Thousands of candles lit for 1949 deportees

Thousands of candles were lit in Tallinn's Freedom Square, Tartu's Town Hall Square, and elsewhere on Friday night in an annual tribute to the memory of the more than 90,000 deported from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania 67 years ago.

The names of all 32,000 Estonians directly impacted by the March 1949 deportations were also projected onto the wall of Wabadus Café, directly overlooking Freedom Square in Tallinn, reported Estonian news broadcast “Aktuaalne kaamera”.

The iconic “Kissing Students” statue and water fountain in the square directly in front of Tartu’s Town Hall were surrounded by thousands of candles as well.

Four days of deportations of local civilians throughout the Soviet-occupied Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania began 67 years ago, in the meticulously organized Operation Priboi, or “Coastal Surf”.

Over the course of the operation, more than 20,000 Estonians were forcibly removed from their homes and deported to Siberia from March 25-28, 1949, an event which was commemorated with special events, candles, funeral wreaths, speeches, and prayers of remembrance throughout the country.


If you have additional photos you would like to contribute of any events in Estonia or abroad commemorating the victims of the 1949 deportations, please contact the ERR News team at

Editor: Editor: Aili Sarapik

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