Estonia. The Bloody trace of nazism.1941-1944

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Alex Yeliseenko
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Post by Alex Yeliseenko » 04 May 2007 02:02

PS: Small coutries look at history unlike Great Power. Russia must change his vision of liberation half of Europe or estimation Stalin-Hitler Pact in 1939. Long way b4 us and them. I forgot about authentic Russian historian - prof. prof. A. Yakovlev or A. Sakharov.
Sakharov òever was the historian. Yakovlev convicted of lies and demagogy.

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Post by Orlov » 07 May 2007 12:05

David Thompson wrote:Orlov -- You wrote:
SELECTION OF ARCHIVAL DOCUMENTS ON CRIMES OF ESTONIAN COLLABORATORS DURING THE SECOND WORLD WAR" is a typical work of ex-Soviet secret police.

and
Now FSB find in their own archive fantastic docu... about terrible Estonians (meanwhile these Baltic Ingrates forgot bravery Red Army and they destroy one monument in Tallin).
and
I would like remind all docu.. presented tn these collection come from Central Archive FSB.
If there is something wrong with the accounts given in this book, please tell the readers what it is, citing to other works which give an accurate version. Without that, your message is just another general "don't trust it" post which makes an undocumented claim and gives our readers no guidance whatsoever to finding the truth.
Dear David,

This is simple. I wrote link to article in one of the important Polish newspaper (unfortunately only in Polish). This article:
http://www.rzeczpospolita.pl/dodatki/op ... e_a_2.html
was written by serious Polish historian dr Piotr Gontarczyk. He prepare text about present Russian problem regarding their past and history of Soviet Union (especially re: Pact Ribbentrop-Molotov or NKVD massacre in Katyn). He wrote about main accusations to "Estonian docs" - this publicatrion hasn't any author or authors - CHECK THIS. This enigmatic work was completed in the State Archive of the Russian Federation and the Central Archive of the FSB of Russia - next suspicious fact of this publication.
David you must know about enormously problem in access to archival materials in Russian institution. Particularly these problems have to do with historian from ex-vassal of Soviet Union. Also these problems increased after Yeltsin, when Russia started rehabilitation time of communist oppression.

AND
Alex Yeliseenko wrote: Sakharov never was the historian. Yakovlev convicted of lies and demagogy.
Dear Alex,
I think about another prof. A. Sakharov (accidentally convergence), who worked for Russian organisation MEMORIAL. And prof. Yakovlev (only in opinion Russian demagogue) was a liar. I would like add name of next serious Russian historian - S. Drobiazko.

bestreg
Orlov

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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 07 May 2007 15:06

Well, for my part I lost interest after the first four or five pages with its ridiculously one-sided portrayal of the Estonian relation to their past and it's careful avoidance of phrases like "Soviet occupation" (Apparently, Estonia was "granted independence" by the Bolsheviks in 1920, and then "lost it'" again in 1940, as if they got independence by a surprise telegram, and then mislaid it behind the kitchen drawer in 1940. Or maybe had their independence permit revoked by Moscow because of bad behavior?). That this is a work with an agenda seems obvious enough, and as such it is hardly a promising starting point for a discussion about Estonian involvement in war crimes.

cheers

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Alex Yeliseenko
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Post by Alex Yeliseenko » 07 May 2007 17:48

Orlov
Alex Yeliseenko wrote: Sakharov never was the historian. Yakovlev convicted of lies and demagogy.
Dear Alex,
I think about another prof. A. Sakharov (accidentally convergence), who worked for Russian organisation MEMORIAL. And prof. Yakovlev (only in opinion Russian demagogue) was a liar. I would like add name of next serious Russian historian - S. Drobiazko.


Very disputable application. You know about a situation in Russia a little.

"Memorial"? This assembly of documents. It is the best historians of an antiStalin orientation of Kozlov and Zemskov. I advise you to read through their books.

