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« Tuna 4 / 2020

Departure and Return

Kalju Lepik (1920–1999) was one of the greatest Estonian poets of the 20th century, who wrote most of his works in exile in Sweden. Yet apart from that, he was also the chairman of the Estonian Writers’ Union Abroad since 1982, and one of the founders of the Baltic Archive, which was founded in Stockholm in 1966. He served as director of this archive until the end of his life, standing for the collection and preservation of cultural items that have been produced abroad. The story of Kalju Lepik’s escape from his Estonian homeland via Hiiumaa in the autumn of 1944 is reflected in detail in his diary notes. His first visits to his homeland as it was becoming free in 1990 mark the beginning of the reunification of Estonian culture that had been split as a result of World War II and exile.