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FIR Newsletter 2019-40: Latvian collaborators as national hero’s?

Already several times, the FIR and their member federations raised their voice against many efforts of the rehabilitation of the fascist collaborators in the Baltic republics. Already 20 years ago, we protested against the glorification of SS members in Estonia. For several years, we have been supporting the actions against the march of SS veterans in Riga in mid-March for the national holiday there. One of the few correct points in the terrible declaration of the European Parliament of 19 September 2019 criticizes the fact that “in some EU member states historical revisionism is practiced and people who collaborated with the National Socialists are glorified”.

As if it needed a confirmation, the Latvian Ministry of Defense published on 27.09.2019 extensive information about a commemoration ceremony in memory of the battle of More at the beginning of October 1944. In this battle, Latvian legionnaires fought in the ranks of the German Wehrmacht against the forces of the Red Army and prevented them from driving the fascist occupation troops out of Latvia.

In his honour speech, Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks stated literally:
 “It is our duty to honour these patriots of Latvia from the bottom of our souls. … Let us honour the fallen legionnaires and let no one despise their memory! Latvian legionnaires are the pride of the Latvian people and the state.”
He continued: “When we are in places like More, next to the trenches, tombs and monuments of our legionaries, we are all lost in the strength and confidence that our country has a future, that we are on the right path and that our country and our nation deserve an ever better future”.
To make it clear, what the purpose of this commemoration is, he promised to do everything possible to secure Latvia, “so that our army is highly motivated, capable of fighting, well armed and our society does not experience any everyday or crisis surprises”.

At the end of the event, the participants laid flowers on the memorial wall and on the plaque for the commander of the Battle of More, Roland Kovtunenko. Nobody was surprised that a Ukrainian nationalist, a supporter of Bandera, was honoured as a volunteer at the side of the fascist Wehrmacht. It is also not surprising that Ukrainian fascists with Latvian partners also laid wreaths at his memorial last year.

In the press release of the Latvian Ministry of Defense, it was explicitly emphasized that the Latvian legionnaires who fought alongside the fascist Wehrmacht prevented the Soviet army for two weeks from breaking through the lines of defense of Sigulda and liberating Riga. The fact that several hundred Soviet soldiers lost their lives for the liberation of Europe from fascist barbarism through the actions of the Latvian collaborators is not mentioned in the statement of the Ministry of Defense.

The FIR is deeply indignant about this open form of revisionist rewriting of the history of the Second World War by the Latvian government.