Two New Memoirs Published About Agnes Tündern’s life in Australia

October 1, 2016

Last year Ann Tündern-Smith from the Council of the Estonian Archives in Australia had two memoirs of her mother published. The first, in Estonia’s War Children: A fractured generation, compiled and narrated by Mai Maddisson, covered the first five years of Agnes Tündern’s life in Australia, which is roughly the first five years of Ann’s “war child” life too.

The second memoir appeared in Across Lands and Oceans… to Freedom, Vol. II, compiled by Vasilios Vasilas. In this memoir, Ann focussed on the reasons why Australia agreed to settle refugees from the Eastern Europe after World War II and what this meant for her mother, who was one of the first intake in 1947.

Ann also had published biographies of two other women from the same intake in an electronic journal, Life Writing, in late 2014. Her article on Narratives of Women from the First Transport can be accessed at Ann had found a paucity of memoirs of women’s refugee and resettlement experiences in Australia. She used the life stories of Helgi Nirk, a tomato breeder from Estonia, and Irina Kakis, a teacher from Latvia who became deputy matron of an Australian hospital, to argue that it cannot be assumed that women take a subsidiary role in refugee flight and resettlement.

Ann Tündern-Smith