"There can be no pecking order of atrocity to offset the unique character of the Holocaust. Baltic historians who focus on Soviet atrocities in order to attenuate collaboration with the Nazis in extermination of the Jews are revisionists. They reinforce the camp of Holocaust denial by blaming the Jews for their own victimology. Such moral equivalency is a reflex mechanism for collaboration...
Photo: Dr. Shimon Samuels, SWC Director for International Relations, and President of Latvia, Vaira Vike Freiberga.
The article of 3 July in the Latvian daily, NEATKARIGA, preparatory to the conference, singles out my organization, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, as "creating the idea that Latvia is the only country in which a segment of the population took part in the Holocaust."
The imperative to transparency in the post-Communist opening of archives has resulted in traumatic challenges to collective memory in every World War II collaborator and neutral country - especially in the Baltic.
My Centre's mission is to ensure that justice is seen to be done, not just in Latvia, but in some two dozen countries where cases of local collaboration in mass murder have been exposed by my colleague, Dr Efraim Zuroff.
Our message is pedagogical: 'the iconization of a Nazi collaborator, even as a national anti-Bolshevik hero, is a nod to youth that endorses the forces of darkness - hate, violence, terror. Like every detective of integrity, with unresolved cases in his archives, we wish today's youth to understand: 'Even 60 years later, you cannot get away with it!'"
www.wiesenthal.com, July 5, 2006