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MOSCOW, October 15. /TASS/. Russia is urging all international organizations concerned to express concerted condemnation of a controversial musical show in Latvia glorifying a Nazi war criminal, the Russian Foreign Ministry’s commissioner for human rights, democracy and rule of law, Konstantin Dolgov, said in a commentary on Wednesday.
“One could not but feel outrage at the news about the showing of the musical titled Cukurs. Herberts Cukurs in the city of Liepaja. It glorifies a member of the Arajs Kommando, which during World War II gained notoriety by its role in the cruel extermination of Jews, including children,” the commentary runs. “We regard this latest disgusting event in Latvia glorifying a major war criminal as defilement of the memory of millions of peoples who fell victim to Cukurs and his likes. The free distribution of tickets to this musical show among local school students was just cynical.”
Dolgov recalled that the glorification of Nazi war criminals “runs counter to international law, including the verdicts of the Nuremberg Tribunal, and undermines the collective efforts of the international human rights community to resist neo-Nazism and xenophobia, which is resurging in Europe.”
“We are urging international organizations concerned to strongly condemn this show. There should be no place for neo-Nazism in modern Europe,” Dolgov stressed.
On the same day the Latvian government expressed its attitude to the controversial stage production.
As follows from a statement by Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkevics the Latvian authorities are critical of the show.
“I maintain that the principles of the freedom of speech must be observed and each individual shall have the right to speak one’s mind, but at the same time I believe that whatever good things may be said about Cukurs’s activities in the 1930s his involvement in the Arajs Kommando gives no reasons for his glorification. I would say that such shows disagree with my ideas of good taste and I by no means share them,” the Foreign Ministry’s press-service quotes Rinkevics as saying. “Membership of the Arajs Kommando is not worthy of glorification. The audience is free to make its judgement, of course, but the government’s stance is it is bad taste.”
Cukurs was a member of the Arajs Kommando, a death squad notorious for exterminating the Jewish community of Latvia during the Nazi occupation. After the war he escaped to Brazil. He was found dead in Uruguay in 1965. According to one version Cukurs, who is believed to have been an accomplice to the extermination of 25,000 Jews, was liquidated by agents of the Israeli secret service Mossad.
The Latvian city of Liepaja, his hometown, on October 11 saw the first showing of the musical titled Cukurs. Herbert Cukurs. The synopsis of the show says that “it is a history of a legendary flight, adventure and tragic death of a Liepaja-born air pilot.” The authors merely recall that 80 years ago Cukurs returned home after a flight to Gambia which he made on a plane of his own design.
The show has been condemned by local anti-Nazi and Jewish human rights organizations. It is slated for showing in the capital Riga on October 16. The Latvian Anti-Fascist Committee is going to stage a picket against the revival of Nazism in the country.