A significant part of the repressive policy conducted in Estonia by Soviet occupation powers in 1940–88 was repression of individuals, that is, people who were presumably disloyal to the current regime vanished without a trace (were secretly murdered) or were murdered publicly without court; arrests for political reasons on the basis of plans and deportations to faraway Russian prison camps were carried out continuously. The deportations of June 1941 and March 1949, both carried out in a massive sweep over a couple of days – in the former, more than 10,000 people had to leave their homes and in the latter, 8,065 people of the 30,119 on the lists escaped, as well as the deportations in the years between, embraced Estonian residents from children at the breast to old people unable to move on their own. A great part of the people deported in 1941 were arrested and taken to prison camps, where probably as many as 95 percent of them perished – they either were shot or died within a few years. Of the 32,100 Estonian men forcibly mobilised into the Russian army, up to 40 percent died in a short time in the inhuman conditions of the so-called labour battalions in the rear through hunger, cold and hard work. Of the 59,000 Estonian inhabitants forced to join the German army, 23.7 percent were killed in action and many died later in Russian prison camps. Toward the end of World War II, more than 70,000 Estonians fled to the West from the red terror. According to the figures of a Estonian-German organization active in 1942–44, the Zentralstelle zur Erfassung der verschleppten Esten, as many as 59,967 people were taken from Estonia to Russia or executed here in the years 1940–41 alone.
According to the approximate figures of Doc. Leo Talve (1991) and Prof. Ene Tiit (1993), a total of 274,260 Estonian inhabitants suffered from repression in 12 different categories in 1940–88. Going by Talve's figures, between 60,000 and 80,000 Estonians were arrested for political reasons in that period, of whom up to 10 percent were arrested by German occupation powers. Personal cards of the arrested on Estonian State Archives files totalled 43,683 and cards of deportees (for 1941, 1949, 1951 and the years in between) numbered 40,455 at a check-up count in June 1994. The search for personal data showed, however, that the archives had no information on a large number of deportees.
To complement the above-mentioned incomplete and approximate information, record the name and data of each and every repressed person, identify and weed out names that occur more than once, and organise computer processing of the information, a work group to compile a register of repressed persons was set up on the initiative of the Estonian Association of Illegally Repressed Persons Memento.
The information and history committee of Memento and its independent sub-unit, the Estonian Repressed Persons Records Bureau (ERPRB), have since 1989 been collecting and systematising data on repressed persons. They now have information on almost 94,000 individuals, the data on 74,453 of whom had by the end of 1995 been fed into computer files. At the current pace, the data of 15,000 to 20,000 persons are added annually to the register. The electronic register of repressed persons contained the data of 85,000 individuals under up to 18 different headings in June 1996. The data bank is being continuously updated and it is compatible with some categories of information in the population register.
The first volume of "Political Arrests in Estonia 1940–88 (§58)" contains personal data of 20,164 arrested persons representing one fourth of the existing data bank. Nearly 97 percent of the material is based on archival records – aggregate rehabilitation files of the Supreme Court (51.50 percent) and the Prosecutor's Office (30.78 percent) and KGB files (14.43 percent), while 3.29 percent of the data derive from ERPRB questionnaires.
The articles of the penal code applied to people arrested for political reasons stipulated in at least 89 percent of the cases imprisonment or execution by shooting with confiscation of (mostly) all or part of their property. It is not clear whether the property of the remaining 11 percent of the arrested was confiscated. The figure of 89 percent is based on the text the penal code and the frequency of application of one or another of its articles in Estonia. As Table 3.7 shows, Article 58-1a was applied in 38.11 percent of the cases, Article 58-11 -- in 19.60 percent, Article 58-13 -- in 5.29 percent, Article 58-10 -- in 4.44 percent of the cases, and so on. Arrests and confiscation of property, but especially mass deportations and flight to the West left empty furnished flats and drew Russian immigrants, whom the occupation powers imported in great numbers, to join in the division of the spoils. Many continue using the property to the present day.
A general legal rehabilitation of the persons unjustly repressed for political reasons took place in 1989–1991. This allowed to include practically all arrested and deported persons or their heirs, as well as the heirs of the people who had been shot or died in prison camps, among those entitled to restitution of property. The progress of the actual process of restitution, however, being hampered by numerous restrictions, is slow.
