His indignation at the appearance of the Latvian Minister of Defense Artis Pabriks On the occasion of the battle near the village of More, Jurkāns commented on the weekend in an interview with Radio Baltkom. A few days earlier, in a speech documented on his ministry's website, Pabriks had celebrated the Latvian legionaries who fought in the ranks of the Waffen SS during World War II as "heroes" and "pride of the country" to commemorate. According to Jurkāns, Latvian SS legionnaires should not be called heroes.
"My grandfather was a wealthy landlord, living in a village in Skrudaliena. Then the Germans came and since they did not like the Poles – and he was Pan Cahajevičs, they burned everything, including the house and the economy. They took away the horses and an 18-year-old son. This had been furnished and was to serve in the Wehrmacht. That was a real tragedy. The man was only 18 years old. Before his eyes, the Germans burned everything that was left. And he should still serve. And there are many such tragedies, "said Jurkāns from his own experience.
"It shows that Latvia is not keeping pace with Europe and the world"
Jurkāns continued to be outraged that no one from the Latvian government had responded to the embarrassing words of the Defense Minister. Even the Latvian President Egils Levits, in which Jewish blood flowed and whose fellow citizens suffered from these legionaries, had not spoken up.
"Well, come forward and tell the truth – yes, they were victims but not heroes! And if the government is silent, that means it agrees. What is that for? It is a very bad style, and a bad example for the students, if you dig in the past and proclaim the heroes, who were in principle tragic personalities, as heroes. It shows that Latvia is not keeping pace with Europe and the world, "the ex-politician continued.
Previously, some Latvian historians were outraged by Pabrik's remarks, calling the minister's speech disgraceful. So wrote the historian Edgars Engīzers in his Twitter accountHe was ashamed of Latvia and the ease of the gesture with which Pabriks canceled everything that the experts had been working on for years. The deputy of the Saeima of the opposition social-democratic party "Saskaņa" (concord) Igor Pimenov called Pabriks to resign and demanded a punishment for its explanation – in vain.
In the "Latvian Legion" Latvian punishment commands of the security police and the security service of the Reichsführer SS were incorporated. Their members were after the Second World War because of participation in the punitive actions "Winter Magic" and "Spring Festival" 1943 and 1944 in Nazi-occupied areas of the Soviet Union, against the partisans in the north of Belarus and the west of Russia. Legionnaires destroyed hundreds of villages, killing thousands of civilians, as confirmed by historical documents and witnesses. In the ranks of the Latvian SS Volunteer Division established in February 1943, Latvians fought both forced and voluntary. Every year in March, the last veterans of the Latvian Legion of the Waffen-SS march through Riga and commemorate their dead and comrades who have died since 1945.
Just an example of a general trend?
The participation of Latvian residents in Nazi punitive actions during the Second World War is rather hushed up in today's political representation of the Baltic countries. According to the Latvian authorities, the locals of Latvia were not involved in the murder of civilians, according to historical data. In a recent Sputnik interview, the German historian Erich Later, in response to the controversial resolution of the European Parliament on the Hitler-Stalin pact, criticized Poland for rehabilitating some 80,000 Polish NSZ soldiers, who murdered more Jews and Soviets than Germans and incorporate it into national tradition as a resistance fighter. "There is still a law passed to prosecute anyone who addresses the undoubted support of the Shoah by much of the Polish right," the historian noted. Incidentally, the resolution was drafted at the initiative of Lithuania and with the intervention of Polish PiS politicians.