Almi, A Refugee – by Tiiu Priilaid-Kleyn

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Almi was a young woman of nineteen when she left her parents’ farm on Saaremaa to find work in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.  She did not know then that this set the stage for a life-time of hardship and struggle.  After a year she met Aleksander, whom she married a year later.

Towards the end of WW2 the small family moved from Main land Estonia to Saaremaa, the trip that would normally have taken one day to complete became a seven-day nightmare, mostly walking and if they were lucky, getting a ride on a donkey cart or army truck.  Taking shelter where ever they could, in a barn or under a tree and sometimes in some ones deserted house.

By 1944 the family had expanded to three children and at this point they made the decision to flee Estonia to Sweden to avoid the incoming communists. Little did they know that this was just the beginning of a time of travel, hardship and adventure, ending in a new life in South Africa on the other side of the world where two more children were added to the family.

Almi and Aleksander died after many years leaving behind six children, twelve grandchildren and ten great-grandchildren.


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Keywords:-Perseverance, Love, Faith, Struggle, Endurance, Survival, Courage, Refugee.


Genres:-Biography/Autobiography/Memoir.

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