Four small charismatic Christian congregations registered as religious associations: the Hiiumaa Christian Missionary Congregation; Tallinn Christian Pentecostal Congregation Resurrection; Tallinn Christian and Protestant Congregation Rebirth; and Tallinn Christian Living Space Congregation. The government did not deny any registrations during the year.
On February 7, an art exhibition featuring comics, paintings, and video projects dealing with Holocaust opened in the Tartu Art Museum, funded in part by the Ministry of Culture. Organizers said it dealt with Holocaust trauma through humor and irony. The works were part of an installation, My Poland: On Recalling and Forgetting,” and included videos by Polish artists, one of which featured nude men and women playing tag in a gas chamber, while the second showed a Holocaust survivor having his concentration camp tattoo re-inked. According to the exhibit catalog, the works were intended to initiate discussion of the Holocaust and to address growing extremism and xenophobia. After public criticism and complaints, the Ministry of Culture said the two videos were offensive; at the ministry’s request, the museum removed them from display and apologized.
The government provided 596,000 Euros ($649,000) from the state budget to the Estonian Council of Churches, comprised of 10 Christian churches, including the Lutheran Church, both Orthodox Churches, and other denominations. The state did not intervene in how the funds were allocated; some of these funds were distributed among the member churches and some were used for ecumenical projects and training for members of the boards of council congregations to encourage participation in civil society. The government consulted with representatives of the Muslim community and the Council of Churches regarding pending legislation on refugee and immigration issues. Council of Churches’ congregations offered help accommodating refugees and/or asylum seekers.
On January 23, the education ministry cosponsored a seminar for history and civics teachers from across the country on best classroom practices for Holocaust commemoration.
On January 27, on the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day, Foreign Minister Keit Pentus-Rosimannus issued a public statement stating the country condemned all crimes against humanity, including the Holocaust. “A horrific chapter of World War II ended with the release of those who survived the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp,” the foreign minister said. “Any form of hatred, intolerance or incitement of intolerance is unacceptable and Estonia stands firmly against it,” she stated, adding that the history of the Holocaust needed to be studied in order to understand the importance of fighting against anti-Semitism and intolerance.
Education Minister Jevgeni Ossinovski participated with senior representatives from the Jewish community and others in a commemoration to mark Holocaust Remembrance Day at the site of the World War II-era Klooga concentration camp. Jewish community leaders commemorated Holocaust victims, and Ossinovski remembered Holocaust victims and called for tolerance of all religions.
Students across the country participated in Holocaust Remembrance Day activities at their local schools.
The government is a member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.