Rosh Hashana 5763  
  It is very rare, if not unprecedented, for an American ambassador to write an op-ed piece in a local newspaper severely criticizing the country he is serving in for failing to take sufficient measures to prosecute local Nazi war criminals, but that is precisely what Joseph De Thomas, U.S. ambassador to Estonia, did in late May this year. In a pointed op-ed piece which appeared on May 28 in the Estonian daily Eesti Paevaleht, Ambassador De Thomas took his host country to task for its failure to adequately deal with three major issues relating to the Holocaust and suggested the following practical steps to help remedy the situation. In his words, Estonia had to “Do justice where justice is needed,” i.e. take a proactive stance on the prosecution of Estonian Nazi war criminals, not a single one of whom had been brought to trial since Estonia obtained its independence from the Soviet Union (as opposed to Communist criminals many of whom have been brought to trial); “Recognize the Holocaust is part of Estonia’s history,” i.e. observe Yom Hashoa in a dignified and significant manner and mark all the sites in the country in which the crimes of the Holocaust were committed; and “Teach our children about the past,” i.e. make sure that the subject of the Holocaust is adequately covered in Estonian textbooks, which as far as Ambassador De Thomas understood is not currently the case. more...

July 2002  
  A Brief Summary of the History of the Holocaust in Estonia  
  Prior to World War II, 4,500 Jews lived in Estonia half in the capital of Tallinn and the rest primarily in Tartu, Valga, Parnu, Narva, Giljandi, Rakevere, Voru and Nomme. In June 1940, the country was occupied by the Soviets who in mid-June 1941 deported some ten thousand Estonians, among them close to 500 Jews, to Siberia. more