“We share a commitment to throw light on the still obscured shadows of the Holocaust.”
-- Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust
A commemoration ceremony was held on Thursday, 1 November 2012 in Tallinn, Estonia for the 300 French Jews that were deported to Tallinn during World War II.
The ceremony took place at the memorial stone located next to the former Patarei Prison.
Ceremony participants included a 40-member delegation of the French Holocaust Memorial Foundation that was visiting Tallinn, representatives of the Estonian Foreign Ministry, the city of Tallinn, and the Estonian Jewish community, and French Ambassador Frédéric Billet.
Secretary General of the Estonian Foreign Ministry Alar Streimann noted that after Estonia was occupied by the Nazis, mass killings of both local Jews and Jews brought in from elsewhere in Europe were organized. "Particularly tragic was the fate of Jewish families in the resort town of Pärnu. Jewish men in Pärnu were arrested and murdered; the women and children were imprisoned for the entire summer and then very brutally killed right around this time of year, the end of October and beginning of November, 71 years ago. Estonia condemns the crimes of all totalitarian regimes without exception and feels it is essential to remember these crimes in order to prevent their reoccurrence," said Streimann.
Mémorial de la Shoah of France organized a commemorative trip for its supporters dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the deportations of French Jews that began in 1942. The group's visit to Tallinn for the commemoration ceremony was a component of this trip, during which participants also visited Auschwitz, Sobibor, Majdanek, and Kaunas.
Tallinn was one of the destinations of trains bearing French Jews during World War II, and on 15 May 1944 Convoy 73 carrying 300 Jews left France arrived at Patarei Prison in Tallinn. Only 22 out of these 300 survived.
In 2010 a memorial stone dedicated to the deportees of Convoy 73 was opened next to the former Patarei Prison at the initiative of the association "Relatives and Friends of the Deportees of Convoy 73" in cooperation with the Estonian government, the city of Tallinn, and the French Embassy.