S.S. Walnut

A voyage to Freedom - 1948

60th - 2008



 30th - 1978

 50th - 1998   

   60th - 2008

65th - 2013  


Into God's Hands

 A stormy sea -
the water 
looms endless -
cold and frigid;

We leave behind 
those we have loved
things we have known;

All my possessions
in one small suitcase -
are easy to pack;

What fate awaits us?

Together we came
with dread -
yet filled  with hope;

Into God's hands -
we placed our dreams
and our lives;

Deliver us all
from evil
Your kingdom come;

We thank You -
for this second chance
our lives anew.

Tiiu Roiser 
Dec. 2008




60th Reunion

Saturday, December 6th, 2008, saw the Walnut family gather for their 60th reunion.  The middle hall at the Toronto Estonian House was sufficient this time, since there was a remarkable decline in the number attending.  Many have reached their 80th and 90th years and poor health combined with the snowy weather kept many from attending.  

Pastor Hannes Aasa, who's father came aboard the Walnut, asked of the participants:    "Have you seen a miracle?"  There was no answer.  He continued, "You all here are a miracle.  Arriving over a stormy sea from Sweden, is a miracle."


Passengers attending 60th reunion.


Families Gustavson and Laaneorg.

From the left:  Karl Lane (Laaneorg), Raivo Laaneorg, Paavo Laaneorg, Silvia Lauri, Mary Valge (Gustavson), 
Lilly Kastelic, Tiina Hubel, Nelly Hubel (Gustavson), Vivi Kivi (Laaneorg) and Peter Gustavson.   
Photo:  Paul Rabisson


The youngest and the oldest attending - From the left:
Peter Gustavson, Juta Cowan-Ristmägi, 
Nelly Lind and Guri Raag

In attendance this year were approximately 60 individuals, many passengers bringing along their friends and family members.  

The oldest female passenger in attendance was Nelly Lind (89) and the oldest male, Guri Raag (91).  The youngest female was Juta Cowan (Ristmägi) and Peter Gustavson (66).  

More English was used at this reunion, since the younger generation and many guests were not fluent in Estonian.  Event organizers were Nelly Hubel, Vivi Kivi and Tiiu Roiser.

The event began with guests being greeted by Tiiu Roiser who also gave some background concerning the voyage. Since many passengers were seasick, many have stated that they were not aware of all that occurred on the ship.  




When some passengers were interviewed about their recollections, many stated that they had no idea about the pumps breaking down, their course, etc.  Most people were confined to their small sleeping cubicles and only spoke and saw those immediately around them.  Although the voyage story has been told many times, there are still tidbits of information that came as a surprise to some.

The guest speaker for the evening was Lynda Männik, daughter of a passenger.  Lynda has chosen to do her York University PhD thesis about the voyage of the Walnut.  She was familiar to everyone having just completed her interviews with the passengers as she collected information.  Lynda presented a slide show and spoke of the Walnut exhibit at the Pier 21 Museum. 

Enn Saumets was a young boy during the voyage.  His mother kept a daily journal of events on board.  It was fascinating to hear Enn translate excerpts from his mother's text.  [Note:  A new section will soon be added to the website with translated text from the journal.]

Nelly Lind presented a poem she had written outlining memories both good and bad of her voyage. 

One idea brought up by the passengers in attendance was a desire to collect in one place all Walnut memorabilia.  Although Pier 21 has a large collection of material, it is not always quickly accessible.  "Young people use the internet, wouldn't it would be nice if my grandchildren could read all these stories," was the sentiment of one passenger.  A volunteer was asked to build a website where passengers could share their recollections and donate memorabilia and photographs.  This web page is a result of their request.

Tiiu Roiser-Chorowiec


Read in Estonian Paul Rabisson's article about the 60th reunion and Nelly Lind's poem.


60th Reunion Photographs 

The following photographs were donated by Walnut passengers and/or their families.   All images on this page are used with permission
 and are Copyrighted  © 2009 by the image providers.  All rights reserved.   
I thank all the individuals who have graciously allowed us to post their images on this website.  
A list of contributors appears on the links page.  

If you are a passenger, please help with the captions.  
Names will only be posted with the permission of the subject depicted or if the name has already appeared
 in a published article.  Passenger names are identified in red.


Click each thumbnail to see the full-size picture.

Some Walnut passengers were unable to attend the reunion
and got together to share memories several days earlier.

From the left:  Nelly Hubel (Gustavson), Milvi Silm (Jeeger), Vivi Kivi (Laaneorg),
Raja Himmist-Vincich, Asta Piil (nee Pink), and Hilja Kuutma.


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Reunion guests 1. From left:  Karl Lane (Laaneorg), 
Raivo Laaneorg, Paavo Laaneorg,
Silvia Lauri, Mary Valge (Gustavson), 
Lilly Kastelic, Tiina Hubel, Nelly Hubel (Gustavson), Vivi Kivi (Laaneorg)
 ja Peeter Gustavson.
Reunion guests 2.
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Lynda Männik presents information from  her Ph.D. Thesis research. From left:  Koidula Roiser, 
Ivi Saumets
and Friedrich Heinsaar.
From left:  Raivo Laaneorg, 
Paavo Laaneorg, Vivi Kivi (nee Laaneorg) and Karl Lane 
(formerly Laaneorg).

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Ivi Saumets and Friedrich Heinsaar Vivi Kivi (nee Laaneorg),  
Nelly Hubel (nee Gustavson).
Nelly Lind and Koidula Roiser  
reminisce about old times.

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Reunion guests 3.  Milvi Silm (Jeeger)  and 
husband Vello Silm.
From left:  Peter Gustavson, Juta Cowan (Ristmägi), Nelly Lind and Guri Raag.

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Reunion guests 4. Nelly Lind reads her poem. Friedrich Heinsaar was 
the navigator on the ship.
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Mary Valge (nee Marie Gustavson), Lilly Kastelic, Tiina Hubel, & Nelly Hubel

Passengers attending 
60th reunion.

Event organizers Nelly Hubel,  
Lynda Männik, Vivi Kivi  
and Tiiu Roiser-Chorowiec

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Nelly Hubel thanks everyone 
for attending.

Reunion guests 5.

Pastor Hannes Aasa and 
Heljo Puldre (nee Vichman).


Copyright © 2009 - 2019 Tiiu Roiser-Chorowiec.  All rights reserved.
Distribution, transmission or republication  of any material from www.walnutship1948.ca (formerly walnut1948.cwahi.net) in whole or in part,
in any medium or form is prohibited without the prior written permission of copyright holders.  
For information please email the website's administrator and creator  tiiu-roiser@rogers.com  
All images and text on this page are used with permission and are copyrighted  by the image providers.   
I thank all the individuals who have graciously allowed us to post their images and stories on this website.  A list of contributors appears on the links page.
Background pattern courtesy of Subtlepatterns.com

This page was last updated 27/12/2018 08:05 PM

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