March 16, 2011
Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center today harshly criticized the march of Latvian Waffen-SS veterans in the heart of Riga today, branding it “a demonstration of veiled fascism and anti-Semitism that is an insult to the victims of the Nazis and their Latvian collaborators, as well as to those who fought to save Europe from the scourge of Nazi totalitarianism.” In a statement issued here by its chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center noted that despite claims of Latvian nationalists that those who joined the Waffen-SS units did not support Nazi ideology, these units fought for a victory of the Third Reich which carried out a genocide of the Jews and also murdered millions of other innocent victims.
According to Zuroff:
“The attempt to link today’s independent Latvia with those who fought for a victory of genocidal totalitarianism is a terrible omen for the future of Latvian democracy. Among those who joined the Latvian SS units were the biggest murderers of Latvian Jewry and helped kill many thousands of Jews in Belarus. To turn these murderers into patriotic heroes of the new Latvia is either the height of anti-Semitism and racism or of utter stupidity.”
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400.000 members. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament.