Holocaust victim memorials vandalized in Estonia

Vandals destroy multiple Holocaust memorials at Kalevi-Liiva, Harju County, execution site of thousands of victims of Nazism.

Mordechai Sones,

Estonia
Estonia
Flash 90

National Estonian public broadcaster ERR reports sometime Saturday night or Sunday, days ahead of the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, unidentified individuals vandalized multiple Holocaust memorials at Kalevi-Liiva, Harju County, the execution site of thousands of victims of Nazism.

The vandalism was discovered by local residents, who notified the police, the municipal government, and Estonia's Jewish community.

Jewish Community of Estonia Chairwoman Alla Jakobson was shaken and outraged by the news.

"I can't call these Nazi-sympathizers who attack the memory of innocent victims with such brutality and anger human," she said. "The memory of the dead has always been regarded with such great respect and honor in Estonia, regardless of ethnicity. An Estonian resident cannot act like this, which is why I am sure that the memorial was vandalized by people who hate Estonia, and this should also be seen as a provocation timed to coincide with the Day of Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Estonia."

Jakobson also thanked those who alerted the authorities and the Jewish community to the incident.

ERR said police are asking Jõelähtme residents for help in tracking down the vandals.

"This is a very unfortunate case," said Urmas Krull, operations manager of the North Prefecture of the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA). "Memorials erected in memory of victims killed during the war deserve respect. We will do everything we can to identify the culprits, because there is no justification for such behavior."

This is not the first time that the memorials at Kalevi-Liiva have been vandalized.

Kalevi-Liiva is the final resting place of an estimated up to 6,000 people murdered by the Nazis, and memorials were erected at the site for both Jewish and Roma victims of the Holocaust. In 1942, it was used as the execution site for the Nazi-established Jägala concentration camp.

"This is the place where Jews were brought from Poland, Czechoslovakia and Germany to be executed," Jakobson said.

Jewish memorials have been the target of vandalism in Estonia in the past. "There have been cases, but I can't say that this is a regular thing, or that we feel concerned by it," Jakobson said. "I think it isn't inherent to Estonia."

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