Talk:Herberts Cukurs

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How to improve this article[edit]

I have uprated this article to Start-class in the WikiProject Latvia. The article could be improved with more details on some of the issues linked to in external links. Philaweb T 13:32, 1 March 2008 (UTC)

Gaby Weber RS?[edit]

The whole section on Cukurs and the Holocaust is now based entirely on one journalistic source. Previous references to the Wiesenthal Center (see broken named ref link) and scholarly sources like Ezergailis have disappeared. I know that the apologists are always eager to whitewash Cukurs, but is a slapdash text by a German journalist (who apparently doesn't even know that Andris Grūtups's book is called Ešafots) the best tool for the job? The current text needs improving. Weber should be used as a corroborating source at best. —Zalktis (talk) 08:35, 29 December 2008 (UTC)


“MASAAD killed an innocent man”.

“ The merit of folks who made this movie was to change the question from how many Jews did Cukurs, to did he even kill one Jew?”

1- Even as I was writing my book about holocaust in Latvia, I noticed that there were many exaggerations as far as the question about holocaust , the matter of Cukurs did not seem like an important question. I could have looked as microcosm to a wider problem about exaggerations and untruth in literature about Holocaust in Latvia. If I had known ten years ago, that Massada’s version about Cukurs being the biggest mass killer of Hebrews in Latvia, who be assigned the destruction of 30 000 people, contains deep lack of knowledge, if not lies. Massada version not only contains simple falsehoods, but also shows a lack of knowledge about the system of destruction as such. Destruction system was brought to Latvia by and under Einsatzgrupe leadership, not one individual was given the opportunity to set records .

Ten years ago I did not have the opportunity to access materials which these days the movie makers were able to gather. A very important document which has come to light is that which Cukurs provided as testimony to the police in Brazil. To the film makers’ credit is that they changed the questions, from how many Hebrews Cukurs killed , to did he kill any. What happened to the democratic system’ s presumption of innocence? If someone would ask me if there was a possibility while serving under Arajs command to kill a Hebrew in his home ,I would say yes. In 1941. 300 men served under Arajs and his unit needed administrative people, who were responsible for maintaining modern inventory. Lieutenant Leimanis served as an officer for arms. He was still alive in the 70’/80’ and Eriks Parups testified in his behalf , he said that Latvian officers’ resistance movement infiltrated into Arajs commando to spy on their activities. He cooperated with American judiciary instances thus no accusations were raised against him. Among many hundreds of Arajs’ former soldiers depositions, nowhere is Leimanis or Cukurs mentioned. When Arajs was tried in Hamburg (Germany) among his documents Cukurs was not mentioned.

2. The only accusations about Cukurs as “butcher” of Riga come from surviving Hebrews, who wanted to find explanation for the tragedy of their people , but there are multiple problems with their testimony. In first place they lack information about holocaust internal organization, and methods of destruction. They had no knowledge about the Latvians who did the shooting. Many of them think, that killing of Hebrews in Latvia were improvised on the spot and did not follow an organized plan. Majority of those who survived ,could not name one shooter except Cukurs .We arrive at crass conflict of testimony: none of those who testified ,are able to place Cukurs at the edge of shooting pit, but the only Latvian, whom Hebrews were able to name was Cukurs . If I was given a choice of whom I would believe, I would lean towards the Latvian testifier, who was with Cukurs . At least those testimonies were given under oath. If Cukurs had participated, as an officer ,he would have given orders and would not have participated as a shooter. The Latvian shooters would not have forgotten his name .

