Methis. Studia humaniora Estonica 2024-06-12T14:16:37+00:00 Marin Laak Open Journal Systems <p><span style="font-size: small;">METHIS. STUDIA HUMANIORA ESTONICA on Tartu Ülikooli kultuuriteaduste ja kunstide instituudi j<span class="tabeltootajategrupeerimine1"><span style="font-weight: normal;">a </span></span>Eesti Kirjandusmuuseumi kultuuriloolise arhiivi ühisväljaanne, ilmumissagedusega kaks korda aastas (juuni ja detsember). Ajakiri on rahvusvahelise kolleegiumiga ja eelretsenseeritav</span></p> Arto Oll, „Eesti merevägi Vabadussõjas 1918–1920“ / Review of Eesti merevägi Vabadussõjas 1918–1920 (The Estonian Navy in the War of Independence 1918–1920) by Arto Oll 2024-05-28T12:32:05+00:00 Lauri Kann 2024-06-12T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Kooliõpetaja Karl Linnu kiri Esimesest maailmasõjast 7. mail 1917 / A Letter from the First World War, May 7, 1917 by a teacher Karl Lind 2024-05-28T12:29:59+00:00 Anu Raudsepp 2024-06-12T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 „Looduse universaal-biblioteek“: raamatusarja juhtumiuuring / Universal Library by Loodus (1927–1931): a case study of the book series 2024-05-28T12:26:35+00:00 Piret Pärgma <p><strong>Teesid</strong>: Artiklis on vaatluse all kirjastuse Loodus (1920–1940) raamatusari „Looduse universaal-biblioteek“ (1927–1931), mida võib lugeda esimeseks järjepidevalt ilmunud täiskasvanutele mõeldud tõlkekirjanduse sarjaks Eesti Vabariigis. Tuginedes arhiivi- ja ajakirjanduslikule materjalile, kirjastuse Loodus kirjastatud väljaannetele ning kaasaegsete mälestustele, püüan rekonstrueerida sarja tervikloo ning ja mõtestada selle rolli kirjastuse Loodus arengus ja Eesti tõlkeloos. Selleks annan lühikese ülevaate kirjastusest Loodus ja tema tegevustest ilukirjanduse väljaandmise kontekstis Eestis, avan sarjale seatud ootuseid ja müügistrateegiat, analüüsin sarjas ilmunut, tutvustan ilmunud tõlgetega seotud isikuid ja poleemikat. Huvitava pilgu lugejakonnale ja selle arvamusele sarjast ning kirjandusest üldisemalt lubavad heita sarja algusaastatel ilmunud ankeetküsitluse analüüsid.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The article gives an overview of the book series “Looduse Universaal-biblioteek” (Universal Library by <em>Loodus</em>, LUB; 1927–1931). The series was given out by publishing house <em>Loodus</em> (Nature; 1920–1940), the company that became the biggest and most successful publisher in the interwar period Estonia. The series is considered the first consistently published translation series of literary works for adult readers in the Republic of Estonia and assumes historical significance. The main objective of the article is to reconstruct the comprehensive story of the series and understand its role in the development of the publishing house and in the Estonian translation history. The sources used are archival documents and interwar period newspaper articles, publications by <em>Loodus</em> and testimonials of the contemporaries.</p> <p>In the article I give a short overview of the publishing house <em>Loodus</em> and its contribution to literary translations in Estonia, introduce the goals and expectations for the series, the marketing strategy, analyse what was published, and touch on the subject of translators and translations.</p> <p>Functioning as a popular series for a diverse readership, the aim of the series was to introduce Estonian readers to the latest foreign literature and create a habit of buying books; the latter was encouraged by low price. Introduction to the book series in magazine “Kirjanduslikke Uudiseid” (published by <em>Loodus</em>, editor-in-chief Hans Männik, one of the founders and head of the publishing house, also editor-in-chief and managing editor of LUB) promises professional translations from original languages. Yet, the constant need for translations resulted in the providing opportunities for novice or occasional translators as well.</p> <p>Important factors were affordability, regularity and compact format. Initially issued every Saturday, totalling 52 releases annually, the typical issue spanned 62–64 pages. From the second quarter of 1930, double issues were released twice a month, occasionally extending to triple and quadruple issues. Priced at 25 cents per single issue, an annual subscription cost 12 kroons. The initial print run was over 4000 copies, diminishing to 1850 in the final year.</p> <p>Commencing with John Galsworthy’s “The First and the Last” on December 31, 1927 (translated by Mihkel Reiman), the series concluded with issue 179–180 (Henri Duvernois “La fugue”, translated by Mart Luht) in December 1931. 