quarta-feira, 16 de setembro de 2009


Herberts Cukurs in pre-World War II Latvian uniform

Born May 17, 1900(1900-05-17)
Liepāja, Courland Governorate, Latvia.
Died February 23, 1965 (aged 64)
Montevideo, Uruguay
Occupation -Military aviator, builder of airplanes, aeronautical engineer, journalist, writer.

Herberts Cukurs as a pioneering long-distance pilot, he won national acclaim for his international solo flights in the 1930s (Latvia-Gambia and Riga-Tokyo). He was awarded the Harmon Trophy for Latvia in 1933.

Cukurs built at least 6 planes of his own design. In 1937 he made a 45,000 km tour visiting Japan, China, Indochina, India and Russia, flying the C 6 wooden monoplane "Trīs zvaigznes" (callsign YL-ABA) of his own creation. The plane was powered by an 135 hp de Havilland Gipsy engine.

What differentiates H. Cukurs other aviation pioneers, was the fact that he made sus cheap long distance aircraft designed and built by him self,and other airmen, aircraft and used the most modern equipment available at the time that someone had developed by this factor the deeds of Cukurs in the history of aviation are insurmountable.

Alleged Holocaust perpetrator

After the occupation of Latvia by Nazi Germany during the summer of 1941 Cukurs became a member the notorious Arajs Kommando,supposedly responsible for many of the crimes of the Holocaust in Latvia. Cukurs's membership in the Arajs Commando is proven.There is no doubt that was part of Cukurs Arajs command as head of maintenance of vehicles of this regiment. However this does not mean it was a criminal, and also were Jews who served in the German SS and Gestapo.
Cukurs true participation,was as boss of mechanical maintenance in the garages of the it latvian polices .ONLY!

Historian Andrew Ezergailis said:

“MASAAD killed an innocent man”.

"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, 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.

The alleged testimonies of Abraham Shapiro (Latvian: Abrahams Šapiro),

a Jewish Holocaust survivor, were widely believed to be crucial in accusing Cukurs of personally executing Jews in Riga. He was contacted in person by Latvian TV crew "Legend Hunters" (Latvian: Leģendu mednieki) in Las Vegas, where he is currently living under changed identity as a successful musician. Shapiro was amused and surprised to learn that he is believed (and claimed so by Mossad) to have provided testimony on Cukurs personally executing Jews. Shapiro claimed on record in front of video camera that he had never done so. It was found out by the TV crew that while Shapiro had never actually given such a testimony, it had been written down by a legal department of some "unidentified" "organization of Jews liberated in Germany", along with two other similar "testimonies" (also likely to be fabricated evidence) and used as a basis for false accusations against Cukurs which led to his death.

After the war, Cukurs emigrated to Brazil via France. There, he established a business in São Paulo, flying Republic RC-3 Seabees on panoramic flights.

He was assassinated by Mossad agents, who attracted him to Uruguay under a fake intention of starting an aviation business, after it was found out that he would not stand trial for his alleged participation in the Holocaust.

Accusations concerning Cukurs's participation in atrocities during World War II earned him the nickname "The Hangman of Riga" amongst Holocaust survivors.

None of these accusations regarding Cukurs's alleged participation in the Holocaust in Latvia have ever been tested in a court of law. Because of this, there are those who would argue that this Latvian hero has been wrongfully slandered.

In present-day Latvia, there is a certain degree of Latvian public opinion in favour of this drive to exonerate Cukurs. For example, an exhibition was held in Riga in honour of the 'national hero' Herberts Cukurs, in which his work in the Arajs Commando was portrayed as having been harmless.

Ezergailis also points out that much of the available literature suggests that Cukurs's main responsibility was working in the garages as a mechanic for the Arajs Commando. Attempts have been made to explain or excuse Cukurs's direct participation in killing of Jews, either by claiming the incompetency of post-war witnesses (i.e. Holocaust survivors), the lack of direct evidence of Cukurs's personal involvement in the killing of individual victims, or by the claim that he acted under duress.
All of the accusations against Herberts Cukurs, were lying and irresponsible. Some Israeli entities as the center Simon Wiesenthal, insist on maintaining that farce, because yours negotiates highly lucrative depends on those lies.In the day in that they could not be used of those lies, with certainty they will go the bankruptcy.
One day, with certainty, the Jews will have to recognize that they committed a terrible mistake, when slandering and to murder an innocent one.
Con man as Simon Wiesenthal, and his/her bully Efraim Zuroff,

they should be banished, and in the very close future, they will render bills in the justice, for the crimes that committed against innocent, with the only purpose of they fill their pockets with dirty money.