Names to be added to victims of communism memorial at Sunday ceremony

A previous ceremony at the Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Maarjamäe.
A previous ceremony at the Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Maarjamäe. Source: Institute of Historical Memory

A memorial ceremony and concert is set to take place on Sunday, August 23 at the Memorial to the Victims of Communism (Eesti Kommunismiohvrite memoriaal) in Maarjamäe, in Tallinn, marking the International Remembrance Day for Victims of Totalitarian Regimes.

While the Memorial to the Victims of Communism displays the known names of those who perished, the true figures and details of all those from Estonia who disappeared during the mass deportations of the 1940s and in other repressions during the Soviet occupation of Estonia may never be fully known. 

"The Soviet terror was extensive, meaning the completion of research regarding the memorial is as of now unforeseeable. The exact circumstances concerning the deaths of thousands of Estonians are still unknown," said Estonian Institute of Historical Memory's (Eesti Mälu Instituut) Member of Board Sergei Metlev, via a press release.

At the same time, those victims' names whose fate has been ascertained since the memorial was unveiled two years ago, will be added to the wall, as happened last year.

"On August 23, additional memorial plaques are unveiled that bear the names of 350 victims of communism. Their fate has been uncovered since the memorial's opening in 2018," Metlev added.

"Estonians care about the memory of their loved ones who were repressed, and thanks to family members' contributions, we are able to supplement and clarify the e-memorial database and add name plaques to the memorial."

81st anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact signing

This year marks 81 years since the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, whos secret protocols included details carving up Estonia, the Baltic States, and much of Central and Eastern Europe between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany.

The pact unleashed a chain of events resulting in the deaths of tens of millions of people in war and in ideologically motivated repressions. 

The event starts at 12.00 p.m. with speeches by President of the Republic Kersti Kaljulaid, President of the Riigikogu Henn Põlluaas (EKRE) and Minister of Justice Raivo Aeg (Isamaa), followed by a wreath-laying ceremony.

The Memorial Concert follows just before 1 p.m. and features the acclaimed Estonian Collegium Musicale chamber choir, conducted by Endrik Üksvärav, together with singer and violinist Maarja Nuut.

This will be followed by a tree-planting ceremony,

Memorial plaques will be unveiled before the ceremony, at 11:15 a.m., and will include Birgit Keerd-Leppik, a family member of one of the repressed persons represented

The day is co-organized by the justice ministry and the institute of historical memory.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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