Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches

Today’s Far-Right March 11th Parade in Vilnius



VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  FAR-RIGHT MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Julius Norwilla

VILNIUS—On our National Independence Day today, the 11th of March, approximately two hundred far-right nationalists and their sympathizers marched in the center of Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, with permission of the city’s and national authorities. The march, following a route of many years’ standing, started at Cathedral Square and ended up in Lukiškės Square. But this year’s gathering was unusually short, taking up less than one hour. The main outlets of the Lithuanian media covered the event, generally obfuscating its far-right character.

What else makes this year’s march different from the marches of the previous years and from the march on February 16th? First, naturally, support for Ukraine, now under a vicious military campaign by Russian military forces, dominated the event. The rally was opened and closed by playing melodies and singing two national anthems: of Lithuania in Lithuanian and of Ukraine in Ukrainian.

Julius Norwilla’s photos at the event

Second, the provocative far-right slogan “Lietuva Lietuviams!” (Lithuania for Lithuanians!) was today used explicitly, featuring beforehand on the Facebook page banner preceding the event, thereby emphasizing the group’s fear of citizens, residents or refugees who are not pure ethnic Lithuanian (perhaps a contradiction to the professed support of Ukraine?). During the march, it was screamed out repeatedly. Defending History’s  monitoring and reporting of the far-right marches starting back in 2008. Sometimes the far-right slogan, implying illegitimacy or no human rights for non-ethnic-Lithuanians in Lithuania, is at times reduced to a single chant word: “Lithuania! Lithuania! Lithuania!”

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Updates on Kaunas’s ‘Capital of European Culture 2022’ Year Without (So Far) Removing a Single Shrine to Local Holocaust Collaborators


[latest update]

OPINION  |  LITVAK AFFAIRS  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  | THE 2022 LEVINAS AFFAIR OF 2022

Congratulations to the city of Kaunas, Lithuania, once known also as Kovno (in Yiddish forever: Kóvne) on its selection as Europe’s “Capital of European Culture” in 2022, sharing the title with Esch-sur-Alzette in Luxembourg. But as  the start of the city’s co-reign arrived on new year’s eve, not a single public-space glorification of local Holocaust collaborators had been removed. Zero. No city on the planet has as many monuments to local partners in the genocide of that city’s Jews. The 30,000 Litvaks (Lithuanian Jews) of Kaunas were brutally murdered, and the city played the primary role in the launch of the Lithuanian genocide on 23 June 1941, before the arrival of the first German forces. Thousands were murdered before the Germans arrived and/or set up their administration.

Lithuanian government authorities have  reportedly invested large sums to lure “Useful Jewish Idiots” from the UK, US, Israel, and further afield to participate in “cultural events” intended to obfuscate and deflect from the primary issue: Why are the enablers of the slaughter of Kovno Jewry still honored by street names, plaques and university lecture halls and statues in the city? Local Jewish leaders who have dared to speak up have rapidly been smeared as “Putinists” for daring to criticize the far right’s hold over national history policy (and indeed, the need for such a policy to start with).

But in the waning days of 2021, a “waterfall of truth” began to cascade from an unanticipated quarter. Michael Levinas, son of the celebrated Lithuanian-Jewish born French philosopher Emanuel Levinas, forbade authorities to name a fancy new institute after his father. This was kept under wraps until his 21 Dec.  Le Figaro opinion piece broke the story, and it was duly reported in Lithuania by LRT.lt. See Defending History’s media tracker page for background and updates.

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Defending History Monitors Annual Far-Right Vilnius March on 16 Feb. 2021



VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  FAR-RIGHT MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED

by Julius Norwilla

VILNIUS—This year the ultranationalist gathering on today’s February 16th national independence day took place in the Old Town, at the newly erected statute of Lithuanian author, scholar and patriot, Jonas Basanavičius, one of the signatories of the Declaration of Independence of 1918. Beside the national tricolors, I saw two more types of flags for “Pro Patria” and “Nacionalinis susivienijimas” (National Unity). Pro Patria is known as an ultranationalist movement targeting youth and an outlet of homophobic, Holocaust revisionist and xenophobic materials and initiatives. The National Unity seems to be mostly the same group of people, aspiring perhaps somewhat more to national politics.

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The West Once Again Silent as Latvia Glorifies its Waffen SS


[UPDATED. FIRST PUBLICATION 14 FEB. 2020 UNDER TITLE ‘WILL THE WEST REMAIN SILENT AS LATVIA PREPAREDS TO GLORIFY ITS WARTIME WAFFEN SS?’]