109 titles appeared in 180 issues, only 5 of them by Estonian authors. Translated literature encompassed 105 works from 80 authors, translated from 11 languages by 45 translators (published under 47 distinct names, two known pseudonyms have been excluded). About one-third of the titles had a foreword. Its existence and length were likely directly dependent on the strict format of the book.</p> <p>Though the translations underwent scrutiny from the publishing house, the series faced some criticism, particularly regarding claims of abridgment. However, several titles published in the series were included in the recommended lists: the list to public libraries by the Ministry of Education and Social Affairs and to home libraries by The Estonian Book Year Committee in 1935.</p> <p>A lot of emphasis was put on marketing, including pre-ordering (important role was played by book agents collecting orders in the countryside), an extensive sales network, advertisements, campaigns (e.g. free books with the pre-order), literary evenings. A reader survey questionnaire was published at the end of the issue until issue 66/67 (inclusive) to find out readers' preferences, with respondents entered into a draw for travel tickets. The analyses of these questionnaires provided valuable insights into readership, its opinions on the series and literature at large.</p> <p>The contribution of the Universal Library by <em>Loodus</em> to the Estonian literary field should not be underestimated. The series significantly expanded the selection of translated authors, making it a tool for introducing translated literature and new writers and fostering opportunities for emerging translators. Moreover, it positioned the publishing house successfully in the translational fiction market and laid the foundation for a genre-diverse book series magazine. The format that remains vibrant in cultural sphere in Estonia to this day through the book series (officially categorized as magazine) “Loomingu Raamatukogu” (The Library of Creation) by Estonian Writers’ Union.</p> 2024-06-12T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 „Putler kaputt“: ajaloomeemid Vene sõja kohta Ukrainas / “Putler kaput”: Historical Memes About the Russian War in Ukraine 2024-05-28T12:19:38+00:00 Sergei Troitskii Guillem Castañar Liisi Laineste Anastasiya Fiadotava <p><strong>Teesid</strong>: Uurimuses analüüsitakse ajaloomeeme Vene sõja kohta Ukrainas. Leidsime materjalis korduvad motiivid ning vaatlesime suhteid meemide ajalooalasete viidete ja hoiakute vahel. Selgus, et ajaloomeemid võivad olla vahendiks, kuidas õigustada tänapäeva sündmusi, tekitada vaenlaste suhtes üleolekut, anda hinnanguid sündmustele ning naeruvääristada või tunnustada olukorraga seostuvaid inimesi. Analüüsides meemides ajaloolisi viiteid, tuleb arvestada hoiakute mõjuga viidete valikule.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>On 24 February 2022, Russia started the full-scale war in Ukraine. It provoked a lot of parallels with earlier conflicts in the vernacular reactions. There was an abundance of serious and humorous reactions and comments on the war, and the creation and dissemination of memes soared. Some of these used historical motives to underline the stance and message of the utterance. Historical memes are widely spread cultural units that explicitly relate to a particular historical event or personality. They are linked to memory practices that strengthen or help to propagate the meme. Historical memes reanimate the past with the help of historical artefacts (such as photos and videos), to adapt the memories of the past to the circumstances of the present. In times of war, or in any other conflict context, memoricity plays a significant role in narratives related to collective security and evokes affective responses by re-activating feelings associated with past experiences. Historical memes accentuate the emotional and intertextual load by tying contemporary commentary to emotionally charged historical and cultural motifs such as visual and/or verbal references to historical events, characters, catch phrases, etc. They function as shortcuts to basic categorisations of “us” and “them”, friends and enemies.</p> <p>Our aim is to analyse how historical motives contribute to the meaning-making in memes: which historical memes are commonly used in the context of the Russia–Ukraine conflict from 2014, which recurrent motifs transpire in the data, and what the relationship between the historical references and stance of the memes is.