1 September 1909|
Võrumaal, Paidra, Estonia
27 or 28 September 1978|
Võhandu River, Paidra, Estonia
August Sabbe (September 1, 1909 – September 27 or 28, 1978) was one of the last surviving Estonian members of the Forest Brethren, a group of citizens of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania who resisted and fought against the Soviet occupation of their three nations. Sabbe hid in the forests of Estonia, living off of the land like other Forest Brethren.
In 1978, at the age of 69, Sabbe was found near his birthplace of Paidra, Lasva Parish in southeastern Estonia by two KGB agents posing as fishermen. When they attempted to arrest him, he leaped into the Võhandu River and either drowned accidentally or deliberately wedged himself under a submerged log. The KGB, which took photographs before and after the attempted arrest, maintained that Sabbe drowned while attempting to escape. But some have observed that the river is narrow, sluggish and shallow at that point, an unlikely place for an accidental drowning, and that the open field on the opposite bank and the river's lazy loops gave an elderly man no place to flee from two young, physically fit pursuers. The Forest Brethren's code of conduct and the quickness of Sabbe's reaction suggest that Sabbe was prepared not to be taken alive.
A stone monument to Sabbe stands in a pine grove overlooking the site of his death. It is located just west of Route 65 between Leevi and Tsolgo, almost exactly on the boundary between Põlva and Võru counties.
- Józef Franczak, the last anti-communist fighter in Poland (died 1963)
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