Efraim Zuroff, the Jerusalem-based Israel director of the Simon Weisenthal Center, strongly criticized a recent celebration in Estonia, meant to mark a key battle between pro-Nazi Estonian forces and the Soviet Army during World War II.
In a letter to Estonia’s ambassador to Israel, Aino Lepik von Wiren, Zuroff, also the Center’s chief nazi hunter, was scathing in his condemnation.
“We view these events as a glorification of those who fought alongside the forces of Nazi Germany, the regime which planned, initiated and implemented the Holocaust and is responsible for the mass murder of millions of innocent civilians,” Zuroff wrote. “Thus glorifying those who fought for a victory of the Third Reich is an unpardonable insult to that regime’s many victims and those who fought to save Europe from its tyrannical rule.”
The event, attended by Estonian Defense Minister Jaak Aaviksoo and Estonian lawmaker Trivimi Velliste, drew dozens of foreign neo-Nazis, according to a report in the European Jewish Press.
“Given these circumstances,” Zuroff wrote, “we find the participation of Estonian Defense Minister Jak Aaviksoo and MP Trivimi Velliste in these events incomprehensible and worthy of condemnation.”