Menu JTA Search

Baltic President, in Israel, Apologizes for His Country

Latvia’s president has again apologized for his country’s role in the Holocaust.

Guntis Ulmanis, who is on a three-day visit to Israel, said at a reception at the home of President Ezer Weizman that the Baltic nation is aware that some of its citizens persecuted Latvian Jews during World War II.

Similar comments by Ulmanis last month led to an uproar in his country’s Parliament.

While making the apology, Ulmanis also told Weizman that some Latvians had saved the lives of Jews during the war.

Israeli officials told Ulmanis that Latvia should undertake a “serious investigation” of the whereabouts of Nazi war criminals living in Latvia.

Latvian prosecutors maintain that they have no information about people living in Latvia who could be persecuted for the murder of Jews or for other war crimes.

Last month, the Latvian Parliament called on Ulmanis to appear before them and explain his remarks about Latvian participation in the Holocaust, which he made during a trip to the United States in early January.

Latvian legislators made the request after receiving a copy of Ulmanis’ speech to the Anti-Defamation League in which he apologized for Latvian participation in the genocide of Jews during the Nazi occupation of the country from 1941 to 1944.

Ulmanis, who was in the United States to attend a U.S.-Baltic summit in Washington, made his remarks while in New York to accept the Distinguished Statesman Award from the ADL.

NEXT STORY