Estonian Self-Administration

​The Estonian local governing body that operated during the German occupation in 1941-1944, acting as an intermediate agent between the German occupation forces and the local population.

Officially, the Estonian Self-Administration (Landesverwaltung in German, Eesti Omavalitsus in Estonian) was not a part of the structure of the German powers. Its task was to mediate the orders issued by the German occupation forces to Estonian local self-governments, the functions of which were, after the occupation of Estonia in summer 1941, fulfilled by the reinstated mayors, and county and community governors of the pre-war period.

For the functioning of the Estonian Self-Administration, directories modelled after ministries and led by members of the ESA – directors – were established. Hjalmar Mäe became the Head of the ESA. The positions of the directors were filled by people who had fled from the Soviet regime to Germany in 1940 and returned in 1941, as well as by former higher civil servants who had remained in Estonia.

In 1944, the Estonian Self-Administration consisted of the Head, five Directories (Directories of Internal Affairs, Education, Economics and Finance, Justice, and Engineering) and a number of independent central institutions. The head of the ESA established general guidelines for the directors, according to the orders and regulations of the German administration, and reported to the General Commissar.

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