Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches

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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Full Transcript of the “Fania Brantsovsky Witch Hunt Ceremony” on Lithuania’s Independence Day



OPINION  |  DOCUMENTS  |   BLAMING THE VICTIMS?  |  DOUBLE GENOCIDE  |  VILNIUS GENOCIDE CENTER  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES

VILNIUS—This year’s March 11th independence day march here last month was again granted the route of highest prestige, from Cathedral Square, up the whole of the capital’s main thoroughfare, Gedimino Boulevard, and ending at Parliament Square. Defending History’s eyewitness report recounted this year’s “detour” to the presidential palace for the bizarre ceremony of attacking Lithuania’s oldest Holocaust survivor, Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky (Brancovskaja), 95 next month, one of the Jewish partisans subjected to defamation by the state’s campaign of Holocaust revisionism that has included a “blame the victims” components that started eleven years ago.

CAMPAIGN AGAINST (ONLY JEWISH) VETERANS OF THE ANTI-NAZI PARTISANS; RENEWED 2017 CAMPAIGN AGAINST FANIA YOCHELES BRANTSOVSKY

 

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Debates on the Postwar "Forest Brothers", Documents, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Full Transcript of the “Fania Brantsovsky Witch Hunt Ceremony” on Lithuania’s Independence Day

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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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Germany, Human Rights, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Comments Off on Monica Lowenberg’s Speech at the Protest Outside the Latvian Embassy in Berlin

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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Posted in Collaborators Glorified, Events, Germany, Human Rights, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on German Member of Parliament Volker Beck Joins Protest at the Latvian Embassy in Berlin

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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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, EU, Human Rights, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Comments Off on Call for International Protest Against Latvian Gov. Granting Riga Center for Waffen SS Festivities on 16 March 2017

Over 500 Neo-Nazis Granted Center of Vilnius for March 11th Parade; A Tirade Against Holocaust Survivor Fania Yocheles Brantsovsky, 95


[last update 14 March 2017]

HUMAN RIGHTS  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  IN VILNIUS  | KAUNAS  |  RIGA

by Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—A six-person monitoring group assembled by Defending History was the only human rights team at this year’s March 11th neo-Nazi march in central Vilnius. DH’s monitors were Eveldas Balčiūnas, Dovid Katz, Julius Norwilla, Ruta Ostrovskaja, Jacob Piliansky, and Julia Rets. Two senior longtime annual observers, both major figures in Lithuania’s Jewish community for over half a century, Milan Chersonski and Prof. Pinchos Fridberg, were prevented  by health issues from monitoring the event this year.

For years Defending History has asked that the marchers’ freedom of speech be respected at venues away from the center of the capital on the nation’s independence day. The granting of “that time and place” (only since 2008) conveys a sense of legitimization by both the municipality and national government, which are sometimes thought to be playing a “double game” by facilitating the honoring of Holocaust perpetrators locally, alongside commemorations for the victims for foreign consumption. At least two Western ambassadors were “quietly” among the observing crowds.

Photo Galleries:

Evaldas Balčiūnas; Julius Norwilla; Julia RetsAlkas.lt; Delfi.lt. Did “mainstream media” coverage avoid imaging swastikas, other fascist symbols, and Hitler salutes?

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Defending History to Monitor Central Vilnius Neo-Nazi Parade on March 11th Independence Day



HUMAN RIGHTS  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  IN VLNIUS  | KAUNAS  |  RIGA

VILNIUS—DefendingHistory.com invites citizens and visitors in town, and the Human Rights community especially, to come join the annual monitoring mission that will meet this Saturday, 11 March, at 3:30 PM at the Bell Tower on Cathedral square. From 2008, the year the center of Vilnius was first gifted by the municipality to the neo-nazis on the nation’s cherished March 11th independence day, the Vilnius-based team has been keeping track of the annual event, which has caused unbearable pain to the last Holocaust survivors and their families, not least because the marchers often flaunt placards glorifying various specific local Holocaust collaborators, in what appears to be a kind of celebration of the murder of the country’s Jewish citizens in the Holocaust. Since 2009, the team has been monitoring personally, on an annual basis, at the same time silently protesting and commemorating the annihilated Jewish population of the city that was once called Jerusalem of Lithuania. The march’s Facebook page is here.

The following is today’s public entry on the Facebook page of DH’s editor, Dovid Katz:

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Dovid Katz, Events, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Defending History to Monitor Central Vilnius Neo-Nazi Parade on March 11th Independence Day

Neo-Nazis, Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators & Spewing Racism, Again Gifted Center of Kaunas on Lithuania’s Cherished Feb 16th Independence Day


[Last media link update: 26 Feb. 2017]

Defending History Monitors Kaunas Neo-Nazi March on Lithuania’s Feb. 16th Independence Day

OUR REPORT ON THE RUN-UP TO THE MARCH

Media coverage of the march: JTA; History News NetworkTimes of Israel (French edition); BNS / Delfi.lt; Bernardinai.ltAlkas.lt; Diena.lt; Kaunaskasvyksta.ltKauno.diena.lt15min.lt; tv3.lt;  Novaya Gazeta; Antisemitism.org.ilIzrus.co.il; EinNews.com; CBS8.comWFMJ.comFox8Live; TodayInTheNews.comOfficial Lithuanian Jewish Community response; TelAvivTimes.com

The five-person Defending History team was the only human rights monitor  this year. “We came to remember the 30,000 murdered Jews of Kaunas on the independence day that they too patriotically marked with love every year. It is shocking that yet again the mayor and city council have gifted the center of the city, including Liberty Boulevard and the plaza of the historic presidential palace, on the cherished independence day, to the neo-nazis who so damage the name of modern, tolerant, democratic Lithuania.”

