Sunday, 15 September 2013

The Baltic University - DP Study Camp Pinneberg (Post WWII) - Germany

I have been researching my family history for almost twenty years now and have discovered many wonderful facts I never knew as well as heartbreaking tales which will forever be burned in my psyche. It has only been in recent months that I have learnt the existence of the Baltic University in post WWII Germany and the connection my family had with it. After reading an article about filmmaker Helga Merits who is currently making a documentary about displaced Estonians who attended the university I decided to contact her. To my surprise, Helga promptly replied to my email, not only confirming that my grandfather was an economics student there but also sending me copies of photographs and telling me my grandfather was mentioned in a book. A book? What book? I remember feeling my heart race at the news of this discovery. The book is entitled - "Baltic ulikool Saksamaal 1945-1949" by Elmar Jarvesoo, published in 1991. The 518 page book is written in Estonian with a four page summary in English. The book explains in details what the Baltic University was all about, containing many photos, diagrams and student lists as well as personal accounts. This is a very valuable book and I will forever be grateful to Helga for introducing me to it.  Baltic ulikool Saksamaal can be found in most major libraries; I borrowed a copy from the National Library in Tallinn.

Entrance to the DP Pinneberg Study Camp.

Extract in English taken from the book - Baltic ulikool Saksamaal 1945-1949.

Sample page of student list.

The book contains many personal accounts written by students during their time at the university. Here is one such story that mentions my grandfather during New Year's Eve.

The Baltic University lecture buildings.

The building that once housed the Baltic University is now the site of the History Museum in Hamburg.

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