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Latvian Rightists Celebrate Nazis

‘Holocaust obfuscation’ continues in the Baltics

by
Marc Tracy
July 01, 2010
An opponent of the march watches it go down in Riga. Great t-shirt.(Ilmars Znotins/AFP/Getty Images)

An opponent of the march watches it go down in Riga. Great t-shirt.(Ilmars Znotins/AFP/Getty Images)

A Latvian court ruled that a group can march today to commemorate—in, like, a celebratory way—the 1941 Nazi invasion. The decision earned the condemnations of Latvia’s prime and foreign ministers, as well as the Anti-Defamation League and the Simon Wiesenthal Center.

The march is properly understood in the context of “Holocaust obfuscation,” which Dovid Katz reported on for Tablet Magazine. An Eastern European (and maybe particularly Baltic?) phenomenon, Holocaust obfuscation does not deny the Holocaust, but states that the crimes of occupying Nazis and the crimes of occupying Soviets were more or less equivalent. This march perhaps takes Holocaust obfuscation one step further (and several too far!) by cheering the relief of Soviet occupation that Nazi invasion brought.

“To celebrate the anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Riga on July 1,” said the director of Israel’s Simon Wiesenthal Center, “is to celebrate the mass murder of all those victimized by the Nazis in Latvia—primarily Jews, but also Communists, Gypsies and the mentally ill.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman is slated to visit Latvia over the weekend to honor the roughly 66,000 Latvian Jews whom the Nazis murdered.

Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.