</p> <p>Memes offered a vernacular viewpoint on this conflict already since the illegal annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014, and have been actively used throughout the years up to the ongoing military invasion. Some of the memes referred to (pre) historical events, but most of the references res ort to the history of 20th century. The motif of WWII was the most prevalent historical reference in memes on the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine that circulated in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus. While the references to ancient and mediaeval times are generally used to create a certain distance to the 2022 war and place its events and participants in a completely different context, references to the Russian Empire and WWII often draw direct parallels between historical and the contemporary events.</p> <p>The instrumentalist approach to history that is consciously employed by the state can also function on a vernacular level by employing and recognising certain historical references in memes. The results show that historical memes can offer a way of legitimising contemporary events through history. The current actions and political decisions acquire firmness and justification if they are linked to historical events and actors that everyone remembers from school. They also contribute to establishing superiority over enemies, as the audiences find proof in their reasoning when they compare the past with the present. Memes ridicule or praise the people involved with the help of intertextuality pointing at well-known historical personae like Hitler, Goebbels or Stalin. In doing that, memes with historical references seem to demand a more nuanced cultural literacy, while other memes simply depend on the more basic shared cultural background of their creators and audiences to be understood and spread. Approaching historical memes from this angle, we can reveal the workings of intertextuality and their role in different kinds of memes, given that previous research has shown that not all the references and allusions need to be understood to find a meme funny.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 2024-06-12T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Meeste jutud. Sissevaade militaarsete legendide traditsiooni / Men’s Stories. An Insight into the Tradition of Military Legends 2024-05-28T12:12:22+00:00 Eda Kalmre <p><strong>Teesid: </strong>Artiklis keskendutakse meeste militaarsele pärimusele põhiliselt nõukogude sõjaväes, aga ka Eesti Kaitseväes teeninud meeste seas levinud legendide ja nendega seotud kuulujuttude kaudu. Paljud neist grupisisest ühtsustunnet tekitanud lugudest on siiani meeste suulises traditsioonis. Kahjuks ei ole neid juttude aktuaalse leviku ajal kogutud, aga siiski on nüüd võimalik sellest traditsioonist aimu saada spetsiaalsetest militaarsete huvidega internetikogukondade foorumitest (nt <a href=""></a>), mõningast võrdlusainest pakub 1990. aastatel rahvaluulearhiivi laekunud materjal. Meeste, sh endiste sõdurite meenutatud legendid ja kuulujutud keskenduvad lugudele peidetud relvadest, distsipliinist, sõjaväeteenistuse vältimise viisidest, seksist, saatusest ning õnnelikest vedamistest, aga juttu on ka kohalikest erilistest objektidest (sildadest, salateedest jm).</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>The article focuses on the military tradition of men mainly in the Soviet army, but also through legends and related rumors among men who served in the Estonian Defense Forces. Many of these stories, which created a sense of group unity in the Soviet army, are still in the oral tradition of men. Unfortunately, they have not been collected during the actual spread of the stories, now it is possible to get an idea of ​​this tradition through discussion groups of special military-interested internet communities (e.g. The material received in the folklore archive in the 1990s also provides some comparison material.</p> <p>It is a folkloristic study, which is carried out keeping in mind the special and regular framework of the same folktale genres (legend, urban legend, rumour) and motifs. Urban legends are characterized by traditionality, the themes, plots and motifs of the stories are repeated in them. In some cases, as will be seen in the article, similar story motifs and storylines can be found throughout history.