3. As far as testifiers testimony has been analyzed and examined , the coefficient of truth has been low and full of contradictions .As an examples we could mention SD officer Elke Scherwitz’ , of Hebrew ancestry , trial, who was accused by survivors, especially Max Kaufman , and in his 1948 trial (Scherwitz) in Munich was found guilty of killing 30 000 Hebrews in Latvia . German historian Anita Kugler has made a study about Scherwitz and sees these accusations as exaggerated and false. Then follows the trial of captain Vilis Hazners , who was tried in the USA .He was accused of destroying 30 000 Hebrews in Latvia. Again, accusations were based by survivors testimony .These were full of contradictions and exaggerations .These evaporated in cross examinations by lawyers. Hazners was found not guilty. More than 70 000 Hebrews were exterminated in Latvia, but that did not happed the way testifiers gave depositions. The same 30 000 exterminated Hebrews in Latvia were assigned to Cukurs and on these same depositions of survivors ,Massada overhastily killed Cukurs. This is not the time to analyze all of supposedly Cukurs’ cruelty , yet we can without doubt affirm that during the first weeks of German occupation he was on his farm in Bukaisi village( might even have come under German arrest ) ,arrived in Riga, as he states , only on July 14, 1941.Thus all the testimony (about 75%) about his cruelty before July 14th are nullifiable . That also means that all other testimony should be looked at through skeptical / rational grinding stones.

The fact that Cukurs was part of Arajs’ unit as supervisor of a garage, is not deniable. In Cukurs’ book of life one should also note that he helped at least three Latvian Hebrews to survive holocaust, this fact in Massada’ s book about Cukurs was omitted. A girl named Miriam Kaizner ,the family Cukurs hid in their farmstead in Bukaisi and later took her with them to Brazil; a youth named Abram Shapiro ( who to this day plays the violin in Las Vegas) was given working papers in the summer of 1941 and Lutrins , whom Cukurs’ garage workers saved from shooting in Rumbula ,hid him and brought him back to the garage on Valdemar street where he worked as a garage mechanic.
In summing up everything, one must say that testimony against Cukurs was exaggerated , even absurd .To find truth about this sinful man, the investigation should be started from point zero, which it seems the energetic film producer are to doing.

Andrievs Ezergailis Professor of History at Ithaca College, NY, USA (Division of Social Sciences and Humanities) Foreign member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences

Probably the most-quoted authority on the Holocaust and related issues in Nazi-occupied Latvia.

To affirm that Herberts Cukurs is responsible for the deaths of 30.000 Jews is at least frivolous and irresponsible. Today satiated documentation exists that proves without a doubt some that Herberts Cukurs was innocent. Military archives, archives of international, responsible courts for selecting war crimes, prove this truth. Historians who had had access to this documentation, are unanimous in affirming quie in the case of Herberts Cukurs, a great one occurred I make a mistake, and an innocent was assassinated. The medias, as the wikipedia, must rethink the information that give its readers, under risk to have that to prove the true of its information before a court. The presumção of innocence, is well clear, and says, that " all man is innocent until if I oppose he proves it, in one court". Cukurs never was accused, judged or condemned. Therefore it is frivolous and irresponsible to publish such affirmation. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:25, 11 January 2009 (UTC)

(talk) 09:35, 11 januvar 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Your hamfisted editing of this article doesn't do your cause any good. Please stop. —Zalktis (talk) 17:34, 11 January 2009 (UTC)
I've never heard of Weber but he also subscribes to some conspiracy theory about Adolf Eichmann.[1] Not a reliable source.Prezbo (talk) 07:43, 27 February 2010 (UTC)
With respect to this, history isn't a court of law. If the weight of the historical evidence indicates that someone committed a crime, an encyclopedia will say that.Prezbo (talk) 07:46, 27 February 2010 (UTC)

Someone who can't even spell Mossad (I mean its not an English word is it, so lack of full familiarity with the language is not an excuse) doesn't seem to credible to me - it appears to from his comments that all the blame for the killing of Jewish people in Latvia is the fault of the Germans since every Latvian he mentions is innocent/not involved - sounds just like the UK's prisons - totally full of innocent people. As to the survivors didn't know the "the system of destruction" - surely that implies a degree of organisation that was clearly not the case in many of the early rampages by the Nazis and their local cohorts. Finally a so-called historian who can say of the Holocaust survivors that "the coefficient of truth has been low and full of contradictions" and make other snide, profoundly unsympathetic comments about the accuracy of their testimony (wow you don't think that maybe they been through a truamatic experience so maybe would like any of us not be 100% accurate in all details?) and would rather believe the word of murderers gives away his true views - he almost seems to regret that there were any survivors! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:49, 22 September 2010 (UTC)

