28 October 2004
Following reports of the distribution of the and distribution of envelopes carrying the picture of Herberts Cukurs, a Latvian who participated in the mass murder of Latvian Jewry, Yad Vashem has issued the following statement:
Herberts Cukurs, a celebrated Latvian aviator, was also a brutal war criminal. With the German invasion of Latvia in June 1941 he eagerly volunteered to participate in the Nazi campaign against the Jews. Cukurs joined those who were shooting Jews in a mass and systematic fashion. Among other crimes, at the end of 1941 he personally participated in murder operations in Riga’s ghetto and the nearby Rumbula killing site, where Jewish men, women, children and infants were murdered indiscriminately. Yad Vashem condemns the attempt to rehabilitate Cukurs’ image in Latvia by a minority bent on whitewashing the historical truth. Yad Vashem welcomes the efforts of the Latvian government to root out this kind of historical revisionism and glorification of murderers.