The "Boat of Tears," an installation commemorating the tens of thousands of Estonians who fled by sea in 1944 to escape the Red Army, has been put on display in Tallinn's Freedom Square (Vabaduse väljak).
This fall marks 79 years since the "Great Escape" ("Suur Põgenemine"), when thousands of Estonians fled across the sea in boats to Sweden and Finland.
To commemorate this anniversary, a single wooden boat has been symbolically put on display in Tallinn's Freedom Square (Vabause väljak). Entitled "The Great Escape - The Boat of Tears" ("Suur Põgenemine - Pisarate paat "), the installation was designed by Estonia's best-known street artist Edward von Lõngus.
In the late summer and fall of 1944, during the Second World War, between 75,000 and 80,000 people fled from Estonia to escape the invading Red Army. A total of almost 300,000 people escaped from the Baltic states at that time.
During the "Great Escape," thousands crossed the stormy seas in small wooden boats to reach safety in Sweden and Finland. For this reason, those who fled are also known as "boat refugees." Many of those who left never saw their homeland again.
Editor: Michael Cole