04 May 2007, 18:06
Russian Jewish community slams Estonia over Soviet war memorial
Moscow, May 4, Interfax - The Russian Congress of Jewish Religious Organizations and Associations (KEROOR) on Friday criticized the Estonian government for relocating a Soviet World War II memorial in Tallinn and for alleged Nazi sympathies.
"The demonstratively defiant form in which the Estonian authorities have dismantled the Monument to the Liberator Warrior and are relocating the nearby grave of soldiers who gave their lives fighting fascism is not an accidental or spontaneous act," the KEROOR said in a statement.
Estonian authorities call the Nazi occupation of their country in 1941 "liberation from the Soviet regime," the statement reads.
However, the KEROOR claimed, Nazi Germany's policies were meant to annihilate two-thirds of Estonia's population after "the stabilization of the situation," and the Estonian government glosses this over.
The statement said the Estonian government had spent hundreds of thousands of kroons on maintaining a monument to members of the Estonian 20th Division of Nazi security force SS and pro-Nazi monuments in two other regions of the country.
There are legitimate organizations of SS veterans in Estonia, and former SS soldiers are paid pensions, while "official propaganda makes sympathetic comments about the usefulness of 'personality reforming' in fascist concentration camps," the KEROOR said.
"Estonian authorities prefer to gloss over the fact that punitive detachments and the Estonian SS legion killed between 120,000 and 140,000 Russians, Jews, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Gypsies, and people of other ethnic groups between 1941 and 1944," it said.