Anti-Semitic Vandalism in Latvia

Anti-Fascist 1500-2
Riga, Latvia – Second Case of Anti-Semitic Vandalism in a Week December 13, 2010

Riga, Latvia – Police in Latvia were investigating Monday after a second incident of anti-Semitic vandalism in less than a week.

A memorial to Zanis Lipke, a Latvian credited with saving more than 50 Jews from death during World War II, was daubed with paint in the early hours of Monday morning, police said. The memorial was quickly cleaned up by municipal authorities.

The incident came just days after 89 tombstones in the Jewish Cemetery in Riga were daubed with swastikas by vandals, (as was reported here on Vos Iz Neias).

Latvian Foreign Minister Girts Valdis Kristovskis was quick to condemn the latest incident, saying ‘recurrent acts of vandalism’ were unacceptable.

Lipke, who died in 1987, was awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations by the Holocaust memorial organization Yad Vashem. Nearly all of Riga’s Jews were murdered during World War II by occupying Nazi forces assisted by local volunteers.

Latvian President Valdis Zatlers slammed the vandalism, in a statement, Zatlers said he “categorically condemned” the assault on the central Riga monument which honours the late Zanis Lipke and others who stopped Jews from falling into the clutches of the occupying Nazi Germans and local collaborators.

“Zanis Lipke is a man who deserved people’s admiration, respect and love,” Zatlers said. “Last night’s vandalism completely contradicts that.”

more to article:

Libau and Skede – remembrances of the past

There are two memorials at Skede – one set up by the Soviets, which says that 19,000 people were killed there (it does not mention Jews specifically at all), and another recently built by the local Liepaja Jewish community, with support from the Latvian government and groups in Latvia, Israel, and the U.S. This memorial repeats the assertion that 19,000 people were killed at Skede, but this figure is incorrect – it’s much too large. Edward Anders and Vladimir Bans erected a plaque nearby (in Russian, Latvian, and English) that more accurately states who was killed at Skede.

Excellent article on a number of monuments + memorials in the Liepaja region of Latvia July 2010

2013 Report on International Religious Freedom – Latvia (US State Dept 2013)

Relevant excerpt:

There were reports of anti-Semitic incidents, including several cases of anti-Semitic statements, particularly in social media fora. Anti-Semitic sentiments persisted in some segments of society. Vandals desecrated monuments and memorial plaques in Riga and Liepaja. Police investigated a June 2012 case, when vandals broke a stained-glass window at a chapel in the New Jewish Cemetery in Riga. Police were unable to identify the perpetrators and closed the investigation.

In November the monument to former Latvian President Janis Cakste in Riga was vandalized with two swastikas and several other drawings. Municipal authorities removed the graffiti immediately. Investigations of all of these incidents were ongoing at year’s end.

On April 18, the independent Council on Electronic Mass Media initiated an administrative case against Radio NABA for broadcasting anti-Semitic statements and incitement to ethnic hatred. The case stems from a March 2012 broadcast during which hosts of the program Radio NABA and a Latvian veteran of the German Waffen SS during World War II made anti-Semitic comments. The radio program was canceled. Security police investigated the incident, but did not initiate a criminal case against those involved.

On July 4, Latvia’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, nationalists organized an event in the town of Limbazi to commemorate the recapture of the town from Soviet occupation on that date. Due to the historical circumstances which followed the Red Army’s exit from Limbazi – the ensuing German occupation led to the deaths of the town’s approximately 100 Jewish residents – a number of groups criticized the event as anti-Semitic. Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics condemned the event as “unacceptable” and attended instead a commemorative event for Latvians who perished in the Holocaust. On March 16, an annual march took place honoring the fallen members of the Latvian Legion of the Waffen SS who fought against the Soviet Red Army in World War II. No Nazi or anti-Semitic signs or symbols were observed. The government did not participate in or support these events; freedom of expression and assembly are protected under Latvian law.

Jewish community representatives, government officials, and foreign diplomats attended the July 4 Holocaust commemoration ceremony in Riga. A group of neo-Nazis held a separate demonstration to protest the ceremony. Unlike the previous year, the Riga City Council required the counterdemonstration to conclude prior to the official commemoration ceremony.

The Ministry of the Interior reported that the security police recorded an increase in registered criminal offenses involving national, ethnic, or racial hatred, including anti-Semitism, from 12 to 18 from 2011 to 2012, the last full years for which data was available. These numbers cannot be broken down into those that specifically relate to religion. The European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) survey on anti-Semitism released in November, found 40 percent of 154 Latvian respondents (out of a “core Jewish population” of 6,200) had experienced or observed anti-Semitic verbal or physical attacks; 39 percent believed anti-Semitism had gotten worse over the past five years; and 18 percent had considered emigrating because of anti-Semitism.

Monument to WW2 hero desecrated in Riga

A monument to Janis Lipka, a WW2 hero who saved 55 Jews, living in Riga, has been desecrated in Riga. Vandals drew white stripes on it. The monument was installed in 2007. The police are investigating.

A monument to Janis Lipka, a WW2 hero who saved 55 Jews, living in Riga, has been desecrated in Riga. Vandals drew white stripes on it.

The monument was installed in 2007. The police are investigating.

Memorial vandals at work 14 September 2011, 21:02

Unknown vandals in Mezhvalde in Latvia have stolen metal statues from a local memorial to victims of Nazism. The incident comes four months after the same or similar thieves stole a statue from the cemetery tomb of a local man who sheltered Jews from Nazi hounds. The authorities believe the thieves are scrap metal hunters.

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The Death of the Jewish Community of Kraslava
‘Write down! Record!’ Simon Dubnov

Detailed, multifaced. Has been published in the last couple of years, very extensive.

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