• Germany's news in English

Latvian court allows march honouring Waffen SS forces

The Local · 16 Mar 2011, 12:55

Published: 16 Mar 2011 12:55 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

On Tuesday, a Riga court removed the city council’s ban on the “Legion Day,” allowing the veterans and their supporters to march through the city centre the next day.

They plan to commemorate the some 140,000 Latvian men who fought against the Russians with the German military.

Latvia was occupied by the Red Army in 1940, and many residents saw the Germans as liberators when they marched in one year later. A number of men subsequently volunteered or were conscripted into the Latvian Legion, an offshoot of the Waffen SS.

While the group, nationalist veterans’ organisation Daugavas Vanagi, says the march is simply a remembrance of those forced to wear the Nazi uniform, critics allege that it actually exalts the fascist forces.

“A brave Latvian leader must say to his people: These should not be heroes to a democratic member of the European Union,” director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center Efraim Zuroff told German news agency DPA.

A group of ethnic Russians also gathered in central Riga to protest the march, saying it dishonoured their fight against Nazi Germany, according to news agency AP.

Story continues below…

A large number of police were also reportedly on hand to ensure the ceremony was conducted peacefully.

The Local/ka

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

19:56 March 16, 2011 by wood artist
It is so difficult to separate what they fought against from what they fought for.

20:22 March 16, 2011 by delvek
Its vital to remember those that lost their lives in service to their country, even if the end goal of the State was unjust.
00:51 March 17, 2011 by orthar
Yes, people like this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arajs_Commando are 'vital to remember' :-/
02:45 March 17, 2011 by andyjackson
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
05:56 March 17, 2011 by DOZ
Remember all those who died for their Leaders craziness, because it never ends.
07:13 March 17, 2011 by Take pause...
I note that none of the marchers in the picture appear old enough to have fought in that war. What are they remembering?
09:45 March 17, 2011 by moistvelvet
@Take pause, from your comment you seem to suggest that the UK should no longer bother with the Armistice parade and rememberance. Do you actually have to be a witness to an event to remember those who were killed? I wasn't in Japan last week so does that mean I shouldn't think about the 1,000s that died?

At the end of the day these were husbands, fathers and sons, soldiers that died serving their nation, for that they should be remembered.
09:55 March 17, 2011 by michael4096
"It is so difficult to separate what they fought against from what they fought for."

Only with hindsight. I suspect that the issues were clearer at the time these guys signed up
19:01 March 19, 2011 by Rosenkranz
Quote: "I note that none of the marchers in the picture appear old enough to have fought in that war. What are they remembering? "

What if they had relatives, fathers, uncles, brothers, who fought? Go take your medication.
11:49 September 9, 2012 by Gederts Skerstens
No Apologies.

If Mass-murder is the ultimate Evil, the Communists have it in spades.

40 million in Asia, 30 million in Continental Europe.

No apologies for killing mass-murderers in defense of our Nations.

Today's headlines
Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Parents who don't get nursery spot for kid entitled to pay
Photo: DPA

The Federal Court of Justice (BGH) ruled on Thursday that parents whose children don't receive placements in nursery care are entitled to compensation.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd