Open search
« Tuna 4 / 2018

Versions of How Artur Sirk Perished

A letter written by the entrepreneur and public figure Oskar Rütli, who lived in Tartu, was made public over 60 years after his death. Rütli claims that Artur Sirk, the leader of the Estonian War of Independence veterans’ movement, was killed in the town of Ecternach, Luxembourg and describes how this happened.

This article is occasioned by Rütli’s letter to analyse the different versions of Artur Sirk’s death and to attempt to ascertain their validity. Two main versions are widespread: murder and suicide.

Neither version has been verified once and for all and summational analysis does not bring us any closer to the truth. The sources obtained from Luxembourg do not disprove or confirm suicide, and information hitherto disclosed by other researchers, for instance the writings of Villem Saarsen, are not convincing. The fact that the file on Artur Sirk has gone missing from the Luxembourg National Archives is a surprising circumstance that provides grounds for new suspicions. On the other hand, what is hitherto known also does not provide support for the murder version. The letter from Oskar Rütli, which contains several errors, also does not help in any significant way. Unfortunately, he has also left the source of his knowledge undisclosed. The primary research on the murder version has been conducted by Jüri Remmelgas. Numerous publications have been published on this theme but the evidence brought forth in them is contradictory.

A third version has also been suggested, according to which Artur Sirk fell out of a window as he was attempting to escape in panic. A new argument in favour of this explanation is brought forth in this article, but this version is also nevertheless hypothetical. In light of the knowledge that has hitherto been at our disposal, there are no grounds for considering this version any more convincing than the preceding two versions.