Principal data on arrested persons are to be found in alphabetical order in Chapter 4. To find information about somebody in it, you need to know at least his or her family name. If you want to find out the names of persons arrested in one or another place, you will have to turn to Chapter 5, which contains a register by place names. And, if you want to find the names of persons sent to one or another prison camp, you should consult the register by places of detention in Chapter 6. General information and statistics on political arrests in Estonia are in Chapter 3.
The compiler and writers find it necessary to point out that the book of records is far from perfect.
For one thing, only indirect sources of reference – rehabilitation files of the Estonian SSR Prosecutor's Office and Supreme Court – were available to them at the beginning of the work. Later, when they got access to KGB files, it appeared that many data in them were not accurate. Mistakes are bound to have been made when Estonian names were transcribed into Russian in KGB files and when later converted back into Estonian. Unfortunately, the task of checking all names in family archives, through sending out questionnaires or by comparing them against the population register was not within the authors' powers. Secondly, they had to develop their own methods, as analogous works, for example, those dealing with the victims of Nazism, were not available when they started work. The research is being conducted by a work group of enthusiasts made up of former victims of repression, who work for a symbolic fee.
Insufficient funds do not allow the ERPRB to employ experienced specialists on a full-time basis, but their help has nevertheless been significant.
We shall be grateful for all corrections so as to reduce the number of errors in the subsequent volumes of records and put right the data of the electronic register. Our address is: ERRB, P.O. Box 115, EE0090 Tallinn, Estonia.
Unfortunately many fellow sufferers, who looked forward to the publication of this book, are no longer with us. There are also many who will not find the names they are looking for in this volume. We can but hope that they will soon receive the following volumes with lists of both the arrested and the deported.
The ERPRB compiled this book in collaboration with and with the help of Ustus Agur, Ülo Kaevats, Raivo Kasemaa, Peeter Küüts, Leevi Hark, Peep Pillak, Endel Kukk, Aimar Altosaar, Helma Bucht, Valdur Ohmann, Leo Tõnisson, Erich Kaup, Peep Varju, Vello Salo, Mirjam Kaber, Ants Ruusmann, Udo Josia, Endel Palmiste, Aadu Oll, August Meema, Tiia Nurmis, Astra Ellmann, Õie Tipner, Helmi Veske, Anne Eenpalu, Elmar Joosep, Lea Rebane, Mart Aru, Maire Ratassepp, Rein Grabbi, Ago Kõrv, Edmund Ranniko, Olav Pihlak, Olaf Aule and many others. The most qualified part of the computer-related work was done by Taivo Harju and Arvi Prikk. Henno Uus, Ülo Anson and Veljo Areng made a significant contribution to the printing of the book.
Our thanks are due to them all.
We acknowledge gratefully the contribution of the people who filled in our questionnaires and checked and amended the lists. Special thanks are due to Ilme Peda, who did the major part of the work.
The development of special software, computerisation and processing of the data, and printouts were done by the Informatics Fund under an agreement with the ERPRB.
It is only thanks to the financial contribution of the World Central Estonian Council that the list has become a book. We are grateful to our compatriots abroad who gave their support to this undertaking through that organisation.The ERPRB hopes that the proceeds from the sale of the first volume will enable them to publish the soon-to-be completed second volume of records.
The work of the ERPRB has been financed also by the Estonian government and Informatics Fund, and sponsored by the State Computing Center, the Estonian National Foundation of Stockholm, the Estonian heritage societies of Adelaide and Sydney, Australia and the United States, and many others. Our thanks are due to them all.
The aim of the work of the ERPRB is to elucidate the nature and the extent of the genocide policy conducted in Estonia by the occupation powers in 1940-88 through a register of personal data of the repressed.
Compilation of the register, reliable processing and correction of its data, as well as their supplementation with selected data from the population register, perpetuation of the collected information on genocide policy and results of its processing in books and an electronic register will help to argument Estonia's present-day domestic and foreign policy, including attitudes toward the organisers and victims of genocide. It will also make the data on repression more easily accessible to the victims of repression, diplomats, historians, sociologists, journalists, researchers and interested individuals.
The book covers all rehabilitation files of the Supreme Court and the Prosecutor’s Office, as well as of KGB-files (see Table 3.16).
Tallinn, June 23, 1996
Lists were updated as of 14.06.2005