Estonian Repressed Persons Records Bureau (ERPRB)National Archives (former Estonian State Archives)
AS Andmevara (former Estonian State Computing Centre)
Tallinn Technical University – Thermal Engineering Department
Estonian Association of Illegally Repressed Persons MEMENTO
Repressed Persons Records (RPR)
BOOK 6DEPORTATION FROM ESTONIA TO RUSSIA
DEPORTATION IN JUNE 1941 & DEPORTATION
Compiled by Leo Õispuu
Authors, data collectors and processors (12 of them ERPRB employees today)
Leo Õispuu ( Director of ERPRB)
Consultant Enn Tarvel
Editor Ülo Ojatalu
Computer Database Taivo Harju ja Tarmo Lõo
Word and Photo Processing Arvi Prikk
Translation into English Tiiu Kammiste Foreword, 1.4-1.6., 6.2
Kirill Lebed 1.1, 1.7-1.8, 1.10, 2.1-2.4, 4.2, 5, 6.3-6.5
© Estonian Repressed Persons Records Bureau, Leo Õispuu,2001
Printed in Tallinn, Estonia
“The early hours of 14 June 1941 were marked by banging at the doors of thousands of homes all over Estonia. Behind the door stood NKVD men, escorted by armed soldiers. Innocent families were woken to the announcement that they were going to be deported from Estonia. Usually an hour was given for packing up. Parents’ despair and children’s crying were of no use. They were all forced on lorries and taken to railway stations where cattle trucks were waiting. A long journey to Siberia followed...”
Present-day history books provide such descriptions for contemporary children for contemplation. Will they understand all the horrors that happened to Estonians? How many children will be able to hear stories of that period and these experiences, told by their grandparents, relatives and friends?
The sands are running out and the number of people who were taken to Siberia and who returned decreases in time. It is our duty to remember. We must not forget this period, the memory of the people must be passed on and therefore this book is indispensable for all of us.As a historian, I know how important it is to preserve documents, letters, photos and people’s memories. Deportation is a crime against very many people and this crime must not sink into oblivion for the coming generations. We cannot escape our past since only by remembering it we can build respectable and human future.
SOME RESEARCH WORK ON JUNE DEPORTATION
- Statistical tables (28 pages, published in 1989; original in V. Salo’s possession)
- The pages 718–1341 of the general register (Marquette University Archives Milwaukee WI, Charles J. Kersten’s fund)
- Statistical tables by districts (Tartu Institute archive, Toronto), J. Olvet’s fund; publication pending.
- Population Losses in Estonia June 1940–August 1941 (1. Introduction to documentation, 2.List of 9,632 deportees, 3. Statistics concerning 59,967 deported or murdered people. Compiled and edited by Vello Salo, Scarborough, 1989), especially pp. 8-16 and 186-242
- Deported in 1941 (general list in the archives of Tartu Institute, Archival Library in Toronto and in the Estonian Bureau of Register of the Repressed in Tallinn based on the data of February 24 1993. Compiled by V. Salo, Brampton, 1993; see pp. 5-10, 213-233)
Prelate of the Roman Catholic Church, Chairman of the Estonian Sate Commission on Examination of the Policies of Repression Investigation
The 1941 June deportation did not only hit Estonia but was a part of the major operation carried out in the areas that had been occupied on the basis of Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Therefore, these mass deportations make up a special chapter not only in the history of the deported nations but also in the history of the whole Europe.
To get a good outline of that gigantic operation we need, first of all, information through special study about all the countries that became victims of that repression. In Estonia we have not been able to find a complete Soviet documentation. During 1941–1989 we had to proceed our research from finding out the actual victims. So far the study can be divided into three clearly different periods: 1941–1944 in the occupied Estonia, 1944–1989 outside the Soviet Union and starting from 1989 in the re-established republic.
It was possible to start the research work in some weeks time right after the deportation because German occupying power supported the idea of disclosing the crimes committed by enemy. At that period the Centre of Search and Returning of Deportees became generally known as ZEV from German Zentralstelle zür Erfassung der Verschleppten Esten, which consisted of Estonians without exception. The data was collected from the eyewitnesses of the deportation until a new Soviet occupation ended the activity of ZEV.
ZEV’s aim was to draw up the list of deportees. The first one, which consisted of 9,632 names, reached the US Embassy in Helsinki in January 1943, the list on a microfilm arrived in Washington on 10 April 1943. More and more data was added in Estonia, on the basis of which the list of 59,967 names of deportees and murdered Estonians was drawn up. 10,205 of them were considered deportees. The list was not complete because German officials did not allow registering Jewish victims. Five typewriter copies were made of the general register and at least one of them reached Stockholm where it was forwarded to a so-called Kersten Commission to make report on the subject to the USA Congress.
Unfortunately not a single ZEV register has survived. The USA National Archives still have the microfilm of the first list of names that was sent from Helsinki (it was published in 1989) with two pages missing). Pages 718-1341 of ZEV final register that were given to Kersten Commission have been found but the part of the June deportation is missing.
A page titled “Clarification” speaks about the mistakes that were discovered when checking the personal data. In fact, we can find a lot of mistakes in the first ZEV register with 9,632 names, e.g. more than 130 double entries, caused mainly by writing family names in different spelling. As the final register did not survive we cannot be sure how many corrections had been made there.
Fortunately the chairman of ZEV Elmar Tambek had taken along the statistical charts drawn up according to the register. It turns out that of 10,205 deportees 8,079 were deported in June, 1344 people in July and 151 people in August. The exact date of deportation of 621 people is not known.
During the Soviet occupation the only possibility to investigate the subject of deportation was outside the Soviet Union. In order to get an overview of the events, the newspaper “Võitleja” published some information only in 1969 in a very general way, as a Book of Honour and it was difficult to get the names of people deported in June. The first general register was published in Toronto in 1989. At that time it was possible to distribute the book also in Estonia.
On 25 March 1989 the foundation of the illegally repressed people “Memento” started a totally new period, for since then one could use the witnesses of the deportees as well as the archival materials that had survived in Estonia. “Memento” considered its responsibility to draw up a complete register. Already in 1990 the Päevaleht newspaper published a general register compiled by the members of “Memento”, such as Elmar Joosep, etc. That register gave the names according to the places where the people had been taken. The register does not have an alphabetical order, therefore it is difficult to work with it (6618 names).
In 1993 a general register “Deportees of 1941” was published in Toronto as a result of collaboration with the native research workers. As of (the fixed data of) 24 February 1993 there are 10,702 names. Among these names were 295 who were not caught at the time of deportation but still existed in the list. There were 439 Jews, whose names were published for the first time. Actually, in fact, this book could be taken as a preparatory work for a more complete one.
Only now, for the anniversary of that sad event, we are going to have the register of the people who suffered. That register could have already been published in 1943 in a very different manner. Compared to the earlier publications this book is entirely new as it is based on the official data of the archives and it has been possible to specify the facts thanks to the deportees’ additional information. Our nation has a good reason to thank everybody who has helped to make this publication a reality.
There are only three original ZEV documents that have survived:
In addition to these there is a copy of register of 9632 deportees where two pages are missing (The United States National Archives, Microcopy 1170, Roll 21, pages 17-206).
More detailed facts about the June deportation see
This publication and the activities of the Tallinn branch of Memento have been financially supported by:
H. H. Lüdig
Among them special gratitude deserve:
O. Pihlak, H. Friedrichs, H. H. Lüdig, R. Aule , M. Aule, Ü. Anson ja V. Salo.