The medals room

The medals room features the War Museum’s collection of decorations. In addition to serving in the Estonian defence forces, Estonian men and women also served in the militaries of several other countries in the 20th century: the Imperial Russian Army, the occupation armies of the Soviet Union and Hitler’s Germany as well as the US and other armies during the Cold War. The War Museum is the guardian of the decorations of numerous deceased Estonian officers.

The exhibit features Estonian Crosses of Liberty, Defence League Crosses of the Eagle and an Order of the Red Cross, alongside the Orders of the National Coat of Arms and the White Star, both established in the 1930s. The Estonian decorations on display also include those of the Defence League, Defence Forces, Ministry of Defence and their respective agencies as well as those of Defence Forces units and Defence League districts.

A highlight of the exhibit are the decorations of Major General Aleksander Tõnisson (1875–1941), ranging from orders of the Imperial Russian Army to those bestowed by European countries for promoting military cooperation. The exhibit also features the orders of Soviet army Major Generals Vello Vare and Karl Aru, the Iron Crosses and other orders and decorations of the German army and the orders and medals of Colonel Enn Tietenberg, who served in the US army as a helicopter pilot.

Most of the decorations and medals of the Republic of Estonia were crafted in Roman Tavast’s workshop. Examples of Tavast’s work from the interwar period are found in the middle of the medals room.