Forest Brother Harry Mõttus

Harry Mõttus (1921-1991), the father of the current owner of the farm Meelis Mõttus, became a Forest Brother as early as 1940. As he had killed no one, he voluntarily emerged from the woods in 1954. This was when the first Estonian deportees returned from Siberia following the amnesty declared after Stalin's death.

"My father said little to me and my brothers about his time as a Forest Brother," says Meelis, who was aware of his father's hardship throughout his childhood. “30 years ago I was chopping trees in the woods with him when he told me his big secret, which I kept quiet about for a long time." His father had hidden his submachine gun under the floorboards by the chimney in the school attic before emerging from the forest. On the 75th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia in 1993, Meelis opened a Forest Brother-themed shop in his home village in memory of his father. On the 80th anniversary of the Republic of Estonia he organised a flag-blessing ceremony in front of his shop at sunrise. This was when Meelis got the courage to recover the gun from its hiding place. The PPSh submachine gun was deactivated and gifted to Mõniste Museum, where it is still on display.


Storyteller: Meelis Mõttus

Related objects

Forest Brother (Metsavenna) Farm

Forest Brother Farm is close to the Latvian border in the village of Vastse-Roosa.

The bunker tourism attraction was opened in 1999, offering visitors a chance to experience the Forest Brothers’ way of life as a chapter in Estonian history. The programme includes searching for Forest Brothers in the hideout, visiting the bunker, learning about real-life events, singing Forest Brother songs with the host and sampling a Forest Brother meal or feast. The main attraction is the bunker, which is lined with narrow pine logs and embedded in the hillside. The bunker is furnished with bunk beds and a small table. These types of bunker were used during the late 1940s and early 1950s by hundreds of brave men in the resistance, burdened by the need to hide from the authorities.