Yakovlev deformed the facts. Also deformed the facts not time. It for a long time is proved. It operated as the communistic propagandist.

I know S.Drobyzko. It has written some books about soviet collabrocionist. I read these books. It the accurate historian. But only in the historical direction.

In Russia tens good historians. It is very a pity, that on their English so translate a little.

All the Best.

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Post by Orlov » 08 May 2007 20:30

Qvist wrote:Well, for my part I lost interest after the first four or five pages with its ridiculously one-sided portrayal of the Estonian relation to their past and it's careful avoidance of phrases like "Soviet occupation" (Apparently, Estonia was "granted independence" by the Bolsheviks in 1920, and then "lost it'" again in 1940, as if they got independence by a surprise telegram, and then mislaid it behind the kitchen drawer in 1940. Or maybe had their independence permit revoked by Moscow because of bad behavior?). That this is a work with an agenda seems obvious enough, and as such it is hardly a promising starting point for a discussion about Estonian involvement in war crimes.

cheers
Dear Qvist,

I know terrible history of Eastern Europe and I didn't explain this aspects of the past as a form choice comfortable facts. I know about problems of history small Baltic countries during WWII:
- Estonia was the the first "Juderfrei"
- participate local police and army forces in Shoah and war crimes in their own territories and also Nazi Commisariates or General Gouverment
- Baltic Waffen-SS units and more "black pages" of their collaboration (Polish also)
But thinking about the past directly by the one side isn't objective. All East Europe countries hasn't any choice - between Nazi and Communist regime (Polish mostly choose version of two enemies).
When Moscow want coerce his volition at small Tallin I will stay by the side of the weaker. Many East Europeans hate Soviet monument (read: domination), but not graves of Soviet soldier.
Bestreg
Orlov
PS: Thanks for Alex for next bibliographical advices for the present Russian historiography.
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Post by michael mills » 09 May 2007 00:38

Orlov,

What you need to accept is that the reason why ethnic Estonians collaborated with the German forces who occupied Estonia from July 1941 until July 1944 is that they saw those German forces as the best defence against a return of the Soviet regime that had brutally oppressed them for one year, from mid-1940 until mid-1941.

One year of brutal oppression by the Soviet regime was enough to convince the vast majority of ethnic Estonians that living under German rule, no matter how totalitarian it was, was the lesser of two evils, and that if the only alternative to German rule was a return of the brutally oppressive Soviet regime, then they needed to assist the German forces to defeat the Soviet Army and thereby prevent that return.

It was the experience of one year of brutal Soviet oppression, during which the tiny Jewish minority had collaborated with the oppressors (it only because for the Jews Soviet rule was preferable to German rule), that predisposed ethnic Estonians either to look the other way when the German occupiers began killing the Jews who had not fled into the Soviet interior, or, in the case of a minority of ethnic Estonians, actively assisted that killing, as an act of vicarious revenge against the former Soviet oppressors.

When the Soviet Army returned in mid-1944 and drove out the German forces, that was not seen by the vast majority of ethnic Estonians as a liberation from German tyranny, but rather as the return of a Soviet tyranny they regarded as much worse than anything the Germans had done to them. (Remember that German violence in Estonia was directed against Jews, Gypsies and the small number of ethnic Estonian Communists, not against the ethnic Estonian population as a whole, which was regarded in National Socialist ideology as having a high racial value).

That is the reason why ethnic Estonians regarded the memorial to fallen Soviet soldiers in Tallinn as a provocation. In their eyes, the fallen Soviet soldiers were not liberators but members of a conquering army which had re-established a Soviet tyranny over their homeland. The fact that after the death of Stalin the brutality of the Soviet regime lessened, and police terror was replaced by general stagnation, does not lessen the negative view that ethnic Estonians had of Soviet rule and of reminders of that rule, such as the memorial.

