A Book About the Levašovo Memorial Cemetery

November 25, 2016

On November 23rd at 4pm, the “Levašovo Memorial Cemetery” („Levašovo memoriaalkalmistu”) brochure, newly translated into Estonian, was launched at the Estonian Heritage Society at 46 Pikk St. The brochure, compiled by Anatoli Razumov, has been published and reprinted in Russian four times, the last print was in 2012. It has been translated into English, German, Finnish and Italian. The author and researcher of mass repressions, Anatoli Razumov from St. Petersburg, spoke at the launch.

Levašovo is located in the northern corner of the Vilbur district of St. Petersburg. The secret place of burial for the former NKVD is hidden there by a high fence in a wooded area. The bodies of those who were killed in Leningrad were buried there from 1937 to 1954. According to official records 46 771 people were killed in Leningrad during those years, 40 485 of them for political reasons. Most were killed during Stalin’s Great Years of Terror, 1937-1938, also including the death of 4 561 Estonians.

The burial grounds in Levašovo was a classified place until 1989, when the public learned of what had occurred there and made the decision to establish a memorial cemetery. Over the course of the following years, numerous memorials have been dedicated to the Polish, Jewish, Germans, Finnish, Norwegians, Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, Italians, Latvians, Lithuanians, nuns, Catholics, the disabled, the teetotallers, the specialists in energetics, etc.

The memorial dedicated to the Estonians was created at the request of the Estonian Consulate in St. Petersburg and private donors. The memorial was unveiled in 1999 and in the summer of 2015, a memorial plaque dedicated to the Estonians (45 men and 8 women) from the Kingissepa region Simititsa Estonian settlement, who were killed by the NKVD in 1937-1938, as they were believed to be spies, terrorists, divisionists and pests.

The brochure “Levašovo Memorial Cemetery” published by the Russian National Library Press with the support of a donation from the Prince Vladimir Cathedral, is illustrated with a great number of photos and provides a 45 page overview of the memorial cemetery as well as the Stalinist repressions that took place in Leningrad and the surrounding areas. A more detailed account about the people killed during Stalin’s Great Years of Terror can be found in Anatoli Razumov’s 13 volume directory “Leningradskii martirolog“ (The Martyrdom of Leningrad). In 2012, the Republic of Estonia recognized Anatoli Razumov’s years of dedicated work to researching mass repressions by awarding him the Maarjamaa Order of the Cross.

The launch of “Levašovo Memorial Cemetery” already took place in St. Petersburg on October 30th, on the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Political Repression, when the city organized a traditional memorial ceremony at Levašovo with the placement of memorial wreaths. The St. Petersburg St. John’s congregation and the St. Petersburg Estonian Society, as well as the Consulate of the Republic of Estonia headed by Consul General Jaanus Kirikmäe, participated in the event. Enn Salveste held the memorial service at the Estonian memorial monument.

Veronika Makhtina