German occupation of Estonia during World War II

After Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, Army Group North reached Estonia in July. Initially the Germans were perceived by most Estonians as liberators from the USSR and its repressions, having arrived only a week after the first mass deportations from the Baltic States. Although hopes were raised for the restoration of the country's independence, it was soon realized that they were but another occupying power. The Germans pillaged the country for their war effort and unleashed The Holocaust in Estonia during which they and their collaborators murdered tens of thousands of people (including ethnic Estonians, Estonian Jews, Estonian Gypsies, Estonian Russians, Soviet prisoners of war, Jews from other countries and others).[1] For the duration of the occupation, Estonia was incorporated into the German province of Ostland.

Occupation

Siege of Leningrad Eastern Front 1941 06 to 1941 12
German advance in Latvia, Estonia and on the Leningrad front from June to December 1941

Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941. Three days later, on June 25, Finland declared herself to once again be in a state of war with the USSR, starting the Continuation War. On July 3, Joseph Stalin made his public statement over the radio calling for scorched-earth policy in the areas to be abandoned. Because the northernmost areas of the Baltic states were the last to be reached by the Germans, it was here that the Soviet destruction battalions had their most extreme effects. The Estonian forest brothers, numbering about 50,000, inflicted heavy casualties on the remaining Soviets; as many as 4,800 were killed and 14,000 captured.

Even though the Germans did not cross the Estonian southern border until July 7–9, Estonian soldiers who had deserted from Soviet units in large numbers, opened fire on the Red Army as early as June 22. On that day, a group of forest brothers attacked Soviet trucks on a road in the district of Harju.[2] The Soviet 22nd Rifle Corps was the unit that lost most men, as a large group of Estonian soldiers and officers deserted from it. Furthermore, border guards of Soviet Estonia were mostly people who had previously worked for independent Estonia, and they also escaped to the forests, becoming one of the best groups of Estonian fighters. An Estonian writer Juhan Jaik wrote in 1941: "These days bogs and forests are more populated than farms and fields. The forests and bogs are our territory while the fields and farms are occupied by the enemy [e.g. the Soviets]".[2]

The 8th Army (Major General Ljubovtsev), retreated in front of the 2nd corps of the German Army behind the Pärnu River - the Emajõgi River line on July 12. As German troops approached Tartu on July 10 and prepared for another battle with the Soviets, they realized that the Estonian partisans were already fighting the Soviet troops. The Wehrmacht stopped its advance and hung back, leaving the Estonians to do the fighting. The battle of Tartu lasted two weeks, and destroyed most of the city. Under the leadership of Friedrich Kurg, the Estonian partisans drove out the Soviets from Tartu on their own. In the meanwhile, the Soviets had been murdering citizens held in Tartu Prison, killing 192 before the Estonians captured the city.

At the end of July the Germans resumed their advance in Estonia working in tandem with the Estonian Forest Brothers. Both German troops and Estonian partisans took Narva on August 17 and the Estonian capital Tallinn on August 28. On that day, the Soviet flag shot down earlier on Pikk Hermann was replaced with the Flag of Estonia by Fred Ise. After the Soviets were driven out from Estonia, German troops disarmed all the partisan groups.[3] The Estonian flag was soon replaced with the flag of Nazi Germany, and the 2,000 Estonian soldiers that took part in the parade in Tartu (July 29), were disbanded.[4]

Most Estonians greeted the Germans with relatively open arms and hoped for the restoration of independence. Estonia set up an administration, led by Jüri Uluots as soon as the Soviet regime retreated and before German troops arrived. Estonian partisans that drove the Red Army from Tartu made it possible. That all was for nothing since the Germans had made their plans as set out in Generalplan Ost,[5]:54 they disbanded the provisional government and Estonia became a part of the German-occupied "Ostland". A Sicherheitspolizei was established for internal security under the leadership of Ain-Ervin Mere.

In April 1941, on the eve on the German invasion, Alfred Rosenberg, Reich minister for the Occupied Eastern territories, a Baltic German, born and raised in Tallinn, Estonia, laid out his plans for the East. According to Rosenberg a future policy was created:

  1. Germanization (Eindeutschung) of the "racially suitable" elements.
  2. Colonization by Germanic people.
  3. Exile, deportations of undesirable elements.

