Eastern Europe’s Hitler nostalgia
It’s incredible that this kind of insanity still exists in today’s society.
WARSAW, Poland — In the Baltic States they celebrate their liberation from the Soviet Union in the middle of March.
Winter’s worst lies grey on the streets, but that doesn’t stop people in Vilnius, capital of Lithuania, and Riga, capital of Latvia, from marching solemnly to honor the heroes who fought vainly to keep the Soviet Union at bay.
Among those who march are groups who honor those who fell wearing the uniform of the Waffen SS, the military arm of the notorious Nazi paramilitary unit. These SS veteran marches are not fringe events. Thousands march and thousands more turn out to cheer them on.
The parades’ permits are applied for by members of the governing party in parliament. Marchers are defended by the government.
Latvia’s president Andris Berzins reportedly praised the SS veterans on Latvian television last week, ‘It’s crazy to think they’re war criminals.’ Berzins added, ‘Many people lost their lives for the future of Latvia. I don’t see any basis to deny this … it seems to me it’s not acceptable to dishonor these people, before whom we should bow our heads,’ he said.
…The official tolerance for marches honoring those who fought with the SS is part of a general trend in the Baltic States and all along the eastern borders of Europe: an embrace of a form of exclusionary nationalism that belongs to the 19th century, rather than the globalized 21st. It is the kind of nationalism that underpinned Hitler’s theory of ‘One People and One Reich.’
…The Council of Europe published a report on the Nazi marches in Latvia in February. It said, ‘All attempts to commemorate persons who fought in the Waffen SS and collaborated with the Nazis, should be condemned. Any gathering or march legitimizing in any way Nazism should be banned.’
The report went on to state that the EC, ‘cannot but express concern about any attempt to justify fighting in the Waffen SS and collaborating with the Nazis, as it risks fueling racism, xenophobia, antisemitism and intolerance … ‘
Have these people not read history books about what the Nazis did 70 years ago?