OPINION  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  MARCHES SECTION  | GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

by Monica Lowenberg

Since 1998, former Latvian SS have each and every year on the 16th of March been marching in the capital city of Riga to commemorate their fallen colleagues whom they perceive as war heroes. The marches have over the years increased in alarming numbers and have even been publicly condoned by Latvian officials. In the heart of NATO in Riga, more than 2,500 people, amongst them Latvian politicians, have been known to annually pay tribute to Latvians who fought on the side of Nazi Germany in Waffen SS detachments during World War II.

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Eyewitness Report: March 11th Far Right March & Rally in Central Vilnius



MARCHES SECTION  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  RIGA MARCHES  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

by Julius Norwilla

The Totenkopf flag, with the “Lithuanian swastika” upper right, has featured each year. Swastikas were legalized by Lithuanian courts in 2010. Photo: Julius Norwilla.

VILNIUS—It was Wednesday March 11th at around 4 PM. The procession of the “nationalists” began, as usual,  in the heart of the Lithuanian capital, with authorities’ permission, at the city’s medieval Cathedral Square. It made its way up the central boulevard, Gedimino, up to Lukiškės Square, a stone’s throw from the nation’s Seimas, or parliament.

Only Defending History came out to monitor the march. . .

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DH Community Invites Readers to Join Monitoring Team for “Nationalist” March 11th Vilnius March



VILNIUS—The entire Defending History community celebrates Lithuania’s independence day this coming Wednesday March 11th. Lithuania’s independence and democracy, like those of of neighboring EU/NATO states, are splendid success stories in the annuals of the region. All the more reason to be vigilant — as genuine friends of the Baltics are — against those who would try to insert Nazist values of ethnic hatred and Holocaust revisionism into the mix. We sincerely hope that the “nationalist” march for which the beautiful center of Vilnius is gifted each year will this year not glorify local Holocaust and Nazi collaborators, will not heap scorn on  the nation’s minorities and will not flaunt fascist symbols.

The Defending History team has been monitoring these events since 2008

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As Usual, Leaders of Far-Right March Glorifying Holocaust Perpetrators Target DH Monitors…



  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  MARCHES SECTION  | GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

VILNIUS—Yet again, the far right organizations that choose to glorify their country’s Nazi and Holocaust collaborators, also choose to target the human rights monitors who come to document their events. Alas, the Vilnius-based human-rights organizations, like European and international Jewish organizations, again failed to monitor last week’s central-Vilnius event. The small Defending History team was the only one on hand last Sunday, February 16th, to monitor, and DH, as usual, reported on the march, after having reported on its planners’ vow to highlight three specific collaborators. Vilnius’s prestigious Old Town, from the Gates of Dawn to the foot of Castle Mount, was allocated by authorities to the marchers for their dusk-to-evening slot of the Independence Day public festivities.

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Hundreds of Far-Right Marchers Chant “Škirpa and Noreika Are Our Heroes” in Vilnius Old Town on Independence Day



  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  MARCHES SECTION  | GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS

VILNIUS—While local and international human rights organizations ignored the gifting of Vilnius Old Town to far-right marchers glorifying Holocaust collaborators, Defending History’s small team, comprising Evaldas Balčiūnas, Dovid Katz and Julius Norwilla were on hand to monitor the event. The dusk-to-nighttime torchlit procession today started at the Gates of Dawn, with participation of Catholic officials, and made its way downhill through Castle Street, stopping to pay homage at the plaque to Holocaust collaborator Jonas Noreika, and continuing on to the final destination of the former Škirpa Street (renamed Tricolor Street, after a long campaign started a decade ago by Defending History). Kazys Škirpa, though in Berlin at the time of the Holocaust, was a theoretician of the ethnic cleansing of Lithuania’s Jewish population, and an effective inspirer and cheerleader of local participation in the genocide.

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Far Right Again Granted Central Vilnius on Feb. 16 Independence Day; They Vow to Glorify Three Nazi Collaborators



They Promise to Glorify Nazi Collaborators Škirpa, Noreika and Brazaitis

Facebook announcement; Event rep’s interview

DH coverage of past Vilnius marches; Kaunas marches; Riga marches. See also marches section. For the 13th year running, Defending History will monitor the event. Hopefully, some human rights and international organizations will also send observers. 

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Kaunas to Host Far-Right (/Neo-Nazi) City Center Jamboree Honoring June 23  “Uprising” that Unleashed the Destruction of Lithuanian Jewry in 1941



LEGACY OF JUNE 23  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  NOREIKA SAGA

Advertisement for the Event

BACKGROUND ON LEGACY OF 23 JUNE IN LITHUANIA (AND BEYOND). SAMPLES OF EYEWITNESS TESTIMONYBACKGROUND.

EVENT DESCRIPTION GLORIFIES HOLOCAUST COLLABORATOR J. NOREIKA (BACKGROUND)

Question: Is this city really ready to be the Capital of European Culture for 2022?

