Riga’s Waffen SS Marches

Summary Coverage of March 16th 2014 Waffen SS Event in Riga



Over 1500 March in Central Riga’s Annual March 16th Waffen SS Fest

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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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British MEP Richard Howitt, European Parliament Spokesperson on Human Rights, Issues Statement on Riga Waffen SS March


Richard Howitt, British Labour Member of the European Parliament, and spokesperson for the European Parliament Human Rights Sub-Committee today issued the following text of his statement which will be read out in Riga this Sunday March 16th.

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Riga, Capital of European Culture: Waffen SS, Stags and Silence?



O P I N I O N

by Monica Lowenberg

The UK’s home secretary Theresa May, the Hungarian Jobbik party, and Holocaust Memorial Day have all been in the press lately. Reading how the leader of pro-Nazi Jobbik party was, in the interests of free speech, allowed to hold his rally in Hyde Park, I have to question why Ms. May allowed this man entry into the UK and hadn’t called his racist attitudes, “unacceptable” as she had in the past with, “Every Muslim should be a terrorist” Zakir Naik. What had changed?

In the capital of European culture? Waffen SS Calendar (Riga 2014)

In the Capital of European Culture: Waffen SS Calendar (Riga 2014)

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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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Riga, Roots and Reflections


 


M E M O I R S   /   O P I N I O N

by Monica Lowenberg

 

In 2011, I made my first journey to Riga, the capital city of Latvia.

A few months before, I had been tracked down by two distant cousins on a genealogy site, quite out of the blue. I remember the strange feeling I had when one of them asked me if I felt “Latvian.” Latvian? German Christian, German Jewish, British, yes — but Latvian Jewish? No.

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UK’s Minister for Europe Refuses to Criticize Baltic Glorification of Nazism



British Foreign Office on Latvia’s National Waffen SS Fest:

Minister for Europe Enters the Fray; Of Churchill’s Party, He Seems to Forget Great Britain’s Heroism in Bringing Down Hitler and — Scourge (and Historic Result) of Nazi-Worship in the Baltics

Anna Sheinman Reports in the London Jewish Chronicle

Images from the 2013 Waffen SS events in Central Riga

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Images from the March 16th 2013 Annual Glorification of Latvian Waffen SS in Riga



by Monica Lowenberg

Riga, 1943: Latvian soldiers proudly march with a Latvian flag and a Nazi flag. Some of the men were conscripted into the Waffen SS, but a number were volunteers.

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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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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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Cameron’s Latvian Liaison, One Woman’s Petition and One SS March



O P I N I O N

by Monica Lowenberg

 

If you walked through a busy EU city today and came across Eichmann Allee, Hitler Strasse or even Goebbels Gasse you would initially think that someone was pulling your leg or you would start to raise, and rightly so, serious questions regarding the ruling government that would allow such blatant glorification of mass murderers to take place. You can therefore imagine how I felt, the daughter of a German Jewish refugee whose paternal Latvian Jewish family had all been brutally murdered in the Libau massacres of 1941 and Riga ghetto, to discover in 2011, that each and every 16 March, since 1998, SS veterans are glorified in the capital city of Riga in Latvia an EU and NATO country since 2004.

My name is Monica Lowenberg; I was born on a cold winter’s day in 1964, in ear shot of Bow Bells.

On January 20, 2012, I set up a petition to stop the 16th March marches in Riga, ninety years to the day from the date of birth of my uncle Paul Theodor Loewenberg who at age 19 was sent to the Riga Ghetto on 4 October 1941. The petition is as much an act of commemoration of the victims of Nazism as it is a tribute to the European parliamentarians, including a number from Latvia, who wisely and courageously signed on the 20 January last year 2012, the Seventy Years Declaration, commemorating Wannsee, a declaration which specifically rejects glorification of Latvia’s Waffen SS, along with Estonia’s Waffen SS and the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) in Lithuania.

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Latvian Ambassador to the UK Comments on March 16th Waffen SS March in Riga


LONDON—Latvia’s ambassador to the UK has responded to a UK Conservative Party MP’s question about the Waffen SS events held in the center of Latvia’s capital, Riga, on March 16th each year. The office of UK Parliament MP David Amess, who represents Southend West, released the response dated 1 March 2013, which he received from the Latvian ambassador to the UK, HE Eduards Stiprais. It is reproduced in full below (as PDF here), courtesy of the office of Monica Lowenberg in London, whose petition and media guide have brought the Latvian SS marches to increased international scrutiny.

MONICA LOWENBERG’S REPLY TO THE LATVIAN AMBASSADOR IN 2012

See also Monica Lowenberg’s 2012 exchange of ideas with the Latvian ambassador to the UK. More in Defending History’s Latvia section.

Ambassador Stiprais’s letter to MP Amess:

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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