1949 Deportation Victims Remembered Across Europe
As candles are lighted on central city squares in Tallinn and Tartu on March 25, Baltic communities worldwide will also mark the anniversary of mass deportations to Siberia 63 years ago.
At the behest of the Unitas Foundation, TuliPisar and 38 MEPs, Baltic communities will hold various events in at least eight other countries – Belgium, Canada, France, Latvia, Lithuania, France, Russia, the US and the UK.
Head of the Unitas Foundation Uve Poom said she was pleased planned turnout was so high. "We hoped to gain worldwide attention to the March deportations and thanks to international communities we will do just that. I am especially glad that many events have been organized through cooperation between the communities of the three Baltic states or at the behest of Estonian House community centers," she said, adding that such cooperation could take place at the level of political initiatives as well.
The foundation was established in 2008 by former prime minister Mart Laar, a US-resident philanthropist Damian von Stauffenberg and entrepreneur Meelis Niinepuu to achieve widespread condemnation for crimes of communism.
In Tallinn on March 25, 22,000 candles will be lit on Freedom Square in the evening, for each of the Estonians deported during a four day period in March 1949, many of whom would die in forced labor camps in Siberia. The candlelight vigil will be preceded by a memorial ceremony on the square and service at St. John's Church.