Education

Displaced persons highly valued the keeping of their nation, and therefor considered it to be very important that schools in their native language be rapidly established. Among other things, the Estonians were allegedly the first to have native language schools in the camps. The establishment of schools began primarily in the summer of 1945 and by the beginning of 1946, a well-established network of schools had formed. The exception was the French zone, where an Estonian language school was already founded in November 1944. Because conditions in each zone and camp were different, the opening of schools happened at different times. Although the establishment of schools happened a little earlier in the British zone than in the US zone, there was not a large amount of small children in the smaller camps to open large schools or high schools like in the US zone.

At the end of the 1945–46 school year, there were 33 Estonian primary schools with 1164 students and 11 high schools with 580 students in the US zone. In the largest camp in Geislingen, there were 267 students altogether, which meant that six parallel classes had to be opened. Thirty elementary schools, eight high schools, and three part-course high schools operated in the British zone, where all together 800 elementary school students and 500 high school students studied.

The French zone had the lowest number of Estonians, nearly 800 people, where 500–600 people lived near the shale mines in Balingen county; an Estonian school with 25 students was established there already in November 1944, which had to be closed in March 1945 due to the events of the war. However, a new school was organised with 31 students from May to July as well as in January 1946. In addition there were another two Estonian schools, even though the number of students in both schools was only 10–15.

The task of finding teachers was different for each camp, but the number of people who had finished a pedagogical education was high enough to create a sufficient education programme in their native tongue. In the beginning, the launch of effective schools was difficult because of the constant movement from one camp to another. The better situation was undoubtedly in Geislingen camp, where 38 high school teachers worked, of which 26 had received a university education and three were professors.

A letter by Karl Robert Pusta related to the Hamburg Baltic University's further funding. The Hamburg Baltic University was opened on February 6, 1946, there were 150 professors as well as 2000 students at first, and teaching took place in four faculties: faculty of philosophy and teology, faculty of law and economics, faculty of mathematics and natural science, faculty of agriculture and forestry.
ERA.1608.2.949, page 32 (digitized, www.ra.ee/saaga)
An article about the Baltic University, published in "The New York Times" on August 8, 1947.
ERA.1608.2.949, page 33 (digitized, www.ra.ee/saaga)
An appeal by the Refugees Defence Committee for to find donors supporting the activity of the Baltic University.
ERA.1608.2.949, pages 42–43 (digitized, www.ra.ee/saaga)
A letter of thanks by acting Latvian rector of the Baltic University, Dr. L. Slaucitajs, to the Refugees Defence Committee for their indicated help. March 19, 1948, Pinneberg.
ERA.1608.2.949, page 47 (digitized, www.ra.ee/saaga)
A New Year's greeting by the rectors, president, and vice-president of the Baltic University. Pinneberg, 1948.
ERA.1608.2.949, page 114 (digitized, www.ra.ee/saaga)
An overview of the Baltic University's formation, activity and organizational structure. The University beholds its transfer to the United States or Canada as a possible solution how to get out from the economic difficulties.
ERA.1608.2.949, pages 115–116 (digitized, www.ra.ee/saaga)
An overview of the Baltic University's formation, activity and organizational structure. The University beholds its transfer to the United States or Canada as a possible solution how to get out from the economic difficulties.
ERA.1608.2.949, pages 115–116 (digitized, www.ra.ee/saaga).
Students in a hurry to lectures, the Baltic University in the rooms of history museum in Hamburg, probably in 1946.
VEMU FK.61-22
Students in a class room at the Baltic University, probably in 1946.
VEMU FK.61-21
Professor Hugo Kaho at the ceremony of Tartu University in Göttingen in 1945.
VEMU FK.61-12