NEWS

7:20PM

Estonian-American activist, longtime head of Estonian World Council Jaak Juhansoo dies at 74

Source:BNS 1/23/17; news.err.ee

Jaak Juhansoo, a prominent figure of the Estonian émigré community and longtime president of the Estonian World Council, died on Jan. 13.

Juhansoo was born in Põltsamaa, Estonia on May 16, 1942. His family, together with Jaak's older brother Jaan, fled to Augsburg, Germany in escape from Soviet occupation. After a few years, they moved on to New York; Juhansoo was almost seven years old at the time.

After working for a couple of years on a farm on Edisto Island, S.C., the family moved to Minneapolis.

Following his graduation from the University of Minnesota, Juhansoo enlisted in the U.S. Army. After he was discharged in 1965, he worked in the electronics field and went on to establish his own business producing photo reproductions in metal, PRIMA Products, in the early 1970s.

Juhansoo was a longtime Estonian activist, contributing to Estonian liberation efforts by staging demonstrations, writing articles and giving interviews. He was presidnt and honorary member of the Boston Estonian Society, president and board member of the Baltic Society of New England, treasurer and board member of the Captive Nations Committee and longtime member of the Estonian American National Council (EANC). He also belonged to the Estonian World Council (ÜEKN) for three decades, serving as its president from 2007-2014 and treasurer thereafter.

The Estonian-American activist was given the Canadian-Estonian award for freedom fighting in 2003. He was also bestowed with Estonia's Order of the White Star, 4th Class, in 2007 and the EANC's award for distinguished service in 2014.

Juhansoo, who was buried in West Roxbury, Mass., is survived by wife Daina (Ule) Juhansoo, son Peeter and daughter Michele, as well as his first wife Sharon Juhansoo, five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Editor: Aili Vahtla
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Lahkus Välis-Eesti silmapaistev ühiskonnategelane, Ülemaailmse Eesti Kesknõukogu (ÜEKN) pikaajaline esimees.

Jaak Juhansoo, kes suri 13. jaanuaril 2017, maeti 20. jaanuaril Gethsemane kalmistule West Roxbury’s, Massachusettsis, läti haudade keskele. Jaak ise soovis seda, plaanides oma matust juba augustis, kui arstid talle vaid paar päeva aega andsid. Ilmselt Jaagu tahtejõud käis arstide teadmistest üle, sest ta pidas vastu veel viis kuud. Peale selle, et Jaagu abikaasa Daina on lätlanna, oli Jaagul palju läti sõpru ja ta ütles, et lätlaste keskel on temal hea olla.

Jaagul oli üldse palju sõpru ja kolleege, mida oli näha rohkest osavõtust surnuvalvest ja tema matusetalitusest, mille pidas õp. Uudo Tari eesti ja inglise keeles. Kohal oli mitte ainult eestlasi, lätlasi ja leedulasi, vaid ka vabamüürlasi, päästearmeelasi ja teisi kaaslasi. Läti kirik Bostoni lähedal Brookline’is oli täis leinajaid. Talitust kaunistasid muusikaga Hando Nahkur ja Epp Karike-Jürima Sonin. Eestlaste järelhüüdjad kirikus olid sõbrad Alvar Soosaar, Marju Rink-Abel ja Bostoni Eesti Seltsi esimees Paul Attenmann.

Jaak Juhansoo sündis Põltsamaal 16. mail 1942, Olga ja Peeter Juhansoo perekonnas. Perekond koos vanema venna Jaaniga põgenes Nõukogude okupatsiooni eest Saksamaale Augsburgi, kust mõne aasta pärast liiguti edasi New Yorki, Jaak oli siis peaaegu 7-aastane. Jaak mäletas, et ta imetles päikesetõusul Vabadusesammast, mis sümboliseeris talle vabadust ja lootust.

Peale paari aastat tööd farmis Edisto saarel, Lõuna-Carolinas, kolis perekond Minneapolisse. Pärast Minnesota ülikooli lõpetamist astus Jaak sõjaväkke. Lahkunud sõjaväest 1965. a., kolis Jaak peatselt Waltham’isse, MA, kus ta töötas elektroonika alal, kuni ta 70ndate alguses asutas oma firma, PRIMA Products, tootes metallist kvaliteetseid reproduktsioone, tahvleid ja muud sarnast. See töö võimaldas Jaagul osaleda mitme ühiskonna töös ja üritustes, kuna ta ei olnud seotud kindlate kellaaegadega.

Ühiskond, mis oli kõige lähedasem Jaagule oli eestlus, ja siin oli ta aktiivne väga mitmel alal. Ta oli tõsine vabadusvõitleja ja kauaaegne eesti aktivist, organiseerides demonstratsioone, kirjutades artikleid ja andes intervjuusid, sihiga Eesti vabastada. Jaak oli Bostoni Eesti Seltsi esimees ja Seltsi auliige, New Englandi Balti Ühingu president ja juhatuse liige, Ikestatud Rahvaste Komitee laekur ja juhatuse liige ning kauaaegne Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikides (ERKÜ) Esinduskogu liige (1977-2014), valitud üheksasse Esinduskokku.
Organisatsioon, mis tähendas Jaagule palju, oli Ülemaailmne Eesti Kesknõukogu (ÜEKN), kuhu ta kuulus umbes 30 aastat, olles esimees aastatel 2007-2014 ja pärast seda laekur.

Laas Leivat kirjutas Eestlase Kesknõukogu Kanadas nimel:
“Olles pikaajaline ÜEKN esimees ajal, kui Eesti oli juba nautinud 10 aastat vabadust, langes Jaagu juhtimine ajastule, kus oli palju enesekriitikat, kuna ei leitud vastuseid küsimustele, “Mis suunas peaks ÜEKN arenema?” “Mis on ÜEKN-i tähtsamad sihid?” “Kas ÜEKN-i on üldse vaja?”

Jaak, iseloomult võitleja, suutis mitte liikuda kergema vastupanu teed. Ta leidis positiivseid lahendusi. Ta suutis alati inimesi mõista ja leida neis head. Ta oli ootamatult avameelne ja sõbralikult otsekohene. Võltsid maneerid ja pinnalised emotsioonid olid talle võõrad. Nii enesekriitika kui ka nali enda arvel peegeldusid tema iseloomust. Ta ütles kord, et kuradile ta ei kõlba ja jumal pole temaga iialgi rahul.

Uute liikmesmaade liitumine ÜEKN-iga, täiskogu koosolekud ja avatud sümpoosiumid kodumaal, täisajaline ÜEKN-i esindaja Tallinnas, juhatuse koosolekute toimimine ülemaailmses ulatuses Interneti abil, [ka ESTOde koha leidmine], ning teised organisatoorsed ümberkorraldused rakendati Jaagu juhtimise perioodil. Jaak haaras väljakutsetest kinni ja pühendus määratud ülesannetele. Ta otsis positiivset lahendit ja tõrjus halba hea toetamise kaudu.”

Jaak oli avameelne ja ülimalt sõbralik inimene, kes teretas võõraid lahtiste kätega. Jaak tundus olevat suurem kui päriselt, osalt tema füüsilise välimuse tõttu, osalt tugeva iseloomu tõttu. Kui temaga rääkisid, võisid palju tema enda eluloost kuulda ja jutuajamine võttis vähemalt kaks korda kauem, kui oleks võinud arvata. Kuulsid täpselt, mida Jaak asjadest arvas koos anekdootidega, mis olid lisatud asja juurde. Jaagul oli uskumatult tugev tahtejõud ja enesekindlus.