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Kaunas, Lithuania: Run-Up to the February 16th 2017 Neo-Nazi March on Independence Day



Kaunas Mayor & City Council Deciding

whether to again allow neo-nazis sporting banners adulating Holocaust collaborators to take over the city center on Lithuania’s cherished February 16th Independence Day next week

PREVIOUS YEARS IN KAUNAS     IN VILNIUS     IN RIGA     DH SECTION

Banner from last year’s takeover of central Kaunas on Feb. 16th: Same again?

From left: Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, Jonas NoreikaPovilas Plechavičius, Kazys ŠkirpaAntanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis, under the banner translating “We know our nation’s heroes”.

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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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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

Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Gareth Thomas, Latvia, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, United Kingdom | Comments Off on Waffen SS Fest in Central Riga on March 16th

A Month After Kaunas March Glorifying Holocaust Collaborators, Israeli Ambassador Shocks Survivors by Praising City’s Jewish Remembrance



ISRAEL CHRONICLE   |  ISRAEL SECTION  |  NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES

KAUNAS—One month after this year’s infamous Independence Day march in central Kaunas that featured a banner glorifying a number of Holocaust collaborators, including those co-responsible for the fate of this city’s 30,000 Jews in the Holocaust here on its ground zero, Israeli ambassador to Lithuania HE Amir Maimon has paid a very public congratulatory call on the mayor and city council to praise them unreservedly for their Jewish remembrance policies. There was no public mention of the march or request that future events desist from publicly glorifying the city’s collaborators. The following report is from today’s edition of the official website of the Lithuanian Jewish Community. Holocaust survivors and their families in both Kaunas and Vilnius who contacted Defending History were incredulous and “in shock”…

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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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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Events, Frank Brendle, Free Speech & Democracy, Human Rights, Latvia, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Comments Off on Latvia Arrests Peaceful German Visitors Who Wanted to Protest Annual Waffen SS March

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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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, EU, Free Speech & Democracy, Germany, Human Rights, Latvia, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, Riga's Waffen SS Marches | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on German Group Arrested Trying to Enter Latvia for Peaceful Protest Against 16 March Waffen SS Fest

Neo-Nazis Given Central Vilnius Again on March 11th Independence Day



PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  RACISM   |  OPINION

by Vilma Fiokla Kiurė  (with additional input and photos by Evaldas Balčiūnas, Milan Chersonski, and Julius Norwilla)

 ◊
o

PHOTO: EVALDAS BALCIUNAS FOR DH

Once again, on our national holiday of March 11th, at 4 PM in the afternoon, neo-Nazis chanting “Lietuva Lietuviams” (Lithuania for Lithuanians) marched from the Cathedral up our capital city’s central boulevard, Gedimino, to the Seimas (parliament) at its far end. During each of the nine marches (they started in 2008), none of the country’s leaders spoke out to condemn the march. On the contrary there are many signs of both tolerance and support from very high places, including the permits to march granted by the municipality (no comment from the mayor?) and other relevant authorities.

Yet again, the Union of Nationalist Youth was able to boast that it occupies the center of the capital on the nation’s independence day: “Without any obstacles, we received from the municipality an official permit to march [this day] on the main boulevard of Vilnius.” The official march was concluded several hours earlier and the heads of state apparently rested quietly as the neo-Nazis proceeded to take over the city center, from Cathedral to Parliament, a route rich in symbolic power.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Bold Citizens Speak Out, Celebrations of Fascism, Christian-Jewish Issues, EU, Events, Genocide Center (Vilnius), Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Vilma Fiokla Kiurė, Vilnius Jewish Life (from 2016), Vilnius Mayor Remigijus Šimašius, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Neo-Nazis Given Central Vilnius Again on March 11th Independence Day

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

Images from the February 16th 2016 Neo-Nazi March in Kaunas, Lithuania



KAUNAS MARCHES | NEO-NAZI MARCHES | ANTISEMITISM

KAUNAS—For the fifth year running, the Defending History team was the only Lithuania-based monitoring unit on site to observe and record the neo-Nazi march in the center of Kaunas, from start to finish, on February 16th, the anniversary of Lithuania’s 1918 declaration of independence. (DH has monitored the March 11th marches in Vilnius since 2008.) Once again, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office was the only foreign partner to attend, monitor and participate in our annual silent protest. There was no sign of any of the many well-funded human rights monitors in the region.

Yet again, the center of Kaunas, the interwar capital and modern Lithuania’s second city, was gifted by the city’s authorities to the neo-Nazis for their event, which drew hundreds, and was kept orderly by a highly professional, and by now experienced, police and state security presence (which, as ever, took every care to keep the Defending History team secure throughout the day).

