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Birthplace of Estonian Statesman Heinrich Mark to be Marked

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Tallinn, Stenbock House, 30 September 2008 – On Wednesday, 1 October, a memorial stone will be dedicated in Põlva County, at the birthplace of Heinrich Mark, the Head of Government who acted as the President of the Republic of Estonia and was the State Secretary in exile. Today, 97 years will have passed from the birth of Heinrich Mark.

The dedication of the memorial stone at 14.00 at the Otsa Farm, Ihamaru Village, Kõlleste Rural Municipality will be attended by State Secretary Heiki Loot, Rural Municipality Mayor Andrus Seeme, Peeter Mark, Heinrich Mark’s son as the representative of the family, and Trivimi Velliste, Member of the Riigikogu and Chairman of the Konstantin Päts Museum. The memorial stone will be blessed by Margit Lail, the pastor of the Jaani congregation of the Estonian Evangelist Lutheran Church of Kanepi.

At the meeting to be held after the dedication of the memorial stone, members of the exile government of Heinrich Mark, Enno Penno and Peeter Luksep, member of the Riigikogu Urmas Reinsalu and Chairperson of the Karl Ristikivi Association and alumna of the Estonian Student’s Society Veljesto, Janika Kronberg, will speak.

Within the framework of the anniversary year of the Republic of Estonia, the State Chancellery has already marked the birthplace of August Rei in Järva County, the birthplace of Aleksander Warma at Viinistu, the birthplace of Otto Strandman in Kadrina Rural Municipality, the birthplace of Ado Birk in Tarvastu Rural Municipality and the birthplace of Jaan Teemant in Varbla Rural Municipality. The opening of the memorial stones serves to pay respect to our statesmen, the rural municipalities and towns that have given them to us, and to our history.

Heinrich Mark was the State Secretary of the exile government of the Republic of Estonia in the years 1953-1958. In 1971, Tõnis Kint, the Prime Minister acting as the President, appointed Mark as Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of War. He remained in this position until 1990, when Mark became the Prime Minister acting as the President in exile. On 6 October 1992, Heinrich Mark conferred powers to the newly formed government of the Republic of Estonia and President Lennart Meri.

Heinrich Mark was born on 1 October 1911, on the Otsa Farm, Kõlleste Rural Municipality, Võru County. He was educated at Võru and Tartu Teacher Training Colleges. From 1933-1938, he studied in the faculty of law at the University of Tartu. After that, he worked as a primary school teacher for two years. In 1940, he was an assistant to attorney at law Peeter Sepp in Tartu; from 1941-1943, assistant to an attorney at law in Tallinn.

After the occupation of Estonia in 1940, he worked as a secretary at the University of Tartu for a short while. In 1940, Mark ran as an opposing candidate of the Estonian Working People’s Union at the elections of the Riigikogu, but was removed from the list of candidates. 1943. In 1943, he escaped to Finland, where he was one of the organisers of the Estonian Office and assistant to the editor-in-chief of the newspaper “Malevlane”. In 1944, Mark moved to Sweden, where he served as assistant to the Foreigners Commission.

Heinrich Mark died on 2 August 2004. His ashes are scattered in the sacred commemoration grove at Stockholm Forest Cemetery. In Estonia, the only memorial plaque to Heinrich Mark is the family memorial stone at Kanepi cemetery.

Read more about the biography of Mark at