British soldiers prepare future exhibition area in Patarei Fortress on Veterans Day23/04/2019
British soldiers in Estonia as part of NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence are preparing on 23 April, Veterans Day, together with the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory the former Patarei Prison and its surrounding area for the opening of a unique exhibition area „Communism is Prison“ in mid-May.
„Soldiers from the King’s Royal Hussars (KRH) Battlegroup, based in Tapa, will be undertaking a range of tasks at the Patarei Sea Fortress to ensure the safety of the structure, improve the buildings and the grounds surrounding them, and make the site more open and accessible to the visiting public in the years to come,“ said the battlegroup’s press officer.
„Built nearly two hundred years ago, this European Architectural Heritage site has a complex and unique history, and it’s a great honour for the British soldiers taking part on behalf of NATO – in cooperation with their Estonian partners – to be playing such a key role in safeguarding this extraordinary place,“ he added.
Sergei Metlev, the Institute’s public and partner relations manager, stressed the significance of the cooperation, with which Estonia’s allies contribute to the completion of the first stage of the future International Museum for the Victims of Communism, and which emphasises the historical importance of British-Estonian relations.
“The intervention of the British Royal Navy in the Estonian War of Independence on the side of the young Republic of Estonia contributed decisively to our country’s belonging to the Western value system, the alternative of which was Lenin’s communist dictatorship. On Veterans Day this year British soldiers are helping to prepare the exhibition area in the historically valuable Patarei Prison, which will introduce the history of the building and the crimes of communist regimes in Estonia and in the world, with the aim of educating both the Estonian and international public at large. We are grateful to the British Army and Ambassador for their help,” said Metlev.
The exhibition area “Communism is Prison” in Patarei, where the authentic prison interior has preserved, covers nearly 1200 square metres and will be open to the public from 15 May 2019. In the future a larger scale International Museum for the Victims of Communism and Research Centre will be established on the site.
The exhibition area is the first manifestation of the International Museum for the Victims of Communism and Research Centre which will be established in the Patarei complex. The ambition of the institution is independent and international research and educational work in order to conceptualise the heritage of the crimes of communist regimes, and the preservation of valuable knowledge and experiences in the collective consciousness as a warning against the dangerousness of totalitarian ideologies.
The communist regime of the Soviet Union (in Estonia 1940-1941, 1944-1991) imprisoned innocent people in the historically valuable Patarei naval fortress on ideological pretext. They constitute only a fraction of all the victims of communism in the world, the estimated number of whom is close to 100 million according to The Black Book of Communism. Patarei was also used as a political prison by the occupation regime of Nazi Germany in 1941-1944.