This year’s theme was a front-of-march We Know Our Nation’s Heroes banner featuring six figures who share the following unsettling common denominator: all were alleged Nazi collaborators and/or Holocaust perpetrators (from left): Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, Jonas NoreikaPovilas Plechavičius, Kazys ŠkirpaAntanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis. It is as if the marchers are celebrating the murder of the 30,000 Jewish citizens of Kaunas, the more than 95% of the over 200,000 strong Lithuanian Jewish population on the eve of the Holocaust, and the resulting “cleansing” of Lithuania’s Jewish minority.

DSC05610

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On the Eve of Another Neo-Nazi March in the Center of Kaunas on Independence Day



Will the Neo-Nazis Again be Given Central Kaunas on Feb. 16th Independence Day to Glorify Holocaust Collaborators, Spread Hate, and Damage Lithuania’s Standing?

For the first time, organizers promise to glorify a veritable contingent of specific, named alleged local Holocaust collaborators

including: Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis, Kazys Škirpa, Jonas Noreika (Vėtra)Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Human Rights, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Racism | Comments Off on On the Eve of Another Neo-Nazi March in the Center of Kaunas on Independence Day

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?

Jerusalem Debate on Antisemitism in Lithuania: Deputy Foreign Minister and Dr. Efraim Zuroff



Debate in Jerusalem, at World Forum for Combating Antisemitism, at Session on Holocaust Denial and Distortion in Eastern Europe

I: Summary document released by the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry boasts of “accomplishments in liquidation of consequences of the Holocaust”

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Israel, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views | Tagged | Comments Off on Jerusalem Debate on Antisemitism in Lithuania: Deputy Foreign Minister and Dr. Efraim Zuroff

Tomas Venclova’s Lecture at Vilnius Conference on 17 April 2015



O P I N I O N

by Tomas Venclova

The following text is the authorized English translation, by Geoff Vasil, of Professor Venclova’s address at a conference on Holocaust issues, organized by Rūta Vanagaitė, held at Vilnius City Hall on 17 April 2015. The original Lithuanian text. Video of Tomas Venclova speaking. Conference program. Conference’s final press release.

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Posted in A 21st Century Campaign Against Lithuanian Holocaust Survivors?, Antisemitism & Bias, Christian-Jewish Issues, Collaborators Glorified, Double Genocide, Kaunas Neo-Nazi Marches, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, Politics of Memory, Tomas Venclova, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Tomas Venclova’s Lecture at Vilnius Conference on 17 April 2015

Wiesenthal Center Releases Vilnius Municipality’s 10 March Response to Appeal to Halt Neo-Nazi Takeover of Downtown Vilnius on Lithuania’s Independence Day


The Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center today released the response received by its director, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, to his 3 March appeal to the mayor of Vilnius, Lithuania, the nation’s capital, to halt the planned neo-Nazi march in the city’s center on independence day, March 11th. The response was received on 10 March by emailed PDF, and seems to fail to address the requests in the letter that the municipality ensure that Nazi symbols, racially exclusionary slogans and glorification of Holocaust collaborators not be allowed in the city center on the national holiday.

Dr. Zuroff’s letter of March 3rd elicited the following reply on the 10th of March (as PDF):

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An “Inner” View of the Neo-March on Vilnius, 2015



O P I N I O N   /   N E O – N A Z I   M A R C H E S

by Geoff Vasil

 

Afunny thing happened on the way to the neo-Nazi march. I saw a man walking towards me, and thought I knew him. Apparently he thought the same thing, and we both said hello in Lithuanian as we passed one another. As I pondered how we might know each other, it came to me: I had seen him at an earlier neo-Nazi march, probably the one in Kaunas a month earlier. He thought I was a fellow marcher, apparently, or at least not an enemy to the cause.

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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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Jewish Community of Lithuania Issues Statement on Neo-Nazis’ March in Central Vilnius



VILNIUS—The Jewish Community of Lithuania today issued a statement concerning yesterday’s far-right march for which state powers again allocated the capital’s most prestigious central boulevard and a march route starting at Gediminas’ Hill and the Cathedral, and passing by the offices of the prime minister and government and concluding at the nation’s parliament.

The text of the statement, which follows earlier statements and discussions, is as follows:

The Lithuanian Jewish Community does not approve of the march by the Union of Lithuanian Nationalist Youth held on March 11, Lithuanian Independence Day, in Vilnius, because we believe the values publicly espoused by the marchers do not correspond to the principles of the modern democratic state which has been the basis for the creation of Lithuania for the last 25 years.

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Defending History’s Eyewitness Report on Vilnius, March 11, 2015



1,500 Neo-Nazis and Far-Right Extremists Again Given Vilnius’s Main Boulevard on Nation’s March 11th Independence Day; They Parade from Cathedral Square to Nation’s Parliament with Fascist Symbols and Chants of “Lietuva Lietuviams” (Lithuania for [Pure] Lithuanians) 

STATEMENTS FROM PRECEDING DAYS;

UPDATES: FOLLOWING THE EVENT — JEWISH COMMUNITY OF LITHUANIA’S STATEMENT AND REPORTSIMON WIESENTHAL CENTER; GEOFF VASIL IN DH

Flag with Swastika Hoisted Outside Nation’s Parliament for Over an Hour

Photos: Geoff Vasil (left image) and Defending History (right image)

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Run-Up to the March 11, 2015 Neo-Nazi March in Central Vilnius…



Will Lithuania’s Leaders Let 25th Independence Day be Marred by Neo-Nazis Commandeering Capital’s Center?

