University of Minnesota

Paikens, Edward, Papers

Finding Aid

VITRAGE

IHRC

Immigration History Research Center, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota


Descriptive summary

Creator: Paikens, Edward
Dates: 1917-1995
Abstract: Papers document Paikens’ life primarily from the time of his departure from Latvia in 1944 to the time of his mother’s death in 1977. Materials include a number of identification cards and report cards give evidence to his immediate post-war activities, but the bulk of information comes from his collected correspondence with his mother in Latvia, which began in 1956. Among the letters are scattered receipts for money and packages sent, as well as a few photographs.
Quantity: 5 lin.in.
Language: Latvian, English
Collection ID: IHRC2013

PROVENANCE

The papers of Edward Paikens were given to the IHRC in April 1995 by Helen Seeley of Golden Valley, Minnesota. Astra Apsitis processed the collection in 1995. Selected photographs and letters were digitized during 2005-2010.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH

Edward Paikens (nee Eduards Paikens Dzilna) was born on May 27, 1917, in the northeast region of Latvia, not far from Aluksne. He left the country for school in Riga, where he attended the Riga Technical Institute until 1944 when he was sent to work at the A.E.G. factory in Thorn in occupied Poland (today's Torun) (in July) as a laborer by the occupying German forces. His father had died and his mother remained in Latvia. His brother Laimons was never heard from again. After the war, Paikens spent the years prior to emigration to the United States in a displaced persons camp Insula in Strub near Berchtesgaden (in Bavaria). From June 1946 to March 1947, he attended courses in the camp, completing his secondary education at the level of "gymnasium." In March 1948, he received certificates from the International Refugee Organization administering the camp to work as draftsman, telephone mechanic, and machine operator (certification by the IRO Displaced Persons Professional Testing Board).

In 1947, Edward Paikens joined the local "Alpenverein" (Alpine Club) in Berchtesgaden. Until January 1949, he was a member of the YMCA branch in the Insula camp. A copy of his embarkation card indicates the sailing date to the United States as February 10, 1949, aboard the S.S. Ernie Pyle, from Hamburg, Germany. The ship arrived in Boston on February 21 or 22, 1949. Edward Paikens was sponsored and assisted in his resettlement in the United States by the Lutheran Welfare Society which paid for his transportation from Boston to Minnesota. In March and April, 1949, Edward Paikens resided in Blakeley, Minnesota, a year later, in May, 1950, a letter from the Lutheran Resettlement Service of Minnesota was addressed to him in Minneapolis. He repayed the transportation loan of $57.72 from the Lutheran Welfare Society in June 1950.

In Minneapolis, he met and married his wife Helen. He was granted U.S. citizenship in November, 1952, and lived in Minneapolis until his death on October 6, 1993.

 


DESCRIPTION OF THE COLLECTION

This collection of papers documents Paikens’ life primarily from the time of his departure from Latvia in 1944 to the time of his mother’s death in 1977. A number of identification cards and report cards give evidence to his immediate post-war activities, but the bulk of information comes from his collected correspondence with his mother in Latvia, which began in 1956. Among the letters are scattered receipts for money and packages sent, as well as a few photographs. This series of letters, including copies of letters sent by Paikens, provides a rare look at life in rural Latvia in the 1950’s and 1960’sm when life under soviet rule was particularly difficult. The photographs at the end of the collection are mostly from Paikens’ transatlantic journey from Germany to the United States on the ship Ernie Pyle.


ACCESS RESTRICTIONS

The Paikens, Edward collection is available for public research.

OWNERSHIP & LITERARY RIGHTS

The Paikens, Edward collection is the physical property of the Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota.

For further information regarding the copyright, please contact the IHRC.


CITE AS

The Paikens, Edward Papers, Latvian American Collection, Immigration History Research Center, University of Minnesota

Index Terms

Latvian
Displaced persons

Description of Series

This section briefly describes each series in the collection. A more detailed description of the contents of each series may be found in the following section.