Relying on citation from director of Simon Wiesenthal center[edit]

This comment has been deleted. Although Dinkytown wrote aggresive and ungrounded comment, his message partly was correct. I missed few crucial details and relied on older Ezergails quotes, reinforced by unprecise comments from Wiesenthal Center, thus getting wrong impression about status of academic research done concerning the participation of Cukurs in attrocities. Dinkytown, your comment still was rude and absurd in its content, but I agree with the deletion of my addition, I made an oversight as well. It is true that no "final" research has been done and ever will be done, since no institution with means to finance such research is interested in this minor question, however, equaly true is that Ezergailis and Stranga has already done enough research to claim that more or less main interpretation should be correct.ims (talk) 17:08, 14 August 2011 (UTC)

After the Soviet invasion, Cukurs was "invited" to Moscow to assume his new role as a hero of Soviet aviation, one he managed to decline and survive. Ironically, more recent research indicates that when the Germans invaded, Arajs offered him a position as a motor pool mechanic to protect him from the Nazis, who suspected him of being complicit with the Soviets, being he had been to Moscow and back and was still alive. Cukurs, hero of the independent Latvia now subjugated under Soviet rule, would have been target #1 for denunciation as a Nazi upon the second Soviet invasion and in post-war hunt for Nazi collaborators. PЄTЄRS J V TALK 18:11, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
Holocaust Denial is a very serious matter. made this statement: "However, up to 2011 there has been no authoritative research done that would clearly prove or disprove the alleged crimes of Herberts Cukurs, although it is claimed that there are plenty of documents found to prove his guilt in archives in Israel." His source was a Lithuanian editorial peice from here: [1]
Here is the translation of that article from GoogleTranslate:
Herbert Sugar. Definitely guilty
Sdr. Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel Office of the Director, 2005. On 7th June 00:00
Anyone who is looking for convincing evidence that it is appropriate to prosecute Nazi war criminals, and not be punished by death without trial, just to look at events for Herbert sugar last year Latvian. A former pilot, who won the thirties of the overall national recognition for his international flights alone, but later - ignominious reputation as a notorious Arajs deputy commander, now, thanks to a full-scale campaign, again taken the place of honor heroes Latvian Pantheon. Under normal circumstances, when he was about his crimes would be tried, such an attempt would be doomed to failure, but the fact that the sugar without a trial sanctioned by the death of Mossad, ironically, has opened his acquittal efforts Pandora's box, and these efforts have been involved in the famous Latvians who at least in theory, should be well informed about the case. He who last fall started as a right-wing extremists, organized under the table with a picture of sugar distribution, has recently resulted in a wide range of exhibition under the name Herbert Liepaja Sugar: the presumption of innocence and the film, which initially had the same name and which highlights the documents and facts that seem to deny the participation of Sugar war crimes. They can be added to partially exonerating comments from such reputable historians as Andrew Ezergailis by May 17, this newspaper quoted saying that there was no evidence to put the sugar to the pit Rumbula and in any case it is proved that he was "most ardent Jewish Latvian shooter." Although Latvian historians such as Andrew Ezergailis and Aivars Stranga, clearly recognizes the sugar situation Arajs team, they seem to indicate that there is almost no convincing evidence of his personal involvement in mass killings, creating a clear impression that, although Sugar was no obvious Righteous Christian, it is unclear whether he would be convicted in court and hardly deserved the cruel fate in the hands of Mossad. But the truth is quite different. Contrary to right-wing nationalists and the Sugar family attempts to fully rehabilitate the sugar and other Latvian efforts to question or undermine his individual guilt, the Israeli archives have extensive evidence of personal involvement in the sugar murder of Jews, which are detailed and clearly proves his guilt. Even more - they referred to specific cases and not limited to his role in a large-scale actions, which on November 30 and December 8, 1941 the Riga ghetto was destroyed Latvian Jews. For example, in Riga events surviving Rafael subs, who was interviewed in Canada, said that on July 2, 1941 Sugar