The 110-year-old Jewish cemetery in the Estonian capital city of Tallinn was vandalized this past weekend while at the same time, boulders in an area around the Lille bus station in the city were spray-painted with large blue swastikas.
Five gravestones were toppled in the Jewish section of the cemetery in the early hours of Sunday according to public broadcaster ERR, and the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism (CFCA).
On its Facebook page, the Jewish Community of Estonia wrote that for the first time this year, a new commemorative pillar dedicated to the Estonian victims of the Holocaust had been erected in the Jewish section of the cemetery.
“This ugly act of vandalism where our ancestors rest in peace, and where everyone thinks of their spirituality, their connection to past generations, and human values, is insulting, frightening, and unacceptable in our society,” the organization wrote in a statement. “This cemetery has never been defiled before, even during the Nazi occupation.”
Alla Jakobson, President of the Jewish Community of Estonia, underscored the fact that the vandalism took place on the very day in which the country was celebrating the 100th anniversary of the victory of Estonian troops over the Landesveer near Võnnu. She expressed her hope that the incident was not in fact an anti-Semitic hate crime.
“We honor the memory of the deceased and would like society to show understanding and mutual respect for the memory of the people who lost their ancestors in the country. I am convinced that the investigation will identify those whose behavior calls for sorrow and pain,” she said.
The Nazis built 22 concentration and labor camps for foreign Jews on what is now Estonian territory, Deutsche Welle (DW) reported, and fewer than 12 Jews survived.
As of 2012, there were 1,738 Jews living in the country. A number of Jewish groups have warned anti-Semitism is slowly becoming socially acceptable once more in Estonia. Former SS members gather annually to mark the Battle of the Tannenberg Line and are often joined by other veterans of the Waffen SS.