Selle tõttu oli Jaagul palju sõpru. Kaastundeavaldusi on tulnud igalt ÜEKNi liikmesmaalt. Eesti valitsuse Rahvuskaaslaste programmi nõukogu nimel kirjutab Anne-Ly Reimaa:
“Mälestame Jaak Juhansood kui suurepärast inimest ning head koostööpartnerit, kelle sihikindlust, sirgjoonelisust ja huumorimeelt programmi nõukogu liikmed alati hindasid ja imetlesid. Aktiivse ja silmapaistva ühiskonnategelasena on Jaak Juhansoo kirjutanud oma nime väliseestluse ajalukku.”

ERKÜ tunnustas Jaagu pikaajalist tööd eesti ühiskonnas 2014. a. galal märkimisväärsete teenete auhinnaga. Talle omistati Eesti Vabariigi Valgetähe IV klassi orden 2007. a. ja Kanada-Eesti vabadusvõitluse teenetemärk 2003. a.

Peale abikaasa jäid Jaaku leinama poeg Peeter ja tütar Michelle Ryan. Meie hulgast on lahkunud armas sõber ja tulihingeline eestlane, keda ei saa unustada. Puhka rahus, armas Jaak.

- Marju Rink-Abel, ERKÜ ja ÜEKNi esimees
1:06PM

Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand’s message to Estonian expatriates on the occasion of 25th Anniversary of the Restoration of Independence of Estonia /Välisminister Marina Kaljuranna tervitus väliseestlastele Eesti Vabariigi taasiseseisvumise 25. aastapäeval 

20. August 2016 - 9:19

Dear friends,

Today we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the restoration of the Republic of Estonia. Surely many of you remember the anxious days in August 1991. Today 25 years ago the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia functioning as a parliament adopted the Resolution on the national independence of Estonia that restored the independence of Estonia. Years of hard work and fighting for Estonia’s independence preceded 20 August both in occupied Estonia and in exile. Estonians in exile carried the legal continuity of the Republic of Estonia, explained what had happened to the Baltic states and the importance of non-recognition policy, distributed information on the situation in Estonia, preserved and developed the Estonian language, culture and civic society.

In his new year’s address in 1993 Lennart Meri said the following: “But the restoration of a state is not as simple as pressing a lamp button which will instantly overpour you with biblical light. A state is born like a baby - in labour and pains. Still, like a baby it is born of love and itself gives birth to love.” Many people forced to leave Estonia against their will and Estonians born abroad have contributed to rebuilding Estonia and to its development. Many of them have helped reconstruct the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Representations, many of them are my good colleagues even today and many are still working on ensuring Estonia’s security and developing foreign relations.

Estonia has changed and achieved a lot in the 25 years of freedom following the restoration of independence. Estonia has changed from a totalitarian society into a country, where human rights are respected, freedom of speech applies and the principles of democracy and rule of law are followed. Estonia is a NATO ally, a member of the European Union and belongs to other most important international organisations. We work every day to remain a trustworthy partner and an ally and to share our values with other countries. During the second half of next year Estonia will face a huge responsibility, Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

For 25 years there is no iron curtain between Estonians living in Estonia and Estonians abroad. In a globalised and mobile world the two terms have lost their former meaning and instead of talking about Estonians at home and expatriates, we talk more and more about “global Estonians”. Entrepreneur Rainer Sternfeld active both in the US and Estonia recently said at the Opinion Festival in Paide that Estonian border is where Estonians are and he does not feel like he has been away from home because technical solutions enable him to keep in touch.

Different estimates say that there are around 120,000 – 200,000 people from Estonia living abroad. It’s our greatest potential. Among yourselves are people that went abroad before the Republic was declared, those who fled from occupation but also people that have left during the past 25 years for shorter or longer periods. All of you have a connection with Estonia, your Estonian story, your dreams about Estonia. We are all connected by a wish that Estonia would do great. I believe that most of you keep in touch with developments in Estonia, are happy with the country’s successes and are worried about challenges facing Estonia. Everyone of us – regardless of where we are – has a chance to contribute to the improvement and future of Estonia.  
Estonia’s global influence today is much stronger that one would assume from our small population. It’s partly because of you who are unofficial representatives of Estonia in different parts of the world. You introduce Estonia and share information about Estonia, you help to make Estonia more visible, you speak about Estonian language and culture. Thanks to you my work and my colleagues’ work of introducing Estonia as diplomats is much easier.  

Just like Estonia needs the support of Estonians living abroad, you need the support of Estonia. Every Estonian Representation abroad has to keep in touch with Estonians living in the respective country. Our Representations ask you to come together during the holidays important to our country and our nation, they help to organize local culture events, share information and keep in touch with the local Estonian community.

The concept of the 12th Youth Song and Dance Celebration taking place in Tallinn next year is roots that connect us to Estonia wherever our life takes us and we welcome Estonians from near and far. You all, too. In 2018 the Republic of Estonia will celebrate its 100th Independence Day and we will celebrate it all over the world, regardless of the location, regardless of where we are at that point.

The independence of Estonia is a reason to be happy about our country, our land and our nation. Long live Estonia!

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20. August 2016 - 9:07

Head sõbrad,

Täna tähistame Eesti Vabariigi taastamise 25. aastapäeva. Küllap mäletavad paljud teist ärevaid augustipäevi 1991. aastal. Täna, 25 aastat tagasi võttis parlamendi kohuseid täitev Eesti Vabariigi Ülemnõukogu vastu otsuse Eesti riiklikust iseseisvusest, millega taastati Eesti iseseisvus. 20 augustile eelnes aastatepikkune töö ja võitlus Eesti vabaduse eest nii okupeeritud Eestis kui paguluses. Paguluses elavad eestlased kandsid edasi Eesti Vabariigi õiguslikku järjepidevust, selgitasid välismaal Balti riikidega juhtunut ja mittetunnustamise poliitika tähtsust, levitasid informatsiooni kodu-Eesti olukorra kohta, säilitasid ja arendasid Eesti keelt ja kultuuri ning kodanikuühiskonda.

Oma uusaastaläkituses ütles Lennart Meri 1993. aastal järgmist: „Riigi taastamine ei ole lambinupule vajutamine, millest hetkega sünnib piibellik valgus. Riik sünnib nagu laps: valude ja vaevadega. Aga nagu laps, sünnib ta armastusest ja sünnitab omakorda armastust“.  Eesti ülesehitamisse ja arengusse on panustanud paljud Eestist oma tahte vastaselt lahkuma pidanud ja võõrsil sündinud eestlased. Paljud neist on aidanud taasluua Eesti välisministeeriumi ja esindusi, mitmed on ka täna minu väga head kolleegid, ja mitmed neist tegelevad ka praegu igapäevaselt Eesti julgeoleku kindlustamise ja välissuhete arendamisega.

25 taasiseseisvumisele järgnenud vabadusaastaga on Eesti väga palju muutunud ja väga palju saavutanud. Totalitaarsest ühiskonnast on Eesti muutunud riigiks, kus austatakse inimõigusi, kehtib sõnavabadus ja järgitakse demokraatia ja õigusriigi põhimõtteid. Eesti on NATO liitlane, Euroopa Liidu liikmesriik, kuulub mitmetesse teistesse rahvusvahelistesse kõige olulisematesse organisatsioonidesse. Töötame igapäevaselt selle nimel, et olla usaldusväärseks partneriks ja liitlaseks, et jagada oma väärtusi ka teistele riikidele. Järgmise aasta teisel poolel ootab Eestit ees vastutusrikas eesistumine Euroopa Liidus.

Juba 25 aastat ei ole Kodu-Eesti ja Välis-Eesti vahel raudset eesriiet. Globaliseerunud ja mobiilses maailmas on need mõisted kaotanud oma endise tähenduse ning kodu- ja väliseestlase asemel räägime järjest rohkem „globaalsetest eestlastest“. USAs ja Eestis tegutsev Eesti ettevõtja Rainer Sternfeld ütles hiljuti Paides toimunud arvamusfestivali järgmist: Eesti piir on seal, kus on eestlased, ning ta ei tunne, et oleks kodust ära olnud, sest tehnilised lahendused võimaldavad sidet hoida.

