Global Estonian | Collection campaign dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the Great Escape
Our Relics: collection campaign dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the Great Escape

Collection campaign dedicated to the 80th anniversary of the Great Escape

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Connected to the 80th anniversary of the Great Escape of 1944, VEMU (Museum of Estonians Abroad) is organizing a collection campaign “Our Relics,” over the course of which we’re awaiting artifacts, photos, and archival material which were taken along in the escape from Estonia, as well as stories that accompany those belongings. 

The decision to leave the homeland was made during a very short period of time for most. The items which made their way into the suitcases and bags of refugees tell us the emotional stories of people who were forced to leave their homes behind and of the values which they held. These could have been sentimental items or documents that were important to families, everyday necessities, artworks or other belongings that hold symbolic meaning. 

We also welcome items that were hidden away in homes before escaping and brought along on a later visit to the homeland or which were sent by relatives in Estonia at a later time.

We prefer original artifacts, but are also interested in photos if items are unable to be submitted to us. 

The stories associated with these items can be sent to us in written format, or as audio or video recordings. VEMU is also prepared to record audio and video interviews with people who have these belongings. The stories could include: 

  • Who escaped?
  • Why the decision to escape was made? 
  • When and where the escape took place?
  • What was taken along on the journey of escape and why?
  • Was something hidden in homes and if so, what items were they and why?
  • Describe the escape journey itself.
  • What was the first destination?
  • What was the new route to the final destination country?
  • What was/is the importance and meaning of the item(s) that were taken along on the escape journey?
  • What was/is the importance and meaning of item(s) that were hidden in homes?


Items and submissions from all diaspora Estonian communities are greatly appreciated - through these artifacts, we will begin to depict the history of Estonians abroad in the permanent exhibit in VEMU’s new building. 

We will accept items and their stories until December 31st, 2024 at the following address: 

Estonian Museum Canada/VEMU 

310 Bloor St. W. Toronto, ON M5S 1W4, Canada





Veebilehte haldab Integratsiooni Sihtasutus.
Sihtasutuse asutaja on Eesti Vabariik, kelle nimel teostab asutajaõigusi Kultuuriministeerium.