Herman Sergo (Estonia)
Herman Sergo was born in 1911 in a seaside village on Hiiumaa.
Herman Sergo, a ship´s captain and a writer, wrote about the world he knew every inch of: the life of old salts from the seas and the people of the seaside villages of Hiiumaa, the second biggest island of Estonia. His father was a seaman, and following the village men´s example of that seafarers´ island, Sergo went to sea as a mere schoolboy on his father´s clipper. His seamen’s stories tie together the legends of the sea, almost unbelievable adventures, love for the sea and old times. And somewhere inside his books is also hidden the unhappy fate of the sailors of his generation, sailing the closed sea of Soviet Estonia, although his life was probably the most adventurous and complicated of Estonian writers.
Sergo was of Estonian origin, but has recorded with interest the history of the island´s free-born Swedes, a small ethnic group of people who stood up for their rights in the 18th century and were deported to Ukraine by Empress Catherine the Great in 1781 to colonize the territories near the Black Sea, on the riverside of Dniepr. The historical sequel Näkimadalad I–III (Neckmansgrund, 1984–1985), based on historical research and archive sources, appeared in the renaissance period of the historical novel in Estonia. Neckmansgrund was made into a film in 1989.
The old seaman died in 1989. Sergo was one of those writers who brought the vivid life of the Estonian islands and islanders to the literary world, and his historical novels are thrilling and memorable.
Sourced: The Estonian Literature Centre (ELIC, Eesti Kirjanduse Teabekeskus)
Photo: Eesti Kirjandusmuuseum