Estonia Commemorates 1941 deportations

  • 2015-06-15
  • Helen Wright, TALLINN

Thousands of people across Estonia paid their respects to the memories of more than 10,000 of their fellow countrymen and women, who were deported in 1941 by the Soviets. 
Yesterday, Estonians turned out to mark the Day of Mourning and Commemoration which remembers the June 14 mass deportation, which saw thousands of people sent to Siberia and Kazakhstan. 
In Tallinn, the President of the Riigikogu (Parliament of Estonia) Eiki Nestor, representatives of the armed services and members of the public huddled under umbrellas and laid wreaths of blue and white flowers at the statue of Linda in Toompea in the drizzling rain.
Speaking at the midday ceremony, Nestor said: “There are events that cannot be forgotten because they are in our thoughts, our souls and our hearts.

“The fate of the people was hard and sad, many of them remained there, and they were punished for nothing.

“Today we can be sure that nobody is punished if they are not guilty.
“Although this day commemorates sad events, may it still give us assurance that in the future such events will never happen again.”

Justice Minister Urmas Reinsalu was also at the ceremony, and said that it was everybody's duty to remember the victims of the communist regime. 

He said: "Let us remember today all those who fell victim to deportations and political repression.

"Estonia needs to continue, together with other countries to fight for it, that communism would be recognised as crimes against humanity." 

The deportations were carried out under the Soviet occupation of Estonia and saw victims deported in cattle trucks to the USSR. 
It is estimated that about 6,000 Estonian men, women and children died from hunger and exhaustion or were killed. 

On the Day of Mourning, the victims of all repressions are commemorated.