The President of the Republic At the opening ceremony of a memorial to the victims of the Holocaust that had taken place on the territory of Estonia during World War II Klooga, July 24, 2005
Honourable members of the Jewish community in Estonia and from the world,
Members of the Riigikogu and Ministers!
History can be very painful. It is always people who have to suffer, but unfortunately, the pain is often inflicted by the hand of man. We cannot and we must not forget the crimes committed against people in history.
The Holocaust was a horrific crime arising from misanthropic Nazi ideology. No other nation was subjected to such total and savage annihilation than the Jewish people were. Standing now at this place where so many innocent people had to meet humiliation, pain and death, it is difficult to find words. But it is our duty to talk about this.
Estonia did not remain untouched by the Holocaust. The Nazis executed the Jews who had stayed in Estonia; those victims were people who had been residents and citizens of Estonian Republic where the rights of ethnic minorities were respected. Also thousands of Jewish people deported to Estonia from Czechoslovakia, Germany, France, Lithuania, and from elsewhere were murdered here. Today we do not know the exact numbers yet. It is a duty of Estonia to complete that research.
To our nation caught up in the war, the occupation caused not only loss of freedom, but also the most barbarous massacre. Wars had ravaged Estonia also before, but during World War II we had to suffer from devastation caused by anti-human regimes. Those crimes do not expire with time nor have any justification.
Being the President of the Republic of Estonia I feel hurt that among the citizens of our state there were those who participated in Nazi crimes. It does not matter whatever motives they had for such behaviour. We condemn the deeds of those people and we apologise for them.
Today we are fortunate to live in free, open and democratic Estonia and to belong among the nations who treasure such values. Therefore we have to take care that the historical truth would be cleared up and that it would reach everyone. But as long as there are those who wish to justify or even praise the crimes committed during both German as well as Soviet occupation, there is a danger that such deeds could be repeated. That is why also future generations have to be aware of everything that has happened.
In the name of the Estonian state and its people I commemorate all victims of the Holocaust.