Eri hinnanguil elab praegu väljaspool Eestit umbes 120 000 – 200 000 Eestist pärit inimest. See on meie suur potentsiaal. Teie seas on nii enne meie Vabariigi sündi võõrsile läinuid, okupatsiooni eest pagenuid aga ka viimase 25 vabadusaasta jooksul mujale lühemaks või pikemaks ajaks siirdunuid. Teil kõigil on Eestiga oma side, teil kõigil on Eestiga oma lugu, teil kõigil on Eestiga oma unistused. Meid kõiki ühendab soov, et Eestil läheks hästi. Usun, et enamus teist hoiab end kursis Eesti arengutega, rõõmustab riigi kordaminekute üle ja valutab südant Eesti murekohtade pärast. Igaühel meist – olenemata sellest, kus me oleme – on võimalus anda oma panus Eesti arengusse, Eesti tulevikku. 

Eesti globaalne mõju on tänapäeval märksa suurem kui meie väike rahvaarv seda eeldaks. Osaliselt on see nii just tänu teile, kes te olete maailma eri paigus Eesti mitteametlikeks esindajateks – tutvustate oma asukohamaal Eestit, jagate Eesti kohta informatsiooni, aitate suurendada Eesti nähtavust, räägite Eesti keelest ja kultuurist. Tänu teile on minu ja minu kolleegide töö Eesti tutvustamisel diplomaatidena palju lihtsam.  

Nii nagu Eesti vajab väljaspool Eestit elavate eestlaste toetust, vajate ka teie Eesti tuge. Iga Eesti välisesinduse üheks tööülesandeks on asukohamaal elavate eestlastega sideme hoidmine. Meie esindused kutsuvad teid kokku meie riigile ja rahvale oluliste tähtpäevade puhul, aitavad organiseerida kohapeal kultuuriüritusi, levitada teavet ja hoida sidet kohaliku eesti kogukonnaga.

Järgmisel aastal toimub Tallinnas XII noorte laulu- ja tantsupidu, mille teemaks on juured, mis seovad meid Eestiga, ükskõik kuhu meid elutee ka viib ja kuhu on oodatud kõik eestlased lähedalt ja kaugelt. Ka teie, kõik. Ülejärgmisel aastal tähistame koos Eesti Vabariigi 100. aastapäeva, ja seda tähistame me igal pool üle maailma, olenemata asukohariigist, olenemata sellest, kus me parajasti oleme.

Eesti iseolemine annab meile põhjuse tunda erilist rõõmu oma riigist, oma maast, oma rahvast. Elagu vaba Eesti!

Videotervitus link:https://vimeo.com/179426388

 

3:55PM

Mary B. Nippert is new Honorary Consul of Estonia for Ohio and Kentucky.

The Consulate General of the Republic of Estonia in New York is pleased to announce that Ms. Mary B. Nippert of Cincinnati, Ohio, has been appointed as the first ever Estonian Honorary Consul to the states of Ohio and Kentucky. In her 30's, she is one of the youngest Honorary Consuls for any country in the United States. Mary B. Nippert
Ms. Nippert, a jeweler, is active in the non-profit sector and her immediate family includes such notables as the late diplomat, Judge A.K. Nippert (first foreign born, later to become naturalized citizen, Eminent Supreme Archon of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity), the Lt. Governor of Ohio, the late Carl L. Nippert, as well as philanthropists, the late Louis (Great-Grandson and heir to James Gamble, co-founder of the Procter & Gamble Co.) and Louise (Dieterle) Nippert, who were majority owners of the Cincinnati Reds and minority owners of the Cincinnati Bengals professional sport franchises. She is directly descended from Baltic nobility, with ties to Estonia, through her Great-Grandmother, Countess Ida (von Uexkull-Gyllenband) Nippert. While not a member of First Families of Virginia, through her English ancestry, Ms. Nippert also descends from one of first families of that Colony. Ms. Nippert was educated at the University of Cincinnati, Oxford University (England), United States Naval Academy and Gemological Institute of America.
Estonia, a NATO and EU member, is a growing trade partner with the United States, particularly in technology and energy sectors, and Ms. Nippert will help coordinate and develop business, cultural and educational ties between the nations.  The establishment of an Honorary Consulate in Ohio and Kentucky by Estonia is of importance because of the significant manufacturing, agriculture and technology base in the region, as well as the large number of internationally important universities located in the two states.
The Ceremonial Opening of the Honorary Consulate of Estonia for Ohio and Kentucky, will be April 29, 2016, in Cincinnati, Ohio.   Ms. Nippert's e-mail is mary.nippert@mfa.ee
2:40PM

President Ilves: Europe must not be afraid  15.11.2015

President Ilves’s answer to a request from Eesti Päevaleht and Postimees to comment on how the Paris terrorist attacks on 13 November 2015 will change Europe

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves:

In Paris on the evening of November 13th, terrorists attacked Europe. They wished to kill as many victims, people, as possible. All of us – atheists, Christians and Muslims, the people of Europe and refugees – are victims of this coordinated terrorist attack. It is because of this violence and these terrorists that hundreds of thousands of people have fled from their homes.

The goal of the ISIS terrorists is to intimidate. So we would not dare to stand up to the crimes against humanity that they commit elsewhere; so we would forsake compassion and solidarity when accepting refugees from war, so we would turn our back on those in trouble and those who suffer, so we would close our borders and would fear to extend a helping hand.

We cannot allow fear to take over. If we do, the terrorists have won, just like terror won one time in our own country. After the attacks in Paris, it is important to understand a familiar principle: an attack against one is an attack against all. Only together can each country defend itself. Or does someone think that we can stand up to an ISIS-style attack without the help of our allies?

Recalling the wording of semiotician Mihhail Lotman, we must react deliberately, advisedly and rapidly. This presumes very good international cooperation, and increased defense cooperation in Europe. The courage to make the correct and effective countermoves. The efficient control of the European Union’s external borders. Even greater attention to the each country’s internal security and that of the European Union in general. According to the information available today, one of the attackers in Paris was a French citizen.

We must know who is arriving in Europe, and why. An uncontrolled migration flow conceals a threat and Europe must find better methods for making sure who is who, but we must not close the door to those who truly need help. The current refugee crisis is not the reason or motive for the Paris terrorist attacks.

Europe must care about its security, but Europe must not be afraid.
Office of the President

http://vm.ee/en/newsletter/europe-must-not-be-afraid

9:02PM

JBANC Hosts Capitol Hill Event for Visiting Future Baltic Leaders

Aug 19, 2015
By Kara Nordness

On August 11th, the Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) hosted its second annual briefing on Capitol Hill for visiting Baltic high school students. The students were in the United States for a three week Leadership Academy program under the auspices of the Baltic American Freedom Foundation (BAFF). 
BAFF, a non-profit foundation endowed by proceeds from a U.S. Government investment fund in the Baltic countries, works “to enrich ties between the United States and Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia, through programs of education and exchange centering on economic growth and democratic processes. Visibly strengthening U.S.-Baltic ties is a core goal.”

Forty students participated in this year’s program and over three weeks they worked on their skills as future entrepreneurs and leaders. During their final week in the U.S., the students went to New York City and Washington DC for enrichment programs and sightseeing. 
The JBANC briefing was held the morning of August 11th at the United Methodist Building on Capitol Hill. After taking a tour of the U.S. Capitol, the students arrived for the briefing along with several BAFF directors and members of Center for International Education Exchange (CIEE), which helped in facilitating the exchange from the American side. 

