While the 70th anniversary of the end of the WWII is coming closer people engaged in re-writing history and making criminals look like heroes are becoming much more active. Unfortunately, the Baltic states are at the head of that happening.
So, in Latvia, national ideology is based on several basic postulates:
1. Latvian Republic was occupied by the USSR (first, the USSR, then Germany and then the USSR over again). As that happened, Nazi occupation was far more humane and even productive for the republic. All the demographic, economical, social, and other losses of the Latvian people were connected with the USSR
2. Latvian Waffen SS Volunteer Division was fighting not for Nazi Germany, but for independent Latvia
3. Communists and Russia are to blame for current economic situation in the country, and it is Russia to compensate Latvia all the losses.
This position accounts for the state officials’ approach towards the results of the Second World War. Quite recently Latvia banned an exhibition devoted to prisoners of Nazi death camps, ‘Hijacked Childhood. Victims of the Holocaust as Seen by Child Prisoners of the Salaspils Nazi Concentration Camp’, which was to take place at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris on January 26 sanctioned by the UN.
On March 15, 2015 Latvian Antifascist Committee decided to hold a conference with the participation of foreign guests. But all Riga’s hotels rejected the request to host them. The antifascists’ friends from Estonia were to come as well but Latvian border guards wouldn’t let them into the country asserting that their access was verboten during the days of work of the conference.
In the Latvian War Museum you can see the uniform of Alexander Plensner, ‘the fighter for freedom’ of the Latvian Republic, a collaborator and an SS Standartenfuhrer. Interestingly, some details concerning his service as an Inspector General of the Latvian Legion and the executive officer of the 43d regiment of the 19th Waffen SS Division have been exempted from the biography of the owner of this exhibit.
During official celebrations devoted to events of WWII neo-Nazi columns in the lead of official persons march to the Liberty Monument in Riga to commemorate the legionaries.
It’s has become a tradition to lay wreaths at the cemetery where the commander of the Latvian Legion and Estonian members of punitive squads involved in mass massacre in Jewish ghettos were buried. European diplomats taking part annually in the event appear not to be worried about the fact somehow.
Back in the 90s, Seim passed a declaration ‘On Waffen SS Latvian legion’ recognizing legionaries as heroes who should be hailed by the state which is also to stay firmly on defense of the honorable status of the Legion itself http://www.saeima.lv/steno/st_98/st2810.html
Yet, this is not all. According to Delfi.lv, a source close to the government of Latvia has made it known that a new draft of award ‘For Military Merits and Achievements during the WWII’ having some emblems of Latvian fascists has come to light.
The first candidates to have an honor to be awarded with this cross will be former members of the Latvian Volunteer Legion.
Estonia also has its own Estonian Legion following the lead of its neighbors.
Despite Tallinn’s flat denial of the Holocaust in Estonia during the WWII, as well as of any participation of Estonians in it, the Estonian encyclopedia asserts that nearly 7800 Jews were physically eliminated in the country at that time.
This is how a modern History of Estonia textbook by Adamson and S. Waldmann describes the reaction of Estonians to occupation of their country by Germany. ‘Te Majority of Estonians welcomed Germans as liberators. The first wave of enthusiasm brought as many as 55 000 Estonians into the ranks of Omakaitse, police units or oriental and police battalions created by German commandment. The police were positioned on Russian lands occupied by Germans to ensure order in back areas, take part in anti-partisan missions, later they were used to fight at the frontline. Estonian and Latvian volunteer battalions often demonstrated higher fighting morale than Wehrmacht despite the fact they had much worse military equipment’.
The government of Estonia is also trying to hail its ‘heroic legionaries’ so it has released some special awards like Estonian Legion series knives produced on the order of Estonian Ministry of defense.
It will take not so much time for a new generation of Nazis to raise in European countries. They will be engaged in further construction of Europe. The result is quite predictable bearing in mind the current tolerance to rehabilitation of collaborationists so much devoted to the ideology of the Hitler Germany and re-writing of history…