March 16, 2005

Wiesenthal Center Condemns Marches in Riga and Liepaja, Latvia of Latvian SS Veterans

The Simon Wiesenthal Center today condemned the marches of Latvian SS Legion veterans held in Riga and Liepaja, and welcomed the government’s decision announced yesterday by Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis that official government representatives would not participate in such events.

In a statement issued today in Jerusalem by Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center noted its in-principle opposition to events glorifying those who fought together with Nazi Germany and urged the Latvian authorities to increase Holocaust education as a means of explaining to the public why such events should not be held.

According to Zuroff:

“It is bitterly ironic that Latvian SS veterans and their young supporters will be marching in the streets of Riga and Liepaja today while Latvian education minister Ina Druviete is at Yad Vashem for the dedication of the new Holocaust museum.

“Again and again it is increasingly clear that certain segments of Latvian society continue to view those who murdered Jews and/or fought together with the Nazis as heroes, when it should be clear that these people do not deserve to be glorified.

“Latvia is clearly paying the price today for its reluctance to prosecute Latvian Nazi war criminals, a failure which will continue to haunt Latvian society for many years to come.”

For more information call 00-972-50-7214156    or visit: