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March 30, 2006

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It is difficult for us Westerners to understand Estonia's desire to honor the Estonian SS. Whatever its role in fighting the Soviet Union, Estonian fighters in the SS borrowed the trappings, and in some cases, the ideology of Nazism, and, in so doing, greatly compromised the cause for which they fought. That said, not having a substantial Jewish population, some Estonian SS fighters might not have understood the extent to which stormtrooper tactics, in the service of Nazi ideology, would be unleashed against an innocent civilian population. And, indeed, they were no doubt willing to make common cause with anyone that could help secure freedom for the homeland. Now, however, we are in a different time: the Estonian homeland is secure and free and the historical record is clear. Therefore, perhaps such honors need to be understood in the full light of history and with greater awareness to the victims of Nazi aggression.

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