Armed Resistance League
The biggest organisation of forest brothers in occupied Estonia in the 1940s
According to the constitution of the Armed Resistance League, it was a „voluntary, secret and armed organisation of national resistance to fight for the honour and independence of Estonia“. ARL’s main aim was to gather people who were able to fight in cases of warfare or deportation; maintaining people’s national spirit and a will to resist were also deemed significant.
The ARL structure and constitution were finalised by Endel Redlich, who became the head of the organisation that considered itself accountable only to the legal government of the Republic of Estonia. According to the constitution the League consisted of parish organisations, where the leaders were appointed by the Headquarters of ARL. The organisation was supposed to act as a ‘roof organisation’, coordinating the activities of forest brothers in different areas.
ARL was more active in 1946-1949, when it gathered forest brothers of seven Estonian counties, Tallinn and Tartu. However, the grand plans of a nationwide cooperation were soon disrupted because several arrests and raids by the Soviet security forces successfully dissolved and then destroyed the core of the nascent organisation.
In February 1949 the NKVD, the Soviet state security organisation, attacked the ARL central bunker in Pärnumaa; nine forest brothers were killed in battle. Endel Redlich, head of ARL, was killed whilst being arrested in June the same year. The activity of the organisation was thus essentially paralysed. Altogether 500 people accused of having ties with ARL were killed or arrested by members of the NKVD.Details about this article
Created: 26.08.2009 15:41
Modified: 28.09.2012 17:42