Estonia. The Bloody trace of nazism.1941-1944

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JariL
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Post by JariL » 23 Apr 2007 15:47

Alex,

In a way Estonian resistance to German rule existed also in Finland because many Estonians left German occupied Estonia and joined Finnish armed forces in order to avoid being drafted into German armed forces. Their motivation was very much the same as with the young Finns who went to Germany 1915-1917, to receive military training and form a nucleus of the new army of their country. About 1/3 of the personnel of the Finnish Navy were Estonians and there was also an Estonian infantry unit JR 200. An unproportionally great number of Estonians also received officer training in Finland. Germans chose at the end of the day to ignore this Finnish lack of loyalty but it was an issue that casued friction between Finland and Germany as Germans were all to well aware of the motives of the Estonians in Finland. After the armistice between Finland and Sovjet Union many of the Estonians chose to return home and for example "Suomen pojat" (JR 200) fought in Narva front in German uniforms together with other Estonian units of the German army. Their hope was restoration of independent Estonia but that did not happen and many of these men later spent years in Gulag.

In general it is very dangerous to make the kind of generalisations that the original text presented by Alex does. As could be seen from the report of the "Truth Comission" Estonian citizens did participate in some attrocities during WWII and did so on both sides of the front and and on behalf of both foreign masters of their country. On the other hand the vast majority of Estonians were willing to enter German army or SS first when Estonian borders were directly threatenned by the advancing Red Army and it is hard to find evidence that these men had any other motivation than to try to restore their countrys independence. Had they been keen to fight for Germany they would have overcome any obstacles long before 1944 in their wish to do so. For their part the text that Alex presented is pure slander.

To me Alex gives an impression that he does not understand that a nation can be destroyed without being physically exterminated and that this kind of oppression can also leave a very deep trauma -sometimes even deeper than physical oppression. Most nations on this planet are formed around the concept of language and language was also the thing that kept the hope of Estonia alive under the period when it was part of Soviet Union. On the other hand language was also the most important target of the Sovjet administration that actually tightenned it's grip in this respect until the end. Karl Vaino's administartaion begun to replace Estonian speakers to Russian speakers on all levels of administration as late as in 1980's just prior to the collapse of Soviet Union. Almost all empires have been built by one way or the other supressing language and culture of the areas that the empire occupies. At the end of the day these factors have also been the undoing of many empires as for example Soviet Union showed. From the point of view of the empire it is very logical to force everyone in to the same mould but being in the receiving end of the process is usually not pretty. Russian lanaguage and culture could have been in this kind of danger had Germany won in WWII but fortunatelly it did not happen. But it might be good to try to imagine how it would have felt and perhaps then Russians can understand why their rule has left an impression that makes even stained national "heroes" preferable to any rememberenace of liberation from facism or Sovjet rule.

In general this thread is not about history it is about politics. It is rather pointless to use historical method to a document that has purely political agenda. Soviet occupation after 1944 also has an impact on how the whole Soviet rule is seen and in this respect a murder in 1942 reflects in many ways to 1962. For example many people who knew the victim of 1942 would have been alive in 1962 and their view on the matter would have been affected by everything that happened between 1944 and 1962. This is just how our memory works.

Regards,

Jari

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Post by David Thompson » 23 Apr 2007 16:14


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ToKu
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Post by ToKu » 23 Apr 2007 18:30

Lebel wrote earlier in this tread:
"The problem of moving or destroying a monument is not so important in itself
; What is unheard and symptomatic that 's attitude of estonian leaders towards a past they would better forget or apologize
I'd emphasize the faithful commitment of that country with Nazi Germany , the forgetting or denying of crimes perpetrated and above all that nostalgy of a deathly period !
" (and posted few other harmful (IMO) posts as well.)

I must say that it was surely easy to say from western european perspective.

In the east all nations were struggling for survival. Survival and not for victory, prestige, freedom etc.
Death toll among civilians in the east (even only among non - Jewish civilians) exceed death toll among civilians in the west (even if You count victims without excluding Jews) significantly. Probably many times.

Nations here were facing two dreadful, expansionistic countries: Germany and Soviet Union. Both were much bigger then any other country in the area. Probably their potential was bigger then potential of all small and medium size countries in their "sphere of intrest" taken all together (esp. after Hitler seized Prague). So these nations had two options: to back up Germany in order to defend themselves from SU or to back up SU in order to keep Germans away.

