Latvia

Latvian Court Rules that Depicting Nazi Violence of 1941 on a Placard is Illegal



FREE SPEECH  |  LATVIA  |  RIGA PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  PRO-NAZI MARCHES

by Aleksandr Kuzmin (Riga)

On March 16, 2017, the annual march honoring Waffen SS Latvian Legion veterans took place in Riga as usual. A co-ruling political party had called the legionnaires “freedom fighters”[1], the Security Police had denounced opponents of the march as “so-called Anti-Fascists” and put them in the chapter “Manifestations of Russia’s compatriot policies in Latvia” of its annual report.[2] The counter-picket applied for by the Latvian Anti-Nazi Committee had been ordered to move farther from the march route. Again, a pretty usual development.

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New NATO Film Unwittingly Glorifies Holocaust Collaborators


OPINION


by Dovid Katz

Our take? NATO needs to stand for Western values. Putin’s shameful “Zapad 17” military exercise demo, in  regions bordering the eastern democratic lands of NATO and the EU — including the three Baltic states, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia — is intended to intimidate their peaceful populations and to provoke regional unease. Not to mention the very real danger that various of the troops will find one way or another “to stay in the region after the exercises are over” in a very tired old Soviet spirit of things. These military exercises need to be exposed for what they are, and countered with stalwart determination. NATO’s commitment to its members must remain sacrosanct and permanent, while remaining true to the ideals for which, ultimately, it exists.

That makes it all the more critical for the North Atlantic alliance (and the EU) not to succumb to regional far-right, ultranationalist, chauvinist, Holocaust-revisionist, and antisemitic forces in the course of the proceedings.

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Libau — A Place by the Sea



LATVIA  |  MEMOIRS

by Monica Lowenberg  (London)

“To remember would be to remember their life and their death. But that memory is forbidden, and one is afraid of thinking that something exists that is worth remembering, when one does not manage to remember this. All memory seems to be, ought to be, memory of that, all forgetting, forgetting of that. Like an unchanging symptom, the repeated pain caused by the realization that one constantly forgets places, moments, people, is like the simple reflection of the pain that finds in them its true name.”

N. Fresco, Remembering the Unknown

 

On the 18th of February 1960 my late father Ernest Lowenberg went to the German embassy in London to declare his brother Paul Loewenberg and Latvian born father David Loewenberg/Levenbergs dead.

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Monica Lowenberg’s Speech at the Protest Outside the Latvian Embassy in Berlin



LATVIA | GERMANY | WAFFEN SS MARCHES IN RIGABALTIC MARCHES | GLORIFYING COLLABORATORS

by Monica Lowenberg (London)

The following is an English translation of Monica Lowenberg’s speech that was read out at the protest at the Latvian Embassy in Berlin on 15 March 2017 also addressed by German member of parliament Volker Beck. Ms. Lowenberg could not be in attendance and her speech, published here in the author’s English translation, was read to the assembled by historian Dr. Hans Coppi, chairman of the VVN (Union of Persecutees of the Nazi Regime in Berlin).

Dr Hans Coppi speaking VVN protesting outside the Latvian embassy Berlin 15.03.2017

Historian Dr. Hans Coppi (with microphone, center rear) addressing protesters at the Latvian Embassy in Berlin on the eve of the 2017 annual Waffen SS march in central Riga. PHOTO: LOTHAR EBERHARDT.

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German Member of Parliament Volker Beck Joins Protest at the Latvian Embassy in Berlin



LATVIA | GERMANY | WAFFEN SS MARCHES IN RIGABALTIC MARCHES | GLORIFYING COLLABORATORS

by Monica Lowenberg (London)

Last Wednesday, on 15 March 2017, eve of the annual events glorifying Latvia’s Waffen SS in the very heart of the capital city, Riga, one German member of parliament (the Bundestag), Volker Beck, came to the Latvian Embassy in the heart of Germany’s capital, Berlin, to give a speech of support to the protesters. Beck, a member of the Greens, is president of the German-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group. The following is the text of his speech, which I have translated into English.

Volker Beck speaking outside the Latvian embassy

Volker Beck gives a speech of support to protesters at the Latvian Embassy in Berlin on the eve of the 2017 annual Waffen SS march in central Riga. PHOTO: LOTHAR EBERHARDT.

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Call for International Protest Against Latvian Gov. Granting Riga Center for Waffen SS Festivities on 16 March 2017



BALTIC MARCHES  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  LATVIA |  ANTISEMITISM  |  HUMAN RIGHTS

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.

SIGN THE PETITION TODAY

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The Holocaust and The Long Arm of Antisemitism in Latvia



LATVIA |  ANTISEMITISM  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  HISTORY

by Monica Lowenberg (London)

 ◊

From 1800 until the 1860s, the Jews of Liepāja (Libau, Libava) were mainly under the cultural influence of German Jewry. The community’s educational system included both traditional religious bodies as well as institutions dedicated to the ideas of the Haskalah, or Jewish enlightenment movement that strived for modernization. Aharon Ber Nurok served as the rabbi in the city starting in 1907. Indeed, he and his brother, Mordechai headed the rabbinate for all of Latvia at one time. After pogroms grew rampant in Ukrainian Russia in the 1880s, Liepāja absorbed many Jewish refugees. The community established special relief institutions to deal with the newcomers. When a modern-style school opened in Liepāja in 1885, the Hebrew grammarian Mordechai Manischewitz taught Hebrew language and literature. That same year, a local oveve Tsiyon (Love of Zion) association was founded, and a Bund (Jewish socialist) group became active at the turn of the century. As Bella Scheftel Kass recalls, “Our town of Liepaja was something of an oddity. Situated within an Eastern European enclave, it boasted a slice of German culture (a hangover from the days of old Courland). A significant number of Jewish homes were under the influence of that culture. Many families were German speaking, sent their children to German-language private schools and read the local German-language press. In these circles assimilation was deeply rooted.”

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Why Can’t Riga Just Replace a Plaque on the Wall?



OPINION  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |   LATVIA

by Aleksandrs Feigmanis (Riga)

 


I am a tour guide in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Whenever I take tourists through  Riga’s fabled Old Town, we together pass, on the way from Town Hall Square to the still-functioning synagogue, the address Peldu Street 15, right on the corner of Peldu and Kungu. There is a high school building and a twenty-four-hour parking lot guarded all the time. And right in front of us, on the outside wall of Peldu 15, there is the half-destroyed plaque for the Righteous Among the Nations Anna Alma Pole.

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When “Putin” Becomes an Excuse for Hitler-Glorification



OPINION

by Dovid Katz

This article appeared today in Jewish Currents:

A recent Washington Post editorial rightfully takes Russia and China to task for persecuting those who dare challenge the state’s distortions of history. In the case of Russia, there is mention of the disgraceful prosecution of a citizen for pointing out that the September 1939 dismemberment of Poland was a joint venture of Germany and the USSR codified by the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. But wait a minute.

