KGB Headquarters, Tallinn
On the face of it, there is little to distinguish the house at Pagari 1 from its neighbours, until closer inspection confirms that the cellar windows have been bricked up. But in its time, this innocuous looking building was possibly the most feared place in Tallinn, as it was the local headquarters of the KGB.
What transpired in this house does not bear thinking about, and whereas other cities have chosen to convert their former KGB headquarters into museums (for example, Budapest), Tallinn has not. One can only speculate on the reasons behind this decision: for what it's worth, I believe that it may be that the KGB's influence on Estonian society is still too recent for Tallinn's residents to make peace with.
To add insult to injury, the spire of nearby St Olaf's church was used by the KGB to transmit radio signals. One of the most striking aspects of Estonian society today is the way that the Soviet regime effectively managed to almost completely expunge religion from everyday Estonian life (with only the ethic Russian minority being allowed to continue their Orthodox religious observance without interference during the occupation), and use of a religious building to aid and abet the atrocities that took place in the KGB headquarters seems especially disrespectful.
The plaque outside reads: "This building housed the headquarters of the organ of repression of the Soviet occupational power. Here began the road to suffering for thousands of Estonians". That says it all.
The large building at Pikk 59 is the site of the former Soviet KGB headquarters in Tallinn. Now used as an administration building by the police, its bricked up cellar windows are a reminder of its previous uses- interrogation, torture and murder.
Once the KGB had their headquarters in Tallinn. It also was once the most feared place in the city. The windows were hided by bricks. The KGB were interrogated spies/enemies of the state. One got shot and the other was send to Siberia.
"This building housed the organ of repression of the Soviet occupational power. Here began the road to suffering for thousands of Estonians."
So reads the plaque outside the former KGB Headquarters in Tallinn. During Estonia's occupation by Russia, this building on Pikk Street, was one of the most feared places in the city of Tallinn. It was here that interrogations were carried out on anyone refusing to comply with the Russian state system. Most people suspected of non-compliance were either shot or sent to Siberian labour camps.
As you walk around the outside you can see the bricked up basement windows, inside of which, the interrogations took place. The windows were bricked up so that nobody outside could see or indeed hear what was going on inside.
In soviet times, the northern part of the old town was KGB territory. The spire of Oleviste church was used as a radio surveillance station and their estonian headquarters were in a couple of buildings close by. This large complex is now used by estonian authorities for less oppressive purposes. My Lonely planet guidebook told me to go to Pikk 46/48, but there, I just found two colourful houses. The former KGB headquarters, however, are on the opposite side of the street at number 59. Look at their cellar windows which were bricked, so the people outside weren’t able to see or hear anything about the KGB’s interrogation methods.