in the new [Jewish] cemetery burned for eight Jews and even mention their names - Feldheims synagogue warden, his wife and four children, cantor Mintz and his wife. Abraham Shapiro, who at that time (in 1949) lived in Munich, was detained Arajs team headquarters Valdemara Street 19, when the Sugar expropriated his family's apartment. He said Sugar personally killed two Jews, one of whom was called Laitmans and who had the command stood up in the ranks. He also was a witness to the fact that sugar and other senior Latvian officers sexually molested a young Jewish girl and tortured him until he orders the Sugar played the piano in the apartment, the sugar was taken away Shapiro family. Maybe visapsūdzošākos evidence provided Tukaciers Max, who on September 23, 1948 in Munich showed liberated the Jewish Central Committee of the legal department in Germany. Tukaciers was the Jewish people, who were arrested "Sugar men" (Arajs team) and delivered Valdemara 19th There he was personally beaten Sugar, he broke nearly all the front teeth and he saw how many Jews were tortured and then shot at the Sugar command. 15 July 1941, he personally saw the Sugar ordered a board as an elderly Jew rape a twenty-year-old Jewish prisoners and Latvian police officers in front, and when he failed to do so, repeatedly forced her to kiss all the girls naked body. Those prisoners who were not able to watch this hideous picture of Sugar beaten with pistol handle, some 10-15 of them to death, and some women. Tukaciers also showed the active role of sugar in the broad equities of November 30 and December 8, stating that he was beaten and shot men, women and children who are unable to keep up with other walk [to Rumbula]. Additional witnesses confirmed the Sugar lethal role of Latvian Jews in the liquidation of the Riga Ghetto. For example, Isaac Kram said, how does he personally have seen sugar was shot by an elderly Jewish, whose daughter was not allowed to board the led on December 8, elderly Jews to Rumbula, as well as a small child who was crying, because he could not find his mother. These statements clearly show that there can be no doubt that Herbert Sugar was one of the leading participants in the liquidation of the Riga Jews, who personally murdered men, women and children. It is therefore clear that if he would be tried within a reasonable time after the war ended, he would undoubtedly have been found guilty. However, various political and legal reasons it was not happened in twenty years after the Second World War. It seemed that it would never happen, and it prompted the Mossad to punish him with death. I think that would never have started the current campaign to mitigate his guilt, if he had been convicted because of his active participation in mass murder of Jews should be known to everyone and no self-respecting man do not try to justify them. Sugar was spared the embarrassment of what would have led to litigation and they punished without trial. Those who did it, never dreamed that his punishment of death then becomes a catalyst and justification for attempts to get him to hero status in Latvian and deny his tremendous guilt.
When uses terms like " authoritative research...", "...alleged crimes...", ..."although it is claimed [of his guilt]..." it implies that there is a controversy over these allegations and that he might even be innocent - which is not what the article described at all, in fact quite the opposite. Footnotes 2-6 of this article refutes 46..'s claim that there was " authoritative research...". If the issue is that does Mossad have the right to execute criminals without a trial, that would be legitement side-section to create. Given all this, I was very mild in my statements. If 46's statements were a gross error in reading the source, then this should be described as such - and quickly. My "rude" statements were very justified, giving the gravity of the issue. Dinkytown talk 19:08, 14 August 2011 (UTC)
"Holocaust denial is a serious matter." So is famine and chemical warfare. You should never put one suffering and pain above the other, all deaths are horrific and all are condemnable. The dying never care for reason, only pain. Just as well if you would claim that murderers and torturers are evil people I would also agree to that. However, that has nothing to do with the content of the comments. comments were mine and the content of said comment in no manner whatsoever questioned the fact of deaths (that is, of the Holocaust process itself). I pointed out that the interpretation of actions of 1 person who was involved in these events has not been researched and proven beyond doubt and as such should be presented - however, as I explained, this conclusion was based on now slightely wrong assesments and thus after comparing evidence I agreed