(JTA) — The entrance to a nursery school in Latvia owned by a traditionalist lawmaker featured a German-language sign advertising the establishment as being “Jew-free.”

The posting of the sign, which reads “Judenfrei,” was revealed Monday by the Latvian daily Vesti Segodniya. The paper published a photo of the sign on the fence of the Pucite (“Owlet”) private school.

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According to the Coordination Forum for Countering Antisemitism, the establishment is owned by Imants Paradnieks, an ultranationalist Latvian lawmaker.

On Tuesday, Twitter users confronted him to ask whether the sign was genuine or just “a provocation.” He provided no reply, but wrote: “The Kremlin is full of jackals.”

The Riga-based school has a history of Nazi sympathies. In 2012, Pucite hosted two men dressed in Waffen SS uniforms, who held what they defined as “a lesson of patriotic upbringing” for the school’s early childhood program.

A video of the lesson, which was uploaded to the nursery school’s website, showed two men encouraging 3-year-old children to play with World War II-era weapons. The men were identified by the Russian news agency RIA Novosty as Ivo Lembergs and Normund Erums, both members of the Latvian Soldier Association.

On its website, Pucite is described as a school based on “the Latvian national culture, Latvian wisdom and view of the world — where all children learn through play and hands-on experiences.”

After its occupation by Nazi Germany in 1941, a collaborationist government helped set up the Latvian Legion, a force of roughly 90,000 men who were part of Germany’s SS elite units. Some ultranationalists in Latvia today regard them as heroes who helped fight off the Soviet occupiers until Latvia was once again incorporated into the Soviet Union after Germany’s defeat.

Latvia had a Jewish population of some 95,000 before the Holocaust. Nazi troops and local volunteers decimated the community.

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49 COMMENTS

  1. Besides joining nazi SS divisions as volunteers, Croatian, Latvian and Ukranian men enjoyed killing Jews who were their neighbors in towns and villages in their respective countries. In many cases they brutalized them before killing them to help their Nazi friends.I know- it happened to my father’s family and a few witnesses that managed to escape documented it. They tortured them before killing them and got drunk afterwards to celebrate.This happened in these three countries particularly, so what could one expect from the Latvians. Euro trash!

  2. Believe me, Nikki, it’s true. The Ukranian “neighbors” in the small village called Zborov killed my fraternal grandfather, my step-grandmother and numerous cousins,uncles and aunts.Acc. To the documentation by escapees it was a slaughter and the Ukranians actually enjoyed it. They were worse than the Nazis if that was possible and I have pages of documents- and this was only one small village. Fortunately my dad and his brothers left the village in the early 20’s, my father coming to N.Y. And his brothers to the old Palestine where they settled.

  3. Because ethnically, Latvia has had a pervasive anti-Semitic attitude for a lot longer than you think, although I do not blame every citizen there, just like you cannot blame every Muslim in every country for the terrorist acts perpetrated by members of that group.

  4. just remember US didn’t want to intervene against Nazi-Germany because USA get good deals like IBM and Ford trucks. W. Churchill convinced to USA to help Britain by showing some decoded documents that demonstrate NAZI wanted the “Final Solution” in all the ries of the World and America was the next frontier. In the other hand Churchill said that USA does not want Russia win over the germans and then make all Europe a comunist Europe and with the final result of damaging all capitalist deals. USA did not do it for the Jews, they did it for their own interest.

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