Lunch and Learn with Glenn Kranking '98 hosted by the Office of Alumni and Parent EngagementJanuary 9 at 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Time: January 9 at 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Dr. Glenn Kranking '98, Associate Professor in History, Scandinavian Studies, and Russian, will present "We Were Displaced: Estonia's Swedish Minority During Soviet and Nazi Occupations." Hosted virtually via Zoom starting at 11:30 a.m. CT.

For more than 800 years, a Swedish minority population lived on islands and coastal regions in present-day Estonia. During the Second World War, the region passed from Soviet to Nazi occupation (and then a return of Soviet occupation until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991), and each occupation had disruptions for the Estonian-Swedes. By the end of the Second World War, almost the entire Swedish minority had relocated to their ancient homeland of Sweden. My work identifies four components of the Estonian-Swedish identity: their connection to place, their Lutheran religion, Swedish-language education, and their connections to Sweden as their ancient homeland. I argue that the two periods of occupation severed or restricted these four components, leading to their decisions to flee their homes and emigrate to Sweden. About half of the Estonian-Swedes fled legally, with the authority of the Nazi German occupiers, while the other half fled illegally, and at great risk. Regardless of how they arrived, Sweden welcomed them in, as a privileged refugee population - a move that also helped open the door for other refugee populations by the end of the war. Glenn has been researching this population for quite some time, researching in Estonia, Sweden, and Russia, and is in the process of writing a book about the Second World War occupations and relocation.