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Will the EU, the OSCE and the Council of Europe Ask Latvia to Revoke the 1998 Declaration?



OPINION  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  GLORIFYING COLLABORATORS  |  LATVIA  |  ANNUAL WAFFEN SS MARCHES IN RIGA

by Aleksandr Kuzmin (Riga)

On 29 October 1998, a few weeks after the parliamentary elections, the outgoing Parliament of Latvia had adopted the Declaration on Latvian Legionnaires in the World War II. The vote was as follows: 50 ayes, 8 nays, 3 abstentions.

Aleksandr Kuzmin (Riga)

The text contains several questionable statements. Those include claiming that “The aim of soldiers who were drafted into the Legion or who joined it voluntary was to protect Latvia from the restoration of Stalin’s regime” and asking the government to “prevent insults against the honour and dignity of Latvian soldiers.” To make it clear — the ones whose reputation was intended to be defended were Nazi collaborators, voluntarily or not. And the intention was pretty obvious — as the rapporteur MP, Mr. Mauliņš, said before the vote, “this decision will be our position towards our soldiers who truly fought for the independence of Latvia”.

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Some High Latvian Politicians Think the Waffen SS Fought for Freedom



OPINION  |  POLITICS OF MEMORY  |  GLORIFYING COLLABORATORS  |  LATVIA  |  ANNUAL WAFFEN SS MARCHES IN RIGA

by Aleksandrs Feigmanis (Riga)

Aleksandrs Feigmanis

Dr. Aleksandrs Feigmanis (Riga)

There are here in Latvia some high-ranking Latvian politicians who actually believe that the country’s Waffen SS fighters fought for freedom of their country. Every year on the 16th of March Latvian nationalists gather at the Freedom Monument in the heart of Riga, the nation’s capital, and in the cemetery at Lestene, a village some seventy-two kilometers from Riga, to remember and honor (honor!) the living and dead veterans of the Latvian Legion of the Waffen SS.

Established by order of Adolf Hitler on the 10th of February 1943, they fought for Nazi Germany against the Red Army on the Volkhov front near Leningrad, and later in Great River region, Kurzeme (Kurland), in Poland, Germany and elsewhere.

Although the alarming series of annual events commemorating and glorifying the Latvian SS Volunteer Legion events are now officially non-governmental, some MPs and even ministers do not hesitate to not only participate publicly, setting an example for the nation’s youth, but also to publicly refer to Waffen SS legionnaires as heroes and national freedom fighters. Had Hitler won the war, there would have been no Latvia left to become free in 1991. By swearing and oath to Adolf Hitler’s genocidal regime, and then in fact delaying the liberation of the concentration camps by the Allies, they were pawns of the Nazis who do not deserve to be glorified by a modern, democratic member of the European Union and NATO.

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Latvia’s Ambassador to the UK Replies to Gareth Thomas MP on Annual Waffen SS Marches in Central Riga



UK  |  LATVIA  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  DOCUMENTS

LONDON—The following is the 16 April 2016 reply of the Latvian ambassador to the UK Aandris Teikmanis to MP Gareth Thomas, concerning the annual March 16th events in central Riga glorifying the Latvian Waffen SS.


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UK’s Europe Minister Again Fails to Offer Even Mild Criticism of Baltic State-Enabled Nazi Worship



UK  |  LATVIA  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  DOCUMENTS

LONDON—The following is the UK Minister for Europe’s 8 April 2016 reply to his former shadow counterpart, Labour MP Gareth Thomas, concerning neo-Nazi marches in Latvia and Lithuania that occur each year with with substantial government support in the heart of each nation’s capital. For reference, the minister’s 2013 reply on the same topic is appended below.


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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, EU, Gareth Thomas, Human Rights, Latvia, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, United Kingdom, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on UK’s Europe Minister Again Fails to Offer Even Mild Criticism of Baltic State-Enabled Nazi Worship

Waffen SS Fest in Central Riga on March 16th


[UPDATED]

LATVIA  |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS


RIGA:

100px-Coat_of_Arms_of_Riga.svg

AFTERMATH: EFRAIM ZUROFF IN THE JERUSALEM POSTMONICA LOWENBERG IN HOPE NOT HATE

LONDON: UK MP GARETH THOMAS WRITES TO LATVIAN AMBASSADOR AND TO BRITISH FOREIGN OFFICEMONICA LOWENBERG SPEAKS OUT TO BRITAIN’S EUROPE SECRETARY DAVID LIDINGTON  IN HOPE NOT HATEBRITISH JOURNALIST ARRESTED IN RIGA

IN RIGA:

RULING PARTY LATVIAN MP TOLD MEDIA THAT “CLEVER JEWS” ARE “UNDERMINING HIS NATION’S SECURITY”

PARLIAMENTARIANS WERE SLATED FOR THIS YEAR’S WAFFEN SS FEST ON MARCH 16TH IN THE LATVIAN CAPITAL; SAM SOKOL IN THE JERUSALEM POSTBUT LAST MINUTE CLIMBDOWN BY NATIONAL ALLIANCE REVERSES DECISIONBALTIC TIMES WHITEWASH

GROUP OF GERMAN ANTIFASCIST PROTESTERS ARRESTED WHILE TRYING TO ENTER LATVIA FOR THE EVENT; FRANK BRENDLE’S REPORTFLORIAN GUTSCHE’S REPORT; ONE OF THE GERMAN DETAINEES, MARKUS TERVOOREN, GIVES AN INTERVIEW

DR. EFRAIM ZUROFF FLIES IN TO PROTEST: JTA REPORT; AFP REPORT; SAM SOKOL IN THE JERUSALEM POSTAP VIDEO; DOKUMENTIONSARCHIV; REPORT AND PHOTOS ON MONICA LOWENBERG’S MARCH 16th BLOGSPOT

MONICA LOWENBERG:  BLOGSPOT, PETITION  & IN DH

DEFENDING HISTORY’S COVERAGE OF THE EVENT FROM 2010

Defending History Monitors the Marches:

Kaunas, VilniusRiga

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Latvia Arrests Peaceful German Visitors Who Wanted to Protest Annual Waffen SS March



OPINION  |  LATVIA  |  FREE SPEECH |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS  GLORIFIED


 by Frank Brendle

Latvian authorities denied today entry for six German antifascists who intended to support the protest against  tomorrow’s edition of central Riga’s annual  March 16th Waffen SS march.

MORE COVERAGE HERE

This morning, Cornelia Kerth, chairwoman of Germany’s most important antifascist organization, the Association of Persons Persecuted by the Nazis / Federation of Antifascists (in German VVN-BdA) entered Hamburg airport to board her flight with Air Baltic to Riga. Check-in was without problem, but at the final steps before boarding the aircraft, authorities informed her that she may not enter the plane: “You are on a black list of the Latvian immigration authorities,” they said.

