Riga: march of Waffen-SS veterans
In Riga situated 1500 veterans of the Waffen -SS have gathered to remember a battle against the Red Army. The former soldiers celebrate themselves as patriots – the Jewish community, however, condemned the march.
Riga – Latvia veterans a unit of the German Waffen-SS held their annual parade under heavy police protection. Around 1,500 people moved according to the police by the capital Riga. The Jewish community, Russia and the Russian-speaking minority in Latvia criticized the deployment sharp.
At the parade took the last surviving of the 140th 000 Latvians some who had fought in World War II in the Waffen- SS against the Red Army. Counter-demonstrators had agreed with the police on demonstrating after the end of the parade against fascism. Efraim Zuroff from the Simon Wiesenthal Center for Prosecution of Nazi War Criminals said the parade was’ a big lie’ and a’ distortion of history’.
Since independence in 1991 Latvian veterans commemorate the Latvian Legion every year on the 16th March a battle against the Red Army in 1944 at the Legion in vain tried to stop the advance of Soviet troops. This is critical because the Latvian Legion was part of the German Waffen-SS. The veterans, however, emphasize that the military unit founded in 1943, defended their homeland against the re- occupation by the Russians.
The Soviet Union had occupied Latvia in 1939 in the wake of the Hitler- Stalin pact, with the Eastern Europe was divided between Berlin and Moscow. About 15,000 Latvians were deported to Siberia. As German troops during the invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, Latvia conquered the Wehrmacht sections of the population
The German occupiers killed 70,000 of the 85,000 Jews in the country has been hailed as liberators.. In October 1944, the Red Army retook Riga. Until 1991, Latvia was part of the Soviet Union.