Maarjamäe Palace Stables

Museum in Kadriorg

The lengthy Soviet occupation of Estonia is covered in painstaking detail elsewhere, so this branch of the Estonian History Museum, housed in a 19th-century stable block at Maarjamäe Palace, is devoted solely to the German occupation (1941 to 1944). Entitled Castles & Pawns, the exhibition is a fascinating and at times harrowing exposé of life under the Nazi regime, including interactive displays and videotaped interviews with survivors of the concentration camps. Temporary exhibitions of Estonian and regional history provide variety.

After the horrors of the first Soviet occupation of Estonia in 1940, known as the 'Red Year', many Estonians initially welcomed the German invasion. It's now estimated that the Nazi regime executed around 8000 Estonians, including 1000 Estonian Jews (almost the entire Jewish population that hadn't already fled) and 250 to 500 Estonian Roma. In addition, around 12,500 foreign Jews were transported to camps in Estonia, mainly from the other Baltic states but also from as far away as France.

If you're interested in exploring this dark episode in the country's history further or paying your respects to the victims, the Estonian History Museum has erected an outdoor exhibition at the site of the Klooga concentration camp, 38km southwest of Tallinn.