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The Latest:

Last-minute statements from the head of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, and the Simon Wiesenthal’s Center director of East European Affairs. From Prof. Pinchos Fridberg.

Appeals from Dr. Zuroff to the mayor of Vilnius, and Dr. Vilhjálmsson to the Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HRMI).

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On Eve of Planned Neo-Nazi March, Statements by Head of Lithuanian Jewish Community and the Simon Wiesenthal Center



VILNIUS—On the eve of the planned neo-Nazi march in central Vilnius, slated for 3 PM on March 11th, Lithuania’s independence day, the chairperson of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, Faina Kukliansky, issued a statement on the community’s website, which was followed within minutes by a statement from the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Director of East European Affairs, Dr. Efraim Zuroff. The full text of both statements follows:

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Dr. Efraim Zuroff’s Month of Monitoring Baltic Neo-Nazi Marches


Three Down, One to Go, in Efraim Zuroff’s Odyssey to the Baltic Month of Neo-Nazi Marches

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Arkadijus Vinokuras: Again Twisting the Facts About Those who Stand Up to the Far Right?



O P I N I O N

VILNIUS—It seems the best way for Jewish wannabees to score points with the ultranationalist and elite-antisemitic establishment here is to throw well-crafted darts at Defending History. Back in 2011, former clown (and outstanding comedian and talented author) Arkadijus Vinokuras, when he was “official advisor to the government on Jewish affairs” accused the editor of this journal of participation in “Goebbels-worthy” misinformation, without citing a single error of fact. At various points in time, he issued personal attacks against the late head of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, Dr. Shimon Alperovich, and more general attacks on the community per se when its opinions happened to differ from the state’s on this or that issue, though such disagreements are quite a prosaic phenomenon in democratic societies.

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Icelandic Author Calls on Vilnius Human Rights Monitoring Institute (HRMI) to Break Silence on Neo-Nazi Marches


REYKJAVIK—Dr. Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson, an historian, archaeologist and human rights specialist in Iceland and Denmark, who has in recent years contributed to Defending History, today released to the media his letter to the Human Rights Monitoring Institute asking if the HRMI will again this week maintain its perennial silence about the capital’s annual neo-Nazi marches on the March 11th independence day. The municipality of Vilnius, Lithuania’s capital, has been granting the city center on independence day to neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists who have since 2008 been chanting each year exclusivist and exclusionary slogans as well as sporting racist and Nazi signs and symbols. In recent years, they have also featured huge banners honoring a local 1941 Nazi collaborator in the Holocaust who was in 2012 reburied with full honors by the state.

The neo-Nazi marches in central Vilnius on independence day got underway in 2008.

Dr. Vilhjálmsson’s letter reads as follows:

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Efraim Zuroff Appeals to Vilnius Mayor Zuokas to Cancel Neo-Nazi March


JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office today released the following letter from its director, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, to the mayor of Vilnius, Artūras Zuokas, concerning next week’s planned neo-Nazi march slated for the center of the city on the nation’s independence day.

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Efraim Zuroff Monitors, and Critiques, Tallinn’s Far-Right Independence Day March



TALLINN—The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized a march held late yesterday in the center of the Estonian capital to mark Independence Day, which was sponsored by the Sinine Aratus (Blue Awakening) youth movement closely affiliated with the Conservative People’s Party of Estonia (EKRE).

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Efraim Zuroff is Lone Protester in Center of Tallinn



Efraim Zuroff is Lone Protestor at Far Right’s March in Central Tallinn on Independence Day

Publicized with the slogan “Estonia for Estonians,” today’s event was the second of four in the “Baltic month” (16 Feb—16 March) of city center state-approved events, on Tuesday Feb 24th (independence day) in Tallinn. March’s organizers include racists, Holocaust deniers, and glorifiers of Estonia’s Waffen SS whose members swore loyalty to Adolf Hitler. One of its leaders has led events to celebrate the 1941 “liberation” of Estonia by the Nazis. Delfi report and video. Posdtimees. More videoSWC’s press release.

UPDATE: ZUROFF REPORTS IN INTERNATIONAL BUSINESS TIMES

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Lithuanian Jewish Community Issues Statement on Feb 16th 2015 March in Kaunas



The following statement appeared  today on the website of the Jewish Commnity of Lithuania:

The Position of the Lithuanian Jewish Community on the Slogan Chanted by the Lithuanian Union of Nationalist Youth, “Lithuania for Lithuanians”

The Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) Community, deeply upset and concerned by recent anti-Semitic attacks in the Kingdom of Denmark and France and by the rise in neo-Nazi tendencies all over Europe, calls upon the government institutions of the Lithuanian state to take stock of the situation in Lithuania at the current time. By identifying the problem of ethnic hate early, we can prevent possible tragedy in the future.