</p> <p>In the case of military folklore, it is not a homogeneous substance, some of it is universal material related to military service, weapons or other similar material; and some is created and spread in the relevant context, for example during wars or conflicts. Several legends and the rumour cycles based on them that originally circulated in the repertoire of men or soldiers later reached a wider circulation due to special circumstances. These are, for example, the legend “The snake saves the boy” related to the war in Afghanistan known in the territories of the former Soviet Union; rumors about female snipers of Baltic origin, i.e. white tights, which have been circulating among Russian soldiers since the beginning of the 1990s, emerging in various military operations initiated by imperialist Russia, most recently in Ukraine, for example. The story has been used in official Russian propaganda for decades.The legends and rumors recounted by men and ex-soldiers discussed in this article focus on stories of hidden weapons and secret routes, discipline, ways to avoid military service, relationships with women during military service, fate, and lucky draws. Among this material, you can also find examples of stories mocking Soviet propaganda and the so-called cultural other in the Soviet army.</p> <p>The heroes of conscript stories are mostly low-ranking soldiers who cope with their lives and even receive a reward. Soviet-era conscripts' memories, but legends in a much more general way, show the mentality and world of thought of a soldier serving in an army of a foreign country and ideology: the army is a wasted time, this time must somehow be stretched out/be away and at the same time try to use all the opportunities of this life wisely for your own benefit. Stories of avoiding military service have also been universal over time, because the will to serve in the army of a foreign power was non-existent. So it was in the Russian tsarist army, and so it was in the Soviet army. But in several stories, the justice of the legend also works: cowards and self-harmers are punished in their own way. It is interesting and somewhat unexpected that several legends characteristic of men's lore and soldier’s life are universal and well known among conscripts of the Estonian Defense Forces today. The stereotypical assessments of southern conscripts presented here and a large part of the motives of these stories do not originally come from Estonians but reflect the Great Russian colonialist attitude more generally.</p> <p>These narratives have strong, apparently gender-specific commonalities and belief bases, and are characterized by repetition. For example, stories of avoiding military service in a totalitarian state go back centuries. Military legends convey the expectations, values ​​and ideologies of men and tell about seemingly true events in recent history. Military legends and related rumors describe and express gender stereotypes, define masculinity in a way that pleases men. These stories offer models of behavior and express masculine dreams in a more general sense. At the same time, these stories, considered urban legends, both prohibit and encourage certain gender behaviors and describe the culturally favored behaviors of men – the desire for adventure and adrenaline, power, masculine strength and power, cunning, intelligence and resistance to evil.</p> 2024-06-12T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Sõda eesti laste- ja noortekirjanduses / War in Estonian children’s and youth literature 2024-05-28T12:08:59+00:00 Ave Mattheus <p><strong>Teesid</strong>: Tõukudes juba kolmandat aastat käivast sõjast Ukrainas, millele eesti autorid on reageerinud kiiresti ja erksa meelega, võtab artikkel vaatluse alla sõjateema kajastuse eesti algupärases laste- ja noortekirjanduses läbi aegade. Alates kõige varasematest juturaamatutest 18./19. sajandi vahetusel, mis sisaldavad tekste sõjaväeteenistusse saadetud noormeestest, kuni kõige uuemate sõjast rääkivate pildiraamatuteni 2023. aastast annab artikkel kronoloogilise ülevaate lastele ja noortele suunatud teostest, mis kujutavad sõda, okupatsioone, revolutsioone või mõnd muud militaarse iseloomuga sündmust ning nendega seotud aspekte. Artikkel keskendub valdavalt eraldi kaante vahel ilmunud teostele, mis moodustavad vaid ühe osa mahukast tekstikorpusest, toob välja algupärases sõjateemalises laste- ja noortekirjanduses kõige enam kasutatud ainestikud ja motiivid ning loetleb sõjateema edasise uurimise võimalusi.</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>The article gives a historical overview of war-themed texts in Estonian children’s and youth literature. The choice of the research topic is motivated by Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, which also changed the sense of security in our region. It has also prompted children’s and young adult writers to reflect on war and peace, resistance and cooperation, justice and injustice in a form that is appropriate and comprehensible to young readers.