Event Title

Estonia under Nazi Occupation: Collaboration for the Sake of National Preservation?

Presenter Information

Artur Fass, Colby CollegeFollow

Location

Diamond 153

Start Date

30-4-2015 10:30 AM

End Date

30-4-2015 11:55 AM

Project Type

Presentation

Description

The purges and deportations, which followed the annexation of Estonia by the Soviet Union in the summer of 1940, were highly traumatic for the Estonian population. After the German attack on the Soviet Union, Estonians did not organize any armed resistance to the advancing German troops, whom they greeted as liberators from the Bolshevik yoke in July 1941. During the German occupation, which lasted until September 1944, the local Self-Administration was headed by an ethnic Estonian, national symbols were once again permitted, and Estonian men were eligible to join the German army. By 1944, more than 40,000 Estonians served in the Estonian Waffen SS Division fighting in Estonia and abroad. Estonia became the first Judenfrei territory in Europe -- although there were not many Jews to begin with, Estonians did not mind getting rid of this minority, which they associated with the Bolshevik ideology. The key questions regarding this period of the Estonian history are: to what extent did Estonians collaborate with the Nazi German regime, and why they were given such large autonomy? Some historians reject the notion of Estonians being eager collaborators altogether, arguing that it is wrong to condemn them for fighting on the German side. According to this logic, Estonians fought in the Nazi German uniforms since it was the only opportunity to reestablish their independence in the long run. Others argue the exact opposite, saying that Estonians were granted a Waffen SS division and large autonomy precisely because they were eager collaborators. Few historians offer non-politicized analysis of the events, but it is clear that answering the question of Estonian collaboration, which is often overlooked or purposefully avoided, is the key to understanding the Estonian history in the World War Two.

Faculty Sponsor

Raffael Scheck

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. History Dept.

CLAS Field of Study

Social Sciences

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

1863

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Apr 30th, 10:30 AM Apr 30th, 11:55 AM

Estonia under Nazi Occupation: Collaboration for the Sake of National Preservation?

Diamond 153

The purges and deportations, which followed the annexation of Estonia by the Soviet Union in the summer of 1940, were highly traumatic for the Estonian population. After the German attack on the Soviet Union, Estonians did not organize any armed resistance to the advancing German troops, whom they greeted as liberators from the Bolshevik yoke in July 1941. During the German occupation, which lasted until September 1944, the local Self-Administration was headed by an ethnic Estonian, national symbols were once again permitted, and Estonian men were eligible to join the German army. By 1944, more than 40,000 Estonians served in the Estonian Waffen SS Division fighting in Estonia and abroad. Estonia became the first Judenfrei territory in Europe -- although there were not many Jews to begin with, Estonians did not mind getting rid of this minority, which they associated with the Bolshevik ideology. The key questions regarding this period of the Estonian history are: to what extent did Estonians collaborate with the Nazi German regime, and why they were given such large autonomy? Some historians reject the notion of Estonians being eager collaborators altogether, arguing that it is wrong to condemn them for fighting on the German side. According to this logic, Estonians fought in the Nazi German uniforms since it was the only opportunity to reestablish their independence in the long run. Others argue the exact opposite, saying that Estonians were granted a Waffen SS division and large autonomy precisely because they were eager collaborators. Few historians offer non-politicized analysis of the events, but it is clear that answering the question of Estonian collaboration, which is often overlooked or purposefully avoided, is the key to understanding the Estonian history in the World War Two.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2015/program/333