The first speaker was JBANC chair and board member Ingrida Lusis. Ms. Lusis spoke to the students about JBANC, its main functions, and about some of the interns that have spent time at JBANC over the years and where they are now. One former intern was mentioned specifically - Lita Juberte - who was recently appointed as the press spokesperson for the Latvian Cabinet of Ministers. Ms. Juberte was at JBANC in 2013-2014 via the BAFF professional internship program. 

Current JBANC interns Erik Lazdins and Kara Nordness, who helped organize the event, each spoke to the students about their experiences at JBANC this summer. They talked to the students about how working for JBANC has given them the opportunity to discuss concerns in the U.S. Congress, meet ambassadors and diplomats, and work towards educating others about the Baltic countries and the issues and concerns of Baltic-Americans. 

The next speaker was Dr. Agnia Grigas, an energy and political risk expert, hailing originally from Lithuania. Dr. Grigas, who spoke at JBANC’s April conference, specializes in Russia, Eastern Europe, and the post-Soviet space. She is a published author and as a researcher she often collaborates with many American and European institutions. She spoke to the students about her experiences and how all of her choices in school and in her career have helped to make her who she is today. Dr. Grigas told them that even if they start a job but later find that it is not the right fit, they should use it as a teaching experience and see it in a positive way as part of their journey to building a successful career in their chosen field. The students had plenty of questions for Dr. Grigas. Several even asked her how they could become one of her research assistants! 
The final speaker was Hugo Guevara, Deputy Director of the Office of Nordic and Baltic Affairs at the Department of State. He discussed his journey from an engineer to working at the State Department and how each experience he has had has helped to make him successful at his career. Deputy Director Guevara also had to field several excellent questions from the students. 
Following the briefing and lunch, the students then made their way to the Victims of Communism Memorial. Assistant Director of Development David Talbot was there to talk to the students about the Victims of Communism Foundation and its work. The BAFF directors also used the occasion to congratulate the students on being chosen for and completing the BAFF Leadership Academy. 

One of the students, Mart Piirimees from Estonia, took time to collectively thank everyone including JBANC for organizing the events for the day. It was a great day and truly inspiring to see so many young people hopeful about their future as community and business leaders. They all looked forward to going back home and continuing their dreams of becoming entrepreneurs and utilizing the ideas and skills that were taught at the BAFF Leadership Academy. 

JBANC chair Ingrida Lusis, who welcomed participants at the event, mentioned afterwards that "cooperation with the Baltic American Freedom Foundation in helping to introduce American politics, policies, and values to young professionals and students from Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania has been a win-win in bolstering people-to-people contacts between the United State, the Baltic countries, and the Baltic-American community." 
In July 2014, JBANC hosted a congressional briefing for the BAFF Future Leaders program, which featured remarks by House Baltic Caucus chairmen John Shimkus (R-IL), Adam Schiff (D-CA), and officials from the embassies of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. BAFF was also a leading sponsor of JBANC’s April 2015 conference in Washington, DC. 

 

11:00AM

REMEMBERING THE DEADLY BALTIC DEPORTATIONS

BY KARL ALTAU 
JUNE 23, 2015
*NEARLY 50,000 CITIZENS OF THE BALTIC COUNTRIES WERE SENT TO THE GULAG IN JUNE 1941
*THOUSANDS OF THOSE DEPORTED DIED ON THEIR WAY TO THE GULAGS

This June, we remember the mass deportations conducted by the Soviet Union in the occupied Baltic countries during World War II. June 14, 1941, marked the beginning of one of the largest mass deportations ever carried out by a communist regime, and the month of June serves as an annual time of mourning for these victims of communism.

The origins of the deportation stem from the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact signed on August 23, 1939, by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. This agreement cleared the way for Germany to invade Poland, and allowed the USSR to establish a Soviet “sphere of influence” in Eastern European countries which included Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

By June 1940, the Soviet Union had invaded and occupied Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, immediately implementing a reign of repression and terror. The NKVD began by registering and tracking anti-Soviet elements and soon after, the Soviets started conducting arrests, deportations and executions. Their main objective was to eliminate the nation’s cultural, business, political, and military elite.

After the Baltic countries were illegally annexed and incorporated into the Soviet Union in August 1940, the Kremlin sought to suppress any possible resistance to Soviet rule. In May 1941, official instructions were issued to the NKVD to exterminate active persons, including those belonging to former government, military, police, political and voluntary state defense organizations, along with those in student organizations, anti-Soviet groups, foreign companies, and also Russian immigrants and other minorities in Estonia, among others. The top secret “Directive on the Deportation of the Socially Alien Element from the Baltic Republics, Western Ukraine, Western Belorussia, and Moldavia,” declared Soviet enemies to be “under arrest or subject to deportation without any legal process.”

It is important to note that the United States and other countries refused to recognize the legitimacy of Soviet control over Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. The U.S. policy of non-recognition, issued on July 23, 1940 (the “Welles Declaration”), underscored support for Baltic sovereignty, territorial integrity, and international law, and remained in force for half a century.

On June 14, 1941 the USSR began its first massive deportation, which lasted four days. During this state-sponsored operation, Soviet armed groups targeted houses and silently removed residents, including children, and the elderly. Some were shot on the spot. The rest were loaded into trains bound for Siberia, to the Russian Gulags.

In Estonia, the country’s first deportations targeted the national elite. Over 10,000 Estonians were deported from June 14 to 17. Over 7,000 of them were women, children and the elderly. By the end of the deportations, more than three percent of the Estonian population had been sent to Siberia.
The Latvian State Archives list more than 15,400 people who were deported from Latvia between June 14 – 17.

On June 14, approximately 17,500 Lithuanians were deported. Forty percent of those were under 16 years old.

In all, nearly 50,000 citizens of the Baltic countries were sent to the Gulag in June 1941. Some estimates put that number as high as 65,000 victims.

Thousands of those deported died on their way to the Gulags. Those who survived were left to live a hard life; most perished there, and a smaller number were released and allowed to return home. This was all kept secret by the Soviets. There were no newspaper or radio reports about these crimes. The Kremlin orchestrated a far-reaching disinformation and censorship campaign throughout the Baltics to keep news of their criminal actions from spreading.

The deportations in the Baltics were interrupted by the German invasion against the Soviet Union. Many of the countries that belonged to the Soviet sphere saw this battle between totalitarian powers as an opportunity to gain back their independence – Nazi propaganda from that time claimed that Wehrmacht forces were fighting to free the Baltic people from Soviet oppression. From June 22 to June 28, Lithuania, Hungary, and Romania all saw anti-Soviet uprisings. However, no sooner had the Soviets been expelled than the Nazis took over, replacing one brutal foreign occupying force with another.

Nazi rule over Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia lasted three years. The Soviets re-occupied the Baltic countries in 1944, and forcibly re-annexed those countries. In March 1949, the Kremlin organized a second and even more massive deportation of Baltic citizens to the Gulags.
It was not until after Stalin’s death that Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev in 1956 allowed the release of millions of Gulag prisoners, including most Baltic peoples still living in exile. Less than half of those deported ever returned to their homeland.

More than 200,000 people were deported from the Baltics between 1940 and 1953, a criminal legacy of Soviet rule that is today considered a crime against humanity by the European Court of Human Rights and others. As a revisionist Russian government today menaces the region, including the Baltic countries, memories of this painful period remain vivid. This month we remember the victims of Soviet deportation – men, women, and children – and honor their sacrifices.
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Karl Altau
Managing Director
Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc.
9:42PM

Black Ribbon Day commemorated August 23

August 23 marked the 75th anniversary of the 1939 Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, which divided Europe and helped start the Second World War.  The first commemoration of Black Ribbon Day to be held in the U.S. Capitol took place on August 23, with the assistance of Congressman John Shimkus (R-Ill.), the Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC), and the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

Congressman John Shimkus (R- Ill.), who was in attendance, was the sponsor of the bill designating Black Ribbon Day (H.R. 4435), which passed the House. If the Senate passes a matching bill, the United States will join more than a dozen countries in making August 23 the official "Black Ribbon Day."

