The excavations which would among other things disturb the burial sites of those killed there could begin as early as next week, and that has prompted relatives of those shot in Sandarmokh during the Great Terror to write an open letter to officials in Moscow and Petrozavodsk in opposition to this project ().
“We, the children, grandchildren and great grandchildren of those shot at Sandarmokh are opposed digging on this territory,” the open letter begins. “We respect the activity of those seeking to discover and return from oblivion the memory about soldiers who fell without being recovered.”
“But the carrying out of searches with the goal to find at the Sandarmokh memorial cemetery burial sites of hostages of Finnish concentration camps is an entirely different matter. Sandarmokh is a memorial recognized around the world after investigations in 1997 and is thus not only a historical site but a unique testimonial to the terror of the 20th century.”
The proposed digs “threaten to violate the integrity of the memorial cemetery and disturb the peace of the dead. Sandarmokh is not some nameless forest or swamp but an accessible, much visited and generally recognized memorial,” the letter continues.
“Neither in 1997 nor later did we demand the exhumation and reburial of the remains of our relatives. We agreed that this territory should remain entirely untouched and are grateful to those who found this place,” including Yury Dmitriyev.
“Let this place remain untouched now and forever. We are against carrying out new digs here for which there is no documentary confirmation or scientifically demonstrated basis. Don’t touch the graves of our relatives. Don’t destroy the memorial.”
The signatories call on people of good will throughout the world to join in their appeal.