The Escape by Helve Massakas

By Helve Massakas – My Mom Aino

My mom will be 91 this Nov. 10th, 2012. She had a little stroke last June which has made her lose her voice and making it difficult to swallow. She lives in a Long Term Care facility in Toronto Canada, with the help of a private Nurse. However, her mind is clear as a whistle and her memory intact.

When she was only 21 years old, her beloved Country of Estonia was under siege by the Russian Communists. The following is her story of bravery and stamina in a war-torn country.

During the 1940′s Estonians were deported to Siberia by trainloads, especially the elite and intellectuals. My father’s uncle was a well-known General. He and the President disappeared one day, never to return.

The Communists were on a mission to search and destroy the foundation of democracy in the little country of Estonia. Russia needed seaports and thus it needed controlled domains.

Our family home built by my dad and my grandfather was just outside the capital Tallinn. My mom and I were prisoners there…a young 22 year old woman and a 1 year old child under the watchful eyes of gun- handling Russian officers.  Bombs exploded close by, shattering our windows. My mom was placed on a chair with me on her lap in the hallway. The officers were waiting for my dad (his only crime being that he was the nephew of a General). Whoever came to the house became a prisoner as well. The first visitor was my 17 year old aunt. While my mom kept the officers” attention by talking and giving medical advice (she was a medical doctor-in-training) my young aunt excused herself to the bathroom and on toilet paper wrote a note for anyone approaching the house to warn my dad. It was successful.

Through my mom’s persuasion to a young Estonian communist officer in the group, our lives were spared. The Russians left and we were able to escape at night, hiding in a barn belonging to a friend some distance away. We lived in that barn for two weeks. With my mom in charge of the family (all 8 of us) and my dad repairing a broken down boat so we could escape to Finland across the rough Baltic Sea. We eventually left the shores of Estonia in the middle of the dark night to never return. It was our luck and the guidance of my mom who saved us. Although our little boat was tossed around and fear of the enemy was lurking, we were rescued by sheer luck by a Swedish Coast Guard ship from our own sinking vessel.

This is just one of many stories of my mom and her bravery.

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