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Efraim Zuroff Leads Kaunas Protest


 


Event Summary and Links to Coverage:

Defending History’s Team of 12 Monitors & Protests Kaunas Independence Day Neo-Nazi March on Feb. 16th

Lithuanian Jewish Community Issues Statement on Feb. 20th

MARCH FEATURED LONG SERIES OF FASCIST-STYLE TAUNTS OF LIETUVA LIETUVIAMS  (“LITHUANIA FOR [ETHNIC] LITHUANIANS”) ALONG WITH SWASTIKAS, OTHER FASCIST SYMBOLS AND A HUGE BANNER OF THE 1941 NAZI PUPPET PM WHO COLLABORATED IN THE DESTRUCTION OF HIS CITY’S CITIZENS WHO WERE JEWISH. MAYOR’S OFFICE GAVE PERMITS FOR CITY CENTER TRAVESTY ON NATION’S INDEPENDENCE DAY.

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February 16th 2015 in Kaunas…



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

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

February 16th in Kaunas. The Kaunas municipal administration was asked by the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s  Efraim Zuroff and Defending History’s editor Dovid Katz not to allow this march for a number of reasons. The Kaunas municipality saw no problem and allowed the march to go ahead. As in earlier years, a Defending History team observed the march. The Kaunas Antifa organization decided not to hold a protest this year, so I was at liberty to be present as part of the DefendingHistory team.

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Defending History’s Eyewitness Report on Kaunas, February 16, 2015



Wiesenthal Center – Defending History Team of 12 Monitors & Protests Kaunas Independence Day Neo-Nazi March

UPDATE:

Lithuanian Jewish Community Issues Statement on Feb. 20th

MARCH FEATURED LONG SERIES OF FASCIST-STYLE TAUNTS OF LIETUVA LIETUVIAMS  (“LITHUANIA FOR [ETHNIC] LITHUANIANS”) ALONG WITHSWASTIKAS, OTHER FASCIST SYMBOLS AND A HUGE BANNER OF THE 1941 NAZI PUPPET PM WHO COLLABORATEDIN THE DESTRUCTION OF HIS CITY’S CITIZENS WHO WERE JEWISH. MAYOR’S OFFICE GAVE PERMITS FOR CITY CENTER TRAVESTY ON NATION’S INDEPENDENCE DAY.

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Run-Up to the 16 Feb. 2015 Neo-Nazi March in Central Kaunas



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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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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Correspondence with Kaunas Mayor’s Office to 13 February 2015



D O C U M E N T S

Below, (1) the text of DH’s letter to the mayor of Kaunas on 3 February, (2) the response received from his office on 11 February, (3) our response of the same date, and (4) the response from the mayor’s office received on 13 February and (5) our response of the same date. The correspondence relates to the annual neo-Nazi march planned for 16 February 2015 in central Kaunas. See also section on previous marches, and our 3 February 2015  correspondence with the Kaunas police. Note that a banner featuring a major Kaunas Holocaust collaborator, the Nazi puppet prime minister Juozas Ambrazevicius Brazaitis (reburied with full honors as a hero in Kaunas, in 2012), is depicted in a 2014 photograph used by the march’s organizers to advertise the 2015 event.

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Wiesenthal Center’s Efraim Zuroff Writes to Mayor of Kaunas on Neo-Nazi March



JERUSALEM—The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office here today released the text of a letter sent by director Dr. Efraim Zuroff to the mayor of Kaunas, Lithuania, Andrius Kupčinskas, concerning the neo-Nazi march scheduled for February 16th. See also Defending History’s correspondence with the mayor’s office and our background summary.

SEE EXTENDED COVERAGE ON PAGE 1

The text of the letter is as follows:

February 12, 2015
Meras Andrius Kupčinskas
Laisves al. 96 201 kab.
Kaunas
LITHUANIA


Dear Mayor Kupčinskas,

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Correspondence with Kaunas Mayor’s Office to 11 February 2015



D O C U M E N T S

Below, (1) the text of DH’s letter to the mayor of Kaunas, (2) the response received today from his office, and (3) our further response, in connection with the annual neo-Nazi march planned for 16 February 2015 in central Kaunas. See also section on previous marches, and our 3 February 2014  correspondence with the Kaunas police. Note that a banner featuring a major Kaunas Holocaust collaborator, the Nazi puppet prime minister Juozas Ambrazevicius Brazaitis (reburied with full honors as a hero in Kaunas, in 2012), is depicted in a 2014 photograph used by the march’s organizers to advertise the 2015 event.

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Run-Up to the Annual February 16th Neo-Nazi March in Kaunas



WILL LITHUANIA’S LEADERS SPEAK OUT AGAINST GRANTING MAJOR CITY CENTERS ON INDEPENDENCE DAYS TO NEO-NAZI MARCHES THAT ADULATE 1941 HOLOCAUST COLLABORATORS?

WILL “BAGEL SHOP” AND OTHER FUNDED MONITORS ISSUE A MORALLY DIGNIFIED STATEMENT? A MEMBER OF THE JEWISH COMMUNITY SPEAKS OUT; HIS EARLIER VIDEOTAPED INTERVIEW IN RICHARD BLOOM’S DOCUMENTARY.

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Kaunas Police Informs Defending History on Status of February 16th Neo-Nazi March


KAUNAS—As in previous years (for example, 2013), the Kaunas District Police Department today informed Defending History that it has issued no permits for a march on February 16th, referring us instead to the body that would have issued the permit — the Kaunas City Municipality, which has not (yet) responded to our queries. The letter received (image below) states “We inform you that Kaunas County Police have not issued a permit for organizing a march / rally” on 16 February 2015, and suggests “you refer to Kaunas City Municipality.”

