On March 25, 73 years will pass from the Soviet occupying regime’s mass crime against the Baltic peoples. The Soviet regime violently deported more than 20,000 people from Estonia to Siberia, and more than 90,000 people from the three Baltic states combined, including many children and the elderly.
A commemoration ceremony dedicated to March Deporation victims will take place on March 25 at 4 pm at the Memorial to the Victims of Communism in Maarjamäe. NGOs encourage people to light candles at home and place them on windows in memory of the deportees.
President of Estonia Alar Karis, President of the Parliament (Riigikogu) Jüri Ratas, Minister of Justice Maris Lauri and Chair of the Board of the Estonian Memento Society Arnold Aljaste will deliver speeches. A prayer will be held by archbishop Urmas Viilma. Commemorative wreaths will be placed in the Memorial.
Actor Merle Palmiste will present the winning essay of a competition organised by the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory and daily newspaper Postimees entitled “A letter to those that stayed”.
From March 25 to the end of the following day, an installation will be set up at the Freedom Square, depicting the border of the former Soviet Union with its railway branches that led the deportees to Siberian prison camps and places of settlement. The railway and its destinations will be illuminated by red lights. From 6 pm on March 25, commemoration candles will be lit on Freedom Square.
Patarei Prison, a place where the Soviet regime imprisoned thousands of innocent Estonians, will this year be illuminated with the colours of the Ukrainian flag on its sea facing side on the initiative of the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory, to commemorate the victims of communism and to express our support to Ukraine. Ukraine and Estonia share the difficult experience of Soviet terror and occupation.
The commemoration day is organised by the Ministry of Justice, Estonian Institute of Human Rights, Estonian Institute of Historical Memory, Estonian Memento Society, Federation of Estonian Student Unions, Estonian School Student Councils’ Union, Estonian National Youth Council, and Vabamu Museum of Occupations and Freedom.