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PM to visit site of Nazi death camp

Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma is to attend a commemoration ceremony at the sight of a notorious Nazi-run concentration camp on the outskirts of Riga, her office announced Tuesday. 

The timing of the visit - Friday, May 8 - is highly symbolic, being the day the Western Allies mark Victory in Europe day.

Russia marks the victory over Nazi Germany a day later on May 9, where in Riga tens of thousands of Latvian Russians are expected to attend celebrations. 

"Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma and the management of the Salaspils city call for participation in the commemorative event at the Salaspils Memorial to commemorate those  who were imprisoned or tortured in this camp during World War II," the Prime Minister's office said of the event "dedicated to the defeat of Nazism and to commemorate the victims of World War II."

"Seventy years after World War II, it is important to remember and not to permit crimes of the war and totalitarian regimes. We need an objective story about the Salaspils camp. It is our duty towards its victims. It is our duty towards next generations," Straujuma said.

The event will be attended by the representatives of ministries, foreign embassies, associations of national minorities, as well as historians, associations and local organizations.

Flowers will be laid during the commemorative event and the pupils from Salaspils will read extracts from memories of eyewitnesses.

The visit will take place just two weeks after Straujuma visited another Nazi concentration camp in France, alongside French President Francois Hollande.

More detailed information about the horrific crimes perpetrated at Salaspils camp, sometimes with the collaboration of locals, can be read here.

Details of the contrasting attitudes to May 8 and May 9 can be read here.

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