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Member of Lithuania’s Jewish Community Speaks Out on Neo-Nazi Parades, and Govt. Flowers at Monument to Hitler’s Soldiers



O P I N I O N

by Jacob Piliansky

Iam proud to be a Litvak, and I am proud to be a citizen of independent and democratic Lithuania. I very much enjoy walking in our city’s delightful Vingis Park, as well as downtown in the beautiful city center area.

 However, I feel suddenly both sad and shocked, when I see neo-Nazi parades with swastikas and other fascist symbols  along  Gedimino Boulevard on our independence day repeating the yelled chants of “Lithuania for [ethnic] Lithuanians.”

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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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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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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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For Seventh Year Running, Neo-Nazis and Ultranationalists Given Center of Vilnius on Independence Day



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

by Dovid Katz

Lithuania’s March 11th independence day is celebrated by the free world, not least by those who remember the incredible news that spread around the globe in March 1990, when Lithuania’s parliament (Seimas) voted 124 to zero to break away from the Soviet Union. The courage of the parliamentarians from a broad spectrum of parties and movements was stark; the country was still occupied by ominous Soviet forces (and blood would be spilled by Soviet forces’ violence less than a year later, in January 1991). The March 11th celebration has been anchored  over the years by a record of achievement that includes the transition to democracy, the joining of the European Union and NATO, and the rapid integration with Western society, economy and mores.

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Run-up to the March 11th 2014 Neo-Nazi / Ultranationalist March in Central Vilnius



Vilnius, Tuesday March 11th 2014:

Neo-Nazis Announce March Through Old Town and City Center to Nation’s Parliament

Efraim Zuroff Will Lead Silent, Peaceful Remembrance as Protest

Colleagues of all backgrounds are invited to meet Dr. Zuroff, Holocaust historian, Nazi-hunter, author, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s Israel office. He will lead a silent, peaceful remembrance of the annihilated Jewish citizens of Vilnius and Lithuania, in protest against the neo-Nazi marchers and the continued granting of city center venues on independence day. Meeting on Tuesday, 11 March 2014, 3 PM at Old Town Hall (Rotušė) Square. First meeting at edge of square, on the corner of Stiklių and Didžioji outside Amatininkai Café, monitoring the march (itself scheduled for 4 PM) to its conclusion on Gedimino near the Seimas (parliament).

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Summary Coverage of 16 February 2014 Neo-Nazi March in Kaunas



 

Over 1,000 March in Kaunas City Center with Banner Honoring the 1941 Nazi Puppet Prime Minister who Helped Send City’s 30,000 Jews to their Death


PRESS: ALFA.LTALKAS.LTBALSAS.LTDELFI.LTJERUSALEM POSTKAUNODIENA.LTSWC REPORTTV: KAUNAS NEWSOPINION: Olga ZabludoffEfraim Zuroff

Section on Pro-Fascist Marches

Lithuanian TV interviews with Efraim Zuroff and Dovid Katz:

1 and 2

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Updates to 14 February 2014: Neo-Nazi March in Kaunas, Gov. Sponsored Camouflage Symspoium at Yivo in New York


Colleagues in Lithuania of all backgrounds invited to meet Dr. Efraim Zuroff, and join silent, peaceful protest against state-enabled neo-Nazi glorification of local Holocaust collaborators: Sunday 16 Feb, 2 PM, Ramybes Park, Kaunas

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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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Summary Coverage on Upcoming “Baltic March Season”



2014 Winter Nazi Marching Season in the Baltics? 

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

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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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Summary Coverage of Neo-Nazi March in Central Vilnius on March 11th 2013



March 11th 2013 Independence Day:

City Mounted Wholesome Family Event on Main Boulevard, but it was Followed by a Massive Neo-Nazi March; There were Few Protesters

NATION’S PARLIAMENT HONORS THE NEO-NAZI MARCH ORGANIZERS

EYEWITNESS REPORTS: ANNA SHEPHERD AND GEOFF VASIL

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Believe It Or Not: Lithuanian Parliament Honors Organizers of Neo-Nazi March in Central Vilnius


Reporting in today’s Lrytas.lt (Lietuvos rytas), Dovydas Pancerovas describes the parliamentary honors bestowed on organizers of last Monday’s March 11th neo-Nazi march on the main boulevard, Gedimino, of the nation’s capital, Vilnius (DH eyewitness reports by Anna Shepherd and Geoff Vasil; see also page 1 report). The following translation from the original Lithuanian is by Geoff Vasil.

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Lithuania’s Social Democratic Party Issues Statement Against Neo-Nazi March


Lithuania’s Social Democratic Party (LSDP), now in power, issued a statement on 14 March concerning the March 11th neo-Nazi march on the central boulevard of the nation’s capital city, Vilnius. The following is an English translation of the statement, which contrasts somewhat in tone with that of the prime minister who is from the same party.


 

 Nationalists Violating Principles of Democracy Can No Longer Use Democracy as Cover

14 March 2013

The unsanctioned march by nationalists that took place on Gedimino prospektas on the March 11th holiday tore away the veil of democracy from those who call themselves “patriotic youth.” Citizens who support democracy must pay heed to decisions made by democratic institutions, and ignoring such needs to be interpreted as anti-constitutional behavior.

