The Ministry of Education and Research and the Jewish Community of Estonia are holding a national commemoration ceremony at Rahumäe Jewish Cemetery in Tallinn at 13:00 today to mark the International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
The speakers at the ceremony include Minister of Education and Research Mailis Reps, Chairperson of the Jewish Community of Estonia Alla Jakobson, and Head of the Diplomatic Corps, Swedish Ambassador Anders Ljunggren. Estonian Chief Rabbi Smuel Kot gives the final blessing.
At 15:00, the President of the Riigikogu Eiki Nestor opens a speech day organised by the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory (EIHM) at the Riigikogu Conference Centre.
According to EIHM researcher/project manager Eli Pilve, the purpose of the speech day is to give teachers as well as the general public a better idea of the Jewish culture and its carriers. “Unfortunately, over time people tend to forget how multiple societies could display such cruel hatred and systematically persecute a nation,” said Pilve. “Research into the atrocities of the 20th century has led to essential conclusions that should be reminded every now and then to identify and prevent repeated patterns of violence. Also, we should talk about setting aside prejudice as that is what instigated anti-semitism across the world over the centuries. That’s why we will address the genesis of anti-semitism at the speech day and talk about the diverse Jewish culture.”
Journalist and publicist Juku-Kalle Raid talks about the „Genesis and amplification of anti-semitism”, representative of the NGO Culture Goes to Europe Moritz Borchardt from Germany gives a speech in English on „Remembrance and Heritage in the 21st century: Remembering the Past, Enabling the Future“, and the speech of the author of the first Jewish cookbook in Estonian Salmen Šois is titled „Who are Jews? What are their culture and traditions like?” All speeches are translated either into Estonian or English depending on the language of the speech. The speech day is sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Research.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Day has been celebrated in Estonia since 2003. The national commemoration ceremony has been previously held at Klooga where a memorial complex was opened as an open-air exhibition of the Estonian History Museum in 2013.