Members of Congress, ambassadors, and human rights and ethnic group leaders laid a wreath in the Freedom Foyer of the U.S. Capitol.  Among these were the three Baltic ambassadors to the United States, including the newly arrived Estonian Ambassador Eerik Marmei; Tanel Sepp, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Estonia; Karl Altau, JBANC Managing Director, and Marju Rink-Abel, President, Estonian American National Council.
10:33AM

JBANC Thanks House Baltic Caucus members

The Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC) has begun a series of meetings with members of the House Baltic Caucus to thank and recognize them for their support for Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.  Photo Courtesy of JBANCPictured at a recent meeting are (right to left) upcoming JBANC Chair Marju Rink-Abel, Managing Director Karl Altau, Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen, and JBANC intern Lita Juberte.  

The House Baltic Caucus currently has 52 Members, and is co-chaired by Congressmen John Shimkus (R-IL) and Adam Schiff (D-CA).
1:23PM

Black Ribbon Day (Aug. 23) resolution passes in U.S. Congress

From Jaak Pedak, 5/23/14: 

The Black Ribbon Day resolution passes yesterday (May 22) in the U.S. Congress - to recognize victims of Soviet communist and Nazi regimes. 

This is especially important in light with what is happening in Ukraine today. JBANC and our volunteers spent the past two days on the Hill delivering letters to all House offices in a final push for support. Thanks especially to Congressman John Shimkus for his leadership on this over the past two years in pushing this through. More information available over coming days via JBANC media. 

Baltic-American communities, especially, worked hard on this over the course of this congressional session - from coast to coast. Had lots of great support from across the nation in the original resolution.

JBANC Press Release: For Immediate Release                 contact: Karl Altau 
May 23, 2014                                                              tel. 301-340-1954 / jbanc@jbanc.org
 
U.S. House of Representatives passes “Black Ribbon Day” legislation 
recognizing Victims of Soviet Communist and Nazi regimes
 
(Washington, DC) – Legislation designating August 23 as a “Black Ribbon Day” commemorating the victims of both Soviet communist and Nazi terror passed yesterday in the U.S. House of Representatives. It is a culmination of an ongoing two-year effort by the Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC) seeking passage of this legislation. 
 
Congressman John Shimkus of Illinois, the co-chairman of the House Baltic Caucus, sponsored the legislation and effectively shepherded its passage in the House. The legislation, part of a National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 4435), will now be taken up by the Senate. A conference committee of both houses will work out differences. 
 
On the eve of the bill’s passage, JBANC contacted all House member offices individually to muster needed additional support for the resolution’s passage. JBANC stressed the importance of passing the legislation this year since it marks the 75th year since the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939. The pact divided Europe between Nazi Germany and the USSR and ushered in WWII. Ultimately this led to the 50 year Soviet occupation of the Baltic countries. This year will also mark 25 years since the “Baltic Way” was organized in 1989. This human chain united some two million Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians in an iconic demonstration of their resolve for freedom and independence. 
 
JBANC’s appeal to Congress also highlighted the ongoing violations of Ukraine’s sovereignty and Putin’s concurrent aggression, a haunting reminder of Hitler’s and Stalin’s maneuvers leading to the outbreak of the Second World War. 
 
Over the past several years the European Parliament, Council of Europe, Canada’s Parliament, as well a number of countries in Europe have passed similar Black Ribbon Day resolutions to achieve a historical “reconciliation based on truth and remembrance.”  In passing this legislation, the United States Congress unambiguously asserts that the victims of the most destructive regimes in history will not be forgotten and will be remembered by future generations as well. 
 
Rep. Shimkus introduced the Black Ribbon Day resolution in July 2013, and about 50 co-sponsors signed on. The language of that bill, with some modifications, was adopted in the military authorization bill.  An earlier version of the Black Ribbon Day resolution was introduced in the previous Session of Congress in 2012, with significant input from JBANC. JBANC and other Baltic-Americans organizations and individuals actively joined in supporting this legislation. 
JBANC represents the Estonian American National Council, Inc., the American Latvian Association in the U.S., and the Lithuanian American Council, Inc.
11:12PM

Reception for new Music Director of the Sarasota Orchestra, Anu Tali and Estonian Ambassador Marina Kaljurand

Ambassador Marina Kaljurand was in Florida for the Official Opening of the Honorary Consulate of the Republic of Estonia in St. Petersburg, Florida and was the speaker at the Estonian Independence Day luncheon in Clearwater, FL on February 22, 2014.   During her visit Ambassador Kaljurand attended a reception for new Music Director of the Sarasota Orchestra, Anu Tali. Picturerd from left to right are: Estonian Consul General Sten Schwede, Tõnu Toomepuu, President of the Estonian Society of Central Florida, Lisa A. Mets, Honorary Consul of the Republic of Estonia, St. Petersburg, FL, Evi Kallas, Secretary, Estonian National Association of South Florida, Estonian Ambassador Marina Kaljurand, Monika Orumaa, EANC Council Member & Member of Estonian Society of Central Florida and Arno Kallas, President, Estonian National Association of South Florida.
1:50PM

Preserve your family’s history! Stanford University Libraries and the Museum of Occupations in Tallinn collecting Estonian expats’ family / Stanfordi Ülikooli Raamatukogu ja Okupatsioonide Muuseum Tallinnas ootavad väliseestlaste perekonnaraamatuid

Starting in January 2014, Stanford University Libraries (SUL) and the Museum of Occupations are conducting a campaign to collect Estonian expat community members’ family photobooks. The goal of the project is to help preserve the cultural heritage of Estonians’ journey to and life in the USA, Canada, Australia and other countries. Creating family photobooks gives families themselves a chance to decide on the selection of the material (photos, letters, documents) and stories they wish to preserve for future generations, and to compile these memoirs and memorabilia into one book.

A family photobook is a collection of stories and documents, which tells the story of one family by using text (facts, memoirs, captions) and pictures (photos, snapshots of documents). The collection may focus on the life story (or parts of the life story) of one or a few persons, or on the story of the family as a whole. In order to make such a compendium, one needs to gather suitable material, form a chronological or thematical, handwritten or computer-based text using the material, and add copies or scans of photos and documents. Finally, the text may be printed and/or binded.   It is a great project for any family!   Many on-line photo services (example: Snapfish and Shutterfly) lead the photobook maker through the process of compiling a book and then ordering printed copies.

SUL and the museum are expecting to collect material pertaining to WWII (Soviet and German occupations, escaping Estonia, life in DP camps) as well as the periods preceding (life in Estonia before WWII) and succeeding it (life in USA, Canada etc.). One of the aims of collecting the photobooks is, with the permission of photobook donors, to develop an exhibit from the material in the future.
Both those, who already have compiled such photobooks of their families, and those who are only wondering about doing so, are most welcome to get in touch with SUL and the museum:

Liisi Eglit, Assistant Curator for Estonian and Baltic Studies, Stanford University Libraries (Liisi.Eglit@stanford.edu,  (650) 847-9115)
Kadri Viires, Director of the Museum of Occupations (kadri@okupatsioon.ee

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Stanfordi Ülikooli Raamatukogu ja Okupatsioonide Muuseum alustavad jaanuarist 2014 väliseestlaste perekonnaraamatute kogumiskampaaniaga ning ootavad kõiki huvitatuid projektis kaasa lööma. Projekti eesmärk on aidata talletada kultuuripärandit, mis valgustab eestlaste (pagulas)teekonda Eestist lahkumisel ning elu USAs, Kanadas, Austraalias jt välisriikides. Projekt viiakse läbi tähendusrikkal ajal, mil II maailmasõja aegsest suurest põgenemisest möödub 70 aastat.