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German Group Arrested Trying to Enter Latvia for Peaceful Protest Against 16 March Waffen SS Fest



OPINION  |  LATVIA  |  FREE SPEECH |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS  GLORIFIED


by Florian Gutsche

RIGA—While Veterans of the Latvian legion of the Waffen-SS are allowed to march on tomorrow’s March 16th “Day of Legionnaires,” a group of antifascists from Germany was arrested while trying to enter Latvia to protest peacefully against the public glorification of the Waffen SS.

MORE COVERAGE HERE

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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]

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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 | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on A Chronology of Latvia’s Pantomime of March 16th Horror: 2012—2016

Why Do I Find the So-Called Heroes from the Latvian Waffen SS So Despicable?



OPINION  |  HISTORY  |  LATVIA  |   COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Roland Binet  (Braine-l’Alleud/Belgium)

Introduction

Next month, the European Union and NATO will again be faced with the annual city-center march in Riga, the Latvian capital, glorifying the country’s Hitlerist Waffen SS. I had of course for years heard about the infamous March 16th marches in Riga when old members of the Latvian Waffen SS, their sympathizers and those who feel nostalgic about the good old time under Nazi rule proudly parade through the central streets of the beautiful capital of Latvia, ending their solemn march in front of the Freedom Monument, where they – solemnly and hierarchically – lay bundles of flowers at the foot of the monument and sing the national anthem.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Belgium, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, History, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, Roland Binet | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Do I Find the So-Called Heroes from the Latvian Waffen SS So Despicable?

The Holocaust was Also a Matter of Plundering the Jewish Victims



O P I N I O N    /     H I S T O R Y    /    L A T V I A

by Roland Binet  (Braine-l’Alleud/Belgium)

Having recently spent a few days in Germany, and watching different television channels, I once more realized that that country still broadcasts regular programs on the Holocaust. Nearly each and every evening during my stay, I had the opportunity to see fragments of such programs, broadcast on less popular channels (“ZDF History” for example). And, it is true, it is one of the things that I admire most in modern Germany — the regular televising of documentaries on the Holocaust, never hiding the enormous responsibility of the Nazis in the destruction of the Jews.

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Rewriting History in Latvia



B O O K S    /    L A T V I A

by Roland Binet  (Braine-l’Alleud/Belgium)

Since I became interested in the fate of the Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Latvia, rather late (2009), I never failed to buy books when I visited that country, first and foremost written by Jewish survivors of these terrible times, but, also, some books written by non-Jewish Latvians in order to see how they perceived these tragic events, how they related to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust and how they presented the history of the German occupation and the mass slaughter of more than 95% of the Jewish population of their country (using the figures of Jews on site at the time of the Nazi invasion as the basis for historians’ estimates).

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Restitution of Stolen Jewish Property in Latvia to Victims and Rightful Heirs



O P I N I O N

by Roland Binet (Braine-l’Alleud)

On November 17, 2013 I was invited and participated as a guest speaker at the Yizkor memorial event organized by the “Jewish Survivors of Latvia, Inc.” (New York). The event was held at the Park East Synagogue at 163 East 67th Street in Manhattan.

The really important speech, though, was given by Douglas Davidson, the US Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues. He dealt with the results of his numerous visits to Latvia pertaining to that specific issue: due restitution to the Jewish victims or their heirs. Their properties were stolen or requisitioned during the war and the massacres.

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Defending History’s Eyewitness Report of Riga, 16 March



In the East of EU-NATO-Land: Again, Latvian Authorities Grant Riga Old Town and its “Liberty Monument” on March 16th to 1500 Worshippers of Hitler’s Waffen SS Latvian Divisions

All Waffen SS members swore an oath to Adolf Hitler, some were recycled Holocaust killers.  Lithuania’s far-right leaders J. Panka and R. Čekutis, fresh from neo-Nazi march in Vilnius, were on hand as honored guests; British neo-Nazis came for the event. For the second year in a row, the prime minister forbade ministers from attending. The antisemite who went around seeking Jewish observers to “enlighten” them (video).

Top left: Sea of flowers placed at Liberty Monument to honor Waffen SS. Top right: throng marches through historic old town. Bottom from left: heavy police presence; an antisemitic poster distributed by one of the event’s supporters.

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Silence in the Past, Silence Now



O P I N I O N

by Roland Binet (Braine-l’Alleud)

During World War II, numerous proofs of the systematic massacre of the Jews on a large scale had made known to the allied leaders. As the British had very early in the course of the war cracked the Enigma code, their Intelligence Service could read nearly all military dispatches sent by the German units to their headquarters, including those daily reports sent by the Einsatzgruppen leaders who duly sent the daily figures of the Jews and other “enemies” they had killed. One of these reports told of some 30,000 Jews having been killed.[1]

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A Russian Observer Replies to Recent Feast of an American Daily Beast



O P I N I O N

by Alex Nosovich (Kaliningrad)

*Editor’s note

The governments of the Baltic countries, while cheerleading the introduction of new sanctions against the Russian Federation, are also doing something else that is going unnoticed. They are exploiting tensions between the West and Russia to settle scores with local dissidents, who advocate equal rights for national minorities and oppose glorification of Nazi collaborators. They are prevented from holding events, and impacted at the personal level, while their activities are marginalized so that they might become invisible in the eyes of the international community. This is done with help of American Neocons (neoconservatives), including the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), an organization established in 2009.

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A Baltic Month of Neo-Nazi Events (from February 16th to March 16th)



Baltic Nazi-Glorifying Marching Season Underway

COME JOIN US IN KAUNAS, MONDAY 16 FEB. at 1 PM (1300), AT RAMYBĖS PARK, TO MONITOR, SILENTLY PROTEST, & REMEMBER THE  CITY’S MORE THAN 30,000 MURDERED JEWISH CITIZENS.

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WIESENTHAL CENTER’S EFRAIM ZUROFF FLYING IN TO MONITOR EVENT AND LEAD PEACEFUL PROTEST;  HIS LETTER TO KAUNAS MAYOR;  OBZOR;  DELFI.LT;  KAUNO DIENA;  ALKAS.LT

DH’S CORRESPONDENCE WITH KAUNAS MAYOR’S OFFICE. FOR THE RECORD:ISRAELI HOLOCAUST SURVIVORS’ LETTER OF 2013.

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Wiesenthal Center Slams Latvian Veto of Holocaust Exhibition at UNESCO


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.

SEE ALSO JTA REPORT

In a statement issued here by its Israel director, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center called the action by the Latvians “an outrageous and ultimately futile attempt to hide the extensive Latvian collaboration with the Nazis in perpetrating Holocaust crimes” and urged UNESCO officials to consider steps to enable the exhibition, titled “Stolen Childhood: Holocaust Victims Seen by Child Inmates of the Salaspils Nazi Concentration Camp,” to be shown to the public.

According to Zuroff:

“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.”


For more information: 972-50-721-4156 

www.operationlastchance.org  or www.wiesenthal.com

 

Posted in Efraim Zuroff, EU, Events, France, Free Speech & Democracy, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Wiesenthal Center Slams Latvian Veto of Holocaust Exhibition at UNESCO

Can Latvia Veto a Holocaust Exhibition in Paris?