Third possible way: to keep alliance with great democratic powers from western Europe soon turned out to be only a mirage of safety (as soon as "we are not going to die for Danzig" attitude of great powers was deducted from their actions in autumn of 39').

All small and medium size countries made their choices. I'm sure that before choices were made, all those countries carefully rethought their positions and alternatives. Sadly there were none. No real alternatives.

So they went to a war. Many of them were invaded before they joined war.
They fought bravely. They fought not for deadly regimes (none of this countries deveoped any totalitarian system when they were independent and not threatened with immediate invasion). People of these countries were not voting for lunatics, who dreamt (and wrote, and spoke) of slauhtering whole nations.

They even not fought for freedom (IMO).

They fought for survival.

And now a poster from a country, where communists were getting a lot of votes even long after end of WW II write, that they should be ashamed. Ashamed of what? Of bravery? Of devotion to their own nation?

We in Poland fought Germans to death during WW II. Poland haven't sign any case fire with mr Hitler and we paid for that with our blood, but still I understand choices made by these countries. I also understand their nostalgia. It was a time when nation was united. Dramatic events that shaped nations self identity for many years. These rare moments often creates intrests and nostalgia among new generations who were born too late to participate in events.

Here in Poland we've got Warsaw Uprising. Uprising ill - timed, not carefully enough coordinated and prepared. But we honour every single anniversary of Uprising with silence torn only by sound of countless sirens. Questions if the uprising was necesary or if commanders were capable enough are not most important questions. Important is the fact that this was the moment when whole nation united. Event that shaped Polish self identity.

Now look at the situation in Baltic states. Notice that these countries are democracies. Take into account that there is no searious nazi or other extreme right wing political movement. Don't forget to note, that their governments are not excusing nazi political system, they are not celebrating soldiers who fought for nazi paradise, but soldiers who fought for salvation ot their nations.

They were fighting on the side of very bad people. Their bravery was strenghtening evil political system but what choice they've had? Baltic states, Hungary and others? Where should they seek for help in Your opinion?

Czechslovakia was overrun without a protest.
Poland was left alone to suffer, despite different pre war agreements by a country that happily manged to find self excuse and give up arms by signing case fire as soon as its capital was conquered (oops I'm sorry, simply seized, as gates were left open for the enemies).
Both were very "encouraging" examples that devotion to some of most basic western standarts really "pays off".

To sum up: Of course it was better for these countries to posses diplomatic abilities which allow to evade real fight during war and be a great winner after the war end. Unfortunetly they had no such abilities. At least we should let them to decide by themselves if choices made by generation of their fathers were right or wrong.
Last edited by ToKu on 23 Apr 2007 20:43, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by David Thompson » 23 Apr 2007 22:24

An off-topic political post from Yuri was deleted by this moderator pursuant to the previous topicality warnings in this thread -- DT.

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Post by Harrier » 24 Apr 2007 09:23

A.Y.:Also it is not necessary to result here stories about the Soviet occupation. The Soviet occupation 1944-1991 has no attitude to events of 1941-1944.
http://cmiskp.echr.coe.int/tkp197/view. ... n=hudoc-en
http://cmiskp.echr.coe.int/tkp197/view. ... n=hudoc-en

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Alex Yeliseenko
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Post by Alex Yeliseenko » 24 Apr 2007 10:05


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Juha Tompuri
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Post by Juha Tompuri » 24 Apr 2007 10:15

Alex Yeliseenko wrote:Also it is not necessary to result here stories about the Soviet occupation. The Soviet occupation 1944-1991 has no attitude to events of 1941-1944.
Harrier wrote:A.Y.:Also it is not necessary to result here stories about the Soviet occupation. The Soviet occupation 1944-1991 has no attitude to events of 1941-1944.
But how about the Soviet occupation 1940-1941?

Regards, Juha

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Post by David Thompson » 24 Apr 2007 15:23

I have created a thread for the subject of Soviet crimes in Estonia during 1944-1991, at http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=119671

Posts discussing Soviet rule during that period should be posted there.

