War crimes trials in Soviet Estonia

A number of war crimes trials were held during the Soviet occupation of Estonia (1944–1991). The best-known trial was brought in 1961, by the Soviet authorities against local collaborators who had participated in the Holocaust during the German occupation (1941–1944). The accused were charged with murdering up to 5,000 German and Czechoslovakian Jews and Romani people near the Kalevi-Liiva concentration camp in 1942–1943. The public trial by the Supreme Court of the Estonian SSR was held in the auditorium of the Navy Officers Club in Tallinn[1] and attended by a mass audience. All three defendants were convicted and sentenced to death, one in absentia. The two defendants present for the trial were executed shortly after. The third defendant, Ain-Ervin Mere, was not available for execution.

A second trial was held in Tartu in 1962. The accused Estonian collaborators were charged with killing Soviet citizens and were sentenced to death in absentia. The trial verdict and testimony were inadvertently published in the magazine Sotsialisticheskaya zakonnost ('Socialist Legality') before the trial began.


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