Ambassadors of Britain, Estonia, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden protest Antisemitism in Lithuania; Red-Equals-Brown Movement is Noted
BNS reported today that the Vilnius-based ambassadors of Britain, Estonia, France, Finland, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden have written in no uncertain terms to the president and other major officials of Lithuania to express concern over the growing manifestations of antisemitism.
Two of the signatories confirmed privately to Defending History that the initiative had come from British ambassador HE Simon Butt, who also drafted the letter. Ambassador Butt had in 2008 organized a letter in moral support of Dr. Rachel Margolis, a walk through the Vilna Ghetto with Ms. Fania Brantsovsky, and had, together with other senior Western diplomats stationed in Vilnius, visited the decaying Jewish partisan fort in the forest.
“Spurious attempts are made to equate the uniquely evil genocide of the Jews with Soviet crimes against Lithuania, which, though great in magnitude, cannot be regarded as equivalent in either their intention or result.”
Excerpt from a letter to the president of Lithuania from the ambassadors of Britain, Estonia, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden, 25 November 2010
MP Denis MacShane Calls for Release of 7 Ambassadors’ Letter on Antisemitism and the ‘Double Genocide’ movement in Lithuania
The following exchange between human rights advocate MP Denis MacShane and the government’s Minister for Europe, David Lidington, was reported today in the House of Commons:
Mr MacShane:To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will publish the letter of 25 November 2010 sent by the UK and other ambassadors in Lithuania concerning the growing manifestations of anti-Semitism in Lithuania. 
Mr Lidington:It has not been the practice of successive Governments to publish letters sent by diplomats in a confidential capacity. It is important for the effective conduct of international relations for diplomacy to be able to take place on a confidential basis where necessary.
The letter referred to was reported in this journal on 25 November 2010.
This journal notes with satisfaction that the government of Estonia did not sign the 14 December 2010 letter from six East European ambassadors in support of inserting ‘Double Genocide’ language into EU’s new Stockholm Programme. The six are Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Romania.
For opponents of the new Far Right’s revisionist history of World War II, it was also a welcome surprise that Estonia’s ambassador to Lithuania did sign the 25 Nov 2010 letter from seven European ambassadors protesting antisemitism in Lithuania and ‘spurious efforts’ to equalize Nazi and Soviet crimes. British parliamentarian Denis MacShane has asked for that letter to made public.
The foreign minister of Lithuania explained to reporters today the absence of Estonia’s name on the 14 December letter to Viviane Reding of the European Commission, asking for Double Genocide language and sentiment to be inserted into the Stockholm Programme, a move since rejected by the Commission. This journal was among those speculating on a possible change in Estonia’s policy.
But today, the Lithuanian foreign minister, Audronius Ažubalis, explained to reporters that his Estonian counterpart ‘only arrived, because of the blizzard, after the other signatures had been signed, and wished to correct the text. But we didn’t have an opportunity’.
It remains for Estonia to clarify matters.
O P I N I O N
by Geoff Vasil
This year Lithuanian neo-Nazis organized by Marius Kundrotas, Ričardas Čekutis and Julijus Panka with Lithuanian MP Kazimieras Uoka as their mascot marched in Kaunas on February 16 and through central Vilnius on March 11. February 16 is the old, pre-World War II national day of independence while March 11 is the date in 1990 when the Lithuanian Supreme Soviet voted to restore national independence and exit the Soviet Union.
Estonian Nationalists say Holocaust ‘Pales’ by Comparison with Soviet Crimes; Delfi.lt produces its ‘Scorecard’ again
Estonian nationalists demonstrating outside Tallin’s Russian Embassy explained their view that ‘The Holocaust pales before the hundreds of thousands of people who were murdered by the Communists, the annihilation of dozens of ethnicities and the mass deportations!’
According to an Lrytas / BNS report (English here), the Jewish Community of Estonia has expressed ‘surprise and displeasure’ over plans to hold an event today to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the arrival of the Nazis in the city Viljandi.
“As long as I am prime minister of this great nation, there will be no neo-Nazi marches, no parades or events glorifying Nazi collaborators, no racist marches offensive to any citizens of our country of whatever background or belief, in the center of our cherished capital city, least of all on our national independence day or other holidays, when we celebrate independence, freedom, equality of all people, respect between all our communities, democracy and hope for our future. I will not stand idly by as our country’s proud name is defamed in the four corners of the earth by those who espouse fascism, racism, antisemitism, xenophobia, homophobia and other forms of hatred. Period.”
From back in 2011
Some of the shameful city center pro-Nazi events that went ahead in 2011 in Baltic capitals with legal permits (and support of some political elites):
Estonian Defense Ministry Denies Glorifying Nazi Collaborators, but Statement Fails to Mention Country’s Waffen SS
In the face of mounting Western concern, the Estonian Ministry of Defense issued a statement on 5 January 2012 refuting a 27 (/28) December 2011 Delfi news portal story that reported on Russian Federation criticism, among other things, of the Baltic states’ policies of honoring their countries’ Nazi collaborator forces and militias.
The Defense Ministry’s refutation declares that “the government of the Republic of Estonia has not drafted nor will it draft something as absurd as a bill that would allow for honors to be given to Nazi collaborators.”
