Narva-Jõesuu seeks memorial owners to begin restoration work

Blue Hills memorials defaced.
Blue Hills memorials defaced. Source: Sergei Stepanov/ERR

The Narva-Jõesuu City Government is looking for the owners of the memorial stones in the Blue Hills (Sinimäed), Ida-Viru County, which were defaced on May 9. Until the owners have been found, work to restore the defaced memorial stones cannot get underway.

On the night of May 9 this year, three different memorials in the Blue Hills (Sinimäed), Ida-Viru County, were vandalized.

"Three commemorative plaques were pushed over near the Grenadier's Hill Memorial and one of them was doused in paint. Three commemorative tablets of the Foreign Legion in World War II were defaced on the territory of the Vaivara Blue Hills Museum, while a monument to fallen soldiers was pushed over on the side of the Tallinn-Narva highway," Indrek Püvi, head of the Narva Police Department told ERR Russian news after the damage was discovered.

The tablets near the museum have now been cleaned up, while the monument on the Tallinn-Narva highway is being repaired by the local municipality. However, when it comes to the memorials on Grenadier Hill, the situation is more complicated.

The metal anchors of the stones, which were pushed over have been bent and one of the stones itself has also been damaged. Although Narva-Jõesuu Municipality would also like to restore these memorial stones it is unable to start work as, although the Grenadier's Hill Memorial is located on municipal land, who owns the memorial stones remains unknown.

The municipality has sent enquiries to the Police and Border Guard Board (PPA) and the Ministry of Defense, but there has so far been no success in identifying the owners.

"The municipality cannot contribute to [the restoration of] objects that do not belong to the municipality. In any case, this means that we are looking into who owns these monuments. We will discuss the situation with the current owners and perhaps take these objects under the city's ownership, because I also agree that they are important objects, which are located on the territory of Narva-Jõesuu. However, as long as they do not belong to the city, the city cannot, unfortunately, deal with the restoration," said Narva-Jõesuu Mayor Maksim Iljin (Eesti 200).

According to Iljin, the restoration of the memorial stones at the Blue Hills site will cost between €2,000 and €3,000. The work is expected to be completed by June at the latest in order that everything is in order for the commemoration of the Battle of Sinimäe, which takes place in July.

The Blue Hills Memorial was built at the turn of the century to commemoratethe 20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS, made up of Estonians, fought defensive battles against the attacking Red Army in 1944.

Unlike regular Nazi Germany troops, the Waffen SS was made up of volunteers from both occupied and unoccupied territories. The Baltic units of the Waffen SS were not war criminals and did not follow Hitler's ideology, a document signed by John J. McCloy, chairman of the U.S. investigative committee in Germany in 1950, reads.

 Later, memorials to the 20th Armored Grenadier Division and Dutch and Walloon volunteers were also placed on Grenadier's Hill.

If the Narva-Jõesuu Municipality fails to find the owner of the memorial stones, proceedings will be launched to repossess the damaged object.


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Editor: Michael Cole

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