Estonians

We, the Multer family, Edgar, Ellinor and daughters Tiina Mal of 4 years and Ell Piret 18 months, arrived to Cooperstown on August 2nd, 1949 as displaced from Germany.

We are Estonians and belong to the Finno Ugric group of people - (Finns, Hungarians and Estonians) and our language is very similar to Finnish.

Estonia is the most northern of the Baltic States.  Three-fourths of Estonian border is the Baltic Sea with deep open harbors that are open even at wintertime.

Estonia was a rich agricultural country and also had a lot of natural resources - shale, mineral mines and timber).  The mining and refining of oil laid a solid foundation for expanding industry also.

Estonians have a rich cultural history.  Their epic folklore and poetry provide a background from which many poets and artists of world stature have emerged.

Education was the primary concern of Estonians - the number of students and graduates of higher institutions, compared with the population, was one of the highest in Europe.

Estonians' intense striving for their national self-expression is reflected in their highly developed literature and creative arts.  The theater served as rallying point during the period of the national renaissance and continued this tradition during the time of independence.  Music has played a remarkable role in the history of the Estonian people.  They were able to organize giant singing festivals where choirs of over 20,000 singers performed in colorful national costumes.

Estonians take great pride in physical fitness and have won many Olympic medals and were the champion marksmen in the world.

Good and hearty food is well liked: pork roast with sauerkraut plus lots of other vegetables and salads is served often.  Also varieties of breads are popular.  Well known are also fish dishes with different marinated variations.

The Estonian Republic was overrun by Soviet Union in 1940 and lost one fifth of its people, especially public and military leaders, by liquidation and deportation to the slave camps in Siberia.  Russian communists rule the country still today with heavy hand.

During the 11 World War we escaped by the Baltic Sea to Germany and stayed in various displaced persons camps for five years.  We were people without home and country.

After the U.S. Congress passed a special Displaced Persons Immigration Law we came to United States.  Our sponsors were Arne and Mildred Goplen in Binford and we stayed with them on their farm for eight years.  It felt so good to be safe again and everybody was very nice to us here, especially all the Goplens - we were like part of the family and were included in everything.

1956 Ellinor started to work in local ASCS office and the children came to Cooperstown to school.  Edgar also started to work in accounting jobs in various places, since this was his original profession.  Finally we moved permanently to Cooperstown and concentrated mainly to educate our children.  Edgar was quite active in Boy Scouts, which still is his first priority.

Our girls work both in professional level.  Tiina is the director of YMCA College in Vancouver, Canada.  She is married to Toivo Allas and they have two boys.  Ell is a research information specialist for the U.S. Department of Interior in Columbia, Missouri.  She is married to Dr. Erick Fritzell.

Due to the reduction of office force in ASCS, Ellinor was laid off after over 17 years of service.  Eventually she started to work again with Edgar as a clerk and bookkeeper.

In North Dakota there are very few Estonians, but there are large Estonian Centers in Canada, Australia, England, Sweden and in most bigger cities in United States.

Estonians, although citizens of their adoptive countries, also retain their Estonian cultural identity and have joined to form a network of local and global organizations.  They have in the free world a very high level of education with a high percentage of professional people, actively involved in the productive life of the countries they live in.  Yet the national ideals of the free Estonia are carried on by some 100,000 Estonians who succeeded in escaping to the free world.  They publish newspapers and books; they endeavor to preserve national music and arts.  On important occasions they dress in their colorful national costumes and gather beneath their blue-black-white banner, the display of which is now forbidden in their native country.

We personally feel very lucky that we could come to the United State and our first loyalty belongs to this great country whose proud citizens we are now.

Ellinor & Edgar Multer

Source: Cooperstown, North Dakota 1882-1982 Centennial page 45

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