Freedom of Expression in France & at UNESCO:

JTA: Latvia Vetoes UNESCO Holocaust Exhibit in Paris

Simon Wiesenthal Center critiques the Latvian Government’s sabotage of exhibition that was supposed to open this week in the French capital


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Tomas Venclova Speaks Out on Banderism and its European Analogues



O P I N I O N

venclova

Tomas Venclova

Editor’s note: Our colleague Prof. Pinchos Fridberg drew our attention to a page on Radio Svoboda’s website, by Elena Fanailova, featuring both the audio and transcript of a recent interview conducted by Donata Subbotko for the Polish weekly Gazeta Wyborcza with the famed Lithuanian humanist, poet, essayist and professor Tomas Venclova. Text of the Polish version appears in Gazeta Wyborcza. The Russian text also appeared, at Prof. Fridberg’s initiative, in Obzor.

The following brief excerpt, concerning Banderism in Ukraine and analogous tendencies in Lithuania and elsewhere, has been translated into English (from the Russian) by Ludmila Makedonskaya. See also Defending History’s section dedicated to Tomas Venclova. Our page on bold Lithuanian truth tellers includes some of Prof. Venclova’s writings from the 1970s onward. His famous essay from the period, Jews and Lithuanians, is available in his collection of essays Forms of Hope.

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Max Kaufmann’s Book on the Latvian Holocaust Now Available in English



B O O K S

by Roland Binet (Braine-l’Alleud/Belgium)

 

“For us, all of Latvia is a huge cemetery – a cemetery without graves or gravestones.”

— Max Kaufmann

The English edition of Max Kaufman’s largely forgotten book, Churbn Lettland: The Destruction of the Jews of Latvia, now available online, is a most welcome, and important, addition to the library of serious works on the Latvian Holocaust.[1]

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Latvian Musical that Sanitizes Holocaust Perpetrator Starts its Grand Tour



New Musical, “Sugar Herbert Sugar” Glorifies Herberts Cukurs

———

REACTIONS & REPORTS:

From Jerusalem: EFRAIM ZUROFF IN I24; IN THE JERUSALEM POST; IN THE LONDON JEWISH CHRONICLE

From Riga: ALEKSANDRS FEIGMANIS IN DEFENDING HISTORY

From Liepaja: MIKE COLLIER REVIEWS PREMIERE IN LSM.LV

ASSOCIATED PRESS REPORTS

Tickets sold online for performances around the country. About the show. Signature tune released on YouTube (Would they have done better with the old Archies version of “Sugar Sugar” or Just “Springtime for Hitler”?)

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Arts, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Human Rights, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, News & Views | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Latvian Musical that Sanitizes Holocaust Perpetrator Starts its Grand Tour

The Holocaust: A Photographic and Musical Tribute



O P I N I O N   /   M U S I C

by Roland Binet  (Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium)

 

MUSICAL AND PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPOSITION HERE

 

I know persons within my circle of acquaintances who refuse to look at the terrible pictures that this video exhibits. Photographs of Jewish victims of beatings, slayings.  Pictures of dead Jewish victims.  Pictures of local collaborators in the process of helping the Nazis in killing Jews.

These persons find those historical pictures too offensive, too terrible, too awful, for their taste.  They are not able too look at them, they are far too sensitive to put up with such awful scenes.

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Massacres of the Jews in Liepāja (Šķēde) in Fall 1941



M U S I C

by Roland Binet  (Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium)

The Nazis tried to hide their crimes against humankind during World War II. They had tried to hide the fact that in the former territories of the USSR they were killing Jews on a colossal scale starting in July 1941. And not only Jews, also anyone suspected of being a communist.

Although many soldiers in the Wehrmacht or the Waffen SS took pictures of Aktionen against the Jews, even kept pictures of massacres or dead Jewish bodies in their wallets, most of these photographic proofs of the Nazi crimes against humanity were destroyed, stolen from their corpses after their deaths, kept at home in Germany by descendants of these heinous and barbarous extermination soldiers, or, sometimes, recuperated by allied nations which kept them and not solely kept them, but displayed them as a testimony to these barbaric events.

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Rumbula and Ponár



M U S I C

by Roland Binet  (Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium)

This composition, Rumbula and Ponár, memorializes the victims of the two most infamous mass murder sites of Latvia and Lithuania, Rumbula outside Riga, and Ponár (Polish Ponary, Lithuanian Paneriai) outside Vilnius. More than 130,000 people were killed in total at these two sites. The majority were Jews but there were many others of diverse ethnic and social background at Ponár.

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What Riga Ghetto Survivors Recall about Herberts Cukurs, Now “Hero” of New Show in Latvia



O P I N I O N / H I S T O R Y

by Aleksandrs Feigmanis (Riga)

Herberts Cukurs (1900-1965) had been an officer and a famous aviator during the years of the interwar Latvian Republic (1918-1940). After Nazi Germany’s 1941 occupation of Latvia, he became a significant figure in the infamous Arājs Kommando (or Sonderkommando Arajs), a notorious killing unit during the Latvian Holocaust. The Arājs group consisted of about 1,200 people, mostly local Latvians. It was established at the beginning of July 1941 within the German security services.

The Arājs Kommando carried out the killing of at least 30,000 Jews in numerous cities and towns in Latvia. The toll included the family of my grandfather in Vilani (in Yiddish Vilon), which occurred at dawn on August 4, 1941. The victims were his parents, and his sisters and their husbands and young children.

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Is “Sugar Herbert Sugar” the Latvian Version of “Springtime for Hitler”?



New Latvian Musical, “Sugar Herbert Sugar” Glorifies Holocaust Mass Murderer Herberts Cukurs

Tickets now available online for performances around the country. About the show. Signature tune released on YouTube (Would they have done better with the old Archies version of “Sugar Sugar“?)

Are we back to Springtime for Hitler, just focused on celebrating a local mass murderer of Latvian Jewry? Will the hosting venues, including the City Cultural Centers in Jelgava and Valmiera, and prestigious halls in RigaLiepājaRēzekne and Ventspils also be holding memorials for their citizens murdered in the Latvian Holocaust in which Herberts Cukurs, known as the “Hangman of Riga,” took such a personal and violent part?

