The Institute of Historical Memory believes that the willingness of Urmas Sõõrumaa’s company to buy the former Patarei prison will save it from decay and will bring businesses to the area, while preserving the building as a significant memorial site, not only for Estonia, but for the whole of Europe.
According to the board member of the Institute, Meelis Maripuu, the fact that domestic investors considered it necessary to take Patarei with its convoluted history under its wing, is symbolic and demonstrates great responsibility.
“The Estonian Institute of Historical Memory has been given a task to open the International Museum for the Victims of Communism in the Patarei complex, the first stage of which is the exhibition area opened this year. The area will be developed and partially restored. We are sincerely pleased, that a company owned by Urmas Sõõrumaa has expressed a wish to purchase Patarei. I believe we will reach mutual understanding concerning the preservation of our historical legacy and presenting it to visitors from around the world. We are waiting for the end of the sale with great hopes, in order to get a clearer idea of the future plans of the developer,” Maripuu said.
The exhibition by the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory “Communism is Prison”, located in the east wing of the building, received over 36 000 visitors last season. It will remain open until construction starts in Patarei. The exhibition area will reopen on May 2nd 2020.
Patarei was used by the terror regimes of the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany to imprison, torture and murder its ideological opponents. This makes Patarei a unique place both with regard to memory studies as well as historical education.
The planned location of the international museum is the east wing of the Patarei complex, where authentic prison cells, execution chamber, corridors, prison yard with the prisoners’ walking area as well as other noteworthy sights have preserved. The state partner of the project is the Estonian Ministry of Justice.
Further information on Patarei’s history and the museum project can be found here: https://patareiprison.org