Tuesday, 6 March 2018

The Baltic Marching Season Has Begun!

 

Will any Voices from the West say NO?



Those who worked for Hitler were collaborators.  Nothing more, nothing less.

What happened to collaborators after the war?   They were sentenced, they were convicted and in only a few cases executed.   They were publicly humiliated , they had their heads shaved, they were denazified but above all they were told they had crossed a red line. 

Thousands of Germans had to join the Wehrmacht, many, once they knew what they were involved in probably didn't want to work for Hitler anymore, they may well have felt, like the Latvians today, that they too were victims of Nazism.  Remember, Hitler had not got into power in 1933 with a majority vote indeed only 43.9 percent of the vote, well short of a majority.   However, one does not hear Angela Merkel proclaim today that there should be a day dedicated to German soldiers who fought for Hitler whether they wanted to or not,  to honour and remember them  ( that is something the AFD would like to do instead).  A day where thousands of young people can go to the Reichstag, a leading monument in the heart of Berlin, to celebrate old Wehrmacht soldiers with flowers and song. Travel to Berlin, a city that like Riga is an EU, NATO OSCE capital and in turn develop a very warped sense of history. 

Orwellian times indeed when a country has sympathy for the collaborator and the perpetrator, when people can only see their own suffering through their own clouded lens and refuse to see the suffering they committed on others.  A tragic day indeed  when one loses sight of who were the true victims: the civilians.  The Jews , the Roma and Sinti, the Communists who did not have guns to protect themselves  when they were shoved into ditches and shot.  Civilians who were targeted by the Nazis and their Latvian collaborators in 1941, collaborators who later VOLUNTEERED to join the Latvian SS 15 and 19 divisions, collaborators who worked for the most genocidal regime the world has ever known. 

There is nothing to be proud of, there is nothing to honour and celebrate.  Remembrance services for those who fought for the Nazis should be held in private not in public spaces for the world to view.

 In 1941 when the Nazis entered Riga they were greeted with flowers, today their Latvian colleagues are met with the same.  Orwellian times indeed.



 Canadian military magazine Esprit de Corps (On Target) replies to Latvian ambassador’s acrobatics on worship of Waffen SS (see Scott Taylor’s earlier article. From archives: Monica Lowenberg takes on Latvian ambassador in London in 2012 and in 2013).  11 May 2018

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5575259/Far-right-views-mainstream-Europe.html 04.04.2018

https://www.timesofisrael.com/lithuanian-bill-would-ban-books-critical-of-the-country/  04.04.2018

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/views-mainstream-central-europe-54201064- Far right even racist views go mainstream in Central Europe  03.04.2018

http://www.newsweek.com/veterans-world-war-ii-era-nazi-ss-special-forces-march-latvia-europe-851620 19.03.2017

http://www.jpost.com/Diaspora/Man-holding-poster-of-Jews-being-killed-arrested-at-Latvia-Nazi-SS-march-545309  17.03.2018

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Rampant-spread-of-Holocaust-distortion-545419

http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Latvia-must-come-to-terms-with-its-past-448705
https://www.jta.org/2018/03/16/news-opinion/hundreds-accompany-ss-veterans-march-latvia  Hundreds march with Nazi SS veterans in Latvia 16.03.2018

https://www.timesofisrael.com/in-latvia-hundreds-march-in-honor-of-ss-veterans/

http://m.delfi.lv/latvija/article.php?id=49839699  photos from 16 March 2018

http://m.delfi.lv/latvija/article.php?id=49839699#!dgs=dgslv-116621:6190685  honour for the collaborator and their kids!

