A Chronology of Latvia’s Pantomime of March 16th Horror: 2012—2016




LATVIA  |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  RIGA WAFFEN SS MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Monica Lowenberg


Preamble

On 16 March 2012, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel Office, during his visit to Riga to protest against the Waffen SS legionnaires march, stated in an interview to Latvian State television LTV1 that the “Latvian SS Legion was not involved in the crimes of the Holocaust” but also stated, as he has done each and every year since 1999, “although these units were not involved in crimes against humanity, many of their soldiers had previously served in the Latvian security police and had actively participated in the mass murder of civilians, primarily Jews.” [16]

NEW SECTION:

ANNUAL WAFFEN SS MARCHES IN CENTRAL RIGA

See You Tube clip with Dr Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Israel, with a photo reportage covering all three Baltic Neo-Nazi marches in 2014. 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 slaughter in the East began from the first day of the German invasion of the Soviet Union. Helped by Lithuanians, Latvian and Ukrainian policemen and auxiliaries, the Einsatzgruppen moved rapidly forward behind the advancing German forces. An eye-witness later recalled how, at the frontier village of Virbalia, Jews ‘were placed alive in anti-tank trenches about two kilometers long and killed by machine guns. Lime was thereupon sprayed upon them and a second row of Jews were made to lie down. They were similarly shot. ‘Six more times, a new line of Jews were driven into the trench. ‘Only the children were not shot. They were caught by the legs, their heads hit against stones and they were thereupon buried alive.”

(from The Holocaust. The Jewish Tragedy by Sir Martin Gilbert published by Collins, London, 1986, p. 155)

“In the Baltic States and Ukraine, Himmler used his ‘Eastern Legions’ as vanguard troops in the German ‘war on bandits’, as well as fighting against the advancing Soviet armies.’ This means that a number of these men fought both as agents of genocide and as ‘freedom fighters’. ‘The debate provoked by the rash of Baltic memorials is a false one. The ‘freedom fighter’ and the killer of civilians may be one and the same.’  ‘Since the recruitment of Schuma battalions and foreign Waffen SS legions or divisions formed part of the same evolving genocidal strategy, it is quite wrong to argue, as Ezergailis and others have, that the combat divisions have no connection with the Holocaust.”

(from Hitler’s Foreign Executioners. Europe’s Dirty Secret by Christopher Hale published by The History Press, Stroud Gloucestershire, 2011, p. 244-245)

2012

ECRI Recommendations:

See Report on Latvia by the ECRI calling a halt to all forms of Nazi glorification February 21, 2012, p27, Point 87:

“ECRI recommends that the Latvian authorities condemn all attempts to commemorate persons who fought in the Waffen SS and collaborated with the Nazis. ECRI further recommends that the authorities ban any gathering or march legitimizing in any way Nazism.”

See also:

Early Day Motions in the British Parliament:  27502866:

Report by Dr Gregor Gysi in the Bundestag 24.04.2012.

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

Monica Lowenberg in dialogue with Latvia’s ambassador in London, March 2012.

2013

David Amess Conservative MP in dialogue with Latvian Ambassador Stiprais in London.

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:

See in particular section 3, and Post-Holocaust Issues section 3.3 on 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 minimize or downplay the Holocaust.

Encouraging News

Since 2014 it is illegal for any Latvian member of parliament to attend the Legionnaires march

“At the end of November 2015, the new president of Latvia, Raimonds Vējonis, participated in a solemn meeting at Rumbula where he, unlike his predecessors, publicly admitted that the terrible actions during the Nazi occupation of Latvia were aided, in part, by the participation of Latvian collaborators.”

See  on this Roland Binet and a relevant Lsm.lv article.

As in 2014 the VVN /anti fascists from Berlin will be protesting at the 2016 march.

Discouraging News

Bauska: Since 2012, in the Latvian town of Bauska, proudly stands the first memorial to the SS in a European, NATO, OSCE country. It has as yet not been officially removed.

The British Foreign Office repeatedly fails to criticize Baltic state policies and practicies promoting glorification of Nazism.

2015

The Latvian Parliament in 2014 passed a free-speech destroying law threatening up to five years imprisonment for those who might deign to disagree with the state’s interpretation of World War II and the Holocaust.

The same year, the Latvian government abused its EU status to veto a perfectly legitimate Holocaust exhibit at UNESCO in Paris

23 January 2015

JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized steps taken by the Latvian delegation to UNESCO which effectively cancelled an exhibition about the Holocaust in Latvia scheduled to open this coming Sunday at UNESCO headquarters in Paris. The sad acquiescence to a far-right veto was rapidly critiqued by the Simon Wiesenthal Center Center’s Israel office director, Dr. Efraim Zuroff who issued this statement:

“This step by the Latvians is part of a systematic effort by the Baltic countries to hide the truth about the extensive collaboration with the Nazis of Balts in the implementation of the Final Solution in their native countries, as well as in Poland and Belarus. Instead of complaining that the exhibition risked damaging her country’s reputation, Latvia’s chief delegate to UNESCO should have welcomed an effort to expose the wartime collaboration of so many Latvians as part of an honest confrontation with her country’s bloody Holocaust past.”

2016?

It seems certain, sadly, that the glorification march of the SS will be going ahead on 16 March 2016 in the very heart of Riga. Potential protesters have recently been harassed by Latvian authorities.

“The openly racist and anti-democratic character of the new government also finds expression in a proposed ban on burkas. Minister of Justice Dzintars Rasnacs from the National Alliance discussed the plans on LNT, a Latvian television channel: “Such a ban will be introduced. The respective draft decision has been already worked out.” He included in this a ban on traditional Islamic dress in all public places. According to Rasnacs, the ban would protect ‘Latvian culture’.”

(Wsws.org)

The National Alliance consists of such member politicians such as Raivis Dzintars. Raivis Dzintars seen in this photo reportage is co-chair of the Latvian far right party which entered the ruling coalition in 2011. In the reportage above one can see Raivis Dzintars smirking as a friend gives a Nazi salute. Dzintars is also a member of the National Association “All For Latvia!” — “For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK.” 

Amongst his various parliamentary duties he is, disturbingly, since November 2011, chairman of the civic education subcommittee of the Education, Culture and Science Committee of his nation’s parliament.

In 2013 Raivis Dzintars and Janis Dombrava of National Association “All For Latvia!”— “For Fatherland and Freedom/LNNK” aggressively approached protesters and tried to tear down photographs of atrocities committed by Latvian collaborators in 1941, men who later joined the Latvian Legion in 1943, this too can be seen in the above photo reportage. And yet disturbingly, Janis Dombrava was recently described by the New York Times as being a “lawmaker.

This entry was posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Documents, Efraim Zuroff, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, Monica Lowenberg, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, United Kingdom and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
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