Rosenberg felt that the "Estonians were the most Germanic out of the people living in the Baltic area, having already reached 50 percent of Germanization through Danish, Swedish and German influence". Non-suitable Estonians were to be moved to a region that Rosenberg called "Peipusland" to make room for German colonists.[6]

The removal of 50% of Estonians was in accordance with the Nazi Generalplan Ost plan, the elimination of all Jews, was just the start.[5]:54

The initial enthusiasm that accompanied the liberation from Soviet occupation quickly waned as a result and the Germans had limited success in recruiting volunteers. The draft was introduced in 1942, resulting in some 3400 men fleeing to Finland to fight in the Finnish Army rather than join the Germans. Finnish Infantry Regiment 200 (Estonian: soomepoisid 'Finnish boys') was formed out of Estonian volunteers in Finland.

With the Allied victory over Germany becoming certain in 1944, the only option to save Estonia's independence was to stave off a new Soviet invasion of Estonia until Germany's capitulation.

Political resistance

In June 1942 political leaders of Estonia who had survived Soviet repressions held a hidden meeting from the occupying powers in Estonia where the formation of an underground Estonian government and the options for preserving continuity of the republic were discussed.[7]

On January 6, 1943 a meeting was held at the Estonian foreign delegation in Stockholm. It was decided that, in order to preserve the legal continuity of the Republic of Estonia, the last constitutional prime minister, Jüri Uluots, must continue to fulfill his responsibilities as prime minister.[7][8]

In June 1944 the elector's assembly of the Republic of Estonia gathered in secrecy from the occupying powers in Tallinn and appointed Jüri Uluots as the prime minister with the responsibilities of the President. On June 21 Jüri Uluots appointed Otto Tief as deputy prime minister.[7]

As the Germans retreated, on September 18, 1944 Jüri Uluots formed a government led by the Deputy Prime Minister, Otto Tief. On September 20 the Nazi German flag on Pikk Hermann was replaced with the tricolor flag of Estonia. On September 22 the Red Army took Tallinn and the Estonian flag on Pikk Hermann was replaced with the Soviet flag. The Estonian underground government, not officially recognized by either the Nazi Germany or Soviet Union, fled to Stockholm, Sweden and operated in exile until 1992, when Heinrich Mark, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia in duties of the President in exile,[9] presented his credentials to the newly elected President of Estonia Lennart Meri. On February 23, 1989 the flag of the Estonian SSR had been lowered on Pikk Hermann; it was replaced with the flag of Estonia to mark Estonian Independence Day on February 24, 1989.

Estonians in Nazi German military units

The annexation of Estonia by the USSR in 1940 was complete, but never recognized internationally except by Eastern Bloc countries. After the annexation, Estonians were subject to conscription into the Red Army, which by international law is illegal if Estonia is not considered to have been a part of the USSR. When the Soviets retreated from Estonia and Germany fully occupied it, in the summer of 1941, the Germans continued the practice of dragooning Estonian men, although the majority joined the German Army voluntarily, often out of the desire to fight the USSR, which had made strong enemies with many groups of society in Estonia after introducing their Marxist economic system. Up to March 1942 drafted Estonians mostly served in the rear of the Army Group North security. On August 28, 1942 the German powers announced the legal compilation of the so-called "Estonian Legion" within the Waffen SS. Oberführer Franz Augsberger was nominated the commander of the legion. Up to the end of 1942 about 1,280 men volunteered into the training camp. Bataillon Narwa was formed from the first 800 men of the Legion to have finished their training at Heidelager, being sent in April 1943 to join the Division Wiking in Ukraine. They replaced the Finnish Volunteer Battalion, recalled to Finland for political reasons.[10] In March 1943, a partial mobilization was carried out in Estonia during which 12,000 men were conscripted into the SS. On May 5, 1943 the 3rd Waffen-SS Brigade (Estonian), another fully Estonian unit, was formed and sent to the front near Nevel.

