Reede, 07 Detsember 2018 19:00
Estonian Life No. 49 2018
Of the many Estonian language books which were published in exile, there is one book which I recommend to those who are able to read Estonian. ‘Lahkumine’ was written by Artur Adson, who was a noteworthy Estonian cultural figure in Estonia who fled Estonia for Sweden with his wife, the renowned poetess Marie Under.
As our Estonian community in Toronto and other Estonian communities abroad commemorate 75 years since the largest forced displacement of Estonians in history in 1944, Adson´s book gives us a good overview of Estonia in the years prior to Estonia´s tragic occupation by the Soviets, and the complexities of trying to flee the country. Written in a simple yet informative style, the reader is able to place themselves in a very difficult time in the past which shaped our ancestors and directly influenced how our Estonian communities in exile were established.. We are able to understand the frustrations and the complexities which faced our people..
Artur Adson and Marie Under were able to leave Estonia on a ship taking many fortunate Estonians to Sweden. Many tried desperately to leave, but were unable to do so. In this book, we can read about the actual journey to Sweden on a ship full of people including a group of leading Estonian cultural figures and politicians. In addition, Adson writes about the fate of other Estonian cultural figures living in exile whose names may be familiar to us from Estonian school in Toronto, from our parents and relatives or from other sources.
For those who have minimal knowledge of our cultural past, this is a good starting point to finding out more about our rich cultural past. Many renowned Estonian cultural figures, scholars and politicians were able to flee to Sweden. This led to many quality books being published in Sweden and in other communities were Estonians further traveled. Andres Laur was just one person who led the drive to publish Estonian-language books in exile. His first books were published in Finland, then in Sweden and finally here in Toronto. Artur Adson´s book was published by Laur´s Orto publishing company in 1951 here in Toronto.
“Lahkumine” leads us back into the time which affected all of our lives and determined our futures. So many years have passed since our ancestors were forced to leave their homeland. Most assumed that they would return. Excerpts from this book and even the entire book should be translated into English not only for our own community members but for everyone interested in world history and culture. If you are fortunate you will find this book on the shelves of some older member of your family or in books that you have in storage or perhaps on your own shelf at home. It has been reprinted in Estonia, so you may be able to find this book in a new edition.
Have an interesting read and let´s open up more dialogue about the history of our own Estonian communities outside Estonia. We do have a very rich cultural past worthy of sharing among ourselves and outside our Estonian communities. Let´s do more to get material translated into English.
Artur Adson has many other books which have been published. He is known for his poems in the Võru dialect of south eastern Estonia. He also wrote several other important biographies which include “Neli Veskit” printed in 1946 and “Siuru raamat” published by Orto in Sweden in 1949, “Neli Veskit” is a collection of short recollections of people Adson has met, places he has visited and times gone by. “Siuru raamat” chronicles one of the most important alternative literary groups in Estonia prior to the war of which Adson and his wife Marie Under were members. This book is still regarded as one of the most important works of this period of literary history in Estonia. It has also been recently reprinted in Estonia.
The bank account for the Estonian Arts and Letters Society (EKS) at the Toronto Estonian Credit Union in Toronto is account number 42180-04. If you are interested in this project to promote our Estonian cultural history in exile, have questions or ideas, please feel free to write to estonianbooksinexile@gmail,com.
We will do our best to respond to your letters as soon as possible.Ingrid Sepp Jaenes
, Estonian Arts and Letters Society,