Orlov, if you refuse to accept the above facts, you will remain unable to understand the the thoughts and feelings of the vast majority of ethnic Estonians today. Only if the Russia of today admits that Soviet rule over Estonia was a brutal tyranny (at least until 1953), and that pro-German actions by Estonians were a reaction to that tyranny, can normal relations between Russians and Estonians be achieved.

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Post by Alex Yeliseenko » 09 May 2007 09:23

michael mills wrote: if you refuse to accept the above facts, you will remain unable to understand the the thoughts and feelings of the vast majority of ethnic Estonians today. Only if the Russia of today admits that Soviet rule over Estonia was a brutal tyranny (at least until 1953), and that pro-German actions by Estonians were a reaction to that tyranny, can normal relations between Russians and Estonians be achieved.
H'm... Murder of thousand Jews were reaction to Soviet "tyranny"? It is the greatest nonsense which I saw here. Any tyranny cannot be the justification for severe, brutal crimes.

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Post by Alex Yeliseenko » 09 May 2007 09:26

Orlov wrote:PS: Thanks for Alex for next bibliographical advices for the present Russian historiography.
-
If you are ready to read, I can provide many modern Russian sources.

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Post by Sergey » 10 May 2007 09:21

michael mills wrote:The numbers killed by the German occupiers were relatively small, and the groups targeted were marginal to the Estonian nation.

By contrast, the Soviet occupiers. both before and after the German occupation of 1941-44, attacked the very core of the Estonian nation, killing or deporting its leading elements.

That is the reason why today ethnic Estonians see the long Soviet occupation of their country as much worse than the short period of German rule, and why they wish to remove all reminders of that occupation.
Michael, previously...
michael mills wrote:In summary, the trace of German rule in Estonia was not particularly bloody at all...
At least form formal point of view it looked as a Holocaust denial. So you think that the Estoniasn (enthically Estonians) don't regard mass killing of ohter ethincal minorities as a tragedy. Don't you agree in this context that Holocaust education should be intensified in Estonia?

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Post by Qvist » 10 May 2007 11:45

That is the reason why today ethnic Estonians see the long Soviet occupation of their country as much worse than the short period of German rule, and why they wish to remove all reminders of that occupation.
That would I suspect at the very least depend on their level of historical knowledge. Firstly, your line of reasoning presupposes that Estonians don't care about the extermination of Estionian Jews and Roma, which I think is not correct. Secondly, even those who don't might take note of the fact that there was an intention to germanize the Estonian nation in its entirety. Such was the rewards of having a "high racial value" in the harebrained hierarchy of nazi lunacy. And I somehow doubt many Estonians look kindly on the notion of being promoted to real Germans and putting their slightly embarassing estonianness behind them.

You are putting the issue in terms which uses one occupation and set of crimes to justify another. You seem to be suggesting that it should be recognised that, for example, participation in the slaughter of Estonian Jews should be seen essentially as a reaction to the Soviet occupation in 1940. Needless to say, this would be completely unacceptable not just to Russia, but to everyone else as well.

Obviously, the experience of Soviet occupation had a large and udnerstandable impact on the Estonian attitudes to the Germans who evicted them. But you are, as usual, twisting that into an argument of a quite different sort.

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Post by michael mills » 11 May 2007 01:47

You are putting the issue in terms which uses one occupation and set of crimes to justify another.
It is not a question of justification but of explanation.

Justification of a particular act is a moral or legal issue, which is not what this discussion is about. Understanding of a historical event requires an investigation of the reasons why it happened, not a moral or legal evaluation of it.
You seem to be suggesting that it should be recognised that, for example, participation in the slaughter of Estonian Jews should be seen essentially as a reaction to the Soviet occupation in 1940. Needless to say, this would be completely unacceptable not just to Russia, but to everyone else as well.
That is precisely what I am saying. If the Soviet occupation of Estonia had never occurred, and Germany had invaded an independent country, then it is most likely that there would have little if any tendency by ethnic Estonians to collaborate with the German occupiers in the killing of the Jewish minority in Estonia or in other places.

