Latvian Minister Would Attend Waffen-SS Rally in Riga


Einars Cilinskis, Latvia’s minister for environment and regional development, said he would attend the Waffen-SS Vets rally in Riga, Reuters reported.

Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma’s spokesman Andis Blinds said: “Taking into account that the minister has said today he would join the march and would not resign by himself, the prime minister will later today sign an order for his dismissal.” Now in their 80s and 90s, many of the Latvians who joined the National Socialists were led by the Latvian Waffen-SS commander Viktor Arajs.

In the Baltic nations, many people today admire Waffen-SS because they fought for independence against the Soviets, who occupied the Baltic nations until the 1990s.

Efraim Zuroff of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told JTA he intended to participate in a counter-demonstration in Riga against the National Socialist march.

Earlier this week, Zuroff attended a small counter-demonstration in Vilnius, in Lithuania. Zuroff and five other people were there to protest the glorification of the Lithuanian NS leader Juozas Ambrazevicius-Brazaitis at a nationalist march of 2,000 people in the center of Vilnius.

Admirers of people like Ambrazevicius-Brazaitis and Arajs “are the spiritual heirs of those who committed the crimes of the Holocaust,” Zuroff said. “It is unthinkable that they should march through European Union capitals and cause unimaginable pain to Holocaust survivors and their families.”

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