with your action, even if chosen method was unethical and you still stand and defend such attitude. The Diena article confronts the defenders of Herberts Cukurs (with defenders I mean those that assume that he did not participated in Holocaust activities and killed people), thus, Diena article exactly proves that such "controversy" exists, though it is not precisely the right word to be used here. Thus, while author of the article clearly and strongly is of opinion of Cukurs guilt, his arguments and existance of article itself shows that there would not be need for an article entitled "Definitely guilty", if there would be no-one to confront it with (and those that made exhibition and attempted to white wash him probably are the ones he confronts). However, to call it an academic dispute or "proper" controversy would be wrong, since those that wish to interpret Cukurs as not guilty of crimes against humanity, do so on non-academic basis, while Stranga and Ezergailis are professional historians and their work is academic and authoritative. Anyways, discussion was ended 2 posts ago. Yes, I used word "alleged" with implication that unclear situations should be presented as such (a point in which I acknowledged my mistake - though Ezergailis and Stranga are not 100% sure of Cukurs guilt, they do seem to be pretty sure, situation should be claimed as unclear only if competing and equally qualitative research with anti-thesis would be presented, which is not the case). "No authoritative research" was direct re-telling of the comment of Ezergailis which he made in 60s, but since he changed his position in 90s (and did the research also himself) then that point was outdated. And "although it is claimed..." is a direct retalling of Zuroffs position - he does not mention any research (authoritative or otherwise) only stresses his position, thus the used word "claim" and not "prove" instead - he acknowledges that even Stranga and Ezergailis who have studied this topic do not claim that situation would be absolutely clear "Although Latvian historians such as Andrew Ezergailis and Aivars Stranga, clearly recognizes the situation of Cukurs in Arajs team, they seem to indicate that there is almost no convincing evidence of his personal involvement in mass killings, creating a clear impression that, although Cukurs was no obvious Righteous Christian, it is unclear whether he would be convicted in court and hardly deserved the cruel fate in the hands of Mossad." Whats more, word "claim" here was used to describe the position of documents in Israelian archives (to claim that there are documents is not equal to present research which has used and researched these documents).ims (talk) 00:51, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
I know very little about Cukurs, *IF* there is evidence that solid academic scholars believe that he had been wrongly accused, then source that. Your use of the terms " authoritative research...", "...alleged crimes...", and "...although it is claimed [of his guilt]..." you are not being accurate to what the article said. These are also weasel and alleged words. The article stated he was very much guilty (hint - Title: "Herberts Cukurs: Certainly Guilty"). You implied with the above wordage that the article said he was not.
Here is the original English version of Efraim Zuroff, of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Israel (Not translation):[2]
If it was not your intention to minimize his actions, then this was a misunderstanding. However, Wiki has daily battles of Holocaust Deniers that tries to use wordage just like you did. I did see your list of contributions and, although you started several years ago, you've had little experience in contributions - it's okay, because everyone starts someplace. WP:BITE may also apply here, which you can be given leeway for this. If it was not your intention to minimize, then we can start over and use more clear statements. If there is controversy over his involvement or execution, then that should be described in detail in the article - but we need very strong academic sources with strong wordage. Take care... Dinkytown talk 04:17, 15 August 2011 (UTC)
"If there is controversy over his involvement or execution, then that should be described in detail in the article - but we need very strong academic sources with strong wordage." Absolutely. I'll see if such adequate (academic) sources exist, though, as I've mentioned before, I doubt it. So, whatever minor contraversy there does exists, its likely to be non-academic and thus, probably should not be presented here.ims (talk) 09:29, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Does Elsergaillis give any hint as to the documents that caused him to retract some of his claims? (talk) 01:21, 31 January 2015 (UTC)

  1. ^