The Jewish minority in Estonia was tiny, and did not play a major role in the country. There was no previous history of conflict between Jews and ethnic Estonians, unlike the situation in many other parts of the former Russian Empire. Prior to the Soviet occupation of 1940, there was no reason for ethnic Estonians to have any animus against the Jewish minority.

It was the historical fact of the Soviet occupation and the highly visible collaboration of elements of the Jewish minority with it that created an anti-Jewish sentiment among the Estonian people, which was strong enough in the case of some of them to induce willing collaboration with the German occupiers in the massacre of the remaining Jews in Estonia and in some neighbouring areas.

The above interpretation of the historical data may be unacceptable to Russia and to "everyone else" (read Qvist), but it is a common human failing to refuse to accept facts that one finds unpalatable.

The above interpretation is also quite separate from the question of whether certain actions by Estonians who collaborated with the German occupiers were criminal. That is an issue of legal and/or moral evaluation, and not one of understanding the reasons or motivations for historical events.

The attitude of ethnic Estonians in 1941 to the Jewish minority in their country might well be compared to that of Poles or Czechs in 1945 to the ethnic German minority in their respective countries. Poles and Czechs had a very negative view of the ethnic German minority because of the very visible collaboration of elements of it with the German occupation of their countries, and fully agreed with the punishment of the entire minority once the German occupiers had been driven out. That punishment took the form primarily of expulsion, although there were cases of massacre of members of the German minority; nevertheless, the motivation for the participation by Poles and Czechs in anti-German actions in 1945 were exactly the same as the motivation for the participation of Estonians (and Latvians and Lithuanians) in anti-Jewish actions in 1941.

Obviously not all the ethnic Germans of Poland and Czechoslovakia were guilty of collaboration and deserved their punishment. In like measure, not all the Jews of Estonia were guilty of collaboration and deserved their punichment. But in both cases, the whole population suffered because of the deeds of a part of it.
Secondly, even those who don't might take note of the fact that there was an intention to germanize the Estonian nation in its entirety. Such was the rewards of having a "high racial value" in the harebrained hierarchy of nazi lunacy. And I somehow doubt many Estonians look kindly on the notion of being promoted to real Germans and putting their slightly embarassing estonianness behind them.
Estonia had for many centuries been part of the Baltic cultural sphere, linked to the Finland and the Scandinavian countries. That sphere had strong connections to Germany and was influenced by German culture, due to the role played by Germans in initially bringing European civilisation to Scandinavia and the Baltic area, and later to the integration of the sphere into the economic community represented by the Hanseatic League. The integration of Estonia into the Balto-Scandinavian cultural sphere is shown by its adherence to Lutheranism, a cultural identity it shares with all the Scandinavian countries and with much of Germany.

For the above reasons, Estonia is culturally quite close to Germany and Germans, far more so than to the Russian cultural sphere, which is completely alien to it. The German language had been spoken in Estonian towns for centuries, and had been the language of culture and learning; Dorpat University for example had always been German-speaking.

It is a fair bet that if Estonians had been faced with the alternatives of Russification and Germanisation, they would have chosen the latter as the more palatable, and more compatible with their own culture and history. They had been subjected to heavy-handed Russification in the last decades before the First World War, and they had not liked it one bit.

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Post by michael mills » 11 May 2007 04:19

A further response to Qvist:

Please see my post of 25 April, in which I wrote the following:
Thus, it is understandable that most Estonians today would regard their fellow countrymen who in the period 1941-44 were members of armed units fighting on the side of Germany as heroes fighting against brutal Stalinist tyranny and the threat it posed to Estonia, rather than as collaboraters with a criminal regime.

