Monica Lowenberg

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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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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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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Roma Commemoration at Lety Site in the Czech Republic



O P I N I O N

by Monica Lowenberg

Most people know that six million Jews were murdered by the Nazis in the Holocaust.

Few people know that well over half a million Sinti and Roma Gypsies were murdered in the same ghettos, killing fields and concentration camps alongside the Jews.

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Monica Lowenberg’s Discussion with Ronaldas Racinskas in NY’s Algemeiner Journal (Feb. 17-19 2014)



The following, in reverse chronological order, is the text of Monica Lowenberg’s two comments to Ronaldas Racinskas’s comment, all in the discussion following Olga Zabludoff’s article in the Algemeiner Journal on the Holocaust in Lithuania and a Yivo symposium in New York. These and other comments appear in the AJ‘s comments section.

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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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Summary Coverage of 1-2 December 2013 London Events at ORT and Westminster Synagogue Sponsored by Lithuanian Embassy



Monica Lowenberg Issues Public Letter on Lithuanian Embassy Event

Embassy’s Latest PR Initiative Entangles Westminster Synagogue and British ORT

Lowenberg Family Severs Lifelong ORT Ties

EVENT ORGANIZERS DID NOT ALLOW PETITION TO BE READ OUT

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Monica Lowenberg Releases Text of Letter to British ORT on Latest Lithuanian Embassy Sponsored “Litvak Do” in London



O P I N I O N

by Monica Lowenberg

Monica Lowenberg’s office has released for publication the following public letter sent to British ORT. 


 

British ORT, FAO The Chief Executive, Mr. Dan Green

25 November 2013

Dear Mr. Green,

It is with deep regret that my 90 year old father, Ernest Lowenberg, former Berlin ORT pupil and I write to you today.

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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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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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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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Facebook Discussion of 23-29 April 2013 on the May 2013 Global Forum in Jerusalem


A paste-in of the Facebook discussion to date on the upcoming Global Forum conferences in Jerusalem is available at:

http://defendinghistory.com/facebook-discussion-on-2013-global-forum-23-29-april-2013.

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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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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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When Cassedy Came to London Town



O P I N I O N / E Y E W I T N E S S   A C C O U N T

by Emily Sheinbaum

 

On a rainy London evening, Thursday the 7th of March, six protesters met at University College London (UCL), for Cassedy had come to town. Her public talk initially scheduled to take place in the Garwood lecture theatre was unexpectedly changed to the Medawar Lankester lecture theatre two days prior. People on the Hebrew department’s Institute of Jewish Studies email list were notified of the change in venue but the details were, curiously enough, not updated on UCL’s website.

Nevertheless, despite such last-minute logistical alterations, protesters against Cassedy’s book tour that is underway “in association” with the Lithuanian government met at 6:30 PM in the narrow corridor leading to the Lankester theatre. By a small table they strategically positioned themselves ready to warmly greet the 45 odd attendees who politely walked past and eagerly took handouts concerning the Lithuanian government’s recent actions since 2006, Ms. Cassedy’s association with the government, petitions, letters and book reviews.

Book reviews of Ms. Cassedy’s We Are Here

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End of the World. And the Day After …



O P I N I O N

by Monica Lowenberg

 

It is the 24th of December 2012, three days after the announced end of the world. I am sitting at my desk drinking a cup of a tea. No gaping hole has suddenly swallowed me up, no heavens have collapsed, no earthquakes have caused Tsunamis to sweep coastal towns. My cat is blissfully unaware of the commotion millions of people around the world have caused on mountain tops, at sacred sites and even in a museum in Russia which for apparently only $1,500 offered salvation in the underground bunker of the former Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. Apparently the museum sold all 1,000 tickets in one fell swoop and I am sure now regret that they offered a 50% discount if nothing happened. Tant pis. It is amazing how people will believe anything today. Even some very intelligent people.

The last time I looked at the international petition site I set up against the SS marches in Latvia, in number one place, above any human rights cause, came the rights of Shetland ponies. I am not sure what happened to the Shetland ponies but clearly something must have, as thousands and thousands of people across the world vitriolically and vociferously protested and voted for their rights and rightly so. However, when it comes to the rights of humans the voting finger is in most cases nowhere to be seen.

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December 2012 London Conference at UCL and Protest (Box Coverage to 24 Dec)



DOCUMENTS: Petition (with links; with select signatures) ◊ Petitioner’s dossierUPDATES: Petition’s first effect ◊ Jewish Chronicle ◊ London Jewish News ◊ UCL Hebrew Dept lets Holocaust survivors down ◊ Disinformation campaign ◊ Monica Lowenberg looks back at the events (24 Dec. 2012)LETTERS: Alumnus writes to provost (& to ambassador) ◊ Ruth Barnett ◊ Hans Coppi  (English) ◊ (Rachel Margolis’s cousin) Budd Margolis ◊ Gert Weisskirchen

PROTEST AT LITHUANIAN EMBASSY IN LONDON

VIDEO FROM THE EVENT: 12, and 3

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Within Days of Monica Lowenberg’s Petition, Vilnius Municipality Tries to Move March 11th 2013 Neo-Nazi March Away from City Center


Several days after Monica Lowenberg’s petition was presented to the Lithuanian embassy in London, one of the petition’s points was partly acted on, at least as far as a press release goes, by a governmental agency in Lithuania, notably the Vilnius municipality.

PUBLIC PETITIONS HAVE AN EFFECT!

Point no. 4 of Ms. Lowenberg’s petition reads:

4) A commitment to disallow the neo-Nazi parades in the city centres of Vilnius and Kaunas on national Independence Day holidays in 2013 (with no prejudice to reassignment of venues on free speech grounds to sites and dates that do not heavily imply state support).

