Eesti Elu
Torches of Memory IV – a road to your roots (1)
Archived Articles 27 Mar 2009 TTEesti Elu
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The biographies of individuals are the yarns from which the carpet of a nation’s history is woven.
Shortly before last Christmas holydays the fourth issue of Torches of Memory was published. It contains the memoirs of the group of writers active at the Tartu College. The current issue is unique in that the memoirs are written in both Estonian and English. This takes into account the fact that many of the third generation of Estonian refugees into Canada no longer speak Estonian sufficiently fluently, which is an impediment to reading the memoirs written by the first and second generation Estonians.

It is very likely that many of the third generation of Estonians shortly or eventually develop an interest about their roots. Unfortunately it happens quite often that when such interest arises, there is no longer anyone around whom to ask what happened, who were the relevant persons, events and situations.

The series of Torches of Memory, the first three issues of which are unfortunately written only in Estonian, covers the fate of the Estonian people from the birth of the first independent Republic of Estonia to the arrival of refugees in Canada and their adjusting to the new life. Torches of Memory IV covers the same period, but with fewer examples. It is still sufficient for looking for your roots and it mirrors the fate of our people. Unfortunately the culmination is the hurricane of the Second World War, which hurled our people like nutshells into the four corners of the world and played roulette with life and death. Those who survived are lucky and many of them share their experiences on the pages of the series.

In summary the fourth issue of Torches of Memory covers memories from the First independent Republic of Estonia, the first occupation of Estonia by the Soviet Union, the suffering in Siberia and on the front of the Estonian men who were forcefully mobilized into the Red Army, the great flight in the fall of 1944 from the impending second occupation of Estonia by the Soviet Union, the tribulations in war ravaged Germany, the life in refugee camps in Germany, the life and work in Sweden and England, emigration to Canada including difficulties in obtaining a higher education and life in Estonia during the second occupation by the Soviet Union.

The Torches of Memory IV can be purchased at the Estore in the Estonian House in Toronto and at Tartu College in the library of the Estonian Studies Chair, which is open on Tuesdays between 11.00 to 17.00 and on Thursdays between 11.00 to 13.00
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