Researchers from 13 countries discuss mass burial sites of victims of communist terror, 28. October 2019

In cooperation of the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory and the Memorial Research and Information Centre (St. Petersburg, Russia), researchers from 13 countries will gather at a conference in Tallinn, Estonia to discuss and exchange experiences about the issues of locating, researching, memorialising and legally establishing burial sites of executed victims of communism. The bolshevist revolution of 1917, which caused the rise of the violent communist dictatorship in Russia, will be remembered.

Most of the presentations focus on countries which used to belong to the sphere of influence of the former Soviet Union. However, the problems of nations that have defied communist terror are universal. Therefore, the research and remembrance of burial sites of communist terror in Cambodia and Spain will be discussed as well. The conference will be opened by the Minister of Justice of Estonia, Raivo Aeg.

The international conference Necropolis of Communist Terror features researchers from Estonia, Georgia, Belarus, Germany, Kazakhstan, Cambodia, Sweden, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, United States and Ukraine.

According to the member of board of the Estonian Institute of Historical Memory Meelis Maripuu, communist regimes everywhere have sought to hide the tracks of their terror and the burial sites of their victims. The same issues recur with minor variations from country to country. “International cooperation is vital not only to exchange practical work experience and information, but also for drawing attention to the topic internationally. The memory of tens of millions of victims of communist regimes must be a part of the common consciousness of the international public,” Maripuu noted.

The head of the Russian Memorial Research and Information Centre in St. Petersburg Irina Flige hopes, that the conference will encourage international coordination of the research efforts of historians from various countries. “In the long run we hope to create an international coordination board of the necropolis of communist terror, which would help to exchange information as well as preparing the general basis of registration of victims of terror and a fully accessible database of burial sites,” Flige said.

Learn more about the programme of the conference here.

Necropolis science – derived from the word “necropolis” (burial site); an interdisciplinary branch of history, which mainly focuses on cemeteries and burial sites, their description and preservation. In the context of research of mass graves, the methods of archeology, archivistics, geology, anthropology, medicine, genetics, genealogy etc are used in the studies.