That attitude of the Estonian people and Government of today is of course insensitive to the peoples who suffered greatly at German hands, in particular the Jews. However, it is a normal human tendency to give priority to the suffering of one's ethnic group over the suffering of other peoples. After all, most Jews of today regard themselves exclusively as victims of German oppression, and very few of them are willing to acknowledge the part played by some Jews as perpetrators of the Stalinist tyranny in Eastern Poland, the Baltic States and Bukovina/Bessarabia between 1939 and the German invasion of 1941.
I think it refutes the imputations made about my intentions and outlook.

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Post by Sergey » 11 May 2007 10:04

michael mills wrote:Orlov,

What you need to accept is that the reason why ethnic Estonians collaborated with the German forces who occupied Estonia from July 1941 until July 1944 is that they saw those German forces as the best defence against a return of the Soviet regime that had brutally oppressed them for one year, from mid-1940 until mid-1941.
Let's look how many Estonians fought on German and Soviet side.

http://www.helion.co.uk/product.php?xProd=73924
Few people know that 30,000 Estonians fought in German uniforms during WWII. Right up to the final battle in Berlin 1945, Estonians participated in the war on the German side.
It appears that a number of Estonians that were on Soviet side was even much bigger

http://nvo.ng.ru/history/2007-04-27/5_korpus.html
К концу 1942 года эстонские воинские части насчитывали свыше 27 300 человек
To the end of 1942 Estonian regiments counted more than 27,300 personnel
8-й Эстонский корпус активно участвовал в Великолукской операции в течение 42 дней. Им было захвачено 1554 пленных, в том числе 61 офицер
8th Estonian corps actively participated in Velikiye Luki operation during 42 day. 1554 POWs were captured including 61 officer
Следующей важной вехой на боевом пути Эстонского корпуса стала операция по освобождению Нарвы.
Next milestone on battle way of Estonian corps was liberation of city of Narva [in Estonia].
http://www.rau.su/observer/N2_2006/2_15.HTM
За годы Великой Отечественной войны в составе эстонских национальных формирований воевало около 70 тыс. чел. Кроме того, тысячи эстонцев воевали на других фронтах, в том числе обороняли Ленинград, служили в составе экипажей кораблей Балтийского флота.
During Great Patriotic war there were about 70,000 soldiers in Estonian regiments. Above it thousands Estonians fought on other places, participated in the defence of Leningrad, served on ships of Baltic fleet.
Btw, I'm unaware about any serious military operation where Estonians contrubuted heavily being on German side.

There exists a stereotype that NKVD, Soviet troops 'btutally oppressed' the whole Estonian people. It is not quite right. Soviet policy in Baltic states was not so stupid. Only financial, political, intellectual elited was targetted (mainly representatives of these elites were on the German side). Ordinary peasants, fishermen, workers were treated as 'brothers'. There was massive communist propaganda and many Estonians were brainwashed. They were told that their true enemies are their own Estonian capitalists.

Also, take into account that Estonia was a part of Russia for centuries and there is not huge but visible group of persons of mixed origin.
Last edited by Sergey on 12 May 2007 19:44, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by Qvist » 11 May 2007 10:21

