The Ministry of Culture supports the work carried out in Zedelgem, Belgium by the Occupation Museum Association of Latvia, an independent non-governmental organisation, and the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, by placing a monument to the Latvian legionnaires. In 2018, on the basis of the agreement between Zedelgem Municipality and the Occupation Museum Association of Latvia, the monument, half of the expenses of which were covered by donations collected by the Museum, was handed over to the municipality in order to explain the complicated history of World War II.
The stance of the Republic of Latvia is very clear: it has condemned and condemns the Holocaust that targeted Jews during World War II and those citizens of Latvia who took part in its implementation. However, it is unacceptable to associate the legionnaires with the Holocaust by assigning them collective guilt. The legionnaires, who were made to fight for Nazi Germany, contravening all international law, were victims themselves.
“This is an example of misplaced political correctness, which is essentially similar to the numerous attempts to rewrite history that took place in the time period of more than 50 years before 1991,” highlighted Nauris Puntulis, Minister for Culture, commenting on the possible relocation of the monument.
The Ministry of Culture points out that targeting Kristaps Gulbis’ monument to Latvian legionnaires in Zedelgem by relocating the monument or destroying it would be an egregious act against the work of the Museum of the Occupation of Latvia, which focuses on remembering, explaining and commemorating the history of Latvia.
In September 2018, the monument “Latvian Beehive for Freedom” was placed and unveiled in Zedelgem, Belgium, commemorating the 12,000 Latvian legionnaires who were imprisoned in a camp near Zedelgem after World War II. Sculptor K. Gulbis, author of the monument, explains that the bees that make up the monument are peaceful: they do not attack anyone, defending their beehive and freedom instead.