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« Tuna 4 / 2016

The Four Lives of Reet Littover

This article is an addition to the article “Märjamaa kaitseliitlase Hans Littoveri ja tema naise lugu” (The Story of Member of the Märjamaa Defence League Hans Littover and his Wife) by Mati Mandel published in Tuna no. 1/2016. Mandel writes that nothing is currently known about the life of Reet Littover, the other main character of this story, during the war years. Fortunately, this is nevertheless not so because I have in my possession the life story that Reet Littover has written with her own hand on a total of twenty pages, which partially supplements the information that Mandel has found from archival documents. She is my father’s sister, Auntie Reet from Haapsalu, who was deported at the age of 28 to a labour camp in Siberia for sixteen years and later had to remain exiled in banishment for the only reason that she was married to a bank manager who was also a member of the Kaitseliit (Estonian Defence League). She never saw her husband again. This is but one “ordinary” story from among thousands of other similar stories from Estonia’s recent history. The lives of Reet and Hans Littover, and of people who have shared their fate, are daily reminders to us that freedom is not something self-evident that can be taken for granted, rather we must make an effort every day to maintain it.