Perekonnaraamatute ja –albumite kogumine annab seejuures perekondadele endale võimaluse teha selektsioon materjalist (fotod, kirjad, dokumendid) ja lugudest, mida nad järgmiste põlvkondade jaoks talletada soovivad, ning siduda need mälestused ja dokumendid kokku üheks trükiseks neile sobival kujul.

Perekonnaraamat või –album on tavapäraselt lugude ja dokumentide kollektsioon, mis jutustab nii teksti (faktoloogia, mälestused, pildiallkirjad) kui piltide (fotod, dokumentide ülespildistused) abil ühe perekonna/suguvõsa loo. Tegu võib olla nii ühe/mitme inimese eluloo või selle katkete edasiandmisega kui kogu perekonna ajaloole pühendatud kogumikuga. Kogumiku koostamiseks tuleb koguda kokku sobiv materjal, see kas käsikirjaliselt või arvuti abil kronoloogiliseks või temaatiliseks jutuks vormida ning lisada juurde fotode ja dokumentide koopiad või ülespildistused. Arvuti abil koostatud kogumiku võib välja printida ning soovi korral köita.

Raamatukogu ja muuseum koguvad nii II maailmasõja aega (Nõukogude ja Saksa periood, Eestist põgenemine, elu DP-laagrites) kui varasemat (elu Eestis enne II maailmasõda) ja hilisemat perioodi (elu sihtriigis) kajastavaid perekonnaraamatud. Samuti on oodatud nende eestlaste lood, kes on Eestis lahkunud hiljuti, pärast 1991. a.

Kogumiskampaania üks eesmärke on kogutud raamatutest annetajate loal näituse koostamine.

Raamatukogu ja muuseum kutsuvad endaga ühendust võtma nii neid, kel sarnased raamatud/albumid juba oma perekonna või suguvõsa kohta olemas, kui neid, kel see idee alles loomisjärgus:

Liisi Eglit, Eesti ja Balti õpingute assisteeriv kuraator, Stanfordi Ülikooli Raamatukogud (Liisi.Eglit@stanford.edu,  (650) 847-9115)

Kadri Viires, Okupatsioonide Muuseumi direktor (kadri@okupatsioon.ee) 

3:51PM

Tõnu Kaljuste wins a Grammy in the Best Choral Performance category for his work on Arvo Pärt’s “Adam’s Lament”!

Estonian conductor Tõnu Kaljuste has won a Grammy Award in the Best Choral Performance category for his work on composer Arvo Pärt’s album “Adam’s Lament” at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards in Los Angeles.

“Adam’s Lament” was recorded with the Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir, the Sinfonietta Riga, the Tallinn Chamber Orchestra, the Latvian Radio Choir and the Vox Clamantis ensemble.

It was recorded with Pärt’s active participation in the resonant 13th-century church of St. Nicholas in Tallinn, that surrounds the singing with a hazy echo. The album conveys a feeling of partaking of ancient religious rites in a sacred space.
In January 2013, the BBC chose “Adam’s Lament” as its recording of the month. At the beginning of January 2014, Pärt was given the title of the “world’s most performed living composer” for the third year running by the classical music event database, bachtrack.com.

“Adam’s Lament” was also nominated in the Best Contemporary Classical Composition category.
The 56th annual Grammy Awards was held on 26 January 2014 in Los Angeles, USA.
12:04PM

Estonian American Kalev H. Leetaru honored as one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s top 100 Global Thinkers of 2013.

Kalev H. Leetaru has been honored as one of Foreign Policy Magazine’s top 100 Global Thinkers of 2013, an enormously prestigious award which recognize “the world’s most exciting people... [who have] made a measurable difference in politics, business, technology, the arts, the sciences, and more.”  Kalev is being recognized as one of the world’s 100 most important innovators changing the way we use big data to understand the world around us: "For building a 
tool that could
 predict the future."

Foreign Policy Magazine continues:  "Kalev Leetaru has a mind for the 21st century, but the soul of an ancient prophet. A master of "big data," Leetaru uses high-powered algorithms to analyze vast quantities of news reports and other publicly available intelligence, enabling him to see previously hidden patterns in economic and political developments. 

In 2013, he established the Global Database of Events, Language, and Tone (GDELT), an enormously ambitious project that could become the go-to information trove for social scientists of all stripes. The database, which has generated a frenzy of excitement among journalists and tech geeks, among others, is a catalog of more than 200 million social and political events going back all the way to 1800—everything from speeches to epidemics to wars. And gdelt adds between 30,000 and 100,000 events each day, based on contemporary news coverage. 

The database can be used to map the connections among events, people, and ideas. Indeed, Leetaru envisions his project as a powerful way of understanding how and why things happen, which, in turn, could help us plan better for the future. Leetaru imagines a world in which big data has revolutionized every field—from medicine, where we could track disease outbreaks in real time, to peace-building, where we could predict patterns of violence. That future may not be far off: By analyzing news reports from the weeks leading up to the event, Leetaru found that the world just might have predicted the 2011 Egyptian revolution. 

'People talk about oceans of information,' Leetaru said. 'If you look below the surface, there's a whole world of latent information that we're just beginning to try to understand.'"
11:14AM

Elin Toona Gottschalki "Into Exile: a life story of war and peace," saab auhinna / wins award

The widely-read "The Economist" Magazine has selected "Into Exile: A Life Story of War and Peace” by Elin Toona Gottschalk as one of the best books of 2013:  "The poignant autobiography of an Estonian schoolgirl whose childhood was marred by war and family breakdown. She moves from her occupied homeland through the ruins of Germany to the grim, snobbish world of austerity Britain."

The Estonian American National Council, which provided financial support for the book's distribution, congratulates Ms. Gottschalk!  
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Üle maailma hästi tuntud majandusega ja poliitiliste küsimustega tegelev ajakiri  "The Economist" avaldas 7. detsembri numbris loetelu 2013. a. parimatest raamatutest.  Nende seas, üks kaheksast memuaaridest, on Elin Toona Gottschalki "Into Exile: a life story of war and peace," mis ilmus varem sel aastal Lakeshore Pressi väljaandel.    Prestiižikas auhind tuli autorile üllatusena, kuid selle saamisega on üks Elin Toona eesmärkidest saavutatud – tähelepanu äratada Eesti ja eestlaste saatusele.

Põgenemine ja uue eluga Saksamaal ja Inglismaal seotud  trauma ning raskused on inglisekeeles kirjeldatud just sellepärast, et raamatu levik oleks nii laialdane kui võimalik.  Eesti keelne raamat ei oleks jõudnud "The Economist-i" laualegi.

Kui käsikiri oli valmis, pöördus Elin Toona Eesti Rahvuskomitee Ühendriikides esimehe poole nõu ja abi saamiseks trükikoja leidmisega.  Selgus, et Lakeshore Press, kelle omaniku P. Aarne Vesilinnu eesmärgiks oli avaldada inglisekeelseid raamatuid mis tegelevad Eesti ja eestlaste ajalooga , oli nõus seda trükkima.  Kui raamat oli valmis, toetas Eesti Rahvuskomitee raamatute levitamist autori poolt. Tähtis tegur raamatu tutvustamisel oli ka autori reis Inglismaale, mida toetas Eesti Kultuurfond USA-s. Ilmselt mängisid mõlemad toetused rolli memuaari levikuga Inglismaal, kus ajakiri  "The Economist" ilmub.

