|World War II Latvian Vets marching|
The Echos of World War II
- Over 55,000 Latvians joined the Waffen SS to fight against Communist Russia for the freedom of their nation.
- Not ever issue is a clear black and white. There are many shades of gray. Only two decades earlier World War I Imperial German armies had driven the Russians out of Latvia allowing for an independent nation to be born. Latvians fighting with the Germans against Russia would not have been viewed by them as a bad thing. It would have been patriotic.
(RT News) - Up to a thousand Nazi Waffen-SS veterans and their supporters have marched through Latvia’s capital, Riga, in their annual commemorating procession. In response, Latvian anti-fascists came out to “clean up” the route.
The march of the SS veterans started in Vecriga, in Riga’s old town, at 11:00 local time Monday after a religious service. The participants, holding the national flags of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, walked through the city to the Monument of Freedom, where they lay flowers. Many veterans wore uniforms of the legion and pre-war uniforms.
|Latvian Waffen SS |
The use of Nazi and Soviet symbols was forbidden in the parade and the participants were not allowed to veil faces.
The annual march causes controversy among various social groups. Anti-fascist and Jewish organizations, such as the Simon Wiesenthal Center, believe such rallies glorify Nazism.
“These people fought for the victory of the Third Reich, the most genocidal regime in human history,” Efraim Zuroff, director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center office in Jerusalem, told RT in Riga. “Among the people who served in Latvian SS Legion there were those who previously served in area commando, Latvian security police, actively involved in mass murder of Latvian Jews and Jews brought to Latvia to be murdered.”
Zuroff says the participants of the march are often associated with the fight for Latvia’s independence.
“Here they try to create the impression that these people helped bring about independent Latvia,” he said. “There is a direct line from fighting the military service to independent Latvia today. But nothing can be farther from the truth because Nazi Germany had absolutely no intention to give Latvia independence. That is only because the Nazi Germany lost the war that today there is independent democratic Latvia.”
The Waffen-SS march has been held annually on March 16 since 1998, although it is not an official holiday. Latvia’s national day of remembrance for war heroes is on November 11.
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|An elderly Latvian takes part in a ceremony to honor soldiers who fought in a Waffen SS unit during World War II, in Riga, Latvia. (photo credit: AP/Roman Koksarov)|
|Those "other" World War II vets thought they were fighting |
against Communism and for the freedom of their nation.
|Get your Latvian Waffen SS Calendar today|
“Defend your Motherland! Fight the Bolsheviks!”
“Fight bolshevism! Common fight, common victory!”
“To Arms! Guard your Motherland, people and family from bolshevism!”
|Waffen SS vets and their supporters in Latvia|