Estonian Division
Divisional insignia of 20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Estonian)

By January 1944, the front was pushed back by the Red Army almost all the way to the former Estonian border. Jüri Uluots, the last constitutional Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia,[11] the leader of Estonian underground government delivered a radio address on February 7[7] that implored all able-bodied men born from 1904 through 1923 to report for military service in the SS (before this, Uluots had opposed any German mobilization of Estonians.) Following Uluots' address, 38.000 conscripts jammed registration centers.[12] Several thousand Estonians who had volunteered to join the Finnish army were transferred back across the Gulf of Finland to join the newly formed Territorial Defense Force, assigned to defend Estonia against the Soviet advance. The maximum amount of Estonians enrolled in Nazi-German military units was 70,000.[13] The initial formation of the volunteer Estonian Legion created in 1942 was eventually expanded to become a full-sized conscript division of the Waffen SS in 1944, the 20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (1st Estonian). Units consisting largely of Estonians — often under German officers – saw action on the Narva line throughout 1944. Many Estonians hoped that they would attract support from the Allies, and ultimately a restoration of their interwar independence, by resisting the Soviet reoccupation of their country.[14] In the end, there was no physical Allied support, largely because they were fighting under Nazi flags.

On February 2, 1944 the advance guard units of the 2nd Shock Army reached the border of Estonia as a part of the Kingisepp–Gdov Offensive which began on February 1. Field Marshal Walter Model was nominated the leader of the German Army Group North. The Soviet Narva Offensive (15–28 February 1944) led by Soviet General Leonid A. Govorov, the commander of the Leningrad Front, commenced. On February 24, Estonian Independence Day, the counterattack of the so-called Estonian Division to break the Soviet bridgeheads began. A battalion of Estonians led by Rudolf Bruus destroyed a Soviet bridgehead. Another battalion of Estonians led by Ain-Ervin Mere was successful against another bridgehead, at Vaasa-Siivertsi-Vepsaküla. On March 6, this work was complete. The Leningrad Front concentrated 9 corps at Narva against 7 divisions and one brigade. On March 1, the Soviet Narva Offensive (1–4 March 1944) began in the direction of Auvere. The 658th Eastern Battalion led by Alfons Rebane and the 659th Eastern Battalion commanded by Georg Sooden were involved in defeating the operation. On March 17, twenty Soviet divisions again unsuccessfully attacked the three divisions in Auvere. On April 7, the leadership of the Red Army ordered to go on the defensive. In March the Soviets committed bombing attacks towards the towns of Estonia, including the bombing of Tallinn on March 9.

On July 24 the Soviets began the new Narva Offensive (July 1944) in the direction of Auvere. The 1st battalion (Stubaf Paul Maitla) of the 45th Regiment led by Harald Riipalu and the fusiliers (previously "Narva"), under the leadership of Hatuf Hando Ruus, were involved in repelling the attack. Finally, Narva was evacuated and a new front was settled on the Tannenberg Line in the Sinimäed Hills.

On the first of August the Finnish government and President Ryti were to resign. On the next day, Aleksander Warma, the Estonian Ambassador to Finland (1939–1940 (1944))[15] announced that the National Committee of the Estonian Republic had sent a telegram, which requested the Estonian volunteer regiment to be returned to Estonia fully equipped. On the following day, the Finnish Government received a letter from the Estonians. It had been signed in the name of "all national organizations of Estonia" by Aleksander Warma, Karl Talpak and several others, seconding the request. It was then announced that the regiment would be disbanded and that the volunteers were free to return home. An agreement had been reached with the Germans, and the Estonians were promised amnesty if they chose to return and fight in the SS. As soon as they landed, the regiment was sent to perform a counter-attack against the Soviet 3rd Baltic Front, which had managed a breakthrough on the Tartu front, and was threatening the capital Tallinn.

After an attempt to break through the Tannenberg Line failed, the main struggle was carried to the south of Lake Peipus, where on August 11, Petseri was taken and Võru on August 13. Near Tartu, the 3rd Baltic Front was stopped by the Kampfgruppe "Wagner" which involved military groups sent from Narva under the command of Alfons Rebane and Paul Vent and the 5th SS Volunteer Sturmbrigade Wallonien led by Léon Degrelle.

On August 19, 1944 Jüri Uluots, in a radio broadcast, called for the Red Army to hold back and a peace agreement to be reached.[7]

As Finland left the war on September 4, 1944 according to their peace agreement with the USSR, the defence of the mainland became practically impossible and the German command decided to retreat from Estonia. Resistance against the Soviets continued in the Moonsund Archipelago until November 23, 1944, when the Germans evacuated the Sõrve Peninsula. According to the Soviet data, the conquest of the territory of Estonia cost them 126,000 casualties. Some disregard the official figures and argue that a more realistic number is 480,000 for the Battle of Narva only, considering the intensity of the fighting at the front.[16] On the German side, their own data shows 30,000 dead, which some have similarly seen as underrated, preferring at the minimum 45,000.[17]

German administrators

In 1941 Estonia was occupied by German troops and after a brief period of military rule — dependent of the Commanders of the Army Group North (in the occupied U.S.S.R.) — a German civilian administration was established and Estonia was organized as a General Kommissariat becoming soon afterwards part of the Reichskommissariat Ostland.