Seitsme-aastane Elin Toona lahkus Haapsalust septembris, 1944, koos ema Liki Toonaga ja vanaema Ella Ennoga, luuletaja Ernst Enno lesk.  Tema siis ei aimanud, et ta enam kunagi koju ega eesti kooli ei saa.  Siiski sai temast kirjanik kes on kirjutanud raamatuid, luuletusi ja ajaleheartikleid, nii inglise kui eesti keeles. Tema esimene eestikeelne raamat, "Puuinge"` (1964), pälvis Henrik Visnapuu kirjandusauhinna. Tema sulest on veel ilmunud "Lotukata" (1969); "Sipelgas sinise kausi all" (1974); "In Search of Coffee Mountains" ("Lotukata", inglise keeles) (1977 ameerikas ja 1979 joonistustega Inglismaal); "Kaleviküla viimne tütar" (1988); "Kolm valget tuvi`` (1992); "Rõõm teeb taeva taga tuld. Ernst Enno" (2000); ja "Ella"  (2008).  Autor elab nüüd Palm Harboris, Floridas.

Õnnitleme Elin Toona Gottschalki suurepärase memuaari ning auhinna eest!  Raamat on saadaval Lakeshore Pressilt (www.lakeshorepressbooks.com) ning Amazonilt (www.amazon.com).
-- Marju Rink-Abel
10:08AM

Olga Kistler-Ritso, the founder of Tallinn's Museum of Occupations, has died at the age of 93.

Olga Kistler-Ritso, who received the Estonian American National Council’s 2012 award for “Outstanding Achievement,” passed away on Nov. 18, 2013, in Redmond, Washington.  Dr. Kistler-Ritso established the Kistler-Ritso Foundation together with her husband, Walter P. Kistler, in 1998.  Dr. Kistler-Ritso initiated and funded the Tallinn Museum of Occupations, completed in 2003, which her foundation manages.  The Foundation has also given a $4 million endowment to Stanford University to support collections, studies, and education on Estonian history from 1940-91.  Other endeavors supported by Dr. Kistler-Ritso include the film, “The Singing Revolution.” Walter Kistler, Dr. Kistler’s husband, received the award on her behalf at EANC’s 60th anniversary gala on September 29, 2012.

More details: From ERR NEWS, Published: 21.11.2013 14:25
"An eye surgeon and philanthropist, she and her husband Walter Kistler are known for providing the seed capital for the foundation of the museum, which is dedicated to exhibitions and research into both the Soviet and Nazi occupations. Opened in 2003, the museum was also the first purpose-built museum building in Estonia.

She lived through several occupations herself. She was born Olga Ritso in Ukraine in 1920, where her Estonian father was a medical student, during the chaos of the civil war.

As Soviet power consolidated, the family's attempt to return to Estonia via Moscow was complicated. In 1922, her mother died of illness related to the Holodomor, the Ukraine famine. Her father was arrested by the Bolsheviks and would not be reunited with the family until 1932. The children managed to receive safe passage to Estonia thanks to her uncle's railway connections and the aid of the Red Cross, and initially stayed with foster families upon their return.
She grew up and attended school in Tallinn, graduating from the University of Tartu's medical school.

She fled in autumn 1944 to Germany, where she worked as an eye doctor and pediatrician in displaced persons camps. After emigrating to the US in 1949, she continued practicing  medicine and in 1960 married prominent Swiss-born physicist and engineer Walter Kistler.

Kistler-Ritso kept a close eye on developments in Estonia, and visited family there in 1976. The freedom of 1990s brought a chance for greater involvement, and the foundation for the Museum of Occupations was established in 1998. The museum was completely funded by private donations. In 2011, the foundation also provided a large endowment to the Stanford University Libraries' Baltic studies program.

Kistler-Ritso is survived by her husband and her daughter, Sylvia Thompson, who is in charge of running the foundation.

An exhibition on Kistler-Ritso's life and legacy is currently running at the museum."

 

10:35AM

Woman with Estonian Roots Chosen for NASA Astronaut Class

7 November (BNS), from Estonian Review, published by the Estonian Ministry of Foreign Affairs

"Nicole Aunapu Mann, 35-year-old U.S. Marine Corps fighter pilot whose grandfather emigrated from Estonia before World War II, is one of eight members of NASA's 2013 Astronaut Candidate Class, the weekly Eesti Ekspress said.

The U.S. space agency announced the appointment of eight new astronauts in June, and a record half of NASA's first astronaut class since 2009 are women. NASA said the eight were chosen from the second largest pool of applications ever received -- over 6,100.  Intensive training for the group started at the space center in Houston in August and most likely Nicole Mann will be among the crew of the International Space Station in about ten years, the Estonian weekly said.

Nicole's Estonian born grandfather, Helmuth Aunapu, emigrated to America before WWII.  Nicole's sister Kirsten told the newspaper the sisters never saw their grandfather, who died before they were born. She said they were aware of their Estonian roots though.

Information of the NASA website says Nicole Aunapu Mann, originally is from Penngrove, California, is a major with the U.S. Marine Corps. She is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, Stanford University and the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School. Mann is an F/A 18 pilot, currently serving as an Integrated Product Team Lead at the U.S. Naval Air Station, Patuxent River. She served on an F/A-18 in Iraq and Afghanistan, making approximately 150 landings on a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Gulf."
10:17AM

Co-sponsors needed for Black Ribbon Day Resolution 

JBANC ACTION ALERT                                                  September 24, 2013
contact: Karl Altau                                                              tel. 301-340-1954 / jbanc@jbanc.org 
Please ask your Representatives for their support -
Washington, DC (JBANC) --- Baltic Caucus co-chairman Rep. John Shimkus (R-IL) introduced the “Black Ribbon Day” resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives on July 16. The legislation supports the designation of August 23 as a day of remembrance to recognize the victims of Soviet Communist and Nazi regimes.
 
Your help is needed to increase cosponsorship of this legislation in order for it to be considered for further action.  Please contact your Representative today by calling the Capitol switchboard for the telephone number of your Member of Congress at: (202) 224-3121.    Besides Rep. Shimkus, cosponsors of H. Res. 302 include House Baltic Caucus co-chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA), Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman and Baltic Caucus member Ed Royce (R-CA), Baltic Caucus members Jim Bridenstine (R-OK), Tony Cardenas (D-CA), Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Aaron Schock (R-IL), along with Susan Brooks (R-IN), Bill Huizenga (R-MI), David Joyce (R-OH), William Keating (D-MA), and Michael Turner (R-OH). 
 
Reasons to support the Black Ribbon Day resolution:
August 23, the date of the infamous Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact (the non-aggression pact between the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany), would be an appropriate date to designate as Black Ribbon Day, as its result was the partition of Europe between the two countries, and the ensuring occupation by the Soviet Union of multiple Central and Eastern European countries, including the Baltics; 

We cannot forget the terror that millions of citizens in Central and Eastern Europe endured while under the ruthless repression of occupying and oppressive totalitarian states;
H. Res. 302 follows similar legislation in the European Union, Council of Europe, and Canadian Parliament and it is now time for the United States to follow suit;

The memories of Europe's tragic past should be remembered and this will honor the victims, condemn the perpetrators, and lay the foundation for reconciliation based on truth and remembrance. 
The list of co-sponsors will be updated at http://jbanc.org. Please contact your Member of Congress if he or she has not yet signed on. Your message will count, and makes a difference! Feel free to contact JBANC to let us know how your Member of Congress responded. Thank you!    
4:05PM

Estonian National Museum is looking for WWII and post-WWII correspondence / Eesti Rahva Muuseum otsib kirju

Until recently, letters were almost the only way to maintain contact with relatives and friends who either voluntarily or forcibly left their Estonian homeland. These letters are an important research resource because in addition to autobiographical information, they also provide insight into the larger societal situation. 

