Young Ladies of 1930: the Rest of the Story

Last week, we posted a picture from Harribel & Terribel of a group of teenage girls taken in Estonia in 1930. I expressed some curiosity as to what happened to them later, considering the history of that country. Kaisa was kind enough to send an update and tell us about her grandmother.

My grandmother's name was Aino and she was 15 when this picture was taken. They were just goofing around. She never smoked, by the way. She married my grandfather, a pharmacist, in 1939 and gave birth to my uncle in 1941. Toward the end of the war, when the Russians were advancing, a German officer billeted at their pharmacy wanted to get them out of harm's way. As far as I know, he was an aristocrat and had an estate near Frankfurt, so he told them to go to his family who would look after them. I don't know if he actually meant it or just made a nice gesture, and anyway, they refused and wanted to stay in Estonia. After the war, my father was born. My grandfather was sent to Siberia in the 1949 mass deportations on some trumped up charges (in reality, to fill a quota). He was sentenced to 25 imprisonment plus 5 years of exile (the standard sentence in those days). He was released with the amnesty given to political prisoners by Khrushchev but sadly his health had deteriorated and he died soon afterwards, so I never met him. I only know him by his art - playing cards and a set of Mahjong, which he made from start to finish, painting all the tiles by hand (!!!). We always used to play it whenever we visited her.

She was no delinquent, more like the opposite - porcelain skin, tiny, always perfectly groomed. My grandmother never remarried and passed away in 2009.

Here is the mahjong set her grandfather handcrafted.

Thanks, Kaisa!   

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