The memory institutions of five countries submitted a joint request to include the birch bark letters sent from Siberia in the UNESCO Memory of the World Register


In November 2023,  the Estonian National Commission of UNESCO submitted a joint application to UNESCO on behalf of the memory institutions of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine to nominate the letters written on birch bark sent from Siberia into the UNESCO Memory of the World Register. Letters from Estonia written on birch bark are kept in Vabamu and the Estonian History Museum. 

The application, prepared in cooperation between UNESCO national commissions and memory institutions of five countries, contains 148 documents from the years 1940-1965, which are stored in 31 memory institutions of five countries. Among the documents are letters sent from Siberia, written on birch bark, and other personal documents created by political prisoners or deportees.

The UNESCO Memory of the World Register brings together documentary heritage of world significance. The Register is the most well-known part of the wider Memory of the World programme, which aims to encourage cooperation between memory institutions to preserve and ensure access to the documentary heritage. At the moment, there are a total of 494 entries in the register.     

There are two entries related to Estonia in the Memory of the World register – the documentary heritage of the Baltic Way submitted together with Latvia and Lithuania (2009) and the documents of the Hanseatic League submitted jointly by Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Poland, Germany and Belgium (2023).