Ceremonies and traditional candle lighting in town squares will not be held on 25 March on the anniversary of the 1949 March Deportation due to public health considerations.

The NGOs organising the Commemoration Day ask candles to be lit on home windows in memory of the deportees.

Social media users are welcome to post photos of their candles and tag their post with #Mäletame. The hashtag enables to merge all such images into one stream and connect people symbolically, thus replacing the memorial events that were cancelled due to the emergency situation declared in Estonia.

The organisers say that ‘Lighting a memorial candle on our home window is a way of showing that despite everything, we care about freedom, remember the victims of terrorism and unite during both difficult and happy times.’

Estonian Rescue Board reminds everyone to place the candle on a heatproof holder and to keep it away from flammable materials. Do not leave your candle unattended!

Traditional candle lighting in town squares of Tallinn, Tartu, Pärnu and Narva has been cancelled this year. The prepared photo and video footage of the installation in memory of the deportees will be accessible to everyone on the Estonian Institute of Human Rights’ website (https://www.humanrightsestonia.ee/martsikuuditamine2020/) from 24 March.

The sea-facing facade of Patarei Prison, where the Soviet regime imprisoned innocent Estonians, will be lit up in red at 19.00 on the occasion of the Commemoration Day on the initiative of the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory. An aerial video recording has been arranged.

If possible, Memento representatives will place flowers and light candles on the memorials on 25 March. We call on everyone to stand for a moment in commemoration of thousands of people who never returned from Siberia at 12.00 and 15.00 during the ringing of church bells.

The accompanying live memorial concert in St. John’s Church, Tallinn, has been postponed!

On 25 March, 71 years will pass from the March Deportation, when more than 20,000 Estonians were forcibly sent to Siberia by the Soviet authorities, stigmatising them as a “socially alien element”. The deportees included many children and the elderly.

Memento, Estonian Institute of Human Rights, Estonian Institute of Historical Memory, Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom, NGO Tulipisar, Estonian National Youth Council, Federation of Estonian Student Unions, Tallinn Cultural Office and the Ministry of Justice urge everyone to pay attention to the health of the repressed and the elderly and to offer them full support, while following the recommendations of the Health Board regarding people at risk.

The recommendations of the Health Board can be found here: https://www.terviseamet.ee/et/uuskoroonaviirus

The event on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/623539454861205/ 


Further information:

Sergei Metlev

Estonian Institute of Historical Memory




Aet Kukk

Estonian Institute of Human Rights


5330 2328