Council of Europe (CoE)
Answer to a media question by Deputy Director of the Information and Press Department Anastasia Fyodorova in connection with new manifestations of glorifying Nazism in Estonia
Question: How would you comment on the July 29, 2017 annual convention of veterans of the 20th Estonian Waffen-SS Division’s veterans in Sinimae in northeastern Estonia, which involved former SS service personnel, including members of punitive units that had operated outside Estonia, Nazi accomplices and their modern followers?
Anastasia Fyodorova: We can confirm that former SS service personnel who have proclaimed themselves national heroes and “freedom fighters” with the support of Estonian authorities were also honoured this year on the territory of a modern European state, that is, in Sinimae, Estonia.
Contrary to repeated calls to Tallinn to stop this ignominious practice, Estonian authorities are deliberately moving to popularise Nazism. They are distributing “patriotic” literature, and youth and even children’s organisations are being involved in such gatherings.
It is important to underscore that such gatherings run counter to the spirit of the Council of the European Union’s 2008/913/JHA Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia by means of criminal law of November 28, 2008. This document bans the inciting of violence or hatred, denying or downplaying the gravity of the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, including the Holocaust. It is particularly outrageous that such active glorification of Nazism is taking place in a country that is currently presiding in the Council of the European Union.