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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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Strength Through Joy “Hitler Youth” Events Sponsored by the City of Vilnius on March 11, 2013



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

by Geoff Vasil

 

This March 11, the day in 1990 when the Supreme Soviet of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic declared Lithuania sovereign and separate from the Soviet Union, was celebrated in Vilnius in the usual manner: neo-Nazis, skinheads, their young and naive followers and a gaggle of elderly politicians—both serving MPs and has-beens—assembled and marched up the main boulevard chanting nationalist and anti-minority slogans, scaring children and generally making the streets unsafe for normal activities.

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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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3,000 Neo-Nazi Marchers on Gedimino Boulevard in Central Vilnius on 2013 Independence Day


 


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

by Anna Shepherd

Photos by Anna Shepherd; they may be reproduced with accreditation to Defending History (this page) and to Ms. Shepherd.

 

An unsanctioned neo-Nazi march took place today on Gedimino Boulevard, the main avenue of central Vilnius, as Lithuania celebrated its 1990 declaration of independence from the Soviet Union. It had an estimated three thousand participants, the largest number ever.

Vilnius authorities had this year issued a permit for the nationalists’ march to take place on Upės Street, a venue across the river, further from the city center. Instead of the neo-Nazi march that has occurred each year since 2008, this year Gedimino was supposed to be host of “Laisves Vejas” (Wind of Freedom), a celebration of freedom and independence including music, dance, poetry and other wholesome performances.

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Evaldas Balčiūnas Remembers February 16th 2013 March in Central Kaunas



 

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

by Evaldas Balčiūnas

Editor’s note: This adapted translation from the Lithuanian original, by Geoff Vasil, has been approved by the author.

 

On February 16 I visited Kaunas. I heard the neo-Nazis would try to desecrate the nation’s freedom, for which people of the country of all ethnicities had struggled. Sadly, the neo-Nazis are now shouting loudly: “Lithuania for Lithuanians…”

One of the organizers of the march boasted the vanguard of the march would be carrying a portrait of Ambrazevičius.

It’s worth recalling what sort of person he was. In 1941 Ambrazevičius led the Provisional Government formed by the LAF (Lithuanian Activist Front), the Provisional Government which called Lithuanian policemen to serve the Nazis, set up a concentration camp (at the Seventh Fort, where it all ended in the murder of several thousand Jews), and even while realizing the Nazis no longer needed their service, this gang went on to promulgate the “Regulations on the Situation of the Jews,” which legally deprived their neighbors of human rights, while on the ground armed people were already murdering Jews throughout Lithuania.

The author and his friends and colleagues who constituted the small “anti-fascist zone” at the March 16th neo-Nazi parade in Kaunas, Lithuania on the occasion of the nation’s independence day.

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The Real Dope on the February 16 Neo-Nazi March in Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

Readers and supporters of Defending History likely realize there is a diversity of opinion and views held by contributors (made explicit on the About us page), and in that spirit I’d like to share my own impressions of the neo-Nazi march on Lithuanian Independence Day 2013 in Kaunas (Kovno), Lithuania’s second-largest city and the provisional capital in the interwar period.

First, Kaunas was colder than expected. The breeze contributed to the chill. There seemed to be half as many police as protestors at the staging area, Ramybės Parkas, next to the bus station in central Kaunas. The police wore three uniforms: green, grey and, I was told by someone representing himself as being from Interpol, a large number of plain-clothes officers dispersed among the crowd, presumably meaning the marchers, since the number of protestors was paltry, just a handful of people.

See also the memoirs of Evaldas Balčiūnas, Dovid Katz (and 2nd), Efraim Zuroff

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Holocaust Survivors in Israel Protest Neo-Nazi March in Kaunas


Letter from Holocaust survivors Feb 2013

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Hundreds of Neo-Nazis March Through the Center of Kaunas on Independence Day



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

by Dovid Katz

NOTE: A personal word of thanks to journalist Nerijus Povilaitis for graciously facilitating communication with Kaunas police to ensure the security of the small Defending History team monitoring/protesting the event, and to the Kaunas police for their excellent work.

[UPDATE of 19 Feb: I later learned from Lithuanian colleagues that this protection and respect seem to have been extended only to Dr. Efraim Zuroff and myself, not to the Lithuanian-citizen protesters.]

[UPDATE of 25 Feb: See now the memoirs of the same march by Evaldas Balčiūnas, Geoff Vasil and Efraim Zuroff, and my own later article in Algemeiner.com.]

The estimates of the crowd ranged from five hundred to a thousand depending (in part) on whether the march’s many supporters who stood outside its bordering police cordons were counted. Following yesterday’s Vilnius press conference led by Dr. Efraim Zuroff, who flew in from Israel for the event, and the earlier denunciation of racist manifestations by the new prime minister — these being possible rather than proven factors — the event was rather milder than last year’s (eyewitness report here). The major difference was the lack this year of visible swastikas (whether “classic” or “Lithuanian with added lines”), the more perfected police performance in keeping order, and the lack of overtly racist slogans. But there was no lack of graphic ingenuity in coming up with symbols that bring to mind the swastika (which was in fact made legal in Lithuania in 2010) and there was no lack of adulation of Holocaust-era fascist icons; the lead banner glorified the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister who was earlier this year reburied with full honors; he had signed the papers for the first murder camp for the Jewish citizens of this city, Kaunas, during his first week in office. Moreover, the Kaunas police had confirmed in writing beforehand that the 2013 march was proceeding with full authorization from the municipality. All this “patriotism” rooted in 1941 genocide of the Jews is proceeding with the blessings of the state and the silence of its foreign partners.

