ADL Condemns Parade Commemorating Nazi Invasion of Latvia

New York, NY, June 30, 2010 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today condemned a march in Riga celebrating the anniversary of the Nazi invasion of Latvia on July 1, 1941, calling it the "height of insensitivity to victims of Nazism in Latvia and across Europe." 

Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:

The Nazi invasion of Latvia sixty-nine years ago led to the murder of 90,000 Latvians, including 70,000 Latvian Jews and 2,000 Roma. To celebrate this anniversary and present the Nazis as the "liberators" of Latvia, is the height of insensitivity to the victims of Nazism in Latvia and across Europe. 

We appreciate the statement of Latvia's prime minister and the foreign ministry condemning this event. However, we are concerned that this incident is part of a larger trend among nationalists in the Baltics and elsewhere in Eastern Europe to equate the Nazi genocide with the repression and crimes of the Communists. 

In the case of the Riga march, the organizers seem to prefer the Nazis to the Communists, whitewashing what came after July 1, 1941 and presenting the German army as the "liberators" of Latvia from the Soviet Union.

The Riga City Council had banned the march, but the decision was overturned by the Administrative District Court.

A crowd of approximately 20, mostly elderly, people gathered to take part in the the planned march, but Latvian police prevented it from taking place.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.