Wiesenthal Center: “Celebration” Today by Union of Estonian Soldiers of Anniversary of Nazi Invasion is Distortion of European History and Painful Affront to Estonian Holocaust Victims

July 8, 2011

Jerusalem-The Simon Wiesenthal Center harshly criticized a memorial service held today in the Estonian city of Viljandi by the “Union of Estonian Soldiers” to mark the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of their country, which according to the organizers, who were quoted in the Estonian newspaper Sakala, made “Estonians’ situation…normal again.” In a statement issued here by its Israel director, Holocaust historian Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center termed the statement “a malicious revision of the sad reality of Estonian history, in which one occupation was replaced by another, and a heartless affront to the memory of the Estonian Jews murdered by the Nazis and their local collaborators.” The Center expressed solidarity with the Estonian Jewish community, which spoke out against the event, and called upon Estonian political leaders to publically denounce the initiative and make sure that no public funds were spent on this hatefest,

According to Zuroff:
“If the leaders of the ‘Union of Estonian Soldiers’ believe that the mass murder of innocent Jews is “a normal situation,” they belong in jail or in a mental asylum. If anything, the Nazi invasion of Estonia marked the beginning of an assault on all Jewish residents of the country, as well as others identified as enemies of the Third Reich, who were mercilessly hunted down and murdered. It is extremely important, that Estonian leaders make clear that such ideology has no place in democratic Estonia and that any such initiative will never enjoy any government support.”

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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400.000 members. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the Council of Europe, the OAS and the Latin American Parliament.