Galleries: June 1941 deportations 80th anniversary marked nationwide

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President Kersti Kaljulaid at the Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Tallinn, on the occasion of the 80th anniversary of the June 14 1941 Soviet deportation of Estonians. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Events commemorating the 80th anniversary of the June 14 1941 Soviet deportation of Estonians took place nationwide Monday.

An estimated 10,205 Estonians were deported without trial and on a purely arbitrary basis, including children, women and the elderly, deep into Soviet territory, meaning primarily the Siberian Gulag system and via the trademark rail wagons, rolling stock designed for carrying livestock rather than human beings.

Similar repressions were carried out concurrently in Latvia and Lithuania.

An installation was placed in Tallinn's Vabaduse väljak (Freedom Square), entitled "Pisarate vagun" ("Wagon of tears").

The anniversary was also commemorated at the nearby Linda statue on Toompea.

President Kersti Kaljulaid laid a wreath at the Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Maarjamäe, saying that: "Every story in this painful fabric of suffering is personal, and always worth remembering."

"This is because in these stories lies the tragedy of those who have lost their freedom - those who were taken away, those who stayed, those who came back and yet still had to be silent when they returned," she went on. 

Under the leadership of the Rakvere branch of deportee's memorial society Memento, a memorial event for the June deportation took place at the Lääne-Viru County town's oak grove memorial, opened on June 14, 1991, just weeks before Estonia's independence was restored.

Meanwhile in Purtse Hiiemägi in Ida-Viru County, site a mourning park for the victims of communism built 30 years ago, a bell in the monument "Kellatorn" ("bell tower") was ceremonially tolled seven times, and will be rung again every day for the rest of this week. 

The Estonian Defense Forces academy meanwhile organized a ceremony in Värska, Põlva County, to keep alive the memory of the deportation and execution of hundreds of Estonian officers in 1941. 

In Tartu, Estonia's second city, the victims of the June deportation were commemorated at a ceremony attended by survivors of the deportations and relatives of survivors, while in Pärnu, the local volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit) and its boy's sub-organization, Noored Kotkad, laid wreaths.

In the western Estonian town of Haapsalu, one deportee, Hans Alver, a former mayor of the town and a veteran of the 1918-1920 independence war, was commemorated along with all other deportees.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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