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Posted in Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Events, History, Human Rights, Kaunas, Legacy of 23 June 1941, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Politics of Memory, State Glorification of Holocaust Collaborator J. Noreika | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Kaunas to Host Far-Right (/Neo-Nazi) City Center Jamboree Honoring June 23  “Uprising” that Unleashed the Destruction of Lithuanian Jewry in 1941

Latvian Gov. Again Gifts Central Riga for Glorification of Nation’s Wartime Waffen SS



RIGA MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS MARCHES  |  PRO-NAZI MARCHES IN EASTERN EUROPE  |  GLORIFICATION OF COLLABORATORS  |  ANTISEMITISM

AROUND 1000 TAKE PART IN 16 MARCH CENTRAL RIGA PARADE GLORIFYING LATVIA’S WARTIME NAZI WAFFEN SS

UPDATE OF 20 MARCH: CANADA CONDEMNS EVENT

Media coverage: Delfi.lvDPA;  HaaretzJerusaem Post;  Jüdisches Forum (video)LSM.lv;  Times of IsraelToronto Sun

Detail from the day

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Swastikas are Back for Far-Right’s Independence Day March in Central Vilnius on March 11th



NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  EVENTS

EYEWITNESS REPORT

VILNIUS—Today’s neo-Nazi march in central Vilnius had fewer participants than in earlier years, with most estimates putting a cap of 500 on the number. Many were supporters of far-right presidential candidate Arvydas Juozaitis, and made use of his associated symbol and slogan translating “Lithuania is here.” But the black skull-and-crossbones flag with the “Lithuanian swastika” (with added lines) at the top corner was at the front or center of the proceedings from their start at Cathedral Square to their conclusion with some speeches at Lukiskes Square. Former Genocide Center official Ricardas Cekutis was on hand.  There were some organized shouts of “Lietuva Lietuviams” (‘Lithuania for Lithuanians’). The following are some images of the event, which was monitored by Defending History’s correspondent Julius Norwilla and editor Dovid Katz. See Mr. Norwilla’s photo gallery for more photos.

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February 16th March in Vilnius Avoids Swastikas and Fascist Symbols


NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  EVENTS

EYEWITNESS REPORT

VILNIUS—DH’s on-site monitors here, observing the event for a decade, report on “significant progress”: For the first time in many years, the far-right February 16 march, though at times noxious (e.g. when a group reveled in a “Noreika plaque photo-op”), had no visible banners glorifying local Holocaust collaborators and no visible swastikas on flags, and no organized chants of “Lietuva Lietuviams” (Lithuania for Lithuanians). By contrast, a few Latvian visitors wore jackets emblazoned with “Waffen SS”. At its conclusion, two of the march’s organizers approached our team for a civil discussion which turned to the participation of “non-Catholic & non-ethnic Lithuanians” in the war of independence leading to the rise of the democratic interwar Lithuanian Republic on 16 Feb. 1918.

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Run-Up to 2019’s February 16th March in Central Vilnius



NEO-NAZI MARCHES  |  VILNIUS MARCHES  |  HUMAN RIGHTS  |  EVENTS

Are Vilnius Authorities Again Gifting Capital’s Storied Old Town for Far-Right March on Cherished Independence Day?

Last year’s neo-Nazi event featured front banner glorifying a series oflocal Holocaust collaborators; it was addressed by a high Catholic Church official and “honored guest” neo-Nazis from abroad

2018 lead banner: “WE KNOW WHO OUR NATION’S HEROES ARE”. The “sanitized” event in central Vilnius featured a lead banner glorifying six Nazi collaborators, five of them deeply implicated in the Lithuanian Holocaust. The torchlit march, the day’s final event, made its way from Vilnius’s most sacred Catholic shrine down through the Old City, culminating at a street named for one of the collaborators who had advocated “only” ethnic cleansing of the country’s Jewish minority in 1941. PHOTO: © DEFENDING HISTORY.

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Europe’s (and ODIHR’s and the OSCE’s) So-Called “Fight Against Antisemitism”



by Vilhjálmur Örn Vilhjálmsson


Saturday February 16, 2019 will celebrated as Independence Day in Lithuania (marking the 1918 rise of the state; a second independence day, March 11th, marks its 1990 reestablishment). The far-right-nationalists of Lithuania have once again been permitted to march through the central Old Town streets of the country’s capital to praise their so-called heroes. These views on “heroes” held by the Vilnius marchers are pretty much shared by much of the present and past government establishments, as evidenced, for example, by street names and  public plaques and many episodes of glorification of collaborators, including the infamous 2012 reburial with full honors of the 1941 Nazi puppet prime minister.

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Posted in Antisemitism & Bias, Celebrations of Fascism, Collaborators Glorified, Events, Foreign Ministries: Holocaust Politics Abuse?, Human Rights, Lithuania, Litvak Affairs, Neo-Nazi & Fascist Marches, News & Views, Opinion, The OSCE, Vilhjálmur Vilhjálmsson, Vilnius Neo-Nazi Marches | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Europe’s (and ODIHR’s and the OSCE’s) So-Called “Fight Against Antisemitism”

Will Latvia’s New Cabinet Share European Values When it Comes to Condemnation of Fascism?