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/8289448.stm  Miliband refuses to apologise to Pickles
 4 October 2009

http://www.bbc.co.uk/whodoyouthinkyouare/past-stories/stephen-fry.shtml

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3PyWGrFQbE 

 

 




 Add your voice to this petition here:  http://www.petitions24.com/stop_the_16_march_marches_and_latvians_revising_history

 

2. To help people  find out more about the situation in Latvia I have created a blog on the marches under:  http://stop16marchinriga.blogspot.com/





3You tube clips where Monica is interviewed by Salford City Radio and Russia Today

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

Nazi Heroes-  Waffen SS hailed in Latvia . Joel Rubinfeld co-chairman of the Jewish parliament in Brussels, Monica Lowenberg and Glyn Ford MEP, UK Labour Party, Brussels,'Any government that endorses this kind of action is cause for concern'.
VIEWS:  233,950  March 2018
3.3  You Tube clip with Dr Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, Israel
Photo reportage covering all three Baltic Neo-Nazi marches this 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. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MySjaQFO8Q0


3.4  http://echelledejacob.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/leurope-et-la-glofication-de-la.html


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Junge Welt Online Abo_Aufmärsche zur Ehrung von Nazikriegsverbrechern in Lettland - Gespräch mit der Bundesvorsitzenden der VVN-BdA 16.03.2018


Das gilt heute als patriotische Tat«

In Lettland finden Aufmärsche zur Ehrung von Nazikriegsverbrechern statt. Protest wird behördlich behindert. Gespräch mit Cornelia Kehrt

Interview: Kristian Stemmler
Protests_on_Latvian_44598840.jpg

Schwierige Bedingungen für Antifaschisten: Gegner des Gedenkens an SS-Mitglieder protestieren im lettischen Riga (16.3.2015)
Foto: VALDA KALNIN/EPA
Cornelia Kehrt ist Bundesvorsitzende der Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes – Bund der Antifaschisten (VVN-BdA)
Am Freitag werden – wie jedes Jahr seit 1991 – Demonstranten durch Riga ziehen, um der Angehörigen der »Lettischen Legion«, einer Division der Waffen-SS, zu gedenken. Die VVN-BdA ruft zu Protest auf. Was ist geplant?
Wir werden an allen lettischen diplomatischen Vertretungen Mahnwachen abhalten und über die Verbrechen informieren, an denen die lettischen Einheiten der Waffen-SS beteiligt waren. In Frankfurt am Main wird es eine größere Kundgebung mit breiter Beteiligung an der Hauptwache geben. Gleichzeitig werden unsere Partnerverbände aus der FIR, der Internationalen Föderation der Widerstandskämpfer, in Rom, Athen und Budapest vor den lettischen Botschaften protestieren.
Vor zwei Jahren wurde eine Delegation Ihres Verbandes auf dem Flughafen von Riga abgefangen und ausgewiesen, Antifaschisten aus dem Ausland stehen auf schwarzen Listen des lettischen Geheimdienstes. Plant die VVN dennoch, auch vor Ort zu protestieren?
