1944: Images of the Great Escape

June 7, 2014

In the summer and autumn of 1944, approximately 70,000 Estonians escaped across the Baltic Sea to Finland, Sweden, and Germany from the advancing Soviet army.

The lives of individuals and families were changed as soon as they decided to step foot on boats or ships. Crossing the sea changed the borders between a life lived in Estonia and Estonian life lived abroad. What was thought to be a temporary departure turned into something real; the cost of moving to a free land was loosing one’s homeland, which only became clear decades later. An event that changed one’s life is difficult to forget; even 70 years later the images of refugees remain important.

The heart of the exhibition starts at the moment of departure from Estonia until life began at the first stop in Sweden or Germany.

13 June – 5 October 2014 Estonian National Museum in Tartu

Curators: Riina Reinvelt, Maido Selgmäe