It is not a question of justification but of explanation.
Yes, in the terms you are putting it, it is a question of justification.
That is precisely what I am saying. If the Soviet occupation of Estonia had never occurred, and Germany had invaded an independent country, then it is most likely that there would have little if any tendency by ethnic Estonians to collaborate with the German occupiers in the killing of the Jewish minority in Estonia or in other places.
So in other words, Estonian participation in the Holocaust was essentially caused by the Soviet occupation in 1940?
The Jewish minority in Estonia was tiny, and did not play a major role in the country. There was no previous history of conflict between Jews and ethnic Estonians, unlike the situation in many other parts of the former Russian Empire. Prior to the Soviet occupation of 1940, there was no reason for ethnic Estonians to have any animus against the Jewish minority.
There was no reason for anyone to have any animus against the Jewish minority, and the Estonians did not have one after the Soviet invasion either. But if the Holocaust shows anything, it's that people didn't need one.
It was the historical fact of the Soviet occupation and the highly visible collaboration of elements of the Jewish minority with it that created an anti-Jewish sentiment among the Estonian people, which was strong enough in the case of some of them to induce willing collaboration with the German occupiers in the massacre of the remaining Jews in Estonia and in some neighbouring areas.
Ah, this would be your idea of "explanation" as opposed to "justification". Things like anti-semitism, opportunism and absence of inhibitions against participating in mass murder wouldn't have anything to do with it then?
The above interpretation of the historical data may be unacceptable to Russia and to "everyone else" (read Qvist), but it is a common human failing to refuse to accept facts that one finds unpalatable.
Dear Mills, it's just that in your perennially ideology- and racism-clogged mind, the ability to make a distinction between "facts" and your spin on them appears to be in terminal decline. What is unpalatable is your readiness to treat the greatest mass-murder in history as a result of what you regard as reasonably founded attitudes to Jews, whether the excuse is Soviet occupation as here, economic exploitation or whatever it was in Ukraine or statistically disproportionate Communist party membership in Russia. Fortunately, this is not a common human failing.
The attitude of ethnic Estonians in 1941 to the Jewish minority in their country might well be compared to that of Poles or Czechs in 1945 to the ethnic German minority in their respective countries. Poles and Czechs had a very negative view of the ethnic German minority because of the very visible collaboration of elements of it with the German occupation of their countries, and fully agreed with the punishment of the entire minority once the German occupiers had been driven out. That punishment took the form primarily of expulsion, although there were cases of massacre of members of the German minority; nevertheless, the motivation for the participation by Poles and Czechs in anti-German actions in 1945 were exactly the same as the motivation for the participation of Estonians (and Latvians and Lithuanians) in anti-Jewish actions in 1941.
You mean the Jewish nation had occupied Estonia for five years and killed 10% of the population, so that explains why they were not evicted but taken to the woods and shot in files?
Obviously not all the ethnic Germans of Poland and Czechoslovakia were guilty of collaboration and deserved their punishment. In like measure, not all the Jews of Estonia were guilty of collaboration and deserved their punichment. But in both cases, the whole population suffered because of the deeds of a part of it.
Provided of course that you accept a version of events in which the Jews are generally seen as a Soviet fifth column in Estonia. Which, of course, you do, and which to you is another "fact".
It is a fair bet that if Estonians had been faced with the alternatives of Russification and Germanisation, they would have chosen the latter as the more palatable, and more compatible with their own culture and history. They had been subjected to heavy-handed Russification in the last decades before the First World War, and they had not liked it one bit
.

Oh right. Not so bad then really? They would not really have minded the extinction of the Estonian nation, I am sure. Not so long as they got to be real Germans.
A further response to Qvist:

Please see my post of 25 April, in which I wrote the following:

Quote:
Thus, it is understandable that most Estonians today would regard their fellow countrymen who in the period 1941-44 were members of armed units fighting on the side of Germany as heroes fighting against brutal Stalinist tyranny and the threat it posed to Estonia, rather than as collaboraters with a criminal regime.

That attitude of the Estonian people and Government of today is of course insensitive to the peoples who suffered greatly at German hands, in particular the Jews. However, it is a normal human tendency to give priority to the suffering of one's ethnic group over the suffering of other peoples. After all, most Jews of today regard themselves exclusively as victims of German oppression, and very few of them are willing to acknowledge the part played by some Jews as perpetrators of the Stalinist tyranny in Eastern Poland, the Baltic States and Bukovina/Bessarabia between 1939 and the German invasion of 1941.

I think it refutes the imputations made about my intentions and outlook.
Ye Gods, what sort of fantasy world do you live in? Far from refuting it, it confirms it. Is your sense of reality so far gone that you don't understand that? 8O

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Post by David Thompson » 11 May 2007 13:16

Let's avoid personal comments in discussing historical issues.

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