Stop the promotion of a Nazi death squad member as a Latvian national hero

481 Signatures Goal: 1,000



Stop the promotion of a Nazi death squad member as a Latvian national hero


“Herberts Cukurs ir the most famous Latvian in the world. He gained his fame with his selfless and audacious flight from Riga to Gambia in 1933-1934, in a single-engine plane that he built with his own hands. Because of this heroic deed, the press all around the world wrote about Herberts Cukurs, while at home he became a national hero.”


This is the annotation to the musical titled “Cukurs. Herberts Cukurs” that is about to premiere in Latvia on the 11th of October, 2014. What it neglects to mention is that Herberts Cukurs (1900-1965) was also a prominent Nazi collaborator. In 1941, Cukurs volunteered to join the infamous Arajs Kommando (Arāja komanda, Sonderkommando Arajs), a Nazi death squad responsible for killing more than 26 thousand Latvian and other Jews, as well as other civilians, during World War Two [1]. Cukurs’ personal participation or at least presence at various Nazi massacres is frequently mentioned by Holocaust survivors, including the mass killing of some 25 thousand prisoners of Riga Ghetto in November-December 1941. After the Nazi defeat, Cukurs fled to South America, where he was assassinated by Israeli agents.


The musical is not the first attempt to show Herberts Cukurs as a hero and a victim. In 2004, a far right group has published a post envelope with Cukurs’ portrait. In 2010-2011 a controversial book on him was published, and a demand was made to reinter his remains at the Brethren Cemetery in Riga (a national Pantheon) based on fact, that Cukurs has fought in Latvia’s Independence War of 1918-1920. On these occasions the Latvian Foreign Ministry denounced that act, and historians voiced their criticism [2]. Yet this time, almost no condemnation - either by Latvian officials or by prominent public figures - is heard. This is in spite of the fact that the musical is clearly aiming to present Cukurs in a heroic light to a wide audience.


We turn to the international public to join us in expressing our outrage at this attempt to present a member of a death squad as a national hero.

We call on the Latvian government to condemn the showing of this musical.

We call on the governments of foreign states to ensure that Nazi atrocities and the individuals who participated in them are not forgotten or whitewashed.

We strongly believe that the silent consent to the heroisation of a Nazi collaborator and mass murderer is horrible and shameful, and that raising one’s voice against it is the responsibility of every decent person.


Felix Polianski, Olga Procevska, Boris Ginzburg, Marija Assereckova

October 9, 2014, Riga, Latvia

For further information, please, contact Olga Procevska

olga.procevska@gmail.com, +37126377057

[1] See the Symposium of the Commission of the Historians of Latvia. Volume 23: Problems Of The Holocaust Research In Latvia. The Holocaust Studies in Latvia in 2006–2007 and Proceedings of an International Conference 6–7 November 2007, Riga. Page 26.

[2] "Latvia's Minister of Foreign Affairs condemns the issuance of postal envelopes dedicated to Herberts Cukurs". Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Latvia: [CL] Nr. 576, 28 September - 5 October 2004. www.mfa.gov.lv/en/news/press-releases/2004/september/29-4/. See also Kārlis Kangeris. “Herberta Cukura pārapbedīšana” http://www.laiks.us/sakumlapa?page=2&gads=2011&b=1&lbu=14189

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  • Minna Diner
    Minna Diner United States, Chicopee
    Nov 10, 2014
    Nov 10, 2014
    Я не историк. Я-музыкант. Как музыкант,я воспринимаю МЮЗИКЛ,как музыкально развлекательную комедию.И мне любопытно какие куплеты и танцы с диалогами ввели в этот шедевр авторы.О чем он? Кто-нибудь его видел? Как правило в мюзиклах используют выдуманные истории. Я не слыхала об исторических героях в них. На мой вкус использование данного "героя над беззащитными",да еще и назвав его подлинным именем в жанре мюзикла вообще нонсенс.
    Теперь хочу сказать,как человек,кот. никогда не видел бол. 50 человек родных,в том числе дедушек и бабушек благодаря стараниям таких людей,как Цукурс. Пусть они были талантливы,или бездарны,известны,или неизвестны. Для меня они---НЕЛЮДИ,БАНДИТЫ,какие бы цивильные подвиги бы они не совершали до того. Когда я рассказала своим внучкам в 7-8 лет,что моих бабушку с дедушкой,теть и дядь,а также двоюродных и троюродных сестер и братьев убили люди,фашисты,они немедленно отреагировали так: И полиция им позволила это сделать???Они не смогли понять,что полиция была первой помощницей официальных убийц,а чаще-- рьяной убийцей беззащитных людей...Дай Б-г им никогда не сталкиваться с подобными ситуациями. Но пока живо мое поколение со звучащими в памяти рассказами очевидцев преступлений именуемым Холокостом,мы не будем молчать,когда из ПРЕСТУПНИКОВ будут делать национальных ГЕРОЕВ,даже в легком жанре мюзикла.
  • Yevgeny
    Yevgeny Latvia, Riga
    Oct 22, 2014
    Oct 22, 2014
    Позор гейропейской латвийской республике!
  • Natalia
    Natalia United Kingdom, Reading
    Oct 22, 2014
    Oct 22, 2014
    Гидре сразу надо отрубать голову!!!
  • Viktorija Murina
    Viktorija Murina Latvia, Riga
    Oct 20, 2014
    Oct 20, 2014
    Надеюсь, эта тварь будет вечно гореть в аду!
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