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.
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:
Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Documents, Double Genocide, History, Latvia, Monica Lowenberg, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Riga's Waffen SS Marches, United Kingdom
Tagged Davis Amess MP, March 16th in Latvia, Waffen SS in Latvia
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.
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).
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.
Posted in Documents, Double Games, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Free Speech & Democracy, Monica Lowenberg, News & Views, Politics of Memory, UCL Manipulated?, United Kingdom
Tagged Antisemitism Lithuania, Antony Polonsky, Dept of Hebrew & Jewish Studies, Francois Guesnet (Corob Fellow), Holocaust in Lithuania, Holocaust Obfuscation, Michael Berkowitz + Lithuania, Michael Berkowitz UCL, Monica Lowenberg, UCL
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.
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.
Posted in "Red-Brown Commission", Antisemitism & Bias, Collaborators Glorified, Double Games, Events, Human Rights, Monica Lowenberg, News & Views, Opinion, UCL Manipulated?, United Kingdom
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 Asta Skaisgirytė-Liauškienė, East-Central Europe, Fania Brantsovsky, Holocaust in Lithuania, Joseph Melamed, Lithuanian-Jewish relations, Monica Lowenberg, Post-Communist Europe, Post-Communist views of the Holocaust, Prague Declaration on European Conscience and Communism, Rachel Margolis, Seventy Years Declaration, Yitzhak Arad
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)
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