On the 16th and 17th of June 2012 the Baltic Council of South Australia held the 60th Annual Commemoration in remembrance of the victims of deportations from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
On the cold, overcast afternoon of 16th June a lone bagpiper’s tune opened the wreath-laying ceremony at the South Australian Migration Museum. Mrs Malda Ceplitis, the President of the Latvian Organisations in South Australia, presided over the event and was standing in for Mrs Jolanta Lusis OAM, the President of the Baltic Council, who was absent due to illness. The event was well attended by over 70 persons, including members of the Baltic Council of South Australia, Presidents of the Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanian Societies and special guests, the Honourable Members Ms Jennifer Rankin MP, Mr Michael Atkinson MP and Ms Jing Lee MLC. Each of the communities had their flag bearers in National costume, with Mr Tom Sarapuu and his daughters Anneliis and Madeleine representing the Estonian community.
Mr Kustas Tiivas opened the event on the bagpipes, which was followed by a song from the Lithuanian children’s choir. Mrs Malda Ceplitis then spoke about the events of 1941 when 130,000 people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were forcibly deported from their homes to the arctic regions of the Soviet Union. She then laid a wreath below the memorial plaque with Mrs Maret Kneebone from the Estonian Community and Mr Antanas Pocius from the Lithuanian Community. Ms Catherine Manning, the Curator of the Migration Museum, then also made a short speech, followed by the Honourable Jennifer Rankin MP, who made a speech recognising the suffering of the Baltic people under Soviet rule and the contribution made to Australian Society by those Baltic people who had migrated to Australia following World War II. She then laid a wreath with Ms Jing Lee and the event ended with a song from the Latvian Children’s Choir and another tune from Mr Kustas Tiivas on the bagpipes.
On the 17th June the 60th Commemoration Service and Concert was held at the Latvian hall in Wayville. There was a large turnout of over 170 persons at this significant commemoration event, with Mrs Malda Ceplitis, the President of the Association of Latvian Organisations in South Australia again standing in for Mrs Jolanta Lusis OAM, President of the Baltic Council. In attendance were Dr Hieu Van Le AO, Lieutenant Governor of South Australia and President of the SA Multicultural Council; Mr Bruno Krumins AM, Chairman of the Latvian Association and former Lieutenant Governor of South Australia; Dr Baden Teague, former Senator for South Australia and guest speaker; Federal and South Australian Presidents of the Baltic Communities; and several other special guests from Local and State Government.
The event commenced with the flags of each of the Baltic Nations being paraded into the hall followed by the clergy from each Society, and then the members of the Baltic Council of South Australia. Pastor Andres Palm from the Estonian Community then read the Introit and the combined Choirs from each of the three Societies sang the Australian National Anthem.
Following an introduction from Mrs Malda Ceplitis, the guest speaker Dr Baden Teague gave a stirring and emotional speech covering the history of the Baltic States, from the struggle for Independence in 1918, through the terrible deportations that occurred in 1941 and 1944-1954, to Independence and freedom from Soviet rule in 1991.
To read his full speech, please click here http://eesti.us1.list-manage.c...
Each of the clergy then provided prayers and readings intermingled with songs from each of the national choirs. The Estonian choir, conducted by Ms Kadri Auväärt, provided the standout performance with two songs “Ta Lendab Mesipuu Poole” by P. Sarapik and “Hoia Jumal Eestit“ by J. Aavik.
The event concluded with a Blessing from Pastor Andres Palm and the combined choirs singing each of the three Baltic National Anthems. As they sang, a slide show of photographs from previous Baltic Commemoration events was shown in the background, and included photographs of the first Baltic Council formed in 1952, demonstrations from the 1950s-80s calling for Independence for the Baltic States, the “Baltic Way” demonstrations in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, and more recent Baltic Commemoration events. The Commemoration Service and Concert was followed by light refreshments and wines that allowed the attendees to mingle and refresh old friendships with members of the other Societies.
While attendees where socialising after the event, Mrs Malda Ceplitis made a presentation of a gift to the Baltic Communities Home and thanked them for their generous donation to the Commemoration activities. She also advised that Mrs Maret Kneebone had decided to retire from the Baltic Council and thanked her for her 30+ years of valued service to the Baltic Council.
Click here to see photos from the events http://eesti.us1.list-manage.c...
60th Annual Baltic Commemoration Event Review