Many Estonians who had to abandon their homes during the Second World War are known to have buried objects underground, hoping to return and recover them later. In addition to valuables, these family treasures often included items that were important for reasons other than their pure economic value.
Based on current information, sets of china seem to be among the most common objects to have been buried. For the exiles, telling stories about these hidden treasures has been a way to remember their homes and to keep alive the hope of returning. After the fall of the Soviet Union there were people who returned and who were in some cases able to recover their family belongings. Some of these tales of treasure which belong to modern folklore have actually been proven true.
A recently initiated scientific research project, led by Professor Mats Burström at Stockholm University, Sweden, is now studying such stories about family treasures hidden in the ground in Estonia during the Second World War. The general aim of the project is to study the relation between material objects and memory, and how the stories of individual families connect to the larger and official history. The project will benefit from all stories about hidden family treasures, regardless of whether or not their existence can be confirmed. If you have any such story concerning your own family or have heard one from others, please contact Mats Burström – he will be most grateful!
You may reach him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
or: Mats Burström, Department of Archaeology and Classical Studies, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, SWEDEN
Ph. +46 8 162095