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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Rally commemorating Latvian SS Legionnaires held in Riga,16 March 2024

Photo from the Junge Welt, Berlin-based Marxist daily, March 18, 2024


As it does annually on 16 March, the Latvian government authorised a commemorative march in honour of Latvian SS Legionnaires and other fascist collaborators through the capital Riga to the Freedom Monument. According to the LETA news agency, several hundred people participated in the march, carrying Latvian, Estonian and Ukrainian flags. Songs of the Latvian SS Legionnaires were sung along the route.


The march was once again organised by Daugavas Vanagi (Düna Falcons). Founded in December 1945, the SS veterans' association also exists in the Federal Republic of Germany as a registered association with an impressive property, the Latvian Cultural Centre, in Freiburg-Zähringen. During the Second World War, around 160,000 Latvians were in the German police, Wehrmacht and SS, committing egregious crimes against Jews, Russians and Poles. However, the fascists of the Baltic state were categorised as "forcibly recruited" by the Western Allies in 1945, and some of them were still fighting in the Baltic Soviet republics in the 1950s with the support of Western secret services. The majority were sustained as a political group in Great Britain, North America, Australia and the Federal Republic of Germany, similar to the Ukrainian Bandera organisation OUN, until the end of the Soviet Union. Numerous Latvian politicians were recruited from it after 1991. March 16, when both Latvian SS divisions fought against the Red Army on the same section of the front in 1944, was even a public holiday for a time in the 1990s.


Excerpt from “Persilschein für »Remigration«. Lettland schiebt russischsprachige Bürger ab, Bundesregierung hat nichts einzuwenden. Ehrung für SS-Legionäre des Landes am Wochenende." By Arnold Scholzel, Junge Welt, 18 March 2024. Translated by Helmut-Harry Loewen.

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