Generalkommissar

(subordinated to the Reichskommissar Ostland)

  • 1941–1944 SA-Obergruppenfuhrer Karl Sigismund Litzmann (1893)

S.S. und Polizeiführer

(responsible for internal security and war against the resistance — directly subordinated to the H.S.S.P.F. of Ostland, not to the Generalkommissar)

  • 1941–1944 SS-Oberführer Hinrich Möller (SS-Mitglied) (1906–1974)
  • 1944 SS-Brigadeführer Walter Schröder (1902–1973)

Lagerkommandant

(responsible for the operation of all concentration camps within the Reichskommissariat Ostland)

Collaboration

Estonian Self-Administration

Estonian Self-Administration (Estonian: Eesti Omavalitsus), also known as the Directorate, was the puppet government set up in Estonia during occupation of Estonia by Nazi Germany. According to Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity

Although the Directorate did not have complete freedom of action, it exercised a significant measure of autonomy, within the framework of German policy, political, racial and economic. For example, the Directors exercised their powers pursuant to the laws and regulations of the Republic of Estonia, but only to the extent that these had not been repealed or amended by the German military command.[18]

Directors

Director General

Director for Home Affairs

Directors for Justice

Director for Finance

  • 1941–1944 Alfred Wendt (1902)

Holocaust

Map used to illustrate Stahlecker's report to Heydrich on January 31, 1942
Map titled "Jewish Executions Carried Out by Einsatzgruppe A" from January 31, 1941 report by commander Stahlecker of a Nazi death squad. Marked "Secret Reich Matter," the map shows the number of Jews shot in Ostland, and reads at the bottom: "the estimated number of Jews still on hand is 128,000". Estonia is marked as judenfrei.

The process of Jewish settlement in Estonia began in the 19th century, when in 1865 Alexander II of Russia granted them the right to enter the region. The creation of the Republic of Estonia in 1918 marked the beginning of a new era for the Jews. Approximately 200 Jews fought in combat for the creation of the Republic of Estonia and 70 of these men were volunteers. From the very first days of her existence as a state, Estonia showed her tolerance towards all the peoples inhabiting her territories. On 12 February 1925 The Estonian government passed a law pertaining to the cultural autonomy of minority peoples. The Jewish community quickly prepared its application for cultural autonomy. Statistics on Jewish citizens were compiled. They totaled 3,045, fulfilling the minimum requirement of 3000 for cultural autonomy. In June 1926 the Jewish Cultural Council was elected and Jewish cultural autonomy was declared. Jewish cultural autonomy was of great interest to global Jewish community. The Jewish National Endowment presented the Estonian government with a certificate of gratitude for this achievement.[19]

There were, at the time of Soviet occupation in 1940, approximately 4000 Estonian Jews. The Jewish Cultural Autonomy was immediately abolished. Jewish cultural institutions were closed down. Many of Jewish people were deported to Siberia along with other Estonians by the Soviets. It is estimated that 350–500 Jews suffered this fate.[20][21][22] About three-fourths of Estonian Jewry managed to leave the country during this period.[18][23] Out the approximately 4,300 Jews in Estonia prior to the war, almost 1000 were entrapped by the Nazis.[22][24]

Round-ups and killings of Jews began immediately following the arrival of the first German troops in 1941, who were closely followed by the extermination squad Sonderkommando 1a under Martin Sandberger, part of Einsatzgruppe A led by Walter Stahlecker. Arrests and executions continued as the Germans, with the assistance of local collaborators, advanced through Estonia.