</p> <p>From the earliest storybooks at the turn of the 19th century, which include texts about young men conscripted into military service, to the most recent picture books about war from 2023, the article provides a chronological overview of works for children and young people depicting war, occupation, revolution or other events of a military nature and their related aspects. The article looks at works published mainly in book form, covering only part of a large corpus of texts. Texts published in journals, story collections, anthologies, school textbooks and elsewhere have been excluded for reasons of space.</p> <p>The theme of war in Estonian children’s and youth literature has become topical in connection with the turning points in Estonian history (revolutions, wars, occupations), and also bears the ideological signs of the time. However, as early as the 19th century, during the period of national awakening, national mythological and romantic material (the ancient struggle for freedom and the so-called Lembitu line; the so-called Jüriöö text) was introduced into literature, and has remained topical to the present day.</p> <p>The theme of war has been used more in periods when it was important to strengthen the nation’s sense of unity (the Republic of Estonia before the Second World War) or to justify regime change and new ideology (Soviet Estonia). Texts published in these periods stand out for their strong combative or combative-propagandist stance, strong and/or ideologised characters, sharp confrontations, realistic depictions of violence and death. The war texts that have appeared in free society in the last few decades are predominantly childhood memoirs of a long-ago war or occupation, although they are still generally told in an exclusionary, fragmented way through a narrative of silence. The trauma narrative has not been as topical in Estonian children’s and young people’s war literature as it has been in Western literature in recent decades.</p> <p>In Estonian children’s and young adult literature, most of the war stories are realistic, with human characters and real or possible situations, with only a few animal tales. To a large extent, the way a story is presented depends on the theme, genre and the age of the reader of the text. The majority of war stories are written by men, while women’s voices can be heard in memoirs, fairy tales and, to a lesser extent, folk mythological histories. Most of the works have an autobiographical background, i.e. the writers have themselves participated in the war and/or lived under occupation. This leads to a situation in which male characters are in the foreground and the events are characterised by adventures, intense confrontations and action. Girls came to Estonian children and young people’s war literature during the over-militarised Soviet era. Although writing about war is the most difficult and problematic for young children, both from an age and education point of view, there is literature for them (picture books, books about war games).</p> <p>War-themed texts in Estonian children’s and youth literature mainly pursue educational aims (stories of masculinisation, stories of cooperation, presentations of Estonian history in exile, reminiscences of tragic times in contemporary memoirs), but in certain periods political (the period of the Estonian Republic, exile) and ideological aims (Soviet Estonia) have been more prominent.</p> <p>The article outlines the most frequently used themes and motifs in Estonian children’s and young adult literature on war and lists possibilities for further research on war.</p> 2024-06-12T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Arved Viirlaiu romaanikangelase Eerik Hormi lugu versus Eerik Heine elulugu / The story of Eerik Horm, the hero of Arved Viirlaid’s novels, versus the life of Eerik Heine 2024-05-28T12:05:25+00:00 Anu Raudsepp <p><strong>Teesid</strong>: Arved Viirlaid kirjutas oma romaanikangelase, Nõukogude okupatsiooni aegse vastupanuvõitleja Eerik Hormi lood Eerik Heine (1919–2008) jutustuste põhjal. Hiljem hakati Eerik Hormi lugu omakorda Eerik Heine elulooks pidama. Käesoleva artikli eesmärk on võrrelda Viirlaiu teoste ajaloofakte Rahvusarhiivi allikatega ja otsida vastuseid küsimusele, kes oli Eerik Heine. Vaatluse all on kolm Eerik Hormi ja Eerik Heine lugude põhiküsimust: vangistamine 1940 ja vabastamine Läände saatmisega 1941, vangistamine ja põgenemine 1948 ning vangistamine 1950.