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Latvia President Urges Reconciliation of Red Army, Waffen SS Vets

RIA Novosti

14:36 03/05/2012 RIGA, May 3 (RIA Novosti) - Latvian President Andris Berzins has called on World War II veterans who had fought on different sides to bury the hatchet, the presidential press service said on Thursday.

He urged veterans to meet on May 8 at a WWII memorial in the Latvian capital Riga and formally reconcile.

“It is the moral duty of the Latvian state… to lessen resentment over the past and promote public reconciliation,” he said, adding it was time to stop the country’s division into two hostile camps.

Hundreds of Waffen SS veterans and their supporters marched in Riga in mid-March to mark Legionnaires’ Day, which commemorates Latvians who fought for the Germans during World War II.

Berzins has argued it is foolish to assume that Waffen SS veterans were criminals and that they deserve the public's respect.

The Latvian Legion, formed by the Nazis in 1943, comprised two Waffen SS divisions.

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