Holocaust Memorial in Estonia
Holocaust memorial at the site of the former Klooga concentration camp, opened on 24th July 2005

Unlike German forces, some support apparently existed among an undefined segment of the local collaborators for anti-Jewish actions. The standard form used for the cleansing operations was arrest 'because of communist activity'. The equation between Jews and communists evoked a positive response among some Estonians. Estonians often argued that their Jewish colleagues and friends were not communists and submitted proofs of pro-Estonian conduct in hope to get them released.[24]

Estonia was declared Judenfrei quite early by the German occupation regime at the Wannsee Conference.[25] Jews that had remained in Estonia (921 according to Martin Sandberger, 929 according to Evgenia Goorin-Loov and 963 according to Walter Stahlecker) were killed.[26] Fewer than a dozen Estonian Jews are known to have survived the war in Estonia. The Nazi regime also established 22 concentration and labor camps on occupied Estonian territory for foreign Jews. The largest, Vaivara concentration camp housed 1,300 prisoners at a time. These prisoners were mainly Jews, with smaller groups of Russians, Dutch, and Estonians.[27] Several thousand foreign Jews were killed at the Kalevi-Liiva camp.[25] Four Estonians most responsible for the murders at Kalevi-Liiva were accused at war crimes trials in 1961. Two were later executed, while the Soviet occupation authorities were unable to press charges against two who lived in exile. There have been knowingly 7 ethnic Estonians: Ralf Gerrets, Ain-Ervin Mere, Jaan Viik, Juhan Jüriste, Karl Linnas, Aleksander Laak and Ervin Viks that have faced trials for crimes against humanity. Since the reestablishment of the Estonian independence markers were put in place for the 60th anniversary of the mass executions that were carried out at the Lagedi, Vaivara and Klooga (Kalevi-Liiva) camps in September 1944.[28]

There are three Estonians who have been honoured with The Righteous Among the Nations: Uku Masing and his wife Eha Masing and Polina Lentsman.[29]

Estonian military units' involvement in crimes against humanity

The Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity [30] has reviewed the role of Estonian military units and police battalions in an effort to identify the role of Estonian military units and police battalions participation during World War II in crimes against humanity.

The conclusions of the Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity are available online.[30] It says that there is an evidence of Estonian units' involvement in crimes against humanity, and acts of genocide; however, the commission noted

Given the frequency with which police units changed their personnel, the Commission does not believe that membership in the cited units, or in any specific unit is, on its own, proof of involvement in crimes. However, those individuals who served in the units during the commission of crimes against humanity are to be held responsible for their own actions.

Controversies

Views diverge on history of Estonia during World War II and following the occupation by Nazi Germany.

  • According to the Estonian point of view, the occupation of Estonia by Soviet Union lasted five decades, only interrupted by the Nazi invasion of 1941-1944.[31] Estonian representatives at the European Parliament even made a motion for a resolution acknowledging the 48 years of occupation as a fact.[32] The final version of the resolution of European parliament, however, only acknowledged Estonia's loss of independence lasting from 1940 to 1991 and that annexation of Estonia by Soviet Union was considered illegal by Western democracies.[33]
  • The position of the Russian Government: Russia has denied that Soviet Union illegally annexed the Baltic republics of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia in 1940. The Kremlin's European affairs chief Sergei Yastrzhembsky: "There was no occupation."[34] Russian State officials look at the events in Estonia in the end of World War II as the liberation from fascism by the Soviet Union.[35]
  • Views of World War II veteran, an Estonian Ilmar Haaviste fought on the German side: "Both regimes were equally evil — there was no difference between the two except that Stalin was more cunning".
  • Views of World War II veteran, an Estonian Arnold Meri fought on the Soviet side: "Estonia's participation in World War II was inevitable. Every Estonian had only one decision to make: whose side to take in that bloody fight — the Nazis' or the anti-Hitler coalition's."
  • Views of World War II veteran, a Russian fought on the Soviet side in Estonia answering a question: How do you feel being called an "occupier"? " Viktor Andreyev: "Half believe one thing half believe another. That's in the run of things."[36]

In 2004 controversy regarding the events of World War II in Estonia surrounded the Monument of Lihula.