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Arved Viirlaid (1922-2015), who took part in the Second World War, escaped from Soviet-occupied Estonia to the West in autumn of 1944. His contribution as a refugee writer is the narration of Estonians’ post-war armed resistance in occupied Estonia, and their experiences in Siberian prison camps. Eerik Horm became the protagonist of Viirlaid’s works appearing in the novels <em>Vaim ja ahelad</em> (1961), <em>Kustuvad tuled</em> (1965a), <em>Sadu jõkke</em> (1965b), <em>Kes tappis Eerik Hormi?</em>(1974) and <em>Surnud ei loe</em> (1975). Eerik Heine (1919-2008), an Estonian who told him about his life during and after the Second World War, served as a model for the character.</p> <p>Because of Viirlaid’s novels, Eerik Heine’s life story has been much talked about. Some Estonian exiles, led by the soldier Alfons Rebas’ and the chairman of the Estonian Freedom Fighters’ Association Jüri Raus, did not believe Eerik Heine’s version of escaping Russian imprisonment and fleeing to the West. According to the CIA, Heine was a KGB agent sent to the West from the Soviet Union. Heine was investigated in the USA between 1964 and 1971, although no definitive truth was revealed.</p> <p>Both the fictional character Eerik Horm and his alleged prototype Eerik Heine joined the resistance movement in the summer of 1940, when Estonia was occupied by the USSR. On the basis of the present information we can also hypothesise that the NKVD itself, with the help of its collaborators, may have organised a resistance group that used provocation to control the minds of young people and find potential opponents of the Soviet regime.</p> <p>The fictional parents of Eerik Horm left Estonia as so-called German emigrants, which is why he too was released from the NKVD in the spring of 1941. Eerik Heine’s parents were indeed allowed to leave Estonia for Germany in 1941 as emigrants. On March 18, 1941, the NKVD also decided to send Eerik Heine to Germany on the first outgoing transport, as his parents had been allowed to resettle in Germany. The NKVD made this decision despite the conclusion of their investigation into Heine’s participation in a youth organisation that aimed to overthrow Soviet rule in Estonia.</p> <p>After leaving Estonia in August 1941, Eerik Horm joined the German army and took part in the Second World War, although no further details are provided. Erik Heine started his military career with the Ostland police battalion in Ukraine and graduated in the summer of 1944 with the 20<sup>th</sup> Estonian SS Division. He was allegedly imprisoned on August 25<sup>th</sup> 1944 and sent to a prison camp in Siberia, from where he escaped and returned to Estonia. There is no documented evidence of this.</p> <p>After two years in hiding, Eerik Horm was arrested again in 1948 in Viljandi for helping fellow prisoner Maks, now a truck driver in Tallinn, to obtain new documents. Horm himself had false documents in the name of Priit Põldmaa. In Eerik Heine’s biography, Ilmar Pallo, who worked at the Tallinn Car Repair Plant, was the inspiration for Maks. According to Pallo, he killed a man with his car in Tallinn in August of 1947, but was taken to the Tallinn’s Polyclinic instead. In the course of the incident, some documents went missing and he had to go into hiding for fear of being punished for the accident. Eerik Heine helped him get new documents for which he went to the Viljandi Military Commissariat. To prove his identity he used Priit Põltsamaa’s documents. Heine was arrested but managed to escape. The real Priit Põltsamaa was also soon arrested and sentenced to 25 years in prison.</p> <p>Eerik Horm and Eerik Heine were both arrested in Tallinn in July 1950 at the National Song Festival. While Horm, the hero of the novel, did not betray his companions, Heine spoke openly at his first interrogation on July 22<sup>nd</sup> 1940 about several people who had helped him between 1947 and 1950. In Eerik Horm’s story, the interrogators were only interested in the Estonian partisan uprising, which Horm said almost nothing about. Both Horm and Heine were released from the prison camp in the autumn of 1956 and sent to the West as "Germans".</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 2024-06-12T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024 Ema mälestusi lugedes. 