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See Everything, Hear Everything
Watch films, excerpts and view archival artefacts—all chosen by
NFB experts—plus much more!
 
 
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Film (48:06)
Letters from Karelia
2005, director: Kelly Saxberg
Taimi Pitkanen last saw her brother Aate (AH-tay) in a...
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Film (52:04)
The Enemy Within
2003, director: Eva Colmers
During World War II, a war-ravaged Britain realized it could...
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Film (52:00)
Open Secrets
2003, director: José Torrealba
This provocative documentary uncovers a lost chapter in...
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Film (12:31)
Through My Thick Glasses
2003, director: Pjotr Sapegin
An old man tells his granddaughter his personal story of the...
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Film (51:59)
The Pacifist Who Went to War
2002, director: David Neufeld
In 1939, as Canada joined World War II, a social crisis...
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Film (50:47)
Sleeping Tigers: The Asahi Baseball Story
2002, director: Jari Osborne
In pre-World War II Vancouver the Asahi baseball team was...
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Film (56:30)
Aftermath: The Remnants of War
2001, director: Daniel Sekulich
War has a dirty secret: it never really ends....
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Film (46:40)
Rosies of the North
1999, director: Kelly Saxberg
They raised children, baked cakes... and built world-class...
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Letters from Karelia
 

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Film  (48:06) 2005, director: Kelly Saxberg
Description
Taimi Pitkanen last saw her brother Aate (AH-tay) in a Leningrad railway station in 1931.

Taimi was returning to Canada from Moscow; Aate was headed for Soviet Karelia, on the border with Finland, where his skills in electricity and languages - both English and Finnish - were badly needed.

Aate never came back. Even when the dream went sour, Aate held on, writing home until, in 1941, Hitler attacked the USSR. After that, no one in Canada heard anything more of Aate Pitkanen.

Sixty years later, the discovery of his last letters - written but never mailed from a Finnish prisoner-of-war camp - reveals his fate and brings together Taimi and Alfred, the son Aate never met.

Visiting Taimi in Canada, Alfred Pitkanen learns the dramatic story of his father's Canadian family and of "Karelia Fever," the enthusiasm that gripped so many Finnish Canadians in the 1930s. Almost forgotten now, it lured thousands to a tragic fate in the Soviet Union.

Alfred follows his father's journey from Thunder Bay, Ontario, to Karelia, from young communist pioneer to ski champion of the USSR to Soviet spy.

With him we learn Aate's fate and the story of one of the great dreams of the twentieth century.

More info on this film in NFB catalogue »»