TALLINN - Former president of Estonia and a visiting fellow at Stanford University Toomas Hendrik Ilves supports the establishment of the International Museum for the Victims of Communism and the accompanying research center in former Patarei Prison, Tallinn, and encourages all Estonians and Estonia’s friends to join him in supporting the initiative, to preserve the true history of the crimes of totalitarian regimes for generations to come.
In his statement, Ilves expressed concern over increasingly frequent attempts to distort historical truth.
"As the history of Estonia and its neighbors face the growing threat of malign manipulation and distortion, the need to support trustworthy historical research into totalitarian regimes of the 20th century and defend the historical truth, is becoming ever more critical," he said.
The former head of state deems the Patarei Prison a suitable place for a museum as it has borne witness to one of the darkest periods in Estonia's history.
"There are few places more appropriate through which to educate the world about the crimes committed during the German and Soviet occupations in Estonia, and indeed in all the nations of Central and Eastern Europe with whom we share this tragic past," he said.
"I encourage all Estonians, as well as the friends and allies of Estonia around the world, to join me in supporting this important initiative, to preserve and guard this history for generations to come," Ilves said, referring to the museum and research center to be established at former Patarei Prison at the initiative of the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory.
The creation of the museum is supported by the Ministry of Justice, leading remembrance institutions in Europe and individual supporters.
The establishment of the museum and research center have been included in the Patarei Prison conditions of sale, and the new owner must take into consideration while renovating the premises that the eastern wing is to house the museum. Until the museum project is finished, an exhibition area by the name of “Communism is Prison” is open to visitors from May through October.
Further information on the exhibition and the museum project is available at www.patareiprison.org .