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KGB Cells MuseumTartu Song Festival MuseumOskar Luts Home MuseumCitizen's Home Museum

Alongside the coup d'état in June and the destruction of the Republic of Estonia a thorough purge started in the whole state machinery. One by one the former county governors, mayors and police chiefs were removed from the office and the members of the Communist Party of Estonia (which had again started its activities) or other communist-minded figures were nominated to their positions. People were judged according to the Criminal Code of the Russian SSFR and conviction became extremely simple. Even the formation of the Republic of Estonia was regarded as a criminal act. The number of innocent people lost as well as the number of arrests increased constantly. In the winter of 1940-1941 the security organs started preparations for mass deportations in Estonia.The future front line had to be cleared of the "socially hostile element".

The deportation of Estonian people to Siberia started during the eve of June 14, 1941. 490 railway carriages were kept ready on branch lines. According to the lists made up in counties 11,102 people were to be deported from Estonia. Nobody was convicted, often it was enough to have been informed against. It was hoped to carry out successful deportation in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in a day. In reality the operation dragged on and manhunt continued until June 17. Altogether over 10,000 people were deported from Estonia. Most grown-up men were declared arrested and were separated from their families. Their itinerary continued in overcrowded carriages through Narva and Irboska to Siberian death camps where most of them soon perished or were executed. By the spring of 1942 out of 3,500 men taken to these camps only a few hundred had survived. Women and children were sent to exile to Kirov and Novosibirsk oblasts. Hard work, hunger and exhaustion soon became fatal for half of them, and after the war 49% of those deported succeeded in returning home.
Silvia Jaas with her mother in Kargassok, Tomsk oblast

In March 1949 the next extensive deportation campaign was conducted in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. The Soviet authorities decided to deport forever 22,326 people from Estonia to the remotest areas of the USSR. The total number of innocent people intended to be deported from the Baltic States amounted to 100,000.This extensive operation was called "Priboi" (Breakers) and to conduct it directly, a temporary headquarters of the internal forces of the USSR was established in Riga. All in all, more than 76,000 people were included in the deportation campaign, the majority of whom was constituted by the local Soviet activists. In order to catch the deportees, 1987 detachments were formed and it was planned to organize 16 loading sites and 19 troop trains.
Anton Roop in Igarka

In Estonia deportation started early on the morning of March 25. The transportation of the deportees to the loading sites proceeded very slowly at first and the completion of troop trains and loading of people dragged on until March 29. In the fear of not fulfilling the prescribed plan, the task forces took with them people who were not even included in the deportation lists, and often oldsters, those seriously ill as well as minors without parents were driven out of their homes. The deportees with their small baggage were handed over to the commandant-security officers at loading sites. After checking their personal data, the deportees were disposed by some twenty or thirty into the carriages that were standing on rails. At the same time the party activists were writing down all the deportees' possessions in their deserted homes; in ten days' time they had to be realized or distributed to local collective farms.
Vambola Ülenőmm in Krasnojarski krai on logging works

The last troop trains with the deportees left Estonia on the evening of March 29. Although almost a third of the people initially entered in the lists succeeded in escaping, more than 20,000 people were taken from their homes to Siberia in a couple of days; this number constituted about 2.5 % of the total population of Estonia at that time. Most of them were deported to Krasnoyarsk Territory and Novosibirsk oblast. The majority of the deportees were women and children; as a rule, the heads of families had already been arrested earlier. In the course of the operation "Priboi" in March 1949, more than 92,000 people were sent to exile from the Baltic states. The major crime prepared jointly by the communist party, state security organs and the Ministry of the Interior, had been brutally put into practice.
KGB Cells Museum


Riia 15b
Tartu 51010
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Opening times:
Tuesday - Saturday 11 - 17

Christmas and New Year opening hours 2016/2017:
21 December 11am–1pm
23 and 31 December 11am-2pm
24-26 December and 1 January the museum is closed

Ticket prices:
Adults: 4 euros
Children, students and seniors: 2 euros
Family: 10 euros
Guided tour in English: 20 euros (max 30 persons)
Guided tour in German: 20 euros (max 30 persons)


e-mail: kgb@katarina.ee

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