Latvian SS-Legion: Past and Present. Some Issues Regarding the Modern Glorification of Nazism
Each year on March 16, former soldiers of the so-called Latvian SS-Legion take part in processions on the streets of Riga to commemorate the day when in 1944, during World War II, Latvian SS units participated in combat operations against the advancing Soviet troops. The Latvian authorities consider March 16 the day of the Latvian Legion, in connection with which various public events, including processions of former legionaries paying tribute to the memory of defenders of the fatherland, have been taking place since the year 1998. These processions are organized each year, which generates great controversy and mixed opinions not only in the Latvian society and in the international community, but also in academic circles. Defenders of the processions of ex-legionaries highlight the fact that despite the SS being acknowledged as a criminal organisation by the Nuremberg Tribunal, Latvian Waffen SS units were excluded from the list of criminal organisations because conscription into these forces was imposed on a compulsory basis, in violation of the Hague Convention of 1907, and these units were not involved in war crimes or crimes against humanity. The main aim of this article is to show that although the position of the defenders is gaining more and more ground, the Latvian SS-Legion does in fact possess all the features attributed to a criminal organisation by the Nuremberg Tribunal and that its glorification is a form of glorification of Nazism, which poses a threat to compliance with the principles of international law.
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