Tags: Herberts Cukurs

Sugar, Herbert, Sugar [Cukurs, Herberts, Cukurs]

A highly controversial musical production honoring the memory of Latvian aviator and Nazi war criminal Herberts Cukurs. Known as the “Butcher of Riga” for his atrocities against Jews in the Riga ghetto, Cukurs was part of the Arajs Kommando, a Nazi killing squad that is believed to have murdered 30,000 people in Latvia during WWII. Because Cukurs fled to South America after the war, he never stood trial and his involvement has never been proved, despite eyewitness accounts that corroborate his involvement in the killing of Jews and the burning of synagogues in Riga. But in a country that views Nazi collaborators as heroes because they fought the Russian army and Moscow’s grip on the region during the war, this production is an attempt to portray Heberts Cukurs as a Latvian aviation pioneer and national hero, whitewashing his crimes against humanity.