S.S. Walnut

A Voyage to Freedom - 1948

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Into God's Hands

 A stormy sea -
the water 
looms endless -
cold and frigid;

We leave behind 
forever
those we have loved
things we have known;

All my possessions
in one small suitcase -
 memories 
are easy to pack;

What fate awaits us?

Together we came
with dread -
yet filled  with hope;

Into God's hands -
we placed our dreams
and our lives;

Deliver us all
from evil
Your kingdom come;

We thank You -
for this second chance
our lives anew.

Tiiu Roiser 
Dec. 2008

 

 

All About Estonia

Rooftop view of old Tallinn.The Country

Although the smallest of the Baltic states, Estonia is currently being described by tourism companies as no longer being Europe's best-kept secret.  The capital Tallinn has become a popular cruise ship destination and is being included in most northern Europe cruise itineraries.    Tourists admire the old medieval portion of the city with it's 14th-centruy buildings and cobbled streets. 

The country has been ruled for many centuries by the Danish, Swedes, Germans and Russians.  It has been attacked, devastated, and pillaged on numerous occasions throughout history.  The country was forcibly incorporated into the USSR in 1940 and  it regained its freedom in 1991. 

The climate can be described as maritime, wet, with moderate winters and cool summers.  The terrain is marshy lowlands -- flat in the north, hilly in the south.   The highest elevation is at Suur Munamägi -- 318 m.   Offshore lie more than 1,500 islands -- Saaremaa being the largest.  The country is divided into 15 counties including:  Harjumaa, Hiiumaa, Ida-Virumaa, Järvamaa, Jõgevamaa, Läänemaa, Lääne-Virumaa, Pärnumaa, Põlvamaa, Raplamaa, Saaremaa, Tartumaa, Valgamaa, Viljandimaa and Võrumaa.  A visitor will find old manor houses, iconic windmills, quaint country villages, lovely seaside towns, spa resorts, medieval ruins and an abundance of forests and marshlands.  

Photo: © Alexander Kozik - used with permission.
Source:  http://atgc.org/PhotoAlbum/estonia_2006

 

 

Fast Facts

  • Official Name -- Republic of Estonia;

  • Population -- 1.34 million;

  • Area --   45,227 sq. km. 
    (17,462 sq. m.);

  • Capital City --  Tallin 
    (Pop: 411,600); 

  • People --  Estonian 67.9%, Russian 25.6%, Ukrainian 2.1%, Belarusian 1.3%, Finn 0.9%, other 2.2% 
    (2000 census);

  • Languages --  Estonian (the official language), Russian;

  • Religions --  Mainly Lutheran; Orthodox Christian, others;

  • Currency --  Kroon;

  • Government --  Parliamentary Democracy.

 

Recent History

Estonian Coat of ArmsAs a result of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939, Nazi Germany gave control of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to the Soviet Union.

During World War II, between 1939 and 1945, through both the Nazi and Soviet occupations, Estonia 's direct human losses reached 180,000 residents, which amounted to 17% of its total population. During the Nazi occupation from 1941 to 1944, 7,800 citizens of the Republic of Estonia (70% ethnic Estonians, 15% ethnic Russians, 12.8% Estonian Jews, and 2.2% representing other nationalities) were executed in Nazi prison camps. 

In the late 1980s, looser controls on freedom of expression under Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev reignited the Estonians' call for self-determination. By 1988, hundreds of thousands of people were gathering across Estonia to sing previously banned national songs in what became known as the "Singing Revolution."

Text source:  US Department of State-Estonia

 

Why did the passengers of the Walnut flee from their Homeland?

[In 1944] Thousands of civilians left the country with the retreating German troops or in boats over the stormy sea.  Nearly 70,000 Estonians managed to reach the West; how many lives were claimed by the sea is not known.  By the end of the Second World War, every tenth Estonian lived abroad.  Large and vigorous Estonian colonies formed in Sweden, Canada and the USA

Before the Russian troops arrived, tens of thousands of refugees left Estonia.  They formed exile Estonian communities and tried to maintain their cultural identity and language for all the years when their homeland was occupied by the Soviet Union.

Estonia lost altogether a whole quarter of its population in the war, i.e. 282,000 people — either dead, fled abroad or deported.  30,000 men were killed in action.  Estonia also lost all its minorities:  the Baltic Germans left for Germany in 1939–1940, the coastal Swedes went to Sweden in 1943–1944, the Jews were exterminated, and the districts with a Russian majority across the Narva River, in Pechory (Petseri) and in Ivangorod (total 2334 sq km, 56,000 inhabitants) were incorporated into Russia in late 1944. This action violated even the existing laws of the Soviet Union.  In early 1945, the population of Estonia was no more than 800,000, of whom 97–98 percent were Estonians.

By late autumn 1944, the entire Estonian territory had again been occupied by the Red Army.  Although the Western countries did not recognize the annexation of the Baltic states de jure, they were not prepared to take action, being unwilling to confront the Soviet Union.  Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania were the only countries whose independence was not restored at the end of the war, not even in the form of the so called people’s democracies of the Soviet Union’s Central and East European satellite states.

The annexation immediately resulted in another wave of Red Terror:  arrests, executions, deportations and other brutal violations of human rights.  This time the main pretext for persecution was service in the German army or in local government during the German occupation period.  Between 1945 and 1959, 75,000 people suffered repressive measures, 19 000 of them were executed or perished.  All Germans and sectarians were deported from Estonia;  a whole generation was deprived of the opportunity to lead a normal life, even by Soviet standards.  The key positions in local administrative systems were given to Russians and Russian Estonians.

Text source:  Estonica.org - Warfare in Estonia in 1944.

 

Would you like to see the beautiful landscape of Estonia
and hear the national anthem?

 

CLICK HERE to go to view ESTONIAN ANTHEM VIDEO at YouTube.

The above video is compliments of aka "ESTONIAisTHEbest"
Used with his kind permission.

 


Visit Estonica.org

A highly recommended website filled with facts about Estonia's history, 
culture, education and science, state, economy, society and nature.

 

Web encyclopedia Estonica (www.Estonica.org) is a bilingual web publication, compiled by the Estonian Institute, with the aim of offering a compact and systematic overview of Estonian society, culture, history, nature, education, science, state administration and economy, and of the connections between these fields.

Estonica is a continually expanding and dynamic store of information. The texts are written by experts and are supplemented by archive materials and pictures taken by professional photographers. The project aspires to show Estonia as it is and help people to orientate in our cultural space. In addition to presenting objective information, Estonica tries to BE analytical and visionary, encouraging the reader to think about matters concerning Estonia also in the future.

 Visit www.estonica.org

 

This website has been created and is maintained by Tiiu Roiser Chorowiec.    © 2009 - 2016  Tiiu Roiser-Chorowiec.  All rights reserved.
All images and text on this page are used with permission and are Copyrighted by the image providers.  
I thank all the individuals who have graciously allowed us to post their images and stories on this website.  A list of contributors appears on the links page.  

Distribution, transmission or republication  of any material from www.walnut1948.cwahi.net in whole or in part or in any medium or form is prohibited without
  the prior written permission of copyright holders.  For information please email tiiu-roiser@rogers.com

The music featured on this page is an Estonian Hymn.  Tune by Juhan Aavi, 1884-1982.
The Midi "Hoia, Jumal Eestit" has been created and arranged by Tiiu Roiser © 2009

This page was last updated 31/12/2015 01:15 AM


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