Vor einem Jahr ist es einigen von uns gelungen, nach Riga zu fahren und dort zu protestieren. In diesem Jahr klappt das nicht. Der Druck auf die Organisatoren der Proteste in Riga ist enorm, sie werden massiv in ihrer Arbeit behindert und sichtbar auf Schritt und Tritt beobachtet und überwacht, so dass allein die Kontaktaufnahme schon zum Scheitern von Verabredungen führen kann. Das hat tatsächlich Ausmaße, die wir uns hier kaum vorstellen können.
Die deutschen Besatzer im Zweiten Weltkrieg werden in Lettland als »Befreier« gefeiert, die mit den Letten gegen die Rote Armee gekämpft hätten. Was steckt dahinter?
Das reicht bis in die Zeit der Oktoberrevolution zurück. Auch in Lettland gab es einen Bürgerkrieg, der von antibolschewistischen Truppen gewonnen wurde, und in der Folge eine unabhängige lettische Republik, die nach dem Überfall Deutschlands auf Polen von sowjetischen Truppen besetzt wurde. Dies wird als Legitimation dafür verstanden, dass sich sofort nach dem deutschen Überfall auf die Sowjetunion lettische Faschisten unter dem Kommando von Viktors Arajs daranmachten, insbesondere Juden und Kommunisten zu verhaften und zu ermorden.
Später stellte die Wehrmacht die lettischen Einheiten der Waffen-SS auf. Sie bestanden tatsächlich teilweise aus zwangsrekrutierten jungen Männern, aber auch aus Freiwilligen, so wurden die Mörder des Kommandos von Viktors Arajs in diese Einheiten eingegliedert. Sie nahmen mit der Wehrmacht an der sogenannten Partisanenbekämpfung teil und ebenso an den Kämpfen gegen die Rote Armee. Das gilt heute als patriotische Tat.
Es geht bei dem Thema auch um das Verhältnis der Bevölkerungsmehrheit zur russischen Minderheit. Die scheint immer mehr in der Defensive zu sein.
Nach der Auflösung der Sowjetunion wurden in Lettland neue Pässe ausgegeben, und den russischsprachigen Einwohnern wurde per Gesetz die lettische Staatsangehörigkeit vorenthalten. Bis heute leben viele von ihnen mit einem sogenannten Fremdenpass in Lettland. Tatsächlich sind die wenigen Menschen, die gegen die jährlichen Aufmärsche protestieren, jüdischer Herkunft und russischsprachig. Das genügt, um sie als »fünfte Kolonne Moskaus« zu verdächtigen.
Wer steckt hinter den jährlichen Aufmärschen zu Ehren der Waffen-SS? Gibt es Verbindungen zu Rechten hierzulande?
Leider kann ich die erste Frage nicht wirklich beantworten. Auf jeden Fall reicht das Spektrum der Beteiligten von ganzen Familien mit kleinen Kindern bis zu martialisch Uniformierten, die teilweise auch Hakenkreuze tragen, und szenetypisch gekleideten Gruppen. Und ja, es gibt Verbindungen auch zu deutschen Rechten. 2014 haben wir eine Gruppe Dortmunder Nazis dort gesehen.
Die NATO stationiert immer mehr Truppen im Baltikum, die Bundeswehr hat 2017 an einem Manöver in Lettland teilgenommen. Schweigt der Westen einschließlich der deutschen Regierung deshalb zur Verherrlichung der Kollaboration dort?
Lettland ist ja beileibe nicht das einzige Land, in dem es derlei gibt. Wir kennen das auch aus Estland und Litauen. Auch in Bulgarien gibt es regelmäßig rechte Aufmärsche mit historischem Bezug. Und wenn sich am Hohen Brendten bei Mittenwald jährlich die letzten noch lebenden deutschen Kriegsverbrecher als Veteranen beim jährlichen Kameradschaftstreffen einfinden, gibt es ein Grußwort des bayrischen Ministerpräsidenten. Da passt der Aufmarsch in Riga durchaus in den Rahmen.






