National Audit Office publishes diary of Estonian Auditor General Karl Soonpää

Toomas Mattson | 9/14/2014 | 2:00 PM

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TALLINN, 14 September 2014 – The National Audit Office started publishing the diary of pre-war Estonian Auditor General Karl Soonpää (1939-1940) on Facebook today. The thoughts recorded by Soonpää 75 years ago will appear on the wall of the National Audit Office on Facebook over several days and tell readers what President Konstantin Päts, Prime Minister Jüri Uluots, General Johan Laidoner and other statesmen really said about the situation and fate of Estonia at the closed government sessions and private meetings held in 1939 and 1940. Historian Küllo Arjakas has added his comments to the diary entries to explain the background.
Those who wish to see Soonpää’s diary entries in their newsfeed need to Like the page of the National Audit Office on Facebook. This will make it possible to share the historical experience with friends and view the tragic events in Estonia and the world in 1939 and 1940 through the eyes of a high-ranking Estonian statesman.
Today’s first entry speaks about the arrival of the Polish submarine Orzel in Tallinn late on 14 September 1939. The diary will also reveal the identity of the high-ranking Estonian politician who, after concluding the treaty on the establishment of Soviet military bases in the Republic of Estonia in 1939, sought to immediately reduce national defence spending and to get people to approve the presence of the Soviet bases. The diary also reveals the nature of the papers Prime Minister Kaarel Eenpalu burnt in autumn 1939 and why; how the 22nd anniversary of the October Revolution was celebrated in the Republic of Estonia on 7 November 1939; how the Republic of Estonia earned itself money on the black market by taking part in arms smuggling in Europe; which Estonian politicians sent personal telegrams to Stalin on his birthday; and what Estonia’s leaders thought of ways to mitigate the rules of the silent era and permit the activities of political parties once again.

Background:

Karl Soonpää (Soonberg) (born 1895) was the Auditor General of the Republic of Estonia from 1929-1940. He was killed by Soviet saboteurs near Elva 70 years ago, in 1944. He kept a diary from September 1939 to June 1940, noting down the issues discussed at government sessions and his personal observations on life in Estonia. His diary was kept by his relatives, who remained in Estonia. It was first published in Akadeemia magazine in the second half of 1990. In 2009 the National Audit Office and publishers SE&JS published the book Faatum. Eesti tee hävingule. Riigikontrolör Karl Soonpää päevik Eesti Vabariigi saatuseaastatest 1939–1940. Molotovi-Ribbentropi pakti tagamaad. Dokumente ja materjale (Faatum. Estonia’s road to destruction. Diary of Auditor General Karl Soonpää about the fate the Republic of Estonia from 1939-1940. Background of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact. Documents and materials) in memory of Soonpää and to mark the 90th anniversary of the National Audit Office. The book was compiled by Küllo Arjakas, who also added his comments about the diary. It was designed by Andres Tali and published by Sirje Endre.

Soonpää’s daughters, who live in the United States, gave their father’s diary to the Estonian History Museum this summer.

Toomas Mattson
Head of Communication Service, National Audit Office
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  • Posted: 9/14/2014 2:00 PM
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