Leave of the coastal Swedes

to map


The coastal Swedes felt injustice already in autumn 1939 when they were driven away from their homes in Osmussaare, Suur- and Väike-Pakri and Naissaare when the Soviet bases were established. During the German occupation the Estonian Swedes could get the permit to escape to Sweden and in 1943-1944 most of the coast Swedes left Estonia.

The ones having remained in Estonia were unable to continue their current lives, as the Estonian coast became a border zone where the fishermen could not enter any more. After the coastal Swedes, thousands of Estonian refugees resettled to Sweden in autumn 1944.

Though, all Swedes did not leave Estonia and in the last twenty years some successors of the leavers have returned to Estonia. Differently from the Baltic Germans who lived scattered in Estonia, the coastal Swedes had had always quite certain regions where they have lived and which have a clear Estonian Swedish identity. This mitigates to some extent the resurrection of the Estonian Swedish community.

On the photo: Noarootsi church


Jüri Viikberg. Eesti rahvaste raamat. Eesti entsüklopeediakirjastus: Tallinn 1999


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