Uprooted: A Story of Estonia (Part IV)

Ed Newman
4 min readMar 27, 2019

Part III was about the day it all broke open.

Ralph lived with his mother Ida and brother Karl in Rahumae, a suburb of Tallin. Even though the Russians had passed a law making it illegal to own radios, Ralph and Karl, like many other Estonians, secretly owned radios in order to maintain contact with the outside world. The country’s newspapers now only carried propaganda approved by the Communists.

At first, the Soviets established their presence by building army bases. But after a short time the terror began. As a policeman, his brother Karl saw many dreadful acts in the streets of their homeland.

One day, while riding his horse along a narrow street in Tallin, Karl saw a man, woman and small boy walking along a sidewalk followed by a large black car. The car, driving very slowly, had its window open and a man inside was calling to the man on the street. The family kept walking and ignored the people in the car. The car pulled to the curb just ahead of them and two men jumped out, one of them clutching a pistol.

Karl dug his heels into his horse’s ribs and galloped to the scene, but was too late. The woman had been clubbed to the ground with the pistol butt and the man, forced into the car at gunpoint, was taken away.

These kinds of things were occurring all over the country.

Ralph and Mutti were best friends, but when it came to Eitzi they were rivals. Both of them loved Eitzi very much. That spring Mutti and Eitzi announced they were getting married. Ralph was happy for them, but sad at the same time because he never thought he’d find someone as special as Eitzi.

A wedding had been planned for the end of June. But on June 14th a great and horrible thing happened. During the night, while Estonia slept, the Soviet Secret Police (NKVD) broke into homes all across the country and abducted 11,000 men. The next morning the streets of Tallin were filled with the cries of wailing mothers and wives who lost their sons and husbands.

One of the people whisked away in the night was Mutti. There would be no wedding. Because Eitzi’s family had a cousin in Sweden, they were able to send her on a vacation to get her away from this place. In a week Eitzi was gone, too, never to return.

Ed Newman

An avid reader who writes about arts, culture, literature & other life obsessions. @ennyman3 Look for my books on Amazon https://tinyurl.com/y3l9sfpj