Oskar Meltsas. Piirita Siberimaa. Siberi eestlase mälestused. (Siberia Without Borders. Memoirs of an Estonian in Siberia) Tänapäev 2022, 183 p.

July 25, 2022

The memoirs of Oskar Meltsas have now made it to readers, a genuine glimpse into how an Estonian community in Western Siberia, Zolotaja Niva (est. 1895), came to be while also telling the story of what day-to-day life was like in the village from it’s formation to the First World War.

Oskar Meltsas, born in 1909, documented these stories passed on through word-of-mouth but wasn’t able to actively take part in the experiences himself, instead he relied on the tales told by forefathers and other village inhabitants. Despite his lack of education, he could document the stories of his ancestors in a primarily humorous manner, in beautifully written Estonian. The accounts have been put on paper much later than the experiences occurred, towards the end of the 1970s.

These memoirs can also be read as a reflection of an Estonian’s arrival in Siberia, wherein the fates of exiles and emigrants intertwine.

Accompanying the recollections are forewords by Hetti Meltsas, Anu Korb, and Urmas Bereczki, along with numerous photos.