After having found his brother Artur and sharing a secret bunker with him and others near his family’s home at Velise, Saaliste traveled throughout Estonia making contact with widely dispersed groups of the anti-Soviet Forest Brothers. Richard became the recognized authority within the unorganized movement.
He was unable to locate hardly any members of the National Committee or Western intelligence agents who had been unsuccessful in escaping in the fall of 1944. He had been tasked in Sweden with helping them and fundamentalist church leaders to flee to the West. Practically all of them had been either arrested, killed or had disappeared without trace.
He had been able to replace the lost radio with equipment left behind by a former Estonian reconnaissance-diversion team. Communications between Estonia and Sweden were renewed with the first transmission in June of 1947. Soviet security, closely monitoring wave-lengths and possible radio contacts were able to intercept it and reacted with formidable vigour. (Full article here: Estonian Life No. 1 2019)
Laas Leivat, Toronto
I had three godfathers. Tõnu Paomees, who, as a retired high school music teacher died of natural causes in Haapsalu during the Soviet occupation.
As Estonians were preparing to celebrate Christmas away from the inquisitive eyes of local Communist functionaries, on December 14, 1949, my other two godfathers, Richard and Artur Saaliste, aged 33 and 36 respectively, were shot dead in a battle with the NKVD and Red Army troops at Eidapere, near Vändra. This was five years after tens of thousands of Estonians escaped to the West, fleeing from an advancing Red Army.
In 1944 I was three years old at my baptism in Soviet-occupied Hiiumaa. I was obviously without any personal recollections of the three men, but the stories that my father told of the Saaliste brothers have kept their immediacy for me over the years.
Avo Luik külastas Torontot juulikuus ERR segakoori koosseisus. Kui teised koorikaaslased kõik Eestisse tagasi sõitsid, otsustas Avo veel väheke Kanadas ringi vaadata. Ta läbis renditud tsikliga (1000-se V-Strömiga) kümne päeva jooksul ligi 4000 kilomeetrit, sõites läbi Ontario ja Quebec’i ning käies ära ka USA-s (Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York state). Avo oli nõus ,,Eesti Elu“ lugejatele oma reisist lähemalt rääkima.