Zuroff. Hopes to stop 'outrage'
Photo: AP

Nazi hunter criticizes Latvia over commemoration

Efraim Zuroff of Simon Wiesenthal Center slams Riga court decision to allow procession marking day Nazis entered Latvian capital

A well-known Nazi hunter criticized a Latvian court on Tuesday for allowing a procession to commemorate the day in 1941 when Nazi troops entered the country's capital after ejecting the Soviet Union's Red Army.


Efraim Zuroff, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel, criticized a Riga district court decision to allow an event to be held at the central Freedom Monument on July 1.


"To celebrate the anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Riga on July 1 is to celebrate the mass murder of all those victimized by the Nazis in Latvia - primarily Jews, but also Communists, Gypsies and the mentally ill," Zuroff said in a statement.


He said he hoped "saner minds" would prevail in Riga to stop what he called "this outrage from taking place".


The Latvian news agency LETA earlier quoted a district court as saying it had overturned a Riga city council decision to refuse permission for a procession to mark the occasion. It was not known if the council would appeal the court decision.


The day has never before been publicly marked in Latvia, at official or private level.


An annual March 16 parade of Latvian veterans of SS units which fought in World War Two often attracts criticism, including by Zuroff, for glorifying Nazism.


Latvians who attend the March event say they are honoring men who were fighting for the Baltic state's freedom and against a fresh Red Army occupation.


The German invasion in 1941 followed a year of Red Army occupation, during which Latvia was forcibly incorporated into the Soviet Union and tens of thousands of Latvians were shipped to Siberia, leading people to cheer the arrival of German troops in the streets of Riga.


Soon after German troops entered the country, the mass slaughter of Jews began.


פרסום ראשון: 06.30.10, 12:46
 new comment
This will delete your current comment