Produxers, The - Springtime for Hitler Magazine (PSoL 060612) combined (1)

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Latvian Court Downgrades Holocaust While High Society Readies for New “Springtime for Cukurs” Musical



Latvian Constitutional Court Upholds “Double Genocide” Restriction on Free Speech

Opinion that there was one genocide in the country (the Holocaust) remains criminalized by 2014 law, in the spirit of the laws passed in Hungary and Lithuania in 2010

Comment on Eastern EU speech laws by: Milan ChersonskiLeonidas DonskisDovid KatzEfraim Zuroff; See also: FREE SPEECH Section

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At the Same Time: New Latvian Musical (“Sugar, Herbert, Sugar”) Glorifying Holocaust Mass Murderer Herberts Cukurs Rehearsing for October 11th Premiere.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Arts, Collaborators Glorified, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, News & Views, Politics of Memory | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Latvian Court Downgrades Holocaust While High Society Readies for New “Springtime for Cukurs” Musical

Monica Lowenberg’s Speech at Berlin Screening of Juergen Hobrecht’s New Riga Ghetto Film



by Monica Lowenberg

On Sunday 29 June 2014, I had the privilege of participating in the Berlin screening of Juergen Holbrecht’s new documentary film Wir haben es doch erlebt — das Ghetto von Riga. I had translated the English version and done its narration. I was invited to the event by Professor Peter Alexis Albrecht (Frankfurt University) who is also director of the Cajewitz Stiftung and the association for a former Jewish orphanage, today a school, where my father Ernest Lowenberg and his brother, my uncle Paul Lowenberg were given shelter when it was no longer possible for their parents  as Jews to work in Nazi Germany.

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The Politics of History



O P I N I O N

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Translated from the Lithuanian by Geoff Vasil. Final version approved by the author.

 

Much has been said about recent history policy in Lithuania. What this means, different speakers understand differently. It probably isn’t wise to dwell long on the concept. Let’s just say “history policy” is the interpretation of historical events provided by state institutions and officials.

SEE SECTION ON

FREE SPEECH

The truth is specific. I will give one example of how this appears in our and neighboring states and how that illuminates the history of our state.

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Posted in Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Evaldas Balčiūnas, History, Latvia, Lithuania, Museums, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory | Comments Off on The Politics of History

Latvian Parliament’s New “Double Genocide” Law:



Up to Five Years Imprisonment for Those Who Disagree with Double Genocide

Further Diminution of Democracy in the Eastern EU

jail

Surpasses Lithuanian law (up to two years imprisonment) and Hungary’s version (up to three years)

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A Jewish Tragedy (Flute and Composition)


 


M U S I C

by Roland Binet (Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium)

 

Starting in 2009, after my first visit in Riga, I became interested in the fate of the Jews in the Baltic States during the war. I returned several times to Latvia and also visited Estonia and Lithuania. In 2013 while in Riga, I went to see the Rumbula Memorial to see for myself what that well-known and fateful place looked like. That year in Vilnius, I visited the Ponár (Paneriai) memorial site, another of those well-known fateful places.

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Latvian School Features “Judenfrei” Sign



from JTA

The entrance to a nursery school in Latvia owned by a traditionalist lawmaker featured a German-language sign advertising the establishment as being “Jew-free.”

The posting of the sign, which reads “Judenfrei,”  was revealed Monday by the Latvian daily Vesti Segodniya. The paper published a photo of the sign on the fence of the Pucite (“Owlet”) private school.

According to the Coordinating Forum for Countering Antisemitism, the establishment is owned by Imants Paradnieks, an ultranationalist Latvian lawmaker.

On Tuesday, Twitter users confronted him to ask whether the sign was genuine or just “a provocation.” He provided no reply, but wrote: “The Kremlin is full of jackals.”

The Riga-based school has a history of Nazi sympathies. In 2012, Pucite hosted two men dressed in Waffen SS uniforms, who held what they defined as “a lesson of patriotic upbringing” for the school’s early childhood program. A video of the lesson, which was uploaded to the nursery school’s website, showed two men encouraging 3-year-old children to play with World War II-era weapons.

 

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2014 Baltic Marching Season Concluded


 

Interface of Pro-Fascist Marches, Holocaust Revisionism, and Contemporary Racism

EFRAIM ZUROFF IN THE HUFFINGTON POSTJERUSALEM POST AND TABLET

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Latvia, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Comments Off on 2014 Baltic Marching Season Concluded

Summary Coverage of March 16th 2014 Waffen SS Event in Riga



Over 1500 March in Central Riga’s Annual March 16th Waffen SS Fest

MEDIA LINKS


Riga Waffen SS March 16th 2014

Liberty Monument and the heart of Riga are again gifted to the glorifiers of Hitler’s Waffen SS in Latvia.


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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Human Rights, Latvia, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Tagged , | Comments Off on Summary Coverage of March 16th 2014 Waffen SS Event in Riga

Summary Coverage in Run-Up to the 16 March 2014 Waffen SS March in Riga


Riga, Sunday March 16th 2014:

Could Riga (now the EU’s “Capital of European Culture”) Really be Allowing Yet Another City-Center Waffen SS Celebration on March 16th?

JUST IN:

BRITISH MEP RICHARD HOWITT ISSUES STATEMENT

MINISTER FACES SACKFOR FIRST TIME, GOV SAYS: STAY AWAY

BALTIC TIMES: AGAIN SPEWING OUT NATIONALIST PR AS “REPORTING”?

MONICA LOWENBERG’S “SPEAK NO EVIL” (video); PETITION NEARS 7000

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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.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, EU, Events, Human Rights, Latvia, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Racism, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on British MEP Richard Howitt, European Parliament Spokesperson on Human Rights, Issues Statement on Riga Waffen SS March

Film Maker Attempts to Gift New Film on Riga Ghetto to Latvian Embassy in German



The following is the English translation, by Monica Lowenberg, of a letter sent today by German film maker Jürgen Hobrecht to the Latvian ambassador in Berlin.


 

Dear Mrs. Japina,

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



O P I N I O N

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)

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, EU, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, News & Views, Opinion, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, Symbology, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Riga, Capital of European Culture: Waffen SS, Stags and Silence?

Aleksandrs Feigmanis Documents Mysterious Eight-Pointed Star in Riga Synagogue


MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAFollowing publication last year of an article on the mysterious eight-pointed star known from some old Jewish cemeteries in western Lithuania (the area known as Zámet in Yiddish, corresponding in part to Žemaitija), DH contributor Dr. Aleksandrs Feigmanis, director of Riga-based BalticGen Tours, has reported that a similar eight-pointed star adorns the (recently renovated) synagogue in Riga, Latvia. Hopefully, images will emerge of the prewar design corresponding to the reconstructed section in question.

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The Jewish Tragedy in the Baltic States



M U S I C

by Roland Binet (Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium)

 

THE AUTHOR’S MUSICAL COMPOSITIONS:

I   War

II   Ghetto

III   The Killing Pits

IV   Liberation

V   Remembrance

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Kaunas, Vilnius, Riga: Planned 2014 Neo-Nazi Marches (Summary Coverage to 26 Jan. 2014)



KaunasFebruary 16thVilniusMarch 11thRigaMarch 16th:

Will Lithuania’s President and Prime Minister Speak Out to Stop City-Centers on Independence Days Being Gifted to Neo-Nazis Again to Glorify the Holocaust’s Local Collaborators?

Last year, the president, prime minister and mayor failed to rise to the occasion of the neo-Nazi marches

Zabludoff’s Petition Nears the 3,000 Mark

First Stop — Kaunas on February 16th

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Events, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Latvia, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Kaunas, Vilnius, Riga: Planned 2014 Neo-Nazi Marches (Summary Coverage to 26 Jan. 2014)

World Union for Progressive Judaism “Fully Endorses” the Seventy Years Declaration (SYD)


LONDON—The World Union for Progressive Judaism released the following statement today, endorsing the Seventy Years Declaration (SYD). It also appears on the WUPJ website.

