Riga’s Waffen SS Marches

‘Baltic Times’ Condemns Riga City Council for Trying to Nix March 16th Waffen SS March in the Capital’s Center


The Baltic Times, in the spirit of its increasing pattern of delivering up far-right views dressed up as impartial news coverage, did it again today. The front page banner headline reads ‘Riga Council in Civil Rights Attack’ with the caption to the large front page photo that condemns the city council for trying to block ‘war veterans and others’, as the anonymous authors put it (the article is signed by ‘Staff and wire reports, Riga), from being able to ‘exercise their rights in commemorating wartime duties and efforts’.

There was no mention that these are Waffen SS veterans and that the annual ceremony in the capital’s center is an affront to free Europe and Holocaust victims and survivors.

That an allegedly impartial newspaper would regard a noble attempt to legally block a  pro-Nazi march, on the part of elected officials in a European Union country, as a ‘civil rights attack’ in a news headline is shocking. PDF of the article here.


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Waffen SS March in Riga


Sanctioned by the Municipality of Riga on a route concluding with a ceremony at the city’s Liberty Monument …



Top: JEWS!! THIS LAND IS FOR LATVIANS!
Bottom: THE LATVIAN PRESIDENT SHOULD PARTICIPATE IN THE EVENTS OF MARCH 16, NOT MAY 9!

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Latvian Fascists Honor Hitler’s Invasion of their Country


A Latvian court approved & police nixed a Riga March celebrating Hitler’s 1941 Invasion. Still, the June 2010 event went ahead with a wreath-laying at Riga’s Liberty Monument to celebrate the Nazi army’s arrival and warm welcome.  Here, 2, 3, 4.

Also: Far-right racist parties team up. Here.

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Latvian National Front Releases its Letter to the American Ambassador in Riga


The organization Latvian National Front has sent to the email address of the Embassy of the USA, as well as other embassies, including the Embassy of Israel, a letter with the following content (translated from Latvian):

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Latvia (back in 2011): 2,500 Turn Out to Hail Country’s Waffen-SS


Increased Turnout for This Year’s Waffen-SS March in Riga

DETAILS HERE AND HERE

COMMENT HERE AND HERE

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PLANS TO HONOR HOLOCAUST MASS MURDERER AND RE-INTER  HIS REMAINS IN RIGA

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Baltic Media: Covering the Fascist Marches, or Covering Them Up?


 


O P I N I O N

by Geoff Vasil

This year Lithuanian neo-Nazis organized by Marius Kundrotas, Ričardas Čekutis and Julijus Panka with Lithuanian MP Kazimieras Uoka as their mascot marched in Kaunas on February 16 and through central Vilnius on March 11. February 16 is the old, pre-World War II national day of independence while March 11 is the date in 1990 when the Lithuanian Supreme Soviet voted to restore national independence and exit the Soviet Union.

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Latvian President Blesses Waffen SS March in Riga; Council of Europe’s Racism Unit Condemns Event; 1500 Turn Out


The president of Latvia endorsed this year’s Waffen SS march, “bowing his head” to his nation’s Waffen SS.  Latvia’s ambassador to the UK defended the march.  Council of Europe condemns the event.  UK MP John Mann.  UK Parliament Early Day Motion 2866. 1500 Turn Out.

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A wreath for Holocaust survivors was covered by the Waffen SS logo by the event’s organizers. Two anti-Nazi activists exposed the wreath again for a short time, before they were removed by police.

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Foreign protesters included Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Center (Jerusalem), Joel Rubinfeld of the European Jewish Parliament (Brussels), Monica Lowenberg, creator of the anti-march international petition (London).

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EYEWITNESS REPORT & IMAGES.  2ND REPORT.  MEDIA COVERAGE.

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2012 New Year’s Resolution for the Prime Ministers of the Baltic States


 

For 2012

“As long as I am prime minister of this great nation, there will be no neo-Nazi marches, no parades or events glorifying Nazi collaborators, no racist marches offensive to any citizens of our country of whatever background or belief, in the center of our cherished capital city, least of all on our national independence day or other holidays, when we celebrate independence, freedom, equality of all people, respect between all our communities, democracy and hope for our future. I will not stand idly by as our country’s proud name is defamed in the four corners of the earth by those who espouse fascism, racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, homophobia and other forms of hatred. Period.”

From back in 2011

Some of the shameful city center pro-Nazi events that went ahead in 2011 in Baltic capitals with legal permits (and support of some political elites):

Riga

Vilnius

Tallinn

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The Seventy Years Declaration (Latvian)


 


2012.gada 20. janvāris

Septiņdesmitās gadadienas Deklarācija kopš “Galīgā risinājuma ebreju jautājumā”

 

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

ATCERAMIES:

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The Waffen-SS as Freedom Fighters



O P I N I O N

by Per Anders Rudling

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

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

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


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

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



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

by Dovid Katz

 

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

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

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



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

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

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


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


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


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

Dear Mr. President:

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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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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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Riga


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: APDelfiFoxJ. Kaža; Jewish News — JNS.orgReutersRIART (video2); Times of IsraelWashington PostYNetVideo of wreath layingYahoo.  Gallery of imagesMore media. WWN media list.
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MARINA SOLODKIN’S DEATH AND HER LAST PUBLIC STATEMENT


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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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