International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorated in Estonia

A national commemoration ceremony was held at the Rahumäe Jewish Cemetery in Estonia to mark the 76th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz extermination camp.

“The Holocaust is a tragic chapter in the world’s and Estonia’s history that must be commemorated. It is necessary to remember in order to avoid something similar happening ever gain,” said Ms Liina Kersna, the Minister of Education and Research at the commemoration ceremony. “Nothing justifies crimes against humanity and we must never forget them,” she added.

The speakers at the ceremony were the Minister of Education and Research Ms Liina Kersna, the Head of the Diplomatic Corps and the Ambassador of the United Kingdom Ms Theresa Bubbear and the Chairperson of the Jewish Community of Estonia Ms Alla Jakobson. An address by the Ambassador of Israel Ms Hagit Ben-Yaakov was presented at the event. The final blessings were given by the Estonian Chief Rabbi Smuel Kot.

An essay competition “When you kill one, you will crush the whole world. When you save one, you will save the whole world” was organized in cooperation with Estonian Institute of Historical Memory. Students discussed on human rights, democracy, freedom, ideologies and mass psychosis.

Minister Kersna said that even after 76 years it is important to discuss history’s lessons in schools. “Everyone can and must explain their children and students the holocaust and ensure that the historical memory will carry on and it will be remembered in order avoid something similar happening ever again.”

In total, 21 essays were submitted to the competition and four were declared as winners: Martina Polina (Tallinn Linnamäe Russian Lyceum), Hanna Normak (Hugo Treffner Gymnasium), Liis Smelska (Jõhvi Gymnasium) and Helen Mitt (Tallinn Järveotsa Gymnasium). They will be awarded an study trip to Poland.

The International Holocaust Remembrance Day has been celebrated in Estonia since 2003. The commemorative events are organized by the Ministry of Education and Research of Estonia in cooperation with the Jewish Community of Estonia, the Estonian delegation of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory.

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