An annual ceremony commemorating the holocaust is to take place at the Kalevi-Liiva memorial site at Jõelähtme parish, just outside Tallinn, on Wednesday.
Kalevi-Liiva, just north of the village of Jägala, is close to the former concentration camp in the same village which was set up during the Nazi occupation of Estonia and existed for about a year, between 1942 and 1943.
The sand-duned area (Liiv is the Estonian word for sand) was the execution site of several thousand people, mostly Jews, and also Roma people.
"We must never forget the events that took place here,'' said Alla Jakobson, chair of the Jewish community of Estonia.
''Awareness of the crimes against humanity that took place in World War Two must be maintained, and the victims commemorated and honoured as those of both the holocaust and the war ... It is our duty to capture the memory of these broken lives here for future generations," said Alla Jakobson, chairman of the Jewish Community of Estonia.
The memorial ceremony is to be attended by members of the Jewish community, representatives of the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Heritage Board, the Estonian Heritage Society, Jõelähtme parish and the embassies of Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland, countries where the bulk of the Jewish victims at Kalevi-Liiva came from, and the US, amongst other attendees.
Starting on 5 September 1942, Jews from Theresienstadt (the Terezin ghetto) near present-day Litomerice in the Czech Republic began arriving at Kalevi-Liiva after being deported from Terezin, most of them being executed on the same day. Between then and 1944 as many as at least 6,000 Jews from the present day Czech Republic, Poland. Lithuania and Germany, were executed, as well as Roma people from Nazi-occupied Europe. The number of Roma people (whos memorial was erected in 2007) executed at Kalevi-Liiva is estimated at as high as 2,000. The camp itself seldom had more than a couple of hundred inmates at any one time.
The memorial site, inaugurated in 1960, was the scene of vandalism in August.
The memorial ceremony is to take place at 13.00 EEST on Wednesday, 5 September.
Editor: Andrew Whyte
Source: Jewish Community of Estonia