The news release, which was also circulated widely via the WUPJ’s emailed news reports, follows by half a year the SYD’s endorsement by Britain’s major Orthodox union, The United Synagogue, in the summer of 2013. [SYD text in European languages]


WUPJheader

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Latvian State Dance Troupe Displays Nazi Swastika



R E P O R T / O P I N I O N

by Graeme Atkinson (Hope Not Hate) and Monica Lowenberg (DefendingHistory.com)

Source: HOPE not hate/DefendingHistory.com Sunday, 24 November 2013.


 

Riga dance ensemble swastika Nov 2013

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Arts, Celebrations of Fascism, Human Rights, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, News & Views, Opinion, Racism | Comments Off on Latvian State Dance Troupe Displays Nazi Swastika

“Baltic Times” Does It Again: A Page of Hate Calling for Expulsion of a Million Legal Residents in Latvia



O P I N I O N  /  M E D I A   W A T C H

Last May, this journal reported on a full page of racial hate directed at Latvia’s “Russians” (a cover term for Russian-speakers of a multitude of backgrounds). It had appeared in the Baltic Times, under cover of the responsibility-shirking label “Advertisement.” Heaven help us all if the word advertisement can in European Union and NATO countries cover for spreads of hate and incitement to violation of human rights. In this case, the demand is for the veritable expulsion of a million peaceful, legal residents of a member state of these international alliances, both of which are based on the shared commitment to uphold the human rights of all.

Rather than repeat the commentary offered at the page’s earlier appearance, we refer back to it here on the occasion of its reappearance in this month’s Baltic Times (dated 31 October — 27 November 2013), that occupies all of page 5 in the main news (!) section.

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Riga, Roots and Reflections


 


M E M O I R S   /   O P I N I O N

by Monica Lowenberg

 

In 2011, I made my first journey to Riga, the capital city of Latvia.

A few months before, I had been tracked down by two distant cousins on a genealogy site, quite out of the blue. I remember the strange feeling I had when one of them asked me if I felt “Latvian.” Latvian? German Christian, German Jewish, British, yes — but Latvian Jewish? No.

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A Musical Tribute to the Rumbula Victims



M U S I C   /   O P I N I O N

by Roland Binet (Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium)

 

SOUND TRACKS OF THE AUTHOR’S COMPOSITIONS:

Rumbula

Threnody

 

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Wiesenthal Center Blasts Latest Pro-Fascist Commemoration by Latvian Authorities


JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today denounced the commemoration of the “liberation” of the Latvian city of Limbazi, sponsored by the Visu Latvija political party, a member of the ruling coalition in the nation’s parliament in Riga.

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An Unmarked Holocaust Mass Murder Site in Riga, the Latvian Capital



INTERVIEW WITH RIGA HISTORIAN MEYER MELLER (MELERS)

by Aleksandrs Feigmanis

The great Russian author Lev Tolstoy wrote in his story “From the Notebook of Prince D. Nekhlyudov. Luzern.”

 “Seventh July 1857 in Luzern in front of the Schweizerhof Hotel, where most rich people would stay the itinerant beggar-singer sings songs for half an hour and plays his guitar. About a hundred people heard him. Three times the singer asked the crowd to give him some money or food. Nobody gave him anything and many laughed at him.” […] This is the event which the historian of our times should write about with fiery irascible letters. This event is much more important and serious and has much more sense than the facts written in newspapers and history books. […] This is not a fact for the history of human acts, but for the history of progress and civilization.”

All that marks this major Holocaust mass grave in Riga, the Latvian capital, is a plastic bucket of flowers near the empty frame of a long-destroyed Soviet-era tin sign.

If you wish to see the mass grave take number 13 bus from the central station headed for Plavnieki and get off at the stop called Darzenu baze (roughly a half-hour ride). When you get off, turn from Lubanas street to the right until you come to Darzenu baze (“warehouse for vegetables”). In the pine woods some 300 meters from the warehouse you will see a little hill, without any mark, inscription or tombstone. Just a few primitive buckets of plastic flowers mark the site. They are placed near a wood frame stand that once, in Soviet times, held within it a bilingual tin sign about the site, that has long been destroyed and removed. The site is about 600 meters from the nine-floor apartment houses in Riga’s Plavnieki district. 

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Tone and Moral Judgment in a Famous Book on the Latvian Holocaust



B O O K S

by Roland Binet (Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium)

 

I became interested in the Holocaust in Latvia during my first visit there in 2009 and, above all, after having visited the Museum of the Jews in Latvia with its detailed exhibition of the tragedy that befell the Jewish population of that country. I had earlier read some books about the massacres that took place in Latvia between 1 July 1941 and the re-conquest of that country by the Red Army in 1944. Books written by survivors depicted a horrific environment including mass slayings, pogroms, denunciations, refusal of help for someone still alive. For those few who survived as slaves (roughly one out of ninety), there were living conditions far worse than what Dante could ever have imagined in his own time.

Thus, after a number of years, it was with great expectations that I began to read Andrew Ezergailis’s renowned book, The Holocaust in Latvia (first edition, 1996).[1]

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A Lively Conference in Riga


[updated 12 June 2013]



Was a goodwill opportunity squandered when the director general of the Vilnius based “red-brown” commission used his lecture time (at the Riga conference on Holocaust commemoration in post-Communist countries) for personal remarks (with inaccurate comments about the editor of Defending History)?  

MULTIMEDIA RECORD OF EVENTS: VIDEO OF RONALDAS RAČINSKAS’S  (28 MAY) LECTURE  (in Russian) IN RESPONSE TO DOVID KATZ’S (27 MAY) LECTURE (PDF OF HIS PP; VIDEO PROVIDED BY THE CONFERENCE; PARTIAL IPHONE VIDEO [BY JOE KOREN] ).

UPDATES:

Edward Jacobs in the Huffington Post (31 May 2013)

More materials (including videos of the entire conference) posted by conference organizers; videos also on YouTube (12 June 2013)

In the meantime there has been no apology to the Vilnius Holocaust Survivor the state-sponsored commission called a liar on its website (in 2013), or to its own founding member Yitzhak Arad. Resignations on principle from the commission and its associated committees include Sir Martin GilbertProf. Gershon GreenbergProf. Konrad Kwiet, and Prof. Dov Levin. The state-sponsored “International Commission for the Evaluation of the Crimes of the Nazi and Soviet Occupation Regimes in Lithuania” continues to flaunt the Prague Declaration on its website, in both Lithuanian and English.

