German communist statue removed

  • 2008-07-23
  • In cooperation with BNS

Is the 1905 memorial next?Photo: Sebastien Bertrand

TALLINN- The Mustamae Borough district government of Tallinn gave permission last week to remove the monument of Fritz Behn, a German Communist executed near Tallinn during World War II.




Deputy Borough Governer Indrek Ahlberg said that the monument was removed on the basis of a government decision and that workers took the monument to the HistoryMuseum in Maarjamagi last week.




Mustamae Borough Governor Kalle Mihkels said the HistoryMuseum had filed an application for removal of the monument to its grounds as it wanted to make a display of Soviet-period monuments.




"The Mustamae Borough government had agreed to give the monument to the HistoryMuseum already a year ago as it was situated in an unsuitable place between apartment houses and vandals tended to damage it," Mihkels said.




Mihkels underlined that the monument was not a grave stone as Fritz Behn's remains were taken to Germany and were buried there back in the 1960s.

Fritz Behn was born in Benz, Germany, in 1904. He was enlisted into the Wehrmacht at the beginning of World War II and dispatched to an engineering unit in the Baltics.




Behn established an eight-member cell of the National Committee for a Free Germany (Nationalkomitee Freies Deutschland). NKFD was set up with Stalin's support in 1943 and mainly Communists were conscripted into it.




Behn and his accomplices leaked information to Soviet forces about defense installations in the Baltic countries and were involved in anti-war agitation. Their activity was noticed by the Nazi secret police, the Gestapo, and the members of Behn's group were arrested. Fritz Behn was shot dead in the vicinity of Tallinn on January 6, 1944.




At the end of May, Juri Liim, an Estonian nationalist, hired a crane at the end of May and removed a monument to Soviet officers who studied at the Tallinn military school as well as a memorial erected to Estonian Communist Hans Poogelmann in 1961 from the grounds of the Tondi Business Center. Liim took the monuments to the Estonian History museum at Maarjamagi.




The NorthPolicePrefecture took criminal action against Liim, as the TondiBusinessCenter filed an application about loss of the statue.




The City of Tallinn is trying to establish whether the TondiBusinessCenter is the rightful owner of Poogelmann's statue. At present, the monuments Liim removed are in the yard of the HistoryMuseum at Maarjamagi.