In April 2007 the divergent views on history of World War II in Estonia centered around the Bronze Soldier of Tallinn.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Conclusions of the Commission". Estonian International Commission for Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity. 1998. Archived from the original on June 29, 2008.
  2. ^ a b Chris Bellamy. The Absolute War. Soviet Russia in the Second World War, page 197. Vintage Books, New York 2008. ISBN 978-0-375-72471-8
  3. ^ Lande, Dave, Resistance! Occupied Europe and Its Defiance of Hitler, p. 188, ISBN 0-7603-0745-8
  4. ^ Chris Bellamy. The Absolute War. Soviet Russia in the Second World War, page 198. Vintage Books, New York 2008. ISBN 978-0-375-72471-8
  5. ^ a b Buttar, Prit. Between Giants. ISBN 9781780961637.
  6. ^ Raun, Toivo U., Estonia and the Estonians (Studies of Nationalities), ISBN 0-8179-2852-9
  7. ^ a b c d e Chronology Archived 2007-06-09 at the Wayback Machine at the EIHC
  8. ^ Mälksoo, Lauri (2000). Professor Uluots, the Estonian Government in Exile and the Continuity of the Republic of Estonia in International Law. Nordic Journal of International Law 69.3, 289–316.
  9. ^ Mark, Heinrich, Heinrich Mark (in Estonian), president.ee, archived from the original on 2007-11-14, retrieved 12 July 2013
  10. ^ Estonian Vikings: Estnisches SS-Freiwilligen Bataillon Narwa and Subsequent Units, Eastern Front, 1943–1944.
  11. ^ Uluots, Jüri, Jüri Uluots, president.ee, archived from the original on 2007-09-27, retrieved 12 July 2013
  12. ^ Lande, Dave, Resistance! Occupied Europe and Its Defiance of Hitler, p. 200, ISBN 0-7603-0745-8
  13. ^ Estonian State Commission on Examination of Policies of Repression (2005). The White Book: Losses inflicted on the Estonian nation by occupation regimes. 1940–1991 (PDF). Estonian Encyclopedia Publishers. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2013-01-14. Retrieved 2018-08-30.
  14. ^ The Baltic States: The National Self-Determination of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, Graham Smith, p. 91, ISBN 0-312-16192-1.
  15. ^ Aleksander Warma, president.ee
  16. ^ Mart Laar (2006). Sinimäed 1944: II maailmasõja lahingud Kirde-Eestis (Sinimäed Hills 1944: Battles of World War II in Northeast Estonia) (in Estonian). Tallinn: Varrak.
  17. ^ Hannes, Walter. "Estonia in World War II". Historical Text Archive. Retrieved 2008-10-21.
  18. ^ a b Conclusions of the Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity Archived June 21, 2007, at the Wayback MachinePhase II: The German occupation of Estonia in 1941–1944 Archived June 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Estonia", The Virtual Jewish History Tour, retrieved 2009-03-11
  20. ^ Weiss-Wendt, Anton (1998). The Soviet Occupation of Estonia in 1940–41 and the Jews. Holocaust and Genocide Studies 12.2, 308–25.
  21. ^ Berg, Eiki (1994). The Peculiarities of Jewish Settlement in Estonia. GeoJournal 33.4, 465–70.
  22. ^ a b The Holocaust in the Baltics Archived 2008-03-07 at the Wayback Machine
  23. ^ Estonia
  24. ^ a b Birn, Ruth Bettina (2001), Collaboration with Nazi Germany in Eastern Europe: the Case of the Estonian Security Police. Contemporary European History 10.2, 181–98.
  25. ^ a b Museum of Tolerance Multimedia Learning Center, Wiesenthal, archived from the original on 2007-09-28
  26. ^ Communism and Crimes against Humanity in the Baltic states Archived 2011-09-29 at the Wayback Machine
  27. ^ Vaivara
  28. ^ Holocaust Markers, Estonia, Heritage Abroad, archived from the original on 2009-08-23
  29. ^ Gilbert, Sir Martin, The Righteous: The Unsung Heroes of the Holocaust, p. 31, ISBN 0-8050-6260-2
  30. ^ a b Conclusions of the Estonian International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity Archived June 21, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  31. ^ Moscow celebrations Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine at newsfromrussia
  32. ^ Motion for a resolution on the Situation in Estonia, 2007-05-21, retrieved 2010-03-05, Estonia, as an independent Member State of the EU and NATO, has the sovereign right to assess its recent tragic past, starting with the loss of independence as a result of the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939 and including three years under Hitler's occupation and terror, as well as 48 years under Soviet occupation and terror,
  33. ^ European Parliament resolution of 24 May 2007 on Estonia, 2007-05-24, retrieved 2010-03-05, Estonia, as an independent Member State of the EU and NATO, has the sovereign right to assess its recent tragic past, starting with the loss of independence resulting from the Hitler-Stalin Pact of 1939 and ending only in 1991, the Soviet occupation and annexation of the Baltic States was never recognised as legal by the Western democracies
  34. ^ Russia denies Baltic 'occupation', BBC, May 5, 2005, retrieved May 20, 2010
  35. ^ Booth, Jenny (April 27, 2007), Russia threatens Estonia over removal of Red Army statue, London: Times, retrieved May 20, 2010
  36. ^ When giants fought in Estonia, BBC, May 9, 2007, retrieved May 20, 2010

