of the Gulag
© Eela Lohmus Eela’s house before her deportation
© Eela Lohmus 2 years old Eela Lohmus
© Eela Lohmus Silva’s parents’ wedding photograph
© Silva Linarte Silva and her parents
© Silva Linarte The Zalcmane sisters and their parents
© Austra Zalcmane The Zalcmane family’s khutor before the Soviet annexation
© Austra Zalcmane
Before annexation – the pre-Soviet period as the deportees remember it
The resettlement in June 1941 meant the families were separated. Often it was the last time that children saw their father, sentenced to forced labour. The last time, too, that their mother could display any femininity or elegance, before her face and shape were marked by forced labour.
Recalling the arrest is an opportunity to recall an idealised pre-Soviet past. The photographs of relatives, houses, and peaceful family scenes are miraculously preserved relics of a bygone age. The nostalgia of these childhood pictures is combined with pain at the loss of dear ones.