World War two-era soldier's coffin in Estonia 'booby-trapped' with grenade

Bomb disposal operative (photo is illustrative).
Bomb disposal operative (photo is illustrative). Source: Rescue Board

Workers relocating World War Two-era human remains in the Southwestern Estonian town of Vandra got a shock when one of the coffins being re-interred appeared to contain a hand grenade, Postimees reports.

One of the coffins being removed was apparently "booby trapped", Postimees reports on its English-language page, but, Deputy Mayor of Põhja-Pärnumaa Rural Municipality Marko Šorin (Center) said of the find that: "Luckily the one who booby trapped it was a bumbler,"  since the grenade did not contain a fuse.

Nonetheless, once spotted a bomb disposal team were called in to deal with the grenade, after the coffin itself had been winched up from its burial site while the workers took refuge behind a pile of earth.

Vandra, around 50km from Pärnu city, is also the site of re-interred remains taken from a mass grave as was fairly standard Soviet practice for dealing with its own dead, leave alone anyone else's, while the new site at least gives the dead a degree of respect in that the nearly 70 sets of remains have been laid to rest in cardboard containers.

The identities of two of the sets of remains were known, and in this case they were collected by relatives for reburial, Postimees reports.

The invasion of Ukraine by the Soviet Union's successor state, the Russian Federation, starting in February 2022 brought the matter of what to do with many of the war graves, memorials, statues and other edifices across Estonia which date back from that time but which in many cases glamorize the occupying power and its actions.

In the case of sites which contain human remains, the matter becomes one for the state, with projects generally overseen by the national war museum.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Postimees

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