For this reason, the Estonian National Museum in Tartu is seeking personal correspondences between Estonian emigrants to the West and those who stayed behind, written during the confusion of WWII.  Especially valuable would be correspondences over a period of several decades which consist of both received and sent letters, although one-sided correspondence is still important.  The Museum is also interested in correspondence prior to WWII.

For details, contact Riina Reinvelt (tel: +372 7350406, e-mail: riina@erm.ee), or write to: Estonian National Museum, Veski 32, Tartu 51014, Estonia.

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Kuni viimase ajani olid paberkirjad pea ainukeseks võimaluseks pidada sidet pereliikmete või sõpradega, kes vabatahtlikult või sunniviisiliselt olid sunnitud kodumaalt lahkuma.  Kirjad on oluliseks uurimisallikaks, kuna lisaks autobiograafilisele informatsioonile annavad nad teavet ümbritseva keskkonna ja sotsiaalsete olude kohta. 

Eestis Tartus asuv Eesti Rahva Muuseum soovib oma kogusid täiendada kirjadega, mida vahetasid omavahel Teise maailma keerises välismaale pääsenud ja kodumaale maha jäänud eestlased. Samuti nende kirjadega, mida pagulased vahetasid omavahel. Kui keelegi valduses on enne teist maailmasõda Eestist lahkunute ja nõukogude ajal läände pääsenute kirju, on ka need muuseumile väga huvipakkuvad.  Eriti väärtuslikud on läbi mitme aastakümne kestnud kirjavahetused, mille puhul on säilinud nii saadud kui saadetud kirjad. Kui kahepoolne kirjavahetus ei ole säilinud, siis on ka ühe poole kirjad uurijatele väärtuslikuks allikaks.

Täiendavat infot saab muuseumi kogude osakonna juhatajalt (Riina Reinvelt, tel: +372 7350406, e-mail: riina@erm.ee) või kirjutades aadressil: Estonian National Museum, Veski 32, Tartu 51014, Estonia.

 

6:02PM

President Obama hosted Baltic leaders on August 30

President Obama hosted an Aug. 30 summit of the Baltic states, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia.

The guest list: Presidents Toomas Hendrik Ilves of Estonia, Dalia Grybauskaite of Lithuania, and Andris Berzins of Latvia.

The joint meeting at the White House "will highlight the significant transformations the Baltic states have undergone since restoring their independence two decades ago," said the announcement.

The White House added:

"Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia are valued NATO allies, and the four leaders will discuss a broad range of mutual interests, including regional cooperation on shared challenges, energy security, the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations, defense, and cyber cooperation.  The presidents will also discuss joint efforts to advance human rights and democratic values, including development assistance for emerging democracies around the world.
David Jackson, USA TODAY11:20 a.m. EDT July 29, 2013
5:58PM

Joint Statement by U.S., Estonian, Latvia & Lithuania 8/30/13

The White House Office of the Press Secretary For Immediate Release August 30, 2013

Joint Statement by the United States of America, Republic of Estonia, Republic of Latvia, and Republic of Lithuania

The United States of America, the Republic of Estonia, the Republic of Latvia, and the Republic of Lithuania reaffirm our commitment to strengthening our relations by jointly expanding trade ties in pursuit of economic prosperity, enhancing strategic cooperation to address global security challenges, and advancing democracy and human rights around the world.  As NATO allies, bound by our shared transatlantic values and holding a common vision of a Europe whole, free, and at peace, we resolve to continue and expand our cooperation in the Baltic region and beyond to build a more prosperous, secure, and inclusive future.

The Baltic states have each undergone significant transformations since the restoration of independence just over two decades ago.  Fulfilling the promise of the 1998 Baltic Charter, they have become valued members of NATO and the European Union.  In joining the ranks of the world’s most developed economies in organizations such as OECD and the Eurozone, and assuming the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, their positive influence on global security and economic issues continues to grow.

As we prepare for the opportunities and challenges that will arise in the coming years, we recognize that cooperation – with and among the Baltic states, with other regional partners such as the Nordics, and in transatlantic and international forums – will be crucial to our success.  To this end, we have a shared interest in further developing cooperative, mutually respectful relations with all states in the region.  We are stronger and our reach is greater when we work collaboratively and combine efforts in pursuit of our common goals.

We recognize and reaffirm our commitment to the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) negotiations as a generational opportunity to expand the strong cultural and economic ties between Europe and the United States.  T-TIP will not only establish a high-standard, comprehensive agreement that will strengthen the global trading system, but it will also promote competitiveness and growth, adding to the millions of jobs – including Baltic and American jobs – that are already supported by trade and investment across the Atlantic.   

As a reliable and diverse supply of energy is a crucial element of economic prosperity, we reaffirm our commitment to strengthening energy security in the Baltic region.  We recognize the importance of implementing the EU’s Third Energy Directive and developing the projects included in the Baltic Energy Market Interconnection Plan, in order to diversify sources of energy, develop transparency in energy markets, and provide the basis for sustained economic growth in the entire region.  The United States strongly supports the Baltic states in their efforts to develop domestic energy resources and clean energy solutions – including energy efficiency – in pursuit of our shared goals of strengthening energy security, addressing climate change, and promoting nuclear safety and security. 

Recognizing the benefits and risks of our increasing dependence on information technology and cyberspace, we will strengthen our engagement on cyber issues regionally and globally.  We will seek to advance the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure in the region through public/private cooperation.  We will continue to cooperate in the investigation and prosecution of cybercrimes.  We will strive to advance our shared vision of internet freedom by engaging with other countries, international organizations, civil society, and the private sector.  Our efforts support a common goal:  an open, interoperable, secure, and reliable Internet that protects privacy and civil liberties, enables the free flow of information and ideas, and promotes the innovation essential to modern economies.

The security of the United States and Europe is indivisible.  As established in the Baltic Charter, and as NATO allies, the United States has a profound and enduring interest in the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity, and security of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.  The Baltic states make significant contributions to NATO missions in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and we are committed to maintaining and expanding Alliance capabilities – for collective defense, cooperative security, and crisis management – within Europe and beyond.  Recognizing the value of practical cooperation, we will work together to find efficiencies and make the most of limited resources.  We will coordinate within NATO to identify and develop high-priority capabilities and training and exercise opportunities, while also pursuing regional joint procurement and other security projects where mutually beneficial.  

As NATO transitions to a post-2014 non-combat mission in Afghanistan, it will be crucial to maintain the Alliance’s ability to provide for collective defense and contribute to global security.  Though economic times are challenging, we must all ensure that we sustain adequate levels of defense investment to maintain a capable, deployable, and interoperable force.  In this regard, we reaffirm our commitment to achieve or maintain defense spending at 2 percent of GDP.

In the last two decades, the Baltic states have undertaken impressive democratic transitions, and they now demonstrate leadership in promoting democracy and human rights and strengthening civil society in the countries of the EU’s Eastern Partnership, as well as through development assistance to other nations undergoing transition.  We will seek opportunities to expand upon these efforts – together, and also with like-minded countries in the region – so the Baltic states can share their successful transition experiences with emerging democracies around the world.

Reflecting our close ties and shared values, we reaffirm our commitment to continue to promote the rule of law as a foundation for a community of free and democratic nations, and to the responsibility of all societies to safeguard and respect the universal rights, civil liberties, and human dignity of all individuals within their territories.

The Baltic states remain grateful to the United States and the American people for their non-recognition policy during the Cold War.  Our warm relations are anchored by close interpersonal ties and the rich contributions that the Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian diasporas have made to the multi-ethnic culture of the United States.