The Estonian Institute of Historical Memory, with generous support from the Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany, organises a Summer School for secondary school students from the age of 16. Together, we will visit memorial sites and museums, listen to interesting lectures in a free atmosphere, watch films, and share thoughts and experiences.

The Summer School takes place from 26 to 31 July 2020 in several locations in Estonia. The programme focuses on the history of crimes against humanity and human rights violations during and after World War II, introducing it from the perspective of the Estonian experience.

Participation is free of charge. The Estonian Institute of Historical Memory will cover all expenses in Estonia (accommodation, food, and transportation within Estonia). The participants will only cover their own travel expenses to and from Tallinn.

Preliminary programme of the Summer School

26 July – arrival in Tallinn, dinner

27 July – opening and introduction of the Summer School, tour in the Estonian War Museum/General Laidoner Museum, film screening (1944)

28 July – trip to memorial sites in Narva, a visit to the NATO base in Tapa

29 July – tours in Patarei Prison, the cells of Pagari St, the Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Maarjamäe and the Scheel grounds in Pirita-Kose; film screening (In the Crosswind)

30 July – discussions and workshops, film screening (Names in Marble)

31 July – breakfast and departure

Applications to the Summer School are accepted until 12 July:

Further contact: Eli Pilve,, +37256 22 9686


About the Summer School

The Second World War affected the entire world and its consequences are reflected in our everyday life even today, though we might not directly perceive it on a daily basis anymore. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania shared the same fate in this war. We lost our independence for half a century after being first occupied by the Soviet regime, then by the national-socialist Germany, and again by the Soviet Union.

Those that were murdered, perished in the war, and died in prison camps, as well as civilian victims of the war, will not return. Their grandchildren never heard the stories a grandfather, who died in battle, or a grandmother, who died of hunger in a concentration camp, might have told them. At best, a photograph with more questions than answers might have survived.

75 years have passed from the war and as the children and youth of a free, prosperous, and democratic Europe we do not normally know how lucky we are compared to our grandparents and great-grandparents.

Fortunately, we are unaware of what life is like during war and occupations; we are unfamiliar with a state of constant fear, hatred towards a societal group, or towards an entire nation. We have no experience with the day-to-day life of a totalitarian society, where in addition to aggression, fear, political pressure, and mental suppression there was no possibility to travel to other countries, not to mention live there. We do not know what it means to live in a state where only poor quality basic necessities and staple food products were available in stores and where one had to stand in a queue for several hours to obtain a few rolls of toilet paper, if it was even available.

The European democratic rule of law has left all these concerns far into the past, but the supporters of this system of social organisation still exist. The common values of Europe are taken for granted; so much so that hearing about it in politicians’ speeches and in the media is merely annoying background noise for many of us. Most do not realise that attacks on liberty, including freedom of movement, speech, conscience and opinion, as well as general intolerance and hatred, benefit those according to whom authoritarian rule and total power in the name of a single cause is the best way to organise world affairs.

We no longer know what it means to live without human rights, liberties, and European values. Some gladly play with this dangerous fire. To avoid the horrors of the past from repeating themselves, we also have to know how Europe got to that point less than a century ago. We study history to learn about this in order to not gamble away our future.