External links

1940 Estonian parliamentary election

Parliamentary elections were held in Estonia on 14 and 15 July 1940 alongside simultaneous elections in Latvia and Lithuania. The elections followed the Soviet occupation of the three countries, and were rigged. The Estonian Working People's Union, a Communist front group, was the only party allowed to run, and won all 80 seats with 92.8% of the vote. The newly elected People's Parliament declared the Estonian SSR on 21 July and requested admission to the Soviet Union the following day. The request was approved by the Soviet government on 6 August.

Atli Eðvaldsson

Atli Eðvaldsson (born 3 March 1957) is an Icelandic former footballer who played as a midfielder. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential players to come from Iceland. After retiring, he became a well-known manager.

Eduard Ole

Eduard Ole (20 May 1898 – 24 November 1995) was an Estonian painter. Some of his most representative works are on permanent exhibition at the Kumu Art Museum of Estonia.In 1973 Ole published in Sweden his two-volume illustrated memories Suurel maanteel (English: On the Big Highway) I and II. A new edition of these books were published in Estonia in 2010.

Estonian Writers' Union

The Estonian Writers Union (Eesti Kirjanike Liit, abbreviated EKL), is a professional association of Estonian writers and literary critics.

German occupation of Estonia

German occupation of Estonia may refer to:

German occupation of Estonia during World War I

German occupation of Estonia during World War II

German occupation of Estonia during World War I

The occupation of Estonia by the German Empire occurred during the later stages of the First World War. On October 11–21, 1917, the Imperial German Army occupied the West Estonian archipelago (Moonsund archipelago), consisting of the islands of Saaremaa (Ösel), Hiiumaa (Dagö), and Muhu (Mühn).

Fighting ceased whilst negotiations over the Treaty of Brest-Litowsk took place. These broke down in February and to put pressure on the new Bolshevik regime of Soviet Russia to sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the Germans landed on the mainland of Estonia on February 18, 1918 and marched on Haapsalu (Hapsal) on February 21, 1918. The Germans occupied Valga (Walk) on February 22, and Pärnu (Pernau), Viljandi (Fellin) and Tartu (Dorpat) on February 24. Tallinn (Revel), was occupied on February 25, 1918 and the rest of Estonia, the last town taken being Narva, on March 4, 1918, putting an end to both the republican regime which had declared Estonia's independence on February 24, 1918 at Tallinn, and the rule of local Russian-Estonian Red Guards. The last Red Guards escaped over the River Narva on March 5, 1918.

Lieutenant General Adolf von Seckendorff arrived in Tallinn on February 28, 1918. He had acted as Military Commander of Third Kommandatur at the head of the German military administration of the West Estonian archipelago. Later in 1918, with the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litowsk, the Bolsheviks renounced all claims to Estonia and Germany was free to create Baltic client states. Estonia became part of the German Ober Ost military administration for Curonia, Estonia, Livonia, Ösel, and Riga.

Heli Lääts

Heli Lääts (24 June 1932 – 16 February 2018) was an Estonian singer (mezzo-soprano) whose career began in the mid-1950s. Lääts predominantly performed estrada, chamber, pop, polka, and jazz music.

History of Estonia

The history of Estonia forms a part of the history of Europe. Humans settled in the region of Estonia near the end of the last glacial era, beginning from around 8500 BC. Before German crusaders invaded in the early 13th century, proto-Estonians of ancient Estonia worshipped spirits of nature. Starting with the Northern Crusades in the Middle Ages, Estonia became a battleground for centuries where Denmark, Germany, Russia, Sweden and Poland fought their many wars over controlling the important geographical position of the country as a gateway between East and West.After Danes and Germans conquered the area in 1227, Estonia was ruled initially by Denmark in the north, by the Livonian Order, an autonomous part of the Monastic state of the Teutonic Knights and by Baltic German ecclesiastical states of the Holy Roman Empire. From 1418 to 1562 the whole of Estonia formed part of the Livonian Confederation. After the Livonian War of 1558-1583, Estonia became part of the Swedish Empire until 1710/1721, when Sweden ceded it to Russia as a result of the Great Northern War of 1700-1721. Throughout this period the Baltic-German nobility enjoyed autonomy, and German served as the language of administration and education.

