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    People carry Latvian flags as they march to the Freedom Monument to commemorate World War II veterans who fought in Waffen SS divisions, in Riga, Latvia, Sunday, March 16, 2014

    Europe Tolerates Nazis If They Are Against Its Enemies – Political Analyst

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    The European Union should counter the growing neo-Nazi sentiment and glorification of Nazism in many European countries, according to political experts and analysts.

    Several hundred Waffen-SS veterans and their supporters took part in an annual parade in the Latvian capital of Riga on Monday.

    The Latvian Legion of the Nazi Germany’s Waffen-SS was created in 1943. The unit surrendered in May 1945 among the other Nazi forces.

    "Europe does not bother about Nazis if they are against Brussels’ enemies," Alexander Pavic, political analyst and former advisor for President of Republika Srpska Radovan Karadzic, told Sputnik Serbian Edition.

    "In early 1990s we witnessed a resurrection of fascism. At the time no one was shocked by the fact that 'allies of the West' used the symbols of the Hitler’s satellite entitled 'the Independent State of Croatia'," Pavic added.

    Veterans of the Latvian Legion have staged a parade in central Riga every year since 1991, when the USSR collapsed. The date is linked to the March 16, 1944 battle between the legion and the Red Army.

    "There have been persistent calls for Serbia to repent for less significant crimes. At the same time Baltic nations which avidly supported the Nazi regime are rarely blamed," Predrag Markovic, scientific advisor for the Institute for Modern History in Belgrad, told Sputnik Serbian Edition.

    "Few people know that in fact the Holocaust began in Baltic republics where Nazis’ allies killed hundreds of thousands of Jews. Despite the European Union is believed to be based on the principles of antifascism, its tolerance toward neofascist rallies in Baltic countries or Croatia is surprising," he said.

    "Marches of SS veterans are prohibited in Germany. We believe they must be outlawed in countries which were victims of Nazism," Cornelia Kerth, a member of the Leftist party in Hamburg and founder of the WASG union, told Sputnik German Edition.

    "We are outraged by the annual parade in Riga, so last year we travelled there to stage a counter-demonstration. This year we were shocked to learn that rallies against SS veterans parades are discredited in Latvia and the government opposes them. We want Germany and other countries to be clear of SS veterans marches," she said.

    "We should never forget our past. However the question is our attitude to the past. As antifascists we believe that such parades must be prohibited and those responsible must be punished. In the case of the 92-year-old defendant (Hilde Michnia) the court should find her guilty and convict her," Kerth added.

    The call for the EU to face up to the growing neo-Nazi sentiment and glorification of Nazism sounds particularly relevant in the walkup to the 70th anniversary of the Allied Victory over Nazi Germany.


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    veterans, march, nazism, fascism, Riga, Latvia
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