Riga – The Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, travelled to Riga to join demonstrators against a march of Latvian Waffen-SS veterans and their supporters which took place yesterday in the Latvian capital. In a statement issued here today following the demonstration which was attended by about 100 protestors, among them residents of Riga and guests who especially arrived from Israel, Britain, Lithuania, Germany and Austria, the Center noted the importance of the protest against the glorification of people who fought alongside the most genocidal regime in human history.
According to Zuroff:
“It is a terrible tragedy that many Latvians view those who fought with the Nazis as patriotic freedom fighters. It is important to remember that although the Latvian SS Legion was not involved in the crimes of the Holocaust (by the time it was established almost all of Latvian Jewry had already been murdered), many of those who served in the unit, had actively participated in Holocaust crimes as members of the Latvian Security Police, and it would therefore be unthinkable to honor these men. It is also important to note that the claim that these men were fighting for Latvian independence is a total myth, since the Nazis had absolutely no intention to grant Latvia independence and it is only because the Third Reich was defeated that an independent Latvia ultimately was created in 1991.”
Dr. Zuroff was among the demonstrators who laid a wreath to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust at the Freedom Monument, the destination of the march, prior to the arrival of the SS veterans and their supporters. After the wreath was laid, a large poster of the emblem of the Latvian SS units was put in front of the wreath to cover it up.