The Estophile Enlightenment Period (1750–1840) led to the Estonian national awakening in the middle of the 19th century. In the aftermath of World War I (1914-1918) and the Russian revolutions of 1917, Estonians declared their independence in February 1918. The Estonian War of Independence (1918-1920) ensued on two fronts: the newly proclaimed state fought against Bolshevist Russia to the east and against the Baltic German forces (the Baltische Landeswehr) to the south. The Tartu Peace Treaty (February 1920) marked the end of fighting and recognised Estonian independence in perpetuity.

In 1940, in the wake of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, the Soviet Union occupied Estonia and (according to e.g. the US, the EU, and the European Court of Human Rights) illegally annexed the country. In the course of Operation Barbarossa, Nazi Germany occupied Estonia in 1941; later in World War II the Soviet Union reoccupied it (1944). Estonia regained independence in 1991 in the course of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and joined the European Union and NATO in 2004.

Ines Aru

Ines Aru (born 1 July 1939) is an Estonian stage, radio, voice, television, and film actress whose career began in the early 1960s.

Jaan Kärner

Jaan Kärner (May 27, 1891 in Käo village, then Kirepi municipality, today Rõngu Parish, Tartu County – April 3, 1958 in Tartu) was an Estonian poet and writer. He is known especially for his nature poetry. Many of his poems were set to music by Estonian composers of choral music. Kärner also wrote numerous novels, plays, works of literary criticism, and scientific literature and historical treatises. He translated works from German and Russian, most notably the poems of Heinrich Heine into Estonian in 1934.

Jägala concentration camp

Jägala concentration camp was a labour camp of the Estonian Security Police and SD during the German occupation of Estonia during World War II. The camp was established in August 1942 on a former artillery range of the Estonian Army near the village of Jägala, Estonia. It existed from August 1942 to August 1943. Aleksander Laak, an Estonian was appointed by SS-Sturmbannführer Ain-Ervin Mere of Group B of the Estonian Security Police to command the camp with Ralf Gerrets as assistant.Officially Jägala was a "labour education camp" or "Arbeitserziehungslager" for forced forestry and field workers. The camp housed Jews deported to Estonia from other countries, including Lithuania, Czechoslovakia, Germany and Poland. About 3,000 Jews who were not selected for work at their arrival at Raasiku railway station were taken directly from the station and shot at the nearby Kalevi-Liiva extermination site.The camp never held more than 200 prisoners and had a short life span of several months. In November 1942 it was reported that the camp held 53 men and 150 women. Most of the prisoners were eventually transferred to Tallinn Central Prison starting with about half of the prisoners moved in December 1942 and the rest in June and July. By August 1943 the camp was closed and most of the remaining inmates were shot. Several sick prisoners were shot at the Jägala camp while about 15 hospitalised prisoners were sent to Kalevi-Liiva to be executed, Laak also killed three women, one of them his sex slave; the camp was then dismantled by September 1943.The estimates for the number of killed at Jägala concentration camp vary. Soviet investigators concluded that 2,000-3,000 were killed in Jägala and Kalevi-Liiva taken together, but the number 5,000 (as determined by the Extraordinary State Commission in 1944) was written into the verdict.In modern sources, the number 10,000 occurs. However, Estonian International Commission for Investigation of Crimes Against Humanity and estimates of scholars place the number of total Jewish victims in Estonia during 1941-1944 around 8,500.

Kadriorg Palace

Kadriorg Palace (Estonian: Kadrioru loss, German: Schloss Katharinental) is a Petrine Baroque palace built for Catherine I of Russia by Peter the Great in Tallinn, Estonia. Both the Estonian and the German name for the palace means "Catherine's valley". It was built after the Great Northern War for Nicola Michetti's designs by Gaetano Chiaveri and Mikhail Zemtsov. The palace currently houses the Kadriorg Art Museum, a branch of the Art Museum of Estonia, displaying foreign art from the 16th to 20th centuries. The KUMU branch of the museum, showing Estonian art from the 18th century onwards is located nearby in the park.

Occupation of Estonia

The Occupation of Estonia may refer to:

Occupation of Estonia by the German Empire (February–November 1918)

Soviet occupation of Estonia (June 1940 – July 1941 and February 1944 – August 1991)

German occupation of Estonia during World War II (July 1941 – September 1944)

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