Friday, 27 September 2013

Book Review - "Viru tänav ja teised" (Viru street and others) by Erika Aulik

I discovered an interesting new book today that is now on the top of my "to buy list". The book, entitled Viru Street and Others by Erika Aulik gives a facinating acocunt of life in Estonia before World War II and during the beginning of the Soviet occupation. The book mentions my great uncle Paul Lesthal who was the director of insurance company Eesti Lloyd so you can imagine I'm eager to get my hands on a copy! Viru Street and Others was first published in 2004 then reprinted in 2006 so I'm guessing it's quite a good read.

Viru Street and Others can be purchased online via Apollo's bookshop.

Apollo's book Summary

Rikkaliku fotomaterjaliga paeluv mälestusteraamat, kus autor kirjeldab elu Tallinnas Eesti Vabariigi ajal enne Teist maailmasõda, sõja ajal ja nõukogude okupatsiooni alguses. Värvikalt on esitatud tollase Tallinna ärielu, kuid et autor liikus ka kultuuriringkondades, siis võib raamatust leida huvitavaid seiku Marie Underi, Artur Adsoni, Johannes Aaviku ja teiste tolleaegsete kultuuriinimeste elust.

Abundant photographic material fascinating memoirs book, where the author describes life in Tallinn, Republic of Estonia before World War II, the war and the beginning of the Soviet occupation. Is vividly presented in the then business life, but the author moved in cultural circles, you might find the book interesting moments occurred Marie Under, Artur Adson, John Aaviku the contemporary culture and other people's lives. eloquently written work revives a piece of the world will be permanently lost. 

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Romantic Estonian Phrases

If you have an Estonian boyfriend, girlfriend, husband or wife, no doubt there would come a time when you wanted to express your love and affection for them in their native language. Finding the right words is not easy - I know, for I have been looking for a suitable phrase list myself for quite some time and never managed to find a good one. So now I have taken matters into my own hands and compiled a list of my own. It's only the start however, I will add more phrases in time. I hope you like it!

I'm so happy I met you  - Ma olen nii õnnelik, et kohtusin Sinuga
I like you - Sa meeldid mulle
I like you alot - Sa meeldid mulle väga
I find you very attractive - Sa oled väga atraktiivne
You've got a great smile - Sul on väga ilus naeratus
You've got beautiful eyes - Sul on ilusad silmad
You're really sexy - Sa oled tõeliselt seksikas
You're beautiful - Sa oled ilus
You look great! - Sa näed väga hea välja!    
I have so much fun with you - Sinuga on alati nii tore.
I'm crazy about you - Ma olen sinu järele hull
I think about you all the time - Mõtlen Sinust kogu aeg
You are so dear to me - Sa oled mulle nii kallis
I think you're amazing! - Ma arvan, et Sa oled hämmastav!
No one makes me feel like you do - Keegi ei pane mind tundma nii nagu Sina seda teed
I adore you - Ma jumaldan sind
I love you - Ma armastan sind
You fill my heart with joy - Sa täidad mu südame rõõmuga  
What would I do without you? - Mida ma Sinuta teeksin?
My life is complete with you - Mu elu on Sinuga täiuslik 
We belong together - Me kuulume kokku
You're the one for me - Sa oled mulle ainus
I love you more and more each day -  Ma armastan Sind iga päevaga aina rohkem
You mean the world to me - Sa tähendad mulle tervet maailma
I love you with all my heart - Armastan Sind kogu südamest
You are the sunshine of my life - Sa oled mu elu päikesepaiste 
I will always love you - Ma jään Sind alati armastama
I love you more than anything - Armastan Sind rohkem, kui kõike muud
I dream of you day and night - Unistan Sinust nii päeval kui õõ
I miss you - Ma igatsen sind
Will you marry me? - Kas sa abiellud minuga?
I am madly in love with you - Olen Sinusse põõraselt armunud
I can't live without you - Ma ei suuda Sinuta elada
You are the love of my life - Sa oled mu eluarmastus
I love you as you are, don't ever change - Ma armastan Sind sellisena, nagu Sa oled, ära iial muutu

Monday, 16 September 2013

25 Years Pass Since Heinz Valk's Famous Speech | Videod | News | ERR

Cartoonist Heinz Vaik (born 1936) gave one of Estonia's most remembered speeches at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds on September 11, 1988. The national song and speech event attracted around 300,000 people - about three times as many as the Estonian Song and Dance Festival - and was one of the key moments of the Singing Revolution.

Watch video (click on link below)
25 Years Pass Since Heinz Valk's Famous Speech | Videod | News | ERR

Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Baltic University - DP Study Camp Pinneberg (Post WWII) - Germany

I have been researching my family history for almost twenty years now and have discovered many wonderful facts I never knew as well as heartbreaking tales which will forever be burned in my psyche. It has only been in recent months that I have learnt the existence of the Baltic University in post WWII Germany and the connection my family had with it. After reading an article about filmmaker Helga Merits who is currently making a documentary about displaced Estonians who attended the university I decided to contact her. To my surprise, Helga promptly replied to my email, not only confirming that my grandfather was an economics student there but also sending me copies of photographs and telling me my grandfather was mentioned in a book. A book? What book? I remember feeling my heart race at the news of this discovery. The book is entitled - "Baltic ulikool Saksamaal 1945-1949" by Elmar Jarvesoo, published in 1991. The 518 page book is written in Estonian with a four page summary in English. The book explains in details what the Baltic University was all about, containing many photos, diagrams and student lists as well as personal accounts. This is a very valuable book and I will forever be grateful to Helga for introducing me to it.  Baltic ulikool Saksamaal can be found in most major libraries; I borrowed a copy from the National Library in Tallinn.

