MOSCOW (Mar. 8)
Latvian Jewish leaders are threatening to boycott a national holiday dedicated to soldiers who died in World War II because it will be focused on commemorating soldiers who fought for the Nazi cause.
Grigory Krupnikov, the leader of the Latvian Jewish community, said that as part of the boycott of the first annual Latvian Soldiers Remembrance Day, scheduled for March 16, Jewish officials will refuse to obey a law under which they must hang the nation’s flag outside Jewish community facilities.
Veterans of the Latvian SS, a Nazi-sponsored unit, have traditionally marked March 16 as the day their unit first fought against the Soviet Red Army in 1943.
Last year, before the event was turned into a national holiday, the celebration caused an international scandal when high-ranking state and military officials joined Latvian Nazi war veterans at a march in the country’s capital of Riga.
This year, current military personnel are expected to follow the government’s recommendation that representatives of the armed forces do not take part in any commemorative events, according to the Latvian defense minister.
Some commentators are saying it is not a coincidence that some leading Latvian politicians are planning to be out of the country that day.