[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
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.
11 March update: Due to coronavirus precautions announced for all of Latvia, the demo has apparently been reorganized into multiple “individual” tributes at central Riga’s Freedom Monument to the memory of the Waffen SS. Ssee 16 March report in the Baltic Times.
In 2012 the Latvian Prime Minister told local media he did not think March 16 had “any special significance.” Legionnaires’ Day is used by radicals on both sides, he said, “to confront each other”! However, we believe Latvia, the international community, the UK government, the European Union and NATO should condemn this pro-Nazi event, for which the center of an EU capital is annually gifted by authorities, in morally clear terms. Waffen SS veterans are not remotely regarded as legitimate “heroes” by the European Union, of which Latvia has been a full member since 2004.
Please add your voice to the international petition, and see our blogspot, earlier articles and papers available online, and reports on earlier marches in Defending History. A packet of background materials is attached in PDF format and provided below (please use handles at upper left to turn pages).
M. LOWENBERG COMPILATION ON WAFFEN SS MARHES IN RIGA