Entrance to the DP Pinneberg Study Camp.

Extract in English taken from the book - Baltic ulikool Saksamaal 1945-1949.

Sample page of student list.

The book contains many personal accounts written by students during their time at the university. Here is one such story that mentions my grandfather during New Year's Eve.

The Baltic University lecture buildings.

The building that once housed the Baltic University is now the site of the History Museum in Hamburg.

Additional information can be found at:

Friday, 13 September 2013

Valli Baar - A Unique Place to Drink in Tallinn

Tallinn is full of interesting and unique hotspots but when it comes to nightlife, the Valli Baar is undoubtedly in a class of its own.  Standing at a modest 61.4 sqm and comprising of only 21 oak bar stools, the Valli Baar is the only bar in Tallinn that has its original 1960s interior, a feature owner Valli Kaseorg proudly says will never change because customers love it that way!

The Valli Baar is one of those places that once visited, silently entices you to return. It has an atmosphere teeming with life; a unique blend of music, talk and laughter that always leaves you walking away with a high. Every night musicans can be heard playing in the corner, sometimes it's the piano accordian, violin or guitar and patrons can sing along if they know the words. What makes Valli Baar unique is that these musicians are not paid to do what they do, they are fellow drinkers with their BYO instruments meaning anyone can join in and play if they want.

Valli Baar is the only place in Tallinn where you can buy the cocktail "millimallikas" (Jellyfish) in fact it's their house specailty, they invented it. No one really knows the exact recipe to millimallikas but it doesn't matter, it attracts people from all corners of the globe to come and try it. But buyer beware, millimallikas is not for the faint hearted; it's strong and usually needs to be washed down afterwards with a bit of apple or orange juice. Everyone should try millimallikas at least once, it always brings a smile to the face - either to yours or the person you're drinking with! It's quite something.

Valli Baar attracts a certain type of drinker; the loyal local who can be seen there every week as well as the curious tourist eager to try something new. One thing is for certain however, Valli Baar is here to stay. It has been placed under heritage protection by the Tallinn Cultural Heritage Department in order for future generations to enjoy.

Located at Muurivahe 14

Millimallikas (Jellyfish)

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Old Tallinn Postcard

I found this lovely old postcard of Tallinn in Estonia recently. I'm thinking of starting a collection!

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Täna on vanavanemate päev

Igal aastal tähistatakse septembrikuu teisel pühapäeval vanavanemate päeva. Sel päeval tasub vanaemasid ja vanaisasid tavapärasest enam tähelepanuga hellitada: valmistada ette lõunasöök värskes õhus, minna koos terviserajale, külastada ühiselt muuseumi, vaadata vanu fotosid ja teha uusi pilte. Samuti kogutakse vanavanemate tarkuseteri ning koogi, moosi ja muu maitsva toidu retsepte.

Tänapäeva kultuur on väga noortepõhine, suuremat rõhku pannakse noortele nii sotsiaalvaldkonnas kui igapäeva asjades. Meie vanaemad-vanaisad on justkui koorem, mida peame oma palga ja ajaga üleval pidama. Kui me neid nii kohtleme, siis just sellised nad ongi. Tegelikult on vanavanemad meie kultuuriline pärand, meie varakamber, tarkuste varaait, vundament, millel püsime. Koheldes neid väärikalt ja austusega muutuvad nad väärikaks ja auväärseks.
Tänavu tähistatakse Vanavanemate päeva Tallinna Lennusadamas, Viimsi Rannarahva Muuseumis, Narva Kunstigaleriis, Eesti Põllumajandusmuuseumis ja mujalgi. Professorite Küla Selts Tallinnas korraldab vanavanemate auks väikese tänavapeo ning vanavanemate päeval saab mõnusalt aega veeta ka loomaaias, kus toimuvad tasuta ekskursioonid nii eesti kui ka vene keeles. Täpsemalt on võimalik üritustega tutvuda EV95 kodulehel.

Vanavanemate päev lisati riiklike tähtpäevade nimekirja veebruaris 2010, lisaks peetakse vanavanemate päeva ka mujal maailmas rahvuspühana, näiteks USA-s, Kanadas, Prantsusmaal, Itaalias, Poolas, Inglismaal.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Destruction of Kopli Cemetery Tallinn

Many atrocities took place in Soviet occupied Estonia, not only against the living but also the dead. In 1951 and without warning, Estonians were horrified to discover that Soviet authorites had ordered the complete destruction of Kopli Cemetery, the largest Lutheran Baltic German cemetery in Estonia.  Burials had taken place there just days prior to the horrific event and families were left utterly devastated to see the final resting places of their beloved bulldozed to the ground.

No trace of the cemetery was left standing. The gravestones were used to build walls and sidewalks in other parts of the city.

Kopli Cemetery was established in 1774. It came after Catherine the Great decreed that no person, regardless of social standing could be buried in a church or churchyard. The cemetery was quite large in size and divided into two sections. The western part comprised 4.33 hectares and was used for members belonging to the Niguliste parish (St.Nicholas Church) whereas the 5.69 hectares to the east was used for members of the Oleviste parish (St.Olaf's Church). Many prominent Estonian citizens were buried here.

I am of Baltic German origin and many of my relatives were buried at Kopli cemetry. The Becker family count among my ancestors and in 1928 my great aunt Rita Lestal (Lesthal) was buried here, aged just 3 years old.

Today Kopli Cemetery is a public park. 

I visited Kopli Park to pay my respects to my ancestors, deeply saddened in the knowledge that I was walking over thousands of bodies. Lest we forget.