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Passenger Stories

Passengers generously share their recollections and artefacts.

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission
can alter the course of history."  - Mahatma Gandhi 

Oral and written histories are important to preserve. Passenger stories often touch upon topics scarcely touched on in written documents. By preserving memories, we fill in the gaps of records that make up historical documents.  These are passenger stories recalling their time aboard the Walnut.  

We remember and honour those that have gone before us.  After all, we are all the products of thousands of years' worth of genes and culture.  We are an accumulation not only of our own life experiences, but those of our ancestors as well.  As each generation passes on, the next becomes the keeper of the heirlooms of memories entrusted to us.  Through the sharing of history over generations, their past becomes our present, and we are forever entwined.

“Preserve your memories, keep them well, what you forget you can never retell.” – Louisa May Alcott

Nelly Hubel

Hubel, Nelly (nee Gustavson)

Nelly was eighteen years old during the voyage.  She shares her memories in a 9:38 min. video interview together with friend Vivi Kivi.

Mati Idnurm

Idnurm Family

Mati Idnurm was six years old during the voyage.  He shares his recollections of the voyage and his mother Melanie's paintings of her homeland.

Johannes Kikkajoon

Kikkajoon, Johannes

Written by his grandson Michael Foster in grade 8, this story is part of Pier 21's oral history collection.

Vivi Kivi

Kivi, Vivi (nee Laaneorg)

Vivi, sixteen, was onboard the Walnut with her mother Ida, and four brothers: Arvo, Karl, Paavo and Raivo.  She shares her memories with her friend Nelly Hubel in a 9:38 min. video.

Hans Leppik

Leppik, Hans

Pier 21 audio oral history conducted by Cassidy Bankson on 1 October 2008 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. 1:57 clip. Hans talks about repeating grade one three times because of language barriers. 

Linda Leppik Hogorth

Leppik Hogorth, Linda

Pier 21 audio oral history conducted by Steven Schwinghamer on 25 July 2007 in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In the 0:43 sec. audio clip Linda talks about the difficult transition to Canadian school as she did not know English and was teased by other children for being a foreigner.

Tonis Lind

Lind Family

Tõnis Lind (Jr.) was just five years old when he found himself aboard the Walnut with his younger brother Tiit Erik, and parents Nelly and Tõnis.  Tõnis Jr. and Nelly share their recollections in a 2009  9:37 min. video.

Asta Piil

Piil, Asta and Hilja Kuutma

Pier 21 audio oral history conducted by Steven Schwinghamer on 12 June 2004 in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  0:44 sec. audio  clip.  Hilja and Asta describe the conditions on board the Walnut as they travelled from Sweden to Canada.

Guri Raag

Raag, Guri

2003 Memoires - Guri Raag was aboard the Walnut with his wife Marcella.  Guri answers the question - Why this kind of voyage when there were opportunities to travel with large, comfortable ships? 

Koidula Roiser

Roiser, Koidula

Koidula Roiser was 25 years old when she and her husband Eduard made their way across the sea aboard the Walnut in 1949. This was her second escape by boat — having left her homeland of Estonia just a mere four years ago on a tiny 12 foot vessel. She shares her recollections in a 2009 9:59 min. video clip.

"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture,
is like a tree without roots."  – Marcus Garvey

Are you a Walnut passenger?  A family member?  Would you like to share your story?  
Please contact us,  we'd love to add your memories to our collection.