SERIES 1. Personal documents

SERIES 2. Correspondence

SERIES 3. Photographs

SERIES 4. Miscellaneous



Detailed Description of the Collection

SERIES 1. Personal documents

BOX 1.
FOLDER 1. Personal Documents 1942-52


SERIES 2. Correspondence

BOX 1. (selected letters from this series have been digitized and are available at the following link: http://ihrc.umn.edu/research/dil/Paikens/paikens.htm
FOLDER 2. Correspondence 1942-52
FOLDER 3. Correspondence 1956-59
FOLDER 4. Correspondence 1960-63
FOLDER 5. Correspondence 1964-67
FOLDER 6. Correspondence 1968-77,1994


SERIES 3. Photographs

BOX 1.
FOLDER 7. Photographs
IMAGE: Passengers debark the SS Ernie Pyle 1949 3 x 4.5 in. Photography view
Passengers debark the the SS Ernie Pyle. The SS Ernie Pyle, a transport ship used as a carrier for displaced persons (DPs), World War II refugees, from their camps in Europe to the United States. Originally commissioned in Portland, Oregon.
IMAGE: SS Ernie Pyle 1949 3 x 4.5 in. Photography view
The SS Ernie Pyle, a transport ship used as a carrier for displaced persons (DPs), World War II refugees, from their camps in Europe to the United States. Originally commissioned in Portland, Oregon.
IMAGE: SS Ernie Pyle at sea 1949 4.5 x 3 in. Photography view
The SS Ernie Pyle, a transport ship used as a carrier for displaced persons (DPs), World War II refugees, from their camps in Europe to the United States. Originally commissioned in Portland, Oregon.
IMAGE: SS Ernie Pyle at sea 1949 4.5 x 3 in. Photography view
The SS Ernie Pyle, a transport ship used as a carrier for displaced persons (DPs), World War II refugees, from their camps in Europe to the United States. Originally commissioned in Portland, Oregon.
IMAGE: Passengers on the SS Ernie Pyle 1949 3 x 4.5 in. Photography view
Passengers on deck of the SS Ernie Pyle. The SS Ernie Pyle, a transport ship used as a carrier for displaced persons (DPs), World War II refugees, from their camps in Europe to the United States. Originally commissioned in Portland, Oregon.
IMAGE: SS Ernie Pyle at sea 1949 4.5 x 3 in. Photography view
The SS Ernie Pyle, a transport ship used as a carrier for displaced persons (DPs), World War II refugees, from their camps in Europe to the United States. Originally commissioned in Portland, Oregon.
IMAGE: SS Ernie Pyle 1949 3 x 4.5 in. Photography view
The SS Ernie Pyle, a transport ship used as a carrier for displaced persons (DPs), World War II refugees, from their camps in Europe to the United States. Originally commissioned in Portland, Oregon.
IMAGE: SS Ernie Pyle 1949 3.5 x 5 in. Photography view
The SS Ernie Pyle, a transport ship used as a carrier for displaced persons (DPs), World War II refugees, from their camps in Europe to the United States. Originally commissioned in Portland, Oregon.
IMAGE: SS Ernie Pyle 1949 4 x 3 in. view
Passengers on deck of the SS Ernie Pyle. The SS Ernie Pyle, a transport ship used as a carrier for displaced persons (DPs), World War II refugees, from their camps in Europe to the United States. Originally commissioned in Portland, Oregon.
IMAGE: SS Ernie Pyle 1949 3 x 4 in. view
Mast of the SS Ernie Pyle. The SS Ernie Pyle, a transport ship used as a carrier for displaced persons (DPs), World War II refugees, from their camps in Europe to the United States. Originally commissioned in Portland, Oregon.
IMAGE: SS Ernie Pyle 1949 3 x 4 in. view
The SS Ernie Pyle, a transport ship used as a carrier for displaced persons (DPs), World War II refugees, from their camps in Europe to the United States. Originally commissioned in Portland, Oregon.
IMAGE: Edward Paikens 1949 3 x 4 in. view
Edward Paikens on the SS Ernie Pyle, a transport ship used as a carrier for displaced persons (DPs), World War II refugees, from their camps in Europe to the United States. Originally commissioned in Portland, Oregon.
IMAGE: Edward Paikens 1949 3 x 4 in. view
Edward Paikens on the SS Ernie Pyle, a transport ship used as a carrier for displaced persons (DPs), World War II refugees, from their camps in Europe to the United States. Originally commissioned in Portland, Oregon.
IMAGE: Tugboat 1949 3 x 4 in. view
Tugboat along side of the SS Ernie Pyle, a transport ship used as a carrier for displaced persons (DPs), World War II refugees, from their camps in Europe to the United States. Originally commissioned in Portland, Oregon.
IMAGE: Edward Paikens n.d. 2 x 3 in. view
Edward Paikens.


SERIES 4. Miscellaneous

BOX 1.
FOLDER 8. Laminated Copy of Free Voice (Toronto) June 14,1949



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