Baltic States Commemorated the 75th Anniversary of the Great Refugee Flight and the 30th Anniversary of the Baltic Way in New York Estonian House

The Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia Mr. Jüri Ratas, and the Foreign Minister Mr. Urmas Reinsalu, along with the Minister of Finance of the Republic of Lithuania Mr. Vilius Šapoka and the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Republic of Latvia to the United Nations H.E. Mr. Andrejs Pildegovičs, welcomed the local Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian communities at the New York Estonian House. The event commemorated the 75th anniversary of the great refugee flight and the 30th anniversary of the Baltic Way.

In his speech, Prime Minister Mr. Jüri Ratas recalled that 75 years ago, tens of thousands of Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians were forced to leave their homes behind. “They were fleeing the Soviet occupation and Red Terror and they had no idea whether they would ever be able to return or see their homeland again,” the Prime Minister said. “Many of those people found their new home here, where they got a chance to start again and have a hope of a free future,” Mr. Ratas said. The Prime Minister added that New York was among the places where the dream of Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian independence was kept alive. 

According to Mr. Ratas, the dream of the restoration of independence and freedom was also nurtured in the Baltic States. “Thirty years ago, Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians formed a human chain from Tallinn through Riga to Vilnius. Together we stood side by side for our right to live in independent, fair and democratic countries. I was among the nearly two million people in Nõmme in Tallinn, holding hands with my parents and many others,” Ratas said.

The Foreign Minister Mr. Urmas Reinsalu added that fighting for our country took a lot of courage, shared by everyone who took part in the Baltic Way as well as by those who supported them. The cooperation of Baltic communities is also needed now to spread our message of freedom in the world and to protect the people whose freedom is under attack.

It was important to the Baltic American Chamber of Commerce (BACC) to strengthen the cultural bond as well as help to facilitate networking and relationships among professional organizations and governments in the Baltic States.

Photos: Press Department of the Government of the Republic of Estonia

BACC New York