World War II led to the extension of Nazi Germany’s anti-Jewish policy to the conquered countries. Before the war, about 4,400 Jews lived in Estonia. About 400 of them became the victims of the deportation of 1941, approximately 3,000 fled to the Soviet Union, and the remaining thousand Jews were executed by the German occupation authorities. In addition, 7,000 to 8,000 Jewish people from Germany and other occupied countries were executed in Estonia. In total, between 5.5 and 6 million Jews died during the Holocaust.

When the German troops retreated from Estonia 75 years ago in September 1944, the Klooga Concentration Camp was the first place in the world where the tragedy of the Holocaust was documented. Through media, it reached the international community. On 27 January 1945, Auschwitz, the largest concentration camp of Nazi Germany (located in today’s Poland), was liberated, opening an even more horrible sight to what had happened.

Auschwitz has become a unique symbol of the Holocaust and this is the reason why since 2006, 27 January is recognized in many countries as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day. On this occasion, we invite high school students to reflect on the events that took place 75 years ago, so that today’s youth can contribute to the understanding of the tragedy and thereby help prevent the crimes against humanity from happening again.

We propose high school students to write an essay on the topic “Klooga and Auschwitz 75 – How does it relate to me today?” (maximum of 8,000 characters, including spaces). Deadline of submission is 10 January 2020. The essay must be written in the language of student’s school, they need to be submitted with the name of student’s school, student’s name, his/her e-mail address, phone number and sent to the email address

The jury will select the most outstanding essays. The authors of the best essays will be awarded a study trip to the Memorial Museum at the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland. A public appreciation ceremony for all the participants will take place and the invitation will be sent by email.

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The students’ essay competition, organized on the occasion of the Holocaust Remembrance Day, has been taking place since 2018 in cooperation of the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research and the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory.