‘Aftermath’ is an autobiography. It is the story of Kalev Ehin’s life after the child was cast from his homeland with Soviet occupation in 1940. Forty years later Charles was to hear these words from his sister Maimu, ‘You can’t imagine how Mother missed you until the day she died.’
In 1982 the author Charles Ehin returned to Estonia to be reunited with his remaining relatives to tell his story of being caught in the ‘Aftermath’ of war.
Kalev Ehin was five when the Soviet Occupation of Estonia ripped families apart and changed lives forever. With the invasion of Estonia came the bloodshed of WWII. Men were being forced into concentration camps; families driven apart or displaced in neighbouring countries, while starvation and heartbreak lifted anguished cries from Eastern European Nations.
There were only two options Kalev’s father acknowledged, to flee the country with his son, or to die. In 1944 Kalev and his father boarded a German freighter sailing out of the Gulf of Finland into the Baltic Sea.
Soviet Occupation through decades of oppression failed to silence the Festival of Song in Estonia. In the capital Tallinn, thirty thousand voices rose from the Shell Stadium to sing the Nation’s unofficial Anthem - “My Fatherland is My Love”. A Festival of Song that empowered the Estonian people then, and empowers its people now.
In German camps, father and son became known as DP’s - displaced persons. Moving from camp to camp, Kalev’s father took on any job he could find. It was in Ulm where they narrowly escape death when the city was bombed. Again they were on the run.
While at the German ‘Transmitter Camp’ Kalev’s father was offered the job as radio operator on the Dabaibe, a cargo ship docked in Kiel Harbor. Kalev took on the task of deckboy, peeling potatoes for wages.
After 40 years, Maimu tells her story of the Russification of Estonia and a family torn apart by war. ‘Aftermath’ is a fitting title for Charles Ehin’s autobiography. Published by Publish America, it is a true story, to learn many lessons from.
If the Estonian Festival of Song empowered its people then there is hope that one day united voices will return peace to the world and the ‘Aftermath’ from wars will be for recorded history alone.
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