Lauren T. Taniguchi/The News of Cumberland County, nj.com Tuesday, June 05, 2012
UPPER DEERFIELD TWP. — Television viewers in Estonia will soon learn about the unique history of local Estonian Americans through insight offered Monday at the Seabrook Educational and Cultural Center (SECC).
Editor Mati Kirotar, of Independent Video Media in Estonia, interviewed Estonian Americans with Seabrook roots as cameraman Peeter Ulevain captured an oral history, shared in Estonian, of starting anew in the U.S. after leaving displaced persons camps in Europe.
“Right now in Estonia, there is great interest in knowing what happened to the people who left in 1944,” said SECC Trustee Eevi Truumees. “A lot of them have no idea what happened and think the displaced people had a big house and a car waiting for them here, with a tree with money growing from it in the backyard.
“It was scary when we first came here,” she went on, “...but we were very, very grateful to have a new beginning in a wonderful country that accepted us so well.”
Producer/Director Toomas Lepp said his crew visited Seabrook 20 years ago as part of a 27-episode series on Estonians in America. They returned this May to spend three weeks touring the nation interviewing Estonians and Estonian Americans to gather footage for a new, one-hour documentary.
“I think Estonians in the States are very happy, Americans and at the same time Estonians in their hearts,” Lepp said. “Estonians everywhere are self-made men who are not depending on any hard destiny.”
Estonian television crew captures oral history of Seabrook for documentary