Latvian minister to be fired for march with SS vets

Latvia’s prime minister said she would fire a Cabinet minister who planned to march with local SS veterans.

Einars Cilinskis, Latvia’s minister for environment and regional development, said he would attend the March 16 rally in Riga, Reuters reported.

Now in their 80s and 90s, many of the Latvians who joined the armed wing of Hitler’s Nazi party were led by the Latvian SS commander Viktor Arajs. He and his troops were responsible for the murder of tens of thousands of Jews.

Of 70,000 Jews who lived in neighboring Lithuania during German occupation, only 200 survived the Holocaust, according to the Yad Vashem museum in Jerusalem.

In the Baltic nations, many people today admire Nazi collaborators because they fought for independence against the Russians, who occupied the Baltic nations until the 1990s.

Efraim Zuroff of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center told reporters last week he intended to participate in a counterdemonstration in Riga against the Nazi march. — jta