By Monica Lowenberg, in London, published on Defending History, March 12, 2017
On 16 March 2017 in the Latvian capital of Riga, as in previous years since 1991, after a Lutheran church service, an honorary march and flag-lined rally will take place at the Freedom Monument in the heart of the city to honor Latvian units of the Waffen SS. Latvia, like Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine and Bulgaria is one of the Eastern European states where locally staffed anti-semitic units and death squads under different names who collaborated with the Nazis are celebrated today as national heroes. This is done with tacit consent of the state and varying degrees of tacit or open support from state authorities.
The ‘March of Honor’ in Riga is an unprecedented provocation towards relatives of victims of the Latvian police and SS associations and the Jewish, Russian-speaking and other minorities in the country. The march is not only in conflict with the fundamental values of the European Union, whose advantages the Latvian state accepts, but it is also a crass provocation against all the peoples of Europe that made huge sacrifices to bring down Hitler.
In Latvia, anti-fascist demonstrators are exposed to considerable reprisals (telephone monitoring, travel restrictions, administrative chicanery, police and state influence on hotels and event organisers). This also applies to supporters who come from Germany and other countries.
It is therefore all the more important to show solidarity with the Latvian antifascists in 2017. The VVN-BdA [Association of Persecutees of the Nazi Regime/Federation of Antifascists (Vereinigung der Verfolgten des Naziregimes – Bund der Antifaschistinnen und Antifaschisten, Wikipedia] and the member federations of the International Federation of Resistance Fighters (FIR) call for a trip to Riga to participate in the anti-fascist demonstration on 16 March.
At the same time, the protest organisers call for protests against the glorification of Nazi collaborators and mass murderers and freedom for Latvia’s anti-fascists to take place on 15 March outside Latvian embassies and consulates in the European cities of Rome, Brussels, Budapest and Athens.
The VVN-BdA also calls for vigils in front of the Latvian Embassy and the Honorary consulates in: Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf
- An end to the glorification of Nazi collaborators and murderers!
- Recognition of Baltic participation in the Nazi genocide!
- Freedom for “Latvia without Nazism” to go about its work without harassment!
- We call for protest messages to be presented to Latvian Embassy and Latvian consulates on the 15th of March!
More information here. On how to get to Riga, email: [email protected], or call 030-5557-9083-2. Sponsoring organizations: Association of the Persecuted of the Nazi Regime; Association of the Antifascists (VVN-BdA), Magdalenenstr. 19, 10365 Berlin, Germany. Tel : +49 (0) 30-55579083-2, Fax: +49 (0) 30-55579083-9. Email: [email protected] Website: www.vvn-bda.de.
Add your voice to the petition here.
* Riga City Council authorizes all events planned on March 16 Latvian Legion Day, Baltic Times, March 6, 2017 [This accompanying note appears in the update report on Defending History: ‘Riga City Council approves the Waffen SS events as BNS and Baltic Times refer to “Russian” opposition without even mentioning Holocaust history and the inherent antisemitism.’]
* Another SS March in Riga this year? Another disgrace in an EU, OSCE, NATO capital? Stop the 16 March marches in Riga, Latvia! Statement dated Feb 17, 2016
‘Will the Latvian Lutheran church ever stop supporting the Waffen SS march?‘
and, ‘Evidence showing vast government/member of parliament/public officials complicity in Latvia in giving the Waffen SS march societal status‘
* Nazis and Canada’s Latvian love-in, by Scott Taylor, published on his website Esprit de Corps and in his weekly column ‘On Target’ in the Chronicle Herald (daily in Halifax, Nova Scotia), March 12, 2017
* Moscow awaiting world community reaction to SS veterans march in Latvia, TASS, March 16, 2017