Protest in Berlin  Freitag den 16. März 2018, 14.00 – 16.00 Uhr zu einer Mahnwache vor der lettischen Botschaft in der Reinerzstr. 40/41, 14193 Berlin Grunewald auf.

 

Call for International Protests March 16, 2018

 

·         No honouring of the Latvian Waffen-SS! Call for international protests

 





On 16 March 2018, in the Latvian capital of Riga, as in previous years since 1991, after a Lutheran church service, an honorary march and flag-lined rally will take place at the Freedom Monument in the heart of the city to honour Latvian units of the Waffen SS.  Numerous members of these legionnaires were involved in the mass murder of Latvian Jews before they joined the Waffen SS. Approximately 160,000 Latvians worked for the German murderers during the Second World War. 

Latvia, like Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Bulgaria is one of the Eastern European states where locally staffed anti-Semitic units and death squads under different names who collaborated with the Nazis are celebrated today as national heroes. This is done with tacit consent of the state and varying degrees of tacit or open support from state authorities.  For example, at the end of 2017 a law was passed in Latvia which stated that even if Latvian soldiers had collaborated with the Nazis they would still be recognised as being anti-Hitler.  In addition, all former Latvian veterans who had fought in the Second World War- including Waffen SS members should be officially honoured.


The  “March of Honour” in Riga is an unprecedented provocation towards relatives of victims of the Latvian police and SS associations and the Jewish, Russian-speaking and other minorities in the country.  The march is not only in conflict with the fundamental values of the European Union, whose advantages the Latvian state accepts, but it is also a crass provocation against all the peoples of Europe that made huge sacrifices to bring down Hitler.  Last but not least, it should be remembered that from the end of 1941, Jews from the German Reich were deported to the Riga ghetto where they were murdered  in the surrounding forests with the help of Latvian collaborators who then later joined in 1943, only two years later, the 15th and 19th divisions of the Latvian Waffen SS.

For many years, Latvian and international anti-fascists have been repeatedly protesting against the march, amongst them Dr Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Jerusalem. In Latvia, anti-fascist demonstrators are exposed to considerable reprisals (telephone monitoring, travel restrictions, administrative chicanery, police and state influence on hotels and event organisers and arbitrary police arrests in the run-up to protests. This also applies to supporters who come from Germany and other countries.

In 2016, five members of the VVN-BdA were detained for several hours at Riga airport because they wanted to participate in the protests against the Waffen-SS march of honour. Afterwards, they were dumped into a prisoner van and deported to Lithuania. The following year, the Latvian police effectively prevented any form of protest.


It is therefore all the more important to show solidarity with the Latvian antifascists in 2018. The VVN-BdA and the member federations of the International Federation of Resistance Fighters (FIR) call for anti-fascists to participate in anti-fascist demonstrations on 16 March in front of Latvian embassies and consulates and in turn protest against the glorification of Nazi collaborators and mass murderers and freedom for Latvia's antifascists.

The Berlin VVN-BdA calls for a vigil in front of the Latvian Embassy:

Friday 16 March 2018, 14.00 - 16.00 clock in the Reinerzstr. 40/41, 14193 Berlin Grunewald

 

 

     We demand:

 

·         An end to the glorification of Nazi collaborators and murderers! 

·         Recognition of Baltic participation in the Nazi genocide! 

·         An end to state repression of Latvian anti-fascists

·         And of the Federal government that they terminate forthwith the allocation of pensions to former Waffen SS members


Berlin Association of Victims of the Nazi Regime -
Association of Anti-Fascists e.V.
[Berlin VVN-BdA e.V.]
Magdalenstraße 19, 10365 Berlin

http://berlin.vvn-bda.de/


 
 

Kundgebung gegen das Waffen-SS-Gedenken in Riga!

Berlin, Freitag, 16. März 2018, 14.00 – 16.00 Uhr,

vor der Botschaft der Republik Lettland,

Reinerzstr. 40/41, 14193 Berlin Grunewald

Am 16. März 2018 wird es in der lettischen Hauptstadt Riga – wie jedes Jahr seit 1991 – zu einer öffentlichen Ehrung faschistischer Verbrecher kommen. 

Am sogenannten „Tag der Legionäre“ werden ein Gottesdienst, ein Ehrenmarsch und eine fahnengesäumte Kundgebung am Freiheitsdenkmal zu Ehren der lettischen Einheiten der Waffen-SS abgehalten. Zahlreiche Angehörige dieser „Legionen“ waren schon vor ihrem Eintritt in die Waffen-SS am Massenmord an den lettischen Juden beteiligt. Etwa 160.000 Letten standen während des Zweiten Weltkrieges in den Diensten der deutschen Mörder.

Damit gehört Lettland mit Estland, Litauen, Ungarn, der Ukraine und Bulgarien zu jenen osteuropäischen Staaten, in denen Einheiten der Waffen-SS und andere mit den Nazis kollaborierende antisemitische Todesschwadronen als nationale Idole gefeiert werden. Dies geschieht mit staatlicher Duldung und teilweise offener Unterstützung durch Behörden. So wurde erst Ende 2017 in Lettland ein Gesetz erlassen, in dem Soldaten, die als Kollaborateure der Nazis gekämpft haben, mit jenen der Anti-Hitler-Koalition gleichstellt werden. Man ehre offiziell alle ehemaligen lettischen Soldaten als Veteranen des Zweiten Weltkriegs – also auch die Waffen-SS-Angehörigen.

