Põrgupõhja Bunker

In 1946 the Union of Armed Struggle (known by its Estonian acronym RVL) was founded to unite those willing and able to subvert Soviet authority by means of organised resistance for the restoration of the Republic of Estonia. The RVL had its own set of rules, and military operations were coordinated with its main leader. The statutory objective of the RVL was to protect civilians and their property against the violent and arbitrary occupying forces and to thwart arrests and deportations. New members were required to fill in a form with their personal details. These forms were stored at the central archive in the Põrgupõhja Bunker, which was built in 1947. The bunker provided shelter for a dozen Forest Brothers, but from time to time had to accommodate many more. In 1947 the NKVD managed to capture one Forest Brother who knew where the bunker was located. Under interrogation he was pressured to reveal further details about the bunker. With this information obtained, a large-scale operation was launched to take down the leadership of the organisation along with the bunker itself. Prior to this plan being implemented, the NKVD captured another Forest Brother, who was forced to lead the way. When the security forces charged and surrounded the bunker on 31 December 1947, most of the men managed to escape, but the last to leave the bunker – Asta Jõesaar and Jaan Roosi – were killed.

Storyteller: Martin Andreller