Milan  Chersonski in Riga 27 May 2013SEE ALSO: Milan Chersonski’s Riga conference paper (27 May) “Rehabilitation of the Past as a Tool of Modern Politics” (authorized English translation). Milan Chersonski (Chersonskij) edited the Lithuanian Jewish Community’s quadrilingual (English-Lithuanian-Russian-Yiddish) newspaper Jerusalem of Lithuania from 1999 to the paper’s demise in 2010-2011. See our Milan Chersonski section. His publications in Defending History represent his own views.

RELATED:

Critiques of the commission

DH section on the commission

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British Updates



British Foreign Office on Latvia’s National Waffen SS Fest:

UK’S MINISTER FOR EUROPE ENTERS THE FRAY

MONICA LOWENBERG IN THE LONDON JEWISH NEWS

ANNA SHEINMAN IN THE JEWISH CHRONICLE

BACKGROUND: DAVID CESARANI IN THE GUARDIAN

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Baltic Times: Hitting a New Low with “Paid Advertisement” Advocating Migration of Latvia’s Russian Speakers?



 

O P I N I O N  /  M E D I A   W A T C H

The half-page article on the “Business” page of the Baltic Times (dated 4-17 April 2013 but widely available this week here in Vilnius) carries at its end the words “This is a paid advertisement.”

But these words do not succeed in mitigating the moral responsibility of the increasingly ultranationalist, far-right newspaper in disseminating hate material against any minority, least of all of in an EU / NATO member state. The inherent equality of peoples and their races and languages and national and personal identities are an inseparable component of what the European Union and NATO are all about.

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Swastikas From Latvia in Center of Šiauliai (Shavl), Lithuania, as Police Look On


Since 2010, when a Lithuanian court proclaimed public swastikas legal and included in its ruling the “historical wisdom” that it only a harmless ancient Baltic symbol, swastikas have proliferated at public events sponsored by the far right, with police looking on listlessly. Most painfully for the dwindling numbers of Holocaust survivors here and abroad, swastikas and other fascist symbols, along with glorification of local Holocaust collaborators, have figured in sanctioned independence day marches in Kaunas on February 16th each year, and in the capital city Vilnius, each March 11th.

In 2012, the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee commented publicly.

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UK’s Minister for Europe Refuses to Criticize Baltic Glorification of Nazism



British Foreign Office on Latvia’s National Waffen SS Fest:

Minister for Europe Enters the Fray; Of Churchill’s Party, He Seems to Forget Great Britain’s Heroism in Bringing Down Hitler and — Scourge (and Historic Result) of Nazi-Worship in the Baltics

Anna Sheinman Reports in the London Jewish Chronicle

Images from the 2013 Waffen SS events in Central Riga

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Images from the March 16th 2013 Annual Glorification of Latvian Waffen SS in Riga



by Monica Lowenberg

Riga, 1943: Latvian soldiers proudly march with a Latvian flag and a Nazi flag. Some of the men were conscripted into the Waffen SS, but a number were volunteers.

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Summary Coverage of March 16th 2013 Waffen SS March in Riga, Latvia



Annual Glorification of Latvia’s Hitler-Serving Waffen SSInternational Petition

Waffen SS Riga

Opinion: R. BRODSKYLATVIA’S UK AMBASSADORMONICA LOWENBERG

JOËL RUBINFELD’S NEWSLETTER ON EVENTS OF MARCH 16TH

Reports: APDelfiFoxJewish News — JNS.orgJ. KažaReutersRIART (video2); Times of IsraelWashington PostYNetVideo of wreath layingYahoo.  Gallery of imagesMore mediaWWN media list.

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MARINA SOLODKIN’S DEATH AND HER LAST PUBLIC STATEMENT

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INTERNATIONAL PETITION

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The Last Public Statement of Former Israeli Knesset Member Marina Solodkin


One of the last photos of Dr. Marina Solodkin, who came to protest the Waffen SS march in Riga on March 16th 2013, shortly before her sudden death in her hotel room. Photo by Juris Kaža.

Marina Solodkin (1952 — 2013)

Dr. Marina Solodkin, 60, a Moscow native and former member of the Israeli Knesset, died in her hotel room, of an apparent heart attack or stroke, in Riga, the capital of Latvia, on March 16th. She had come to join activities to protest this year’s Waffen SS march earlier that day. [UPDATE: See now reports in Arutz Sheva, Haaretz, Jerusalem Post, Jewish PressJTAThe Times of IsraelYNet; a brief biography appears on the Israeli Foreign Ministry’s website.]

A screen-capture of Dr. Solodkin’s final Facebook posting, from Israel on March 15th before setting off for Riga, appears below. It translates:

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Cameron’s Latvian Liaison, One Woman’s Petition and One SS March



O P I N I O N

by Monica Lowenberg

 

If you walked through a busy EU city today and came across Eichmann Allee, Hitler Strasse or even Goebbels Gasse you would initially think that someone was pulling your leg or you would start to raise, and rightly so, serious questions regarding the ruling government that would allow such blatant glorification of mass murderers to take place. You can therefore imagine how I felt, the daughter of a German Jewish refugee whose paternal Latvian Jewish family had all been brutally murdered in the Libau massacres of 1941 and Riga ghetto, to discover in 2011, that each and every 16 March, since 1998, SS veterans are glorified in the capital city of Riga in Latvia an EU and NATO country since 2004.

My name is Monica Lowenberg; I was born on a cold winter’s day in 1964, in ear shot of Bow Bells.

On January 20, 2012, I set up a petition to stop the 16th March marches in Riga, ninety years to the day from the date of birth of my uncle Paul Theodor Loewenberg who at age 19 was sent to the Riga Ghetto on 4 October 1941. The petition is as much an act of commemoration of the victims of Nazism as it is a tribute to the European parliamentarians, including a number from Latvia, who wisely and courageously signed on the 20 January last year 2012, the Seventy Years Declaration, commemorating Wannsee, a declaration which specifically rejects glorification of Latvia’s Waffen SS, along with Estonia’s Waffen SS and the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) in Lithuania.

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Latvian Ambassador to the UK Comments on March 16th Waffen SS March in Riga


LONDON—Latvia’s ambassador to the UK has responded to a UK Conservative Party MP’s question about the Waffen SS events held in the center of Latvia’s capital, Riga, on March 16th each year. The office of UK Parliament MP David Amess, who represents Southend West, released the response dated 1 March 2013, which he received from the Latvian ambassador to the UK, HE Eduards Stiprais. It is reproduced in full below (as PDF here), courtesy of the office of Monica Lowenberg in London, whose petition and media guide have brought the Latvian SS marches to increased international scrutiny.

MONICA LOWENBERG’S REPLY TO THE LATVIAN AMBASSADOR IN 2012

See also Monica Lowenberg’s 2012 exchange of ideas with the Latvian ambassador to the UK. More in Defending History’s Latvia section.

Ambassador Stiprais’s letter to MP Amess:

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Summary Coverage on Monument in Bauska to Honor Waffen SS (updated to 12 Oct 2012)


REPORT.   HEAD OF JEWISH COMMUNITIES ISSUES PROTEST.  SWC COMMENTSFATE OF EFFORTS TO ERECT A MEMORIAL TO THE TOWN’S ANNIHILATED JEWISH POPULATION.