Der Rigaer „Ehrenmarsch“ ist eine unerhörte Provokation für die Angehörigen der Opfer der lettischen Polizei und SS-Verbände. Für jüdische, russischsprachige und andere Minderheiten im Land ist er Symbol alltäglicher Diskriminierung und Ausgrenzung. Das SS-Gedenken steht nicht nur im Gegensatz zu den Grundwerten der Europäischen Union, deren sonstige Vorzüge der lettische Staat andererseits gerne entgegennimmt, sondern ist auch eine Provokation gegenüber der Russischen Föderation und damit eine Gefahr für den Frieden in Europa. Nicht zuletzt sei daran erinnert, dass ab Ende 1941 auch Juden aus dem Deutschen Reich in das Ghetto Riga deportiert und dort und in den umliegenden Wäldern unter Mithilfe von lettischen Kollaborateuren ermordet wurden.

Seit vielen Jahren protestieren lettische und internationale Antifaschist*innen gegen diesen Aufmarsch, unter ihnen auch immer wieder Dr. Efraim Zuroff, Leiter des Simon-Wiesenthal-Zentrums in Jerusalem. Antifaschist*innen werden in Lettland erheblichen Repressalien ausgesetzt und teilweise durch willkürliche polizeiliche Festnahmen im Vorfeld des Aufmarsches von Protesten abgehalten. Auch Unterstützer*innen, die aus Deutschland und anderen Ländern anreisen, waren schon von Reisebeschränkungen, Behördenschikanen, Polizeiwillkür, staatlicher Einflussnahme auf Hotels und Veranstaltungsunternehmen betroffen.

So wurden 2016 fünf Mitglieder der VVN-BdA über mehrere Stunden auf dem Flughafen von Riga festgehalten, weil sie sich an den Protesten gegen den Ehrenmarsch für die Waffen-SS beteiligen wollten. Danach wurden sie in einem Gefangenentransportwagen fortgeschafft und nach Litauen abgeschoben. Auch das Jahr darauf unterband die lettische Polizei faktisch jeden Protest.

Umso wichtiger ist es, kontinuierlich Solidarität mit den lettischen Antifaschist*innen zu zeigen. Die VVN-BdA und die Mitgliedsverbände der Internationalen Föderation der Widerstandskämpfer (FIR) rufen dazu auf, am 16. März an antifaschistischen Kundgebungen vor den ständigen Vertretungen des lettischen Staats in Europa teilzunehmen und gegen die Verherrlichung von NS-Kollaborateuren und Massenmördern zu protestieren und Freiheit für Lettlands Antifaschist*innen zu fordern.

Die Berliner VVN-BdA ruft für Freitag den 16. März 2018, 14.00 – 16.00 Uhr zu einer Mahnwache vor der lettischen Botschaft in der Reinerzstr. 40/41, 14193 Berlin Grunewald auf.

Wir fordern:

  • Schluss mit der Ehrung von NS-Kollaborateuren und Mördern!
  • Anerkennung der baltischen Beteiligung am nazistischen Völkermord!
  • Schluss mit den staatlichen Repressionen gegen lettische Antifaschist*innen

Von der Bundesregierung fordern wir, dass endlich Schluss sein muss mit den bundesdeutschen Entschädigungsrenten für ehemalige Waffen-SS-Angehörige.

 

Berliner Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes –

Bund der Antifaschistinnen und Antifaschisten e.V.

[Berliner VVN-BdA e.V.]

Magdalenstraße 19,10365 Berlin

 





------------------------------------------------




 


Further articles and statements by British and German MPs including John Mann, academics and journalists regarding the situation in Latvia and Lithuania see: 


 




 


·         http://defendinghistory.com/category/uk  and   footage from the film Rewriting History which highlights the 2012 presentation of the Seventy Years Declaration at the European Parliament, where it was received by EP president Martin Schulz


 




 




 

 Report by Dr Gregor Gysi in the Bundestag 24.04.2012 reporting on Monica Lowenberg’s work and the situation within Latvia

 


 PCAA foundation” (UK) - Calls to ban the Baltic’s neo-Nazi marches

 


 

              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.




