Abruka Island: Post-War Deportations And A Modern Tragedy

Letter from Estonian Writer Ülo Tuulik.  Part 3:

I spent a poor and unpretentious and yet wonderful childhood on this island.  The war was over, my family was alive, the sky was blue, the sea was filled with fish and we were surrounded by friendly neighbors.  The island did not have electricity, a telephone, nor even a single radio, a general store or a doctor, but we did not starve.  And, in the spring of 1945, when 20,000 Estonians were deported into Siberia, many neighboring families were saved by the break-up of sea ice – the Soviet Russian deporters did not dare to cross the thin ice.

In the summer of 1994, four young married couples, including both my daughters and their husbands, reserved tickets to go to Stockholm on the ship Estonia on 26th of September 1994.  For different reasons, my daughters and one son-in-law could not go through with the trip.  Five young people, our neighbors and friends from many summers, young beautiful people in their prime went and never returned.  The three who survived erected this cross and made sure that the memory of what happened is never forgotten.

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