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

by Aleksandr Kuzmin (Riga)

The annual marches of March the 16th in Riga, Latvia, honor veterans of the local Waffen SS legion. These marches, sponsored by the co-ruling National Alliance, are consistently criticized by bodies of the European Union, the United Nations, and the Council of Europe. The most recent criticism came from the European Parliament resolution of 25 October 2018 on the rise of neo-fascist violence in Europe:

“AC. whereas every year on 16 March thousands of people gather in Riga for Latvian Legion Day to honor Latvians who served in the Waffen-SS;”

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Center of Vilnius Again Gifted to 1,000 Far-Right & Neo-Nazi Marchers on Lithuania’s Cherished March 11th Independence Day



VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS  MARCHES  |  REGIONAL PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  EVENTS  |  OPINION

By Defending History Staff

Photos by Julius Norwilla, Ruta Ostrovskaya, and Dovid Katz

VILNIUS—For the 11th year running, the center of Lithuania’s beautiful capital, Vilnius, was gifted in the high afternoon hours this past Sunday, Match 11th, to far-righters and neo-Nazis on the annual holiday cherished by the free world for its historic importance, in 1990, in the series of events that toppled the Soviet Union’s hated misrule. The Defending History community, all resolute admirers of Lithuania who celebrate its successhas monitored this event annually. The international outcry after the 2008 event, which featured “Juden raus” and a throng of swastikas had led to curious “compromises” each year between organizers and the municipality on what will and will not be done. But no sign yet of the mayor’s office, municipality or government finding the moral backbone to just say, “No, not in the center of our capital on our independence day.”

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Defending History Invites Volunteers to Help Monitor March 11 Neo-Nazis’ Event in Central Vilnius



EVENTS  | VILNIUS MARCHES  | KAUNAS MARCHES | PRO-NAZI MARCHES IN EASTERN EUROPE

SUNDAY 11 MARCH: Celebrating Lithuania’s independence and success and also, as each year, monitoring the neo-Nazi march for which the center of Vilnius is gifted (on this of all days). Monitoring group meets at 15:30 (3:30 PM) sharp at the Bell Tower on Cathedral Square. Our monitors are quiet, peaceful, courteous, carry no placards and chant no replies. We are there to monitor, record, and report, and silently remember the annihilated Jews of Lithuania in the face of marchers’ practice in recent years of flaunting banners with images of actual collaborators of the Lithuanian Holocaust (a thinly-veiled way of expressing glee at the genocide). Hopefully human rights organizations will finally do their jobs. See Defending History’s annual eyewitness reports for previous Vilnius marches (Kaunas marches here).

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“Nationalist” March in Central Vilnius on Lithuania’s 100th Birthday Ends Up in Usual Neo-Nazi Spirit



VILNIUS MARCHES  |  KAUNAS  MARCHES  |  REGIONAL PRO-NAZI MARCHES  |  COLLABORATORS GLORIFIED  |  ANTISEMITISM  |  EVENTS  |  OPINION

Eyewitness Report by Defending History Staff with photos by Julius Norwilla. His photo gallery available here.

 

Lead banner reads: “WE KNOW WHO OUR NATION’S HEROES ARE. This year’s “sanitized” event in central Vilnius featured a lead banner glorifying six Nazi collaborators, five of them deeply implicated in the Lithuanian Holocaust. The torchlit march, the day’s final event, made its way from Vilnius’s most sacred Catholic shrine down through the Old City, culminating at a street named for one of the collaborators who had advocated “only” ethnic cleansing of the country’s Jewish minority in 1941.

For more on the six figures depicted on the lead banner, follow the links for (from left):  Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas,  Jonas Noreika,  Povilas Plechavičius,  Kazys Škirpa,  Antanas Baltūsis-Žvejas, and  Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis.

It started off as a sanitized version of neo-Nazi culture made to look like just “mainstream nationalist.” But by the time the event reached its peak, it featured hundreds of people carrying torches through some of the oldest streets of Vilnius Old Town, while worshiping a banner featuring six alleged Nazi collaborators, five of them deeply implicated in the Holocaust per se, thereby symbolically expressing some kind of glee at the successful ethnic cleansing which these “heroes” supported. The Catholic Church gave the events a de facto  blessing. The two open voices of morally clear protest were of the Jewish activist Daniel Lupshitz and the Catholic professor Dr. Andrius Kulikauskas. Defending History’s Julius Norwilla and Dovid Katz monitored the event.

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Latvian Court Rules Against a Protester Who Turned Out Against the Annual Waffen SS March



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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