 

2014

 

“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.” (Richard Howitt, British Labour Member of the European Parliament, and spokesperson for the European Parliament Human Rights Sub-Committee,  on 13 March 2014)


 

 

 

The Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jewish Manifesto for the 2014 European Elections:


 


 

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 minimize or downplay the Holocaust.



 

WHAT IS MARCH 16TH IN LATVIA?  by  Monica Lowenberg

 

First published as


     Latvia’s difficult legacy  What is March 16th?  by Monica Lowenberg  published by the Holocaust Educational Trust and Second Generation Network, Voices  April  2012
 


Each year since 1998, former Latvian SS veterans have, on the 16th March, been marching in the centre of the capital city of Riga, accompanied by supporters of all generations, to commemorate and herald their fallen colleagues as war ‘heroes’. The marches have over the years increased in alarming numbers and have frequently been, and continue to be supported by Latvian officials.

 

On March 16th, 2011 in the heart of NATO, in an EU country, in Riga, more than 2,500 people, (75% of them under the age of 30), gathered to pay tribute to Latvians who fought on the side of Nazi Germany in Waffen SS detachments during World War II.   Amongst them a large number of neo-Nazi activists from Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Germany, Norway and Denmark and Latvian officials and MEP members. Over the years the marches have been attended by the Latvian Chief-of-Staff, Secretary of Defense, members of the Seim and current and former ministers and officials. They herald the Latvian SS veterans as war heroes and freedom fighters as they claim they fought in German ranks to hold back a greater evil, the Soviet Union.  Many Latvians believe that the Latvian Waffen SS legion could not have played a role in the Holocaust as it was not officially formed until 1943 when nearly all of Latvian Jewry had already been murdered. However, a substantial amount of evidence including a series of personal accounts and confirmation received from the trial of German Nazi Adolph Eichmann, supports that unknown numbers of Latvian Waffen SS soldiers had indeed been previously involved in the murder of Jews as auxiliary police between 1941 and 1942. 90 percent of Latvia’s pre-war Jewish population, were killed in 1941-42, only one in ten survived.   Approximately 67,000 Jews were living in Latvia at the time of the Nazi invasion in July 1941. Approximately 62,000 of them were killed during the Nazi occupation. About 30,000 Jews were killed already by mid-August 1941. The main agents of this murder were small German military units joined by the so-called Arājs Commando and assisted by Latvian auxiliary police, which consisted mainly of volunteers. In late 1941 approximately an additional 30,000 Latvian Jews were killed in a carefully organised execution also aided by Latvian police and Arājs Commando in Rumbula forest, just outside the capital city of Rīga. After this, about 25,000 European Jews were brought to the Riga Ghetto by train and at least half of them were murdered by mid-1942.

 

Shamefully forgotten is the fact that not one of the numerous Latvian killers who collaborated with the Nazis has been brought to justice since Latvia obtained its independence.  Killers who prior to joining the legion in 1943 had been part of 16 auxiliary police (SD) battalions that had previously taken an active part in the liquidating of ghettos in Latvia, Belarus and Poland, as well as in the destruction of civilian villages in Belarus and Russia’s Pskov region.  Killers who  before joining the legion had been in the ‘Arajs Team’ led by Viktor Arajs, comprising of up to 1,500 Latvian men, known worldwide as the active performers of the Holocaust in Europe, executioners of Latvian, Vilna, Warsaw and many Byelorussian ghettos.

