by Monica Lowenberg (London)
On 16 March 2017, 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 honor Latvian units of the Waffen SS. Latvia, like Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Bulgaria is one of the Eastern European states where locally staffed antisemitic 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.
The “March of Honor” 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.
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). This also applies to supporters who come from Germany and other countries.
It is therefore all the more important to show solidarity with the Latvian antifascists in 2017. The VVN-BdA and the member federations of the International Federation of Resistance Fighters (FIR) call for a trip to Riga to participate in the anti-fascist demonstration on 16 March.
At the same time the protest organisers call for protests against the glorification of Nazi collaborators and mass murderers and freedom for Latvia’s anti-fascists to take place on 15 March outside Latvian embassies and consulates in the European cities of:
- Rome, Brussels, Budapest and Athens
The VVN-BdA also calls for vigils in front of the Latvian Embassy and the Honorary consulates in:
- Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf
- An end to the glorification of Nazi collaborators and murderers!
- Recognition of Baltic participation in the Nazi genocide!
- Freedom for “Latvia without Nazism” to go about its work without harassment!
We call for protest messages to be presented to Latvian Embassy and Latvian consulates on the 15th of March!
On how to get to Riga email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 030-5557-9083-2.
Sponsoring organizations: Association of the Persecuted of the Nazi Regime; Association of the Antifascists (VVN-BdA), Magdalenenstr. 19, 10365 Berlin, Germany. Tel : +49 (0) 30-55579083-2, Fax: +49 (0) 30-55579083-9. Email: email@example.com. Website: www.vvn-bda.de.