Baltische Zielen – Jan Brokken (2010)

Beautiful, often emotional, stories describing the fascinating and cruel history of the Baltic countries Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, wedged between Europe and Russia. Brokken makes us witnesses of the lives of both normal and famous people dealing with fear, humiliation and murder as their countries are constant object of foreign occupation: be it Polish, German of Russian. The book served as an excellent introduction to Baltic history – from the  repeated attempts to annihilate the once big Jewish population to the Baltics’ struggle to free themselves from Russian influence. The latter continues to be actual.
That fear and persecution can also function as catalyst for great artistic and cultural talent is proven by people like Gidon Kremer, Rothko, Arvo Part and Hannah Arendt, who all share Baltic roots.