Author(s): Jaak Jurison
Shortly after the Soviet Army occupied Estonia in 1940, a boy's beloved father is arrested and sent to prison in Siberia, never to be seen again by his son. Soon the Germans will roll across the border . . . This gripping memoir of life in World War Two-era Europe gives eloquent testimony to the realities of being caught in the fighting between the armies of two ruthless dictators, Hitler and Stalin. Through the eyes of the observant young man he once was, the author vividly recounts events large and small, the intensely personal and the geopolitically significant. We feel the deprivations and uncertainties of foreign occupation, existence upended by forces impossible to anticipate. We feel the visceral fear of totalitarian authority, where home and person can be searched at any time and families deported to the desolate steppes of Siberia. Along with the author we experience devastating bomb attacks and two hazardous and thrilling escapes from the Red Army, one in Estonia, the other in Germany at the end of the war. We also learn how the author coped with the challenges of living in displaced persons camps in post-war Germany before immigrating to America. The Last Train from Estonia is a story of survival, of resilience and ingenuity, of love and luck, lives changed forever by hard choices made under extraordinary circumstances. This compelling account, written with long perspective, is more than mere witness to history. In its parallels to present-day conflicts in Eastern Europe, it serves as a timely warning to all who love freedom.