Because the other former Soviet Republics, when not glorifying genocidal Nazi collaborates, are hosting marches honoring Nazi SS veterans.
Apart from that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?
Each year on March 16, a macabre event unfolds on the square around this capital city’s most famous monument.
Known as the Memorial for Latvian Legionnaires, it is the world’s only march by veterans of Nazi Germany’s elite SS unit.
A handful of them, including nonagenarians in wheelchairs, lead the procession through the Old City to the monument. Some wear the insignia from their old units — the 15th and 19th Waffen Grenadier Divisions — as they receive flowers from young women flanking the procession.
The marchers, some of them skinheads wearing fascist symbols, also spark passionate opposition from Latvians who recall how some of the fighters honored were complicit in the murder of Jews. Equally ardent advocates of the march argue that the Legionnaires were either patriots seeking independence from Russia, forcefully conscripted victims of the German Nazis or both.
But throughout the 20-year-old debate over perceived perpetrators, no one had bothered to use the site to remember the victims of the Nazis.
To be fair, there is an attempt by some people bring up the actual history:
Until 2016, that is, when a non-Jewish Holocaust education professional from Riga — whose great-uncle fought for the Germans — started grassroots commemorations at the monument for murdered Jews, reclaiming the site from the far right.
“In order to make something that belongs to the whole of Latvia, it has to be at Freedom Monument,” Lolita Tomsone, the organizer, told JTA.
But the push-back, both social and official has been intense:
In Lithuania, hundreds of nationalists march each year with swastikas and banners carrying portraits of collaborators who helped murder Jews. There, Zuroff’s 2016 book about the Holocaust led to the first debate of its kind about local complicity in the genocide. Zuroff, the Eastern Europe director for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, co-authored “Our People” with the popular author Ruta Vanagaite.
In recent weeks, though, a Lithuanian Cabinet minister submitted legislation that would outlaw the sale of material that “distorts historical facts” about his country – an echo of a similar and controversial bill recently passed in Poland. Vanagaite has left Lithuania amid a smear campaign against her: After she dared criticize a Lithuanian nationalist hero, her publishing house recalled and shredded all of her books.
If you live in a society where it is not only controversial, but unpopular, to say that Nazis are bad, you need to fix your society, and your politics, and a lot of other stuff.