1926. aastal sündinud naise meenutused sõjaaegsest ja -järgsest argielust / Everyday Life and Memories of War. The Memories of a Woman Born in 1926 2024-05-28T12:01:18+00:00 Anu Korb <p><strong>Teesid</strong>: Artikli aluseks on Pärnumaa väiketalus sündinud-kasvanud Linda Teesalu, artikli autori ema mälestused, mille ta pani kirja järeltulijaile mõeldes oma pika elu viimasel aastakümnel. Talletatud mälestuste põhjal analüüsin, mil moel tulevad Teise maailmasõja sündmused ja selle järelmõjud esile üleskirjutustes, mille keskmes on argielu, ning kuivõrd aitab mälestustega tutvumine toimunut paremini mõista. Üksikisiku mälestused moodustavad koos teiste inimeste mälestustega võrgustiku, milles tulevad esile põlvkondlikud mustrid. Kirjalikud jutustused ja teistelt kuuldud lood möödunust annavad omakorda mälule tuge. Sõja ja okupatsioonidega seostuv traumakogemus puudutab ka neid inimesi, kes ei sattunud otseselt sõjaväljale, küüditamise või vangistamise ohvriks.</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>In this article, I analyse to what extent and in what way the events of the Second World War are reflected in memoirs that do not focus directly on the events of the War, but on everyday life. I use the memoirs of my mother Linda Teesalu, born and raised on a small farm in Pärnu County, recorded in the last decade of her long life. She wrote down her memories primarily with her descendants in mind, although doing so also had a highly therapeutic function for her.</p> <p>Researchers of cultural memory have observed that we must not underestimate society as an environment of memory. In Soviet Estonia it was practically impossible to make memoirs public without editing them. The collapse of the Soviet Union also led to a boom in the collection of biographies and memoirs in Estonia. In biographical writing, the events of people’s personal life and the events of ‘great history’ converge. The result is a constructed past which the writer recreates from his or her own memory, and often that of their loved ones, from the ‘present’ of the time of writing. My mother’s most detailed memories are of her childhood and adolescence, the days of the first Republic of Estonia. In describing events and everyday life, my mother’s story has the nationalist sentiment typical of the biographies of the pre-War generation. In her memoirs, Linda portrays her childhood home, as well as the other people in her village, as empathetic, supportive and united.</p> <p>Every person of a certain age group is influenced by certain historical core experiences. For generations born in the first half of the 20th century, the Second World War is the event that has most changed or significantly overshadowed their lives. My mother’s home village and the surrounding countryside were untouched by direct combat action during the War, so it is not a prominent part of her memoirs, but it does have an impact. In her War-related recollections, my mother, like many other women, focuses on coping with everyday life, with an emphasis on gardening school, celebrating life events, adolescent relationships and leisure activities during the occupation and the War. Estonians often compare the German and Russian occupations in their memoirs. In 1940, a generation brought up in the spirit of independence was suddenly deprived of the political and social environment, traditional consumption habits and spiritual values that had been so familiar to them. The contrast between Russians and Germans is not independently invented by each writer, but is based on social memory, passed down through folklore. In a comparison of school life during the German and Soviet occupations, Linda describes the German period in much brighter tones, while portraying the Soviet occupation as having a dismal and uncaring mentality.</p> <p>In women’s memoirs of the occupation and the War, a great deal of attention is paid to coping with everyday life. Shortages of goods and struggles to buy essential everyday products are often mentioned. In my mother’s memoirs, the harsh conditions of occupation and wartime are better expressed in relation to her own or a family member’s celebrations of life events. Linda’s memoirs also include an important place for adolescent relationships that were interrupted when the young man was mobilised or killed in the war. Linda’s marriage to a man who had evaded mobilisation, had been captured by the Germans in the meantime, and had concealed this on his application form, had a profound effect on my parents’ and our family’s lives. Fear for his own life and the lives of his family remained with my father throughout the Soviet occupation. We can also talk about the experience of trauma in cases where the narrator did not end up in a war zone, or as a victim of deportation or imprisonment.</p> 2024-06-12T00:00:00+00:00 Copyright (c) 2024