009 Hague said of then foreign secretary David Milliband:

    David Miliband's smears are disgraceful and represent a failure of his duty to promote Britain's interests as foreign secretary…He has just insulted the Latvian Government, most of whose member parties have attended the commemoration of Latvia's war dead.’ Hague virulently retorted when Miliband correctly characterised the British Conservatives alliance with Latvian MEP Robert Zile as ‘not leadership but pandering, not judgement but dogma, not patriotic defence of national interest but the white flag of surrender to euro-extremists in his own party." Merkel ,Sarkozy and even true blue conservative Yorkshire MEP Edward Macmillan Scott , who was duly sacked for daring to state that ‘Cameron was flirting with respectable fascism’, were all equally incensed at Cameron’s Latvian liaison. But Hague, Callanan, Hannan and Pickles continued to state with almost religious fervour that the Latvian SS veterans ‘were only following orders’. A special kind of blindness had and does clearly afflict them, one that the Latvian PR team, full of hack historians (from east and west alike!) paid to sanitise and distort Latvia’s ugly past work day and night at,have given them.

    Let me reiterate, wrote Latvian Ambassador Stiprais to concerned conservative MP David Amess less than one month ago: ‘Latvia has always condemned the crimes

    committed during World War II – the crimes of Nazism and Stalinism. Latvia is committed to the values of democratic and open society and we will endeavour to facilitate true consolidation of the people and countries who suffered under totalitarian regimes during World War II.’ TRANSLATION: In other words we will revise history, we will not deny the Holocaust but we will dismiss it nevertheless, we will do so by making a false symmetry and equalisation between the crimes of Communism and Nazis. We will ensure that the world sees us as victims of two genocides, Nazism and Communism. Really Ambassador Stiprais, where was it written that Stalin intended to kill all Latvians? When did he try to do that? Different evils deserve different commemorations, not the glorification of fascism. Latvia, like Lithuania, Estonia, has been among the staunchest supporters of the 2008 Prague Declaration that would write the Holocaust out of history with its far-right red-equals-brown demands.

    Ambassador Stiprais and other Latvian apologists need to be reminded that the Allies consisted of American and British troops and yes, Soviet troops who enabled the world to be free of the greatest genocidal force the world has ever known. Waffen SS lovers seem to have forgotten that if Hitler had been victorious it would have, ironically, 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 (and other regional) peoples after the planned-for victory. There would have been no Latvia to become independent in 1991 or Monument of Freedom for Latvian apologists to lay wreaths down to for Latvian SS veterans who collaborated with Hitler. On the eastern front, it was only the Soviets fighting Hitler, enabling the Allies to free Europe.

    Incidentally this year’s march was not as peaceful as the FCO would maintain: riot police were active, anti-fascists such as Joel Rubinfeld co-president of the Jewish parliament in Brussels were dragged away, four people were detained by police and after giving an interview with a TV news network, Yaniz Kuzins, chairman of Latvian alliance against Nazism and Riga city council member, was physically assaulted by a neo Nazi. Many others were roughed up and harassed.

    The attendees some as young as three, walked alongside neo-Nazis such as Ričardas Čekutis from neighbouring Lithuania, laying flowers at the monument of freedom in central Riga, an EU capital, and strew flowers across a photo of notorious Latvian Nazi collaborator Robert Ancāns whilst the wreaths to the victims of Nazism were once again desecrated by Latvian youth.
    Whether Hague accepts this fact or not it is incumbent upon the international community, the UK government, the European Union and NATO to condemn today all Nazi events in clear terms if they sincerely wish to curb the rise of neo Nazism and right extremism currently sweeping Europe.

    As Mr Hague contemplates his joint campaign with Jolie for international action against mass rape in conflicts, and the ‘hope and dream that it's known that if you abuse the women, if you rape the women, you will be held accountable for your actions’, Hague will hopefully become aware that politics is about taking responsibility, about taking action not saying some resurgent evil should be left to historians to debate. The banalisation of the Holocaust, its reduction to just another historical event is a huge danger and the fact that the British conservatives, are linked with Latvians who glorify the Waffen SS makes a complete mockery of Jolie’s good work but also of the huge sacrifice millions of people across the world made to fight Nazism. I am certain that Jolie is absolutely clear on the following fact that one cannot be committed to human rights and adulate Hitler’s forces at the same time. It is scandalous and shameful that Mr Hague is not.

    As photo shoots are currently on the FCO’s mind it is perhaps appropriate to end with an image.

    The photo below is of a group of naked Jewish women and girls walking to their place of execution on a beach near Liepaja, Latvia. Their fate? A mass pit where they were piled up alive and then mowed down by the fire of rifles or a machine gun salvo. They were victims of a regime that raped and pillaged before MURDERING ALL, those whom it raped and those who it did not. Should that regime, and its local henchmen and fighters such as the Waffen SS today be glorified to the tune of "None of our business" from Mr Hague’s Foreign Office?

    The above massacre was perpetrated by the Einsatzgruppe A and aided by Latvian antisemitic and pro-Nazi militias who willingly participated. Around 95% of Latvian Jewry was murdered by the Nazis and their enthusiastic volunteer Latvian collaborators, many of whom later joined the 15th and 19th divisions of the Waffen SS.

    Freedom fighters for whom, Mr. Hague?