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Post by David Thompson » 24 Apr 2007 15:29

Alex Yeliseenko -- You wrote:
I wait from forummember for German documents. It will add a string.
This finding guide may be of interest to you and other readers:

Records of Nazi War Crimes in Estonia
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=15937

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Alex Yeliseenko
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Post by Alex Yeliseenko » 24 Apr 2007 16:25

David Thompson wrote:Alex Yeliseenko -- You wrote:
I wait from forummember for German documents. It will add a string.
This finding guide may be of interest to you and other readers:

Records of Nazi War Crimes in Estonia
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=15937
Great thanks Mr. David!

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Post by michael mills » 25 Apr 2007 05:17

The absolutely crucial point that needs to be constantly remembered is that the willingness of ethnic Estonians to collaborate with the German forces that occupied their country for three years from July 1941 to July 1944 was a result of their experience of one year of brutal Stalinist repression, from July 1940 to the end of June 1941.

The vast majority of ethnic Estonians regarded the German forces that expelled the Soviet occupiers in July 1941 as their liberators from an oppressive Stalinist tyranny. There was nothing that the German forces did to that majority during their three-year occupation that would have changed their mind.

When the Soviet Army returned in 1944, large numbers of ethnic Estonians joined the German forces as auxiliaries, since they regarded the return of Soviet rule as worse for them than German rule.

The German occupiers and their Estonian auxiliaries did commit atrocities in Estonia between July 1941 and July 1944, but these were directed against the small numbers of ethnic Estonians who were actively pro-Soviet, and also against the small number of Jews who had not fled in 1941. The bulk of ethnic Estonians regarded the victims of the German atrocities, not as innocents, but as guilty persons who had collaborated with the Soviet regime.

(In the case of Estonian Communists that collaboration was for ideological reasons, but in the case of the Jewish minority the collaboration was essentially opportunistic, since for them Stalinist rule, despite its oppressiveness, was infinitely preferable to the alternative of German rule, under which they were guaranteed to be the primary victims. However, the ethnic Estonians who had suffered one year of Stalinist oppression were not in the mood to make that distinction).

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.

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Yuri
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Post by Yuri » 25 Apr 2007 06:55

michael mills wrote:The absolutely crucial point that needs to be constantly remembered is that the willingness of ethnic Estonians to collaborate with the German forces that occupied their country for three years from July 1941 to July 1944 was a result of their experience of one year of brutal Stalinist repression, from July 1940 to the end of June 1941.
The absolutely crucial point that needs to be constantly remembered it that there is nothing compatible between a reality and explanations which gives western propagation to extremely complex and difficult social-political phenomena of the premilitary period and in a period of war,
Western propagation gives the explanations to the complex and difficult phenomena, passing through a prism wild anything unbridled antisovetism and extreme russophobe.
Mental impairment these explanations it is visible to everyone, do not see this mental impairment western propagation only those who does not wish them to see.
What - such « of brutal Stalinist repression » took place in territory of Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary or Belgium?
Why even in small Luxembourg such plenty wishing was found to take part in a campaign to the East or in « final decision of the Jewish question"?
Why even in tiny Andorra or Liechtenstein (about which existence the most part Russian at all does not suspect) had on some hundreds volunteers?

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Askold
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Post by Askold » 25 Apr 2007 19:32

All I had to do is to read the first paragraph of the posted article to see that this is a piece of Russian propaganda in the best examples of the old Soviet agitprop. Am not sure if there is even a need to pick up all the biases and discuss this piece. I belive the question should that we ask ourselves should be - what are the motives for such articles? In my opinion its because the Baltics are in EU and NATO and Russian Federation can do nothing about it, so they go down to such petty ways as trying to lable the Balts as facists in front of the EU community.

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Marcus
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Post by Marcus » 25 Apr 2007 20:12

Yuri, this thread is on Estonia, not any other countries, please stay on topic.

Yuri wrote:Why even in small Luxembourg such plenty wishing was found to take part in a campaign to the East or in « final decision of the Jewish question"?
Just a quick correction here, Luxembourg was a part of Germany at the time so they were conscripts just as the other German citizens.

/Marcus

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Post by Tapani K. » 26 Apr 2007 06:45

Marcus, my understanding is that Luxembourg was occupied and then made a part of Germany and therefore their situation is, actually, comparable to that of the Baltic nations vs Soviet Union.

Sorry for the (at least partially) off-topic post.

rehards,
Tapani K.

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