Eesti Pank is displaying a recollection of Crosses of Liberty
An exhibition of Estonian Cross of Liberty medals dedicated to the 100th anniversary of the Tartu Peace Treaty will open on 6 February at 11.00 in the Eesti Pank Museum at Estonia pst 11. The exhibition contains a full set of Estonian military medals from the collection of Aleks Kivinuk.
The temporary exhibition describes the position of the Estonian state during the War of Independence, the path it took to signing the peace treaty, and how the gold that was agreed on in the Tartu Peace Treaty was brought to Estonia and stored at Eesti Pank. It also describes what happened to the Estonian gold in the Second World War and in the 1990s.
The exhibition also contains the full set of all nine Estonian Cross of Liberty medals from the collection of collector Aleks Kivinuk. The full set of nine can only be found in the private collection of Kivinuk and in the Belgian military Museum. The collection even contains the rare Estonian Cross of Liberty 2nd grade 1st class medal, which was never awarded to anyone.
The need for military honours arose after the Estonian war of independence broke out on 28 November 1918. In total 3225 Crosses of Liberty were awarded. On 19 June 1925 the Riigikogu passed an act terminating the awards of the Cross of Liberty, on the grounds that those who had worked to establish Estonia's statehood had already been honoured.
Famous recipients of the Cross of Liberty included the first President of the Republic of Estonia Konstantin Päts, General Johan Laidoner, hero of the War of Independence Julius Kuperjanov, and the Estonian leader of the Finnish Regiment of volunteers Hans Kalm. The Cross of Liberty was also awarded to the French city of Verdun, British King George V, Swedish King Gustav V, Italian Prime Minister Benito Mussolini, and many other heads of state.
The texts for the exhibition were partly written by Mart Laar and Aleks Kivinuk. The exhibition is open until 20 June 2020.
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Email: hanna.jyrgenson [at] eestipank.ee
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