O P I N I O N
by Per Anders Rudling
Despised and ostracized, the Swedish community of Waffen-SS volunteers long gathered in secret on April 14, “The Day of the Fallen,” for obscure ritualistic annual gatherings at a cemetery in a Stockholm suburb.
Since the 1990s, the rituals have not needed to be clandestine: the few, now very elderly survivors now head to Sinimäe, Estonia, where they feel they are now getting the honor to which they are entitled. Here, Swedish, Norwegian, Austrian, German and other Waffen-SS veterans from Western Europe meet up with their Estonian comrades. The annual gatherings include those who volunteered for ideological reasons, and who are today actively passing on the experiences to a new generation of neo-Nazis.
O P I N I O N
by Leena Hietanen and Petri Krohn
TALLINN―The rehabilitation of Nazi collaborators here in Estonia reached its climax on 14 February 2012, when the Estonian Parliament adopted a declaration sponsored by Defense Minister Mart Laar, in which all who took up arms against the Soviet Union were recognized as “freedom fighters.” The parliament’s statement included the following language, made to sound rather innocuous:
Jerusalem—In a statement issued here today by the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi-hunter, Israel director Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the Center denounced in the strongest terms a fake ad which appeared in the “humor pages” of the Estonian news magazine Eesti Ekspress with a photograph of concentration camp inmates under the heading: “One, two, three: Dr. Mengele’s diet pills work miracles on you. There were no fatties in Buchenwald.”
According to Zuroff:
O P I N I O N
by Efraim Zuroff
From today’s Times of Israel.
The visit to Israel of a foreign prime minister used to be a big deal. That’s why there were so many photos of Burmese head of state U Nu’s visit in the early sixties. Those days, however, are long gone and today when most prime ministers visit us it’s usually of little or no interest to anybody and they get almost no coverage unless they are major world figures.
That would help explain why I only found out Tuesday morning that Estonian Prime Minister Andrus Ansip was to be touring Yad Vashem that day.
Ostensibly, that is no occasion of any particular significance, and the visit is more or less a pro forma requirement for any head of state coming to Israel in that capacity, especially if he or she has never been here before. But that is not true in the case of the Estonian leader, who heads a country that is suffering from a severe Baltic variant of post-Communist Eastern European Holocaust amnesia. This is an intellectual disease whose four main characteristics are a systematic minimization of crimes by local Nazi collaborators, a distinct lack of political will to prosecute and punish such individuals, a tendency to glorify locals who fought alongside the Nazis – in Estonia’s case in Waffen-SS units – and a determination to promote the historical canard of supposed equivalency between Nazi and Communist crimes.
O P I N I O N
by Leena Hietanen
Estonian ultranationalists traditionally celebrate Hitler’s victory on the Sinimae Hillls in eastern Estonia annually at the end of July. This year is no exception. The festivities are slated to start on the 27th of July at Sinimae.
As usual, the Estonian government is quietly giving its blessing to the proceedings. Old Estonian Waffen SS Legionaries gather on the hills to commemorate their participation on the Second World War on the side of Nazi Germany. In the battles of Sinimae Hills during the spring and summer of 1944 Estonian Waffen SS soldiers together with their fellow pro-Nazi combatants from Scandinavia, Belgium, Holland and Germany halted the progress of the Allied/Soviet front for half a year in the Eastern part of Estonia postponing the collapse of Nazi-Germany and condemning untold civilians to ongoing Nazi atrocities. Almost half of a million Hungarian Jews lost their lives in Auschwitz thanks to Estonian Legionaries. They would have survived had the Soviet advance not been tied up the Germans’ prime allies among the Estonian fascists.Continue reading
B O O K S
by Leena Hietanen
The most famous Finnish contemporary author, Sofi Oksanen, now 36 years old, has made a fortune from her books about Estonian history that are in some ways conceptually steeped in the Double Genocide movement. According to the Finnish financial daily, Kauppalehti, the turnover of her publishing enterprise, Silberfeldt Co. reached 3.4 million euros with a net profit of 1.8 million euros since 2011, when she established the company.
The bestseller has been the novel, Purge, which phenomenally sold over 150,000 copies in Finland alone. The book has been translated into dozens of languages and has been quite a success in France and Scandinavia. The stage version (which is the original) of Purge came to New York (though still off-off Broadway). By Finnish standards her popularity and business skills have made Ms. Oksanen the “Harry Potter – Joanne Rowling” of Finland.
by Leena Hietanen (Tallinn)
Germany’s president, Joachim Gauck, welcomed intensified cooperation between Estonian and German historians in the cause of continuing the search for Communist crimes in both Soviet Estonia and East Germany. He posed for photographs alongside Estonian president Toomas Hendrik Ilves with a backdrop of the iconic red-equals-brown Hollywoodesque “set” welcoming visitors to the nation’s Museum of the Occupation in Central Tallinn.
Photo of the two presidents with red-brown-equals-sign backdrop at the Museum of the Occupation in Central Tallinn: Postimees (Erik Peinar). More red-brown iconography here.
The news release, which was also circulated widely via the WUPJ’s emailed news reports, follows by half a year the SYD’s endorsement by Britain’s major Orthodox union, The United Synagogue, in the summer of 2013. [SYD text in European languages]
by Leena Hietanen and Petri Krohn
The last Estonian SS veteran to have been awarded the Nazis’ Knight’s Cross, Harald Nugiseks, was buried in Estonia with full military honors on Friday 10 January 2014.