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UCL Hebrew-Jewish Studies Dept Rejects Request for Five Minutes for Holocaust Survivor to Read Petition at Lithuanian Gov. Sponsored Conference


London observers were wondering whether the medal Professor Antony Polonsky received earlier this year from the president of Lithuania for his PR work for the Lithuanian government may have something to do with his denial of Monica Lowenberg’s request, asking for five minutes for her father, a Holocaust survivor, to read out at next week’s conference her petition to the Lithuanian government, proposing constructive solutions to the issues at hand. The petition has to date garnered over 250 signatories from two dozen countries. The following is the correspondence, which started with Ms. Lowenberg’s appeal to Professor Ada Rapoport-Albert and Dr. Francois Guesnet. Dr. Guesnet, the Corob Reader in Jewish History at UCL is one of the conference coordinators on behalf of the Lithuanian government funded institutions financing the conference. Holocaust survivors consulted cannot understand why safe and secure academics who hold high posts at Western institutions should so fear “even to give five minutes for somebody else to come and disagree” with the conference’s pay-masters in the freedom of the British capital.

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On Free Speech at University College London



O P I N I O N

by Monica Lowenberg

The following letter to the provost of University College London was released for publication today by Ms. Lowenberg’s office.


 

To the Provost

Dear Professor Grant,

Please find pasted below correspondence between myself and Dr Francois Guenest of UCL and Professor Polonsky who together have organised with the Lithuanian government this year’s Part 2 conference ‘No Simple Stories’ to be held next week 17-19 December at the Lithuanian embassy in London and UCL.

I requested that I read out a petition that hundreds of people across the world, scholars, survivors and others agree with, a petition that disagrees with Polonsky’s and the Lithuanian government’s interpretation of events and action. Polonsky as designated organiser has refused me the opportunity to read out the petition.

Serious questions have to now be raised about the conference, its agenda and UCL.

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The Text of Monica Lowenberg’s Petition on Change.org



The following is a verbatim reprint of Monica Lowenberg’s December 2012 petition on Change.org. Embedded links have been added, marked by underlining, referring readers to further coverage on Defending History pages which link to various  sources providing more background.


Petitioning HE Ambassador Asta Skaisgirytė Liauškienė

 This petition will be delivered to:

  • Lithuanian Ambassador for London, UK
  • HE Ambassador Asta Skaisgirytė Liauškienė

Abandon state sponsored Anti-Semitism and Holocaust Obfuscation

  •  Petition by
  •  Monica Lowenberg
  •  London, United Kingdom

Following the announcement that the Lithuanian Embassy is one of the generous co-sponsors of this month’s London conference on Jewish-Lithuanian issues including the Holocaust, we the undersigned ask the Embassy’s public support on the following urgent matters:

1) Rapid and elegant public apologies, released prior to the conference, to the Jewish Holocaust Survivors defamed in recent years by Lithuanian prosecutors, media and some government officials. The survivors are in their late 80s and 90s, making time essential if there is going to be a symbolic amelioration in the manner in which the Lithuanian state is ending a 700 year old history of Jewish settlement, and on what note, with the last survivors of the bona fide pre Holocaust generation. Most urgently, Rachel Margolis; also: Yitzhak Arad and Fania Brantsovsky and Joseph Melamed.

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Why Monica Lowenberg’s Petition Is So Important



O P I N I O N

Londoner Monica Lowenberg, who has done so much, with a petition and via press coverage, to keep on Britain’s political agenda the Latvian government-blessed Waffen-SS parades in Riga each year, has in one fell swoop done a huge good for sadly analogous topics pertaining to neighboring Lithuania.  By launching an international petition in advance of this month’s Lithuanian government sponsored PR conference in London, and focusing the petition on simple, virtually cost-free good-will solutions to the irksome issues in Lithuanian-Jewish relations, she has shown how easy the extant problems would be to solve if the political will were there from the state (and it is the state, not the everyday people of the country that is the cause of all these problems). A state has embarked on a foolhardy campaign to rewrite history in the direction of glorification of Hitlerist allies in Eastern Europe, precisely the opposite of the values that EU and NATO member states should be instilling in new generations of Europeans.

Ms. Lowenberg’s petition, signed by hundreds of people from a dozen countries in its first few days, begins with the simple request for a public apology by the Lithuanian government to the Holocaust survivors defamed by Lithuania’s antisemitic state prosecutors who have called the courageous Jewish ghetto survivors who joined the anti-Nazi partisans (and are heroes of the free world) — “war criminals.” For half a dozen years, the campaign has included everything from press releases saying that these survivors “cannot be found” to police actually turning up looking for two women in their late eighties.

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Monica Lowenberg’s Petition to the Lithuanian Ambassador to the UK, HE Asta Skaisgirytė-Liauškienė



The text of Monica Lowenberg’s petition that appeared today on Change.org. To sign please visit:

http://www.change.org/en-GB/petitions/he-ambassador-asta-skaisgiryt%C4%97-liau%C5%A1kien%C4%97-lithuanian-ambassador-london-uk-abandon-state-sponsored-anti-semitism-and-holocaust-obfuscation


Abandon state sponsored Antisemitism and Holocaust Obfuscation

  • To:
  • HE Ambassador Asta Skaisgirytė-Liauškienė
  • Lithuanian Ambassador for London, UK

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Posted in 70 Years Declaration, Antisemitism & Bias, Double Games, Double Genocide, Human Rights, Litvak Affairs, Monica Lowenberg, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, UCL Manipulated?, United Kingdom | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Monica Lowenberg’s Petition to the Lithuanian Ambassador to the UK, HE Asta Skaisgirytė-Liauškienė

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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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Free Speech & Democracy, History, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, United Kingdom | Comments Off on Monica Lowenberg in Dialogue with Latvia’s Ambassador to the UK