TALLINN - Israel last week praised Estonia for a firm stance against anti-Semitism, despite recent criticism by the Nazi-hunting Wiesenthal center slamming Tallinn for failing to prosecute Nazi war criminals, reports AFP. “Estonian authorities have been very firm to denounce any anti-Semitism, racist or xenophobic phenomena and we trust Estonian authorities completely,” Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said in Tallinn.
The Israeli branch of the Simon Wiesenthal Center on May 1 criticized “the failures of countries like Austria, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and the Ukraine, which have consistently failed to hold any Holocaust perpetrators accountable.”
“I have read that report, but that has not undermined our trust towards Estonians and Estonian authorities,” Ayalon said.
During World War II Estonia, along with Baltic neighbors Latvia and Lithuania, was occupied by the Soviet Union in June 1940, by Nazi Germany a year later and then again by the Soviets in September 1944. Seeing Nazi Germany as their liberator from the Soviets, thousands of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians joined, mostly through forced conscription, the German army.
Moscow had been reviled in the Baltic States, among other atrocities, for having deported tens of thousands of Balts to Siberia in June 1941, from where most never returned.
In 1948-1949, Soviets again resorted to their base behavior, deporting over 200,000 more people from the Baltic States to the Siberian gulag.