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Foreign Minister Urmas Paet: In Remembering Holocaust, We Emphasise Unique Value of Every Single Life

27.01.2011

No. 25-E

At the commemoration ceremony to Holocaust victims held in Klooga, Foreign Minister Urmas Paet said that today the victims of the horrors of World War II are being commemorated all over Europe and beyond. “Remembering what has been and commemorating the victims, today Europe is united in solidarity,” said Paet. “By remembering the Holocaust, we are recognising the unique value of every single life,” he added.

Foreign Minister Paet noted that the survivors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp were liberated 66 years ago today. “That brought an end to this terrible tragedy,” said Paet. “Estonia has condemned all crimes against humanity, including the Holocaust. We must never accept the systematic destruction of human lives,” Paet emphasised. In Estonia today, the comprehensive study of Holocaust history in all its dimensions is considered crucial for a wider understanding of the importance of fighting against anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism and discrimination. “By understanding this, we can better comprehend Estonia’s 20th century history and use it as a basis for our domestic and international activities today,” added the foreign minister.

The foreign minister stated that preventive work against racism, xenophobia and discrimination can be very effective when done through education, research, and international co-operation. “The Holocaust is taught in our schools. Since 2007 Estonia has participated in the Task Force for International Co-operation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research,” said Paet.

In his speech, Foreign Minister Paet also noted that Estonian independence is not today and has never been meant only for Estonians, but for all people living here and contributing to the development of our society. “In June 1926 Estonia was the first country in the world where Jews could proclaim their cultural autonomy. Thanks to that we have the opportunity to celebrate the 85th anniversary of Jewish cultural autonomy together this year,” said Paet. The foreign minister added that the contribution of the Jewish community in Estonia has been and is outstanding in all areas of life, be it music, science or the economy. “We can all appreciate this fact, just as we all remember and learn from the past together,” Paet asserted.

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