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Kaunas Police Confirm that Neo-Nazi March on Independence Day Proceeding with Municipality’s Blessing


In response to a letter from the editor of this journal, expressing concern at various internet and other threats against those who would dare oppose the neo-Nazi march scheduled for 16 February 2013 in the center of Kaunas, a reply has been received from the police in Kaunas which does not address the direct issue of safety, but makes it clear that the march is approved by the powers that be in the municipality.This is important because of the various rumors spread by various organizations that ultranationalist youth have decided to march through central Kaunas with or without permission.  The letter reads, in translation:

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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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MP Vytenis Andriukaitis: Open Letter to Genocide Center “Chief Specialist” Ričardas Čekutis



O P I N I O N

by Vytenis Povilas Andriukaitis

Authorized translation from the Lithuanian original that appeared on Balsas.lt on 5 April 2012.


 

Yesterday, April 4, my colleague Petras Auštrevičius sent me a fragment of some internet correspondence between you, Ričardas Čekutis, and Morta Vidūnaitė. You, commenting upon the conversation, expressed this thought:

“But a nationalist [or “ethnic”] state, Morta, is one where government, i.e., sovereignty, belongs to the [ethnic] nation, which is what is written in the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania. Not to some sort of ‘citizens’ but to the [ethnic] Lithuanian people. This is also the principle of the supremacy of national law over all transnational formations, such as the EU, into which we were shoved through deceit and forgeries.

“In a nationalist [ethnic] state, for example, characters such as Auštrevičius, Andriukaitis and Karosas would be shot without hesitation, and that would be right, for treason. Well, you’ll see, very soon…”

I wouldn’t want to argue with your thought that they would shoot us, because an opinion is an opinion. But this sentence that “well, you will see, very soon,” understood rather clearly from the context that we will see some shootings has a very different meaning. But more about that a bit later.

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Some Psycho-Sexual Undercurrents of the Lithuanian Independence Day Nazi March



O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

 

Back in 2008 a friend and I put subtitles to the march by Lithuanian neo-Nazis through the capital, Vilnius, on independence day, and put the video with subtitles up on YouTube. Back then there was almost zero mention of the march where openly fascist youth chanted slogans about attacking and killing Jews and Russians, and the de rigueur “Juden raus.” Following the YouTube posting and as news travelled around the world, certain Lithuanian media figures and politicians felt the need to at least say something. Not much, but something.

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Over 1000 Neo-Nazis Fill Main Vilnius Boulevard on Lithuanian Independence Day



E Y E W I T N E S S   R E P O R T

by Dovid Katz

Ignoring international pleas (including over two thousand signatures on an online petition) for the withdrawing of permits for this year’s neo-Nazi march, Vilnius authorities mounted a major police presence to keep order during today’s event in the heart of the Lithuanian capital.

This marcher’s handbag featured a designer swastika

The modified SS skull and crossbones and the “Lithuanian swastika” (with added lines) were among the symbols featured in today’s march

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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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March 11th: A Grand Opportunity for the Lithuanian Human Rights Community — and the People of Vilnius



O P I N I O N

by Dovid Katz

When three of us from the DefendingHistory.com community headed out from Vilnius on February 16th to confront the neo-Nazi march in central Kaunas, we were sure we would be joined by dozens, or more, true lovers of Lithuania  —  folks who cannot remain silent that perverted political leadership allows today’s neo-Nazis to achieve free reign in the center of a great city in the middle of the nation’s cherished independence day. Folks who cannot let the glorification of stylized swastikas (including the “Lithuanian swastika“), and white armbands (celebrating the LAF Holocaust perpetrators of 1941) go unchallenged in the country with the largest rate of murder of its civilian Jewish population in all Holocaust-era Europe. Folks who want to send at least some modicum of support to today’s minorities. And a message to the world that the neo-Nazis do not represent Lithuanian society.

It was a shock to find in Kaunas on February 16th, that the somewhat quixotic DefendingHistory.com threesome would find itself the only visible anti-Nazi presence during the march and the rally that followed.

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March 11th is Not a Day to Glorify the Perpetrators



O P I N I O N

by Olga Zabludoff

When I learned that the municipality of Vilnius had again issued permits for a neo-Nazi march on Lithuania’s March 11th Independence Day, I was disturbed for more than one reason. Why would the government, which has been purporting its wish for reconciliation with its small Lithuanian Jewish community and Jews everywhere, sanction the resurrection of a Holocaust image? Why would the government, which has been purporting its wish to better its tarnished image with worldwide Jewry, accept and endorse the display of the LAF white armbands imprinted with the flaming swastika?

Most survivors of the Lithuanian Holocaust are more traumatized by memories of the white-armbanded Lithuanian Activist Front than by memories of Hitler’s Aryan henchmen. It was the local LAF murderers who began to butcher Jews who had been their neighbors — this even before their German Nazi masters/commanders came upon the scene. It was the LAF who unleashed the Holocaust in Lithuania. It was then that their slogan was born: “Lithuania for Lithuanians!” (Lietuva Lietuviams).

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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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