 

During World War II, the Nazis created 37 divisions of Waffen Schutzstaffel (Waffen SS) of which only 12 were comprised exclusively by Germans. Most of the members of the divisions were recruited among the so-called «Aryan» populations of the occupied or annexed countries. Although the Latvians were not all considered «Aryan», they were massively recruited. Out of 900,000 Waffen SS, almost 150,000 were Latvians thus being the largest foreign contingent while their country, Latvia, only had two million inhabitants. The Latvians were mainly placed in the 15th Infantry Division, which became the most decorated non-German Waffen SS unit. It was the 15th infantry division who entrenched themselves in Berlin and engaged in the last military actions of the Third Reich. 

 

The Latvian legion formed in the winter of 1943  was ,under Hitler’s orders ,formally established  on  March 16th 1944  There is consensus amongst all Latvian historians that the day marks the only time, the two Divisions of the Legion (15th and 19th) fought together against the Red Army.  Therefore, by making the 16th March a day to remember war dead,  Latvians,  (despite Latvian official protestations to the contrary), are making the day  when Latvian volunteers fought in the 15th and 19th divisions of the SS an act of commemoration.  As Israeli/Jewish critics have commented even if one takes the stance that the Latvian legionnaires were not criminals and that they were forced to fight for the Nazis, to commemorate the Legion is far from being a positive act and  a far cry from a policy to GLORIFY them. Glorification of pro-Nazi armed forces during World War II has no place in a European Union / NATO / OSCE country.

 

Despite condemnation from the international community and reports from the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance that 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’, in January this year, many Latvian policymakers expressed their respect and admiration of former SS veterans. Political party “Visu Latviyyay!” announced that it is preparing a bill declaring the veterans of the SS Legion as national liberation movement fighters. Under the bill, former SS soldiers in Latvia will enjoy many benefits and advantages, in contrast to the veterans of the Allied forces who fought against Nazism.

See also:

http://bnn-news.com/latvian-anti-nazi-committee-presented-with-protest-restrictions-on-16-march-181904

https://eadaily.com/en/news/2018/03/15/riga-mayor-permits-neo-nazi-march-in-city-center


https://www.baltictimes.com/riga_city_council_authorizes_all_events_planned_on_march_16_latvian_legion_day_5116648435aa7862b41137/

Nazis can march and anti fascists are refused to protest. Democracy and freedom of speech are clearly dirty words for the Latvians.

http://thechronicleherald.ca/opinion/1552217-on-target-latvia-wrong-to-glorify-nation%E2%80%99s-nazi-past  11 March 2018

http://defendinghistory.com/did-latvias-foreign-minister-just-honor-a-nazi-cheerleader-and-proven-antisemite/93928  8 March 2018

https://www.timesofisrael.com/poland-isnt-the-only-country-trying-to-police-speech-about-the-holocaust/  7 February 2018


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KBANKlgBaoE  SEARCHING FOR THE UNKNOWN HOLOCAUST, Boris Maftzir`s project.  30 Jan 2018


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/26/opinion/holocaust-eastern-europe.html?smid=tw-share  Jan 26 2018


Paul Stock article on NATO's latest film,  Hope Not Hate Nov/Dec   2017 
http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/2018/01/02/nato-forest-brothers-movie-madness-worst/ 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5rQFp7FF9c  NATO's  most recent film on the Forest Brothers  11 July 2017

Latvian Court Rules Against a Protester Who Turned Out Against the Annual Waffen SS March  by Aleksandr Kuzmin (Riga) published by Defendinghistory.com  16 October 2017

http://espritdecorps.ca/on-target-4/on-target-nazi-connections-minister-freeland-deflects-and-latvia-openly-celebrates   by Scott  Taylor  published by Canadian Military Magazine   March 13 2017


"Don’t Stand By!", Mr LidingtonBy Monica Lowenberg published by Hope Not Hate, Sunday, 20 March 2016
http://defendinghistory.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/HOPE-not-hate-international2f-Don¹t-Stand-By-Mr-Lidington.pdf
 
article with full links:

 http://defendinghistory.com/monica-lowenberg-in-dialogue-with-latvias-ambassador-to-the-uk/32025  5 March 2012


 
 

 

 

 

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