Photo of the memorial to the 90 victims of the massacre perpetrated by Soviet troops on civilians in Kuressaare in September 1941. The list of victims consists mostly the local farmers, fishermen, school teachers and housewives. Russian soldiers tortured and murdered their victims in and around the castle. Bodies of women were found with barbed wire tied around their breasts. Three bodies were found in the castle well.
Between July and October 1941 179 individuals were killed in Saaremaa and a hundred went missing.1 The first Russian occupation of Saaremaa ended by mid-October 1941 when German troops kicked out the last remaining Russian forces.
In all it is estimated that some 2,500 people were murdered by the communist regime in Estonia during the first Soviet occupation. The official list of murdered people contains 2,199 individuals, of which 35 were so badly mutilated that even their gender couldn't be established. Of the identified victims 82 where minors.2
On top of that approximately 10,000 people were deported to Siberia in 1941, including nearly 3,000 children below the age of 14!3 Many of the deportees never returned.
1: Estonia 1940-1945, Reports of the Estonian
International Commission for the Investigation of Crimes against Humanity,
2: as above, p516.
3: as above, p379.
Copyright Otto de Voogd 2007