Eesti Elu
Help! Our childhood memories are gradually being shared
Kultuur 06 Jan 2012 Mai MaddissonEesti Elu
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Many of you will have read “when the Noise had Ended’ which relates the memories of some of the children who lived in the Geislingen DP camp over 60 years ago. It is currently being translated into Estonian and the authors all await eagerly what the ‘native’ language variant will be like. From being involved with the process and being enthusiastically supported by authors of some of the stories in monitoring this mammoth task I suspect that book too will be an exciting read apart from brushing up the Estonian reading skills of my cohort.

It would be remiss of Priit and me not to thank three very diligent members of the team involved in the translation: Liivi Joe, and Juri and Indrik Linask. Liivi has been the hands on person in Estonia in keeping the project afloat. Juri has been proof reading any conjectured translations and Indrik has paid meticulous attention to clarification of data such as names etc. It’s been truly a team effort.

As some of you are aware, I am now compiling two more books about the memories of the journeys of our youth. They are not specific to the Geislingen cohort as that would distort the story of our journey as Estonian children. We travelled to Germany and other places separately and only some of us merged in Geislingen. Some went to other camps. Likewise after the camps we dispersed randomly to the countries where we were to spend most of our lives.

People have been very generous and I have many fascinating stories already. Many are long and give a lot of depth to the memories of our exodus from Estonia and arrival in our new lands. Thank you to those authors for committing all that valuable time to compiling them. But of course the younger of us will have more scanty and sketchy memories: they too are invaluable as they are what we as little tykes took with us into our adult lives.

The breadth of the books will derive from these smaller ‘snippets’ which can be organised into chapters about various aspects of our journeys. No matter whether you have 2 lines, 20 lines, 200 lines or more every line will be appreciated. The books are called:

Hats off to our parents. This book will address the memories of those who were children and adolescents at the beginning of the war- maybe born after 1930 approximately though I am not going to obsess about rigid boundaries. The cut off will be those who became adults in the camps- but again I am not going to obsess about rigid boundaries,

For those writing snippets, points of interest would be: Imagery of war time Estonia; Leaving Estonia, and the transits; Arriving in Gotenhafen or elsewhere; The trek thru East Prussia; Arriving at the camp/s; Camp memories; Anecdotes remembered from the adults at that time; Unexpected positives and/or negatives; Deja-vus or images/flashbacks (if you are comfortable sharing them).

Estonian World War II Children: A fractured generation (interim name). This book will be about the first five years in the new lands. This book will of course include the group alluded to above but those who remained children/adolescents at the transit. Also of course included will be the children born into the camps.

Somewhere in this book will also be allusion to the children who stayed in Estonia, which too had become a new land for them: It was no longer our “Vaba riik”. And of course it would be totally remiss to not give the children who were exiled to Siberia a place in the book: They too are part of our fractured generation. For those writing snippets, points of interest would be: Brief memories of the camps; The dispersal process; The transit to the new lands; Arrival at the new lands; Life in the new camps; The beginnings of a life among a new culture; School/kindergarten- curiously in “When the Noise had Ended” these memories were not very profuse!! Anecdotes remembered from the adults at that time; Continuation of cultural activities which began in the German camps (while the older ones will have more coherent memories of these, the little snippets of the littlies are equally valuable as they illustrate the birth of our culture away from its origins) ; Folk dancing and singing; Church; Sport; Theatre; Scouting and Guiding; Art other creative pursuits.
Thanking you in anticipation.
 
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