SEE ALSO:

LATVIA SECTION

MONICA LOWENBERG’S INTERNATIONAL PETITION & BLOG ON THE WAFFEN SS PARADES IN RIGA;  MAINSTREAM UK LINKS WITH LATVIAN FAR RIGHT

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Latvian Jewish Communities Send Protest Letter to Nation’s President over Opening of New Monument Glorifying the Waffen SS


RIGA—Text of the letter released today follows (background here).


To the President of the Republic of Latvia Mr. Berzins
Copy to: Minister for Environmental Protection and Regional Development Mr. Sprudzhs

Dear Mr. President:

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Will Intellectuals in Western Countries Continue their Silence on Latvia’s Glorification of Hitler’s Waffen SS?



E Y E W I T N E S S   R E P O R T   /   O P I N I O N

by Roland Binet (Braine-l’Alleud, Belgium)

RIGA—The day is a festive one despite the gray and low sky. Young pretty girls have bunches of roses which they soon distribute to elderly and solemn gentlemen arriving, row upon row in an interminable procession. Numerous national flags are held in a heraldic and staid way by young men forming a kind of double guard of honor.


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1500 Honor the Waffen SS at Riga’s Liberty Monument; Event is Praised by Latvia’s President, Condemned by Council of Europe’s Commission on Racism



E Y E W I T N E S S    R E P O R T  /  O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

 

RIGA—According to most estimates, there were around 1500 participants today in the city-center ceremony honoring the Waffen SS, about 1000 police, and about one hundred protesters who turned out in opposition to the event.

The ongoing campaign by some East European governments to repackage far-right ultranationalist politics and policies (with concomitant antisemitic, racist and Nazi-glorifying undertones) as a wholesome British-conservative-style “center right” has suffered a major blow.  The battleground of ideas has in recent weeks shifted to the annual Waffen SS commemoration ceremony held at Liberty Monument, the symbolic heart of the capital of Latvia, with the blessing of some of the nation’s top leaders.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Dovid Katz, Events, Human Rights, Latvia, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Racism, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, Symbology | Tagged , | Comments Off on 1500 Honor the Waffen SS at Riga’s Liberty Monument; Event is Praised by Latvia’s President, Condemned by Council of Europe’s Commission on Racism

Monica Lowenberg in Dialogue with Latvia’s Ambassador to the UK



D E B A T E

From the 2009 Waffen SS march in Riga. Photo Ilmars Znotins.

Monica Lowenberg is the creator of the international petition against this year’s Waffen SS march scheduled for 16 March 2012 in the heart of Riga, Latvia’s capital city. The petition has to date attracted some six thousand signatures from every part of the planet.

Its author approached the Latvian ambassador to the UK for support.

Below is his letter of 1 March (as PDF here). It is followed by the text of Monica Lowenberg’s 5 March reply, supplied to DefendingHistory.com for publication.

 

I: The Latvian Ambassador to Monica Lowenberg (1 March 2012)

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Latvian President, Blasting Critics of March 16th ‘Waffen SS Parade, says it’s ‘Crazy to Think Them War Criminals’


In an escalation of high level pro-Nazi rhetoric in Riga, the nation’s president, Andris Bērziņš, said today that the international community needs to have it explained.

Have what explained? Why those who served in Nazi Germany’s Latvian Waffen SS divisions are honored in the country’s capital on March 16th each year.

The president of Latvia went on to say that “It’s crazy to think they’re war criminals.”

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Council of Europe’s Commission Against Racism and Intolerance Condemns Latvia’s Waffen SS Parades and Celebration of Hitler’s 1941 Invasion


The Council of Europe’s Commission against Racism and Intolerance today published online its 9 December report ECRI Report on Latvia (fourth monitoring cycle). In the 67 page report, the ECRI (European Commission against Racism and Intolerance) explicitly condemns the Waffen SS marches enabled and supported for many years by some of the highest echelons of Latvian government and society. There is also reference to the more recent case of celebrating the day of Hitler’s invasion in 1941.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, EU, Human Rights, Latvia, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Racism, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, United Nations | Comments Off on Council of Europe’s Commission Against Racism and Intolerance Condemns Latvia’s Waffen SS Parades and Celebration of Hitler’s 1941 Invasion

The Waffen-SS as Freedom Fighters



O P I N I O N

by Per Anders Rudling

Despised and ostracized, the Swedish community of Waffen-SS volunteers long gathered in secret on April 14, “The Day of the Fallen,” for obscure ritualistic annual gatherings at a cemetery in a Stockholm suburb.[1]

Since the 1990s, the rituals have not needed to be clandestine: the few, now very elderly survivors now head to Sinimäe, Estonia, where they feel they are now getting the honor to which they are entitled. Here, Swedish, Norwegian, Austrian, German and other Waffen-SS veterans from Western Europe meet up with their Estonian comrades.[2] The annual gatherings include those who volunteered for ideological reasons, and who are today actively passing on the experiences to a new generation of neo-Nazis.

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The Seventy Years Declaration (Latvian)


 


2012.gada 20. janvāris

Septiņdesmitās gadadienas Deklarācija kopš “Galīgā risinājuma ebreju jautājumā”

 

Šajā 70 gadu atceres pasākumā, kopš nacisti oficiāli pieņēma plānu “Galīgais risinājums ebreju jautājumā” Vanzē konferencē, mēs, zemāk parakstījušies

ATCERAMIES:

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Red-Equals-Brown is a Historical Aberration



O P I N I O N

by Roland Binet (Belgium)

The European Union has as one of its main tasks the promotion of cordial understanding between the peoples of Europe and, consequently, it must be careful about the history of the continent as it is being taught.  One of the reasons for the foundation of the Union was to bring together peoples that were previously enemies, in two world wars and numerous other conflicts.

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David Silberman — A Witness for Our Time



by Roland Binet (Belgium)

David Silberman was born in Latvia in 1934. As a Jew of young age when the war came upon his country of birth, he was fated to die.1 Because, when the Germans conquered Latvia in June and July 1941, spontaneous as well as induced pogroms developed in different parts of the country with thousands of Jewish victims. Then, as early as July and August 1941 ― in bloody actions by Einsatzgruppe A as well as by autonomous Latvian self-proclaimed guardians ― the Jews began systematically to be killed, even long before the decision of the “Endlösung” (Final Solution) of the “Jewish problem” had finally been taken in Berlin.2

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Myth, Violence, Genocide



O P I N I O N

by Christopher Hale

There are a number of books about the ‘foreign divisions of the Third Reich’. Most seem to be written for military history buffs and those fascinated by uniforms and arcane details of military insignia. Some are downright sinister. The series of books written by Richard Landwehr, an American ‘historian’ associated with the far right, are overtly favourable and have titles like ‘Lions of Flanders’, ‘Steadfast Hussars’ and ‘Nordic Warriors’.  His Wiki entry includes the following rationale:

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