Brief history of Kudina

People have lived in the Kudina area for thousands of years. The soil of the area was good for agriculture and herding. The archeological finds from Kudina lake suggest that Kudina was settled around late iron age.

The first crusaders attacked Vaigamaa in 1211. After ten years, Estonians lost the war to the intruders and after the suppression of the 1224. uprising Vaigamaa was split between the Order and the Bishopric of Dorpat . The Northen part of Vaigamaa belonged to the Order and Kudina area went to the Bishopric of Dorpat.

In the following centuries the local people endured reoccurring Russian-Polish wars. Many people were killed and many died of the plague. Many empty villages were re-settled by Swedish and Finnish people. Most of the immigrants settled in Tartu county, in 1638 the immigrants made up 24,7% of the population there. Among the new settlers were many Finnish craftsmen and hence Kudina was also called the village of weavers (Kudujate küla). The name Kudina is unique in Estonia.

In the end of the Swedish rule, the country was plagued by severe crop failure and famine that were followed by The Great Northern War. The manors of Kudina and Saare and the Maarja Magdaleena church were destroyed during the Šermetjev`s army plunder and capturing of Tartu. Only two farms of the Kudina area were untouched – the Nolgu farm in Vaidavere and the Kustase farm in Kassema. The “Swedish War” burial in Kirbu farm in Aruküla also dates from this period. The “Swedish mound” (Rootsi kink) in the Saare forest also got its name after the hiding place that was there during the war.

Life could turn back to normalcy only after 1721. After that, the Kudina and Saare manors were rebuilt and in 1727 the Maarja Magdaleena church was also rebuilt.

19th century

In 1860 parishes were created , among others also Kudina parish. The manors became less important and peasants were allowed to buy farms for themselves. Justice system was put to place. Gustav Veski, the owner of Kaasiku farm in Vaidavere village was chosen to be the head judge. He was alos elected to be assesor of the parish court, which gathered in Luua manor and was directed by the owner of the Luua manor – von Oettingen. Kudina parish was famous for its many trials that are recorded in documents of the parish court, stored in the Estonian History Museum.

An old saying from Kudina parish: „Moon shines upon roofs, night as if made for the wicked“ ("Kuu veab valgust katustele, öö kui loodud patustele!" )

In 1869 Estonia suffered crop failure and famine. Public warehouses built for storing crops date from this period. Kudina parish also had its storehouse and thanks to this the famine of 1892 was less severe. More and more peasants stood up for their rights. In 1881 Andres Tiido of Ilvese farm joined Carl Robert Jakobson and others in the agriculture congress in Riga. Many Kudina farmers sent a complaint letter to Riga, describing the injustice that landlords inflicted upon them.

In 1895 the main building of Kudina manor was rebuilt.

The first Republic of Estonia

Men of Kudina parish also fought for the independence of Estonia : Otto Annuk, Erich Rätsep, Hugo Makkar, Hugo Reinberg, Ludivg Lauriste, Karl Suimets, etc. They were among the first men to join Kuperjanov`s partisan battalion in Puurmani manor. Afterwards, the Kudina estate lands were largely divided between those who fought in the War of Independence. Farms flourished since the state gave estate animals away for free and also provided cheap loans. The infrastructure, pedigree livestock breeding and agriculture were intensely developed. It all ended 20 years later with the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact and culminated with mass deportations and occupation.

The war years

On 22. of June 1941, Germany declared war to Russia and soon the mobilizations that took many Kudina men to war, started: Oskar Käämer, Eduard Hiiesalu, Vello Randoja, Ants Mägi and many others were forced to go to war. None of them saw their home country ever again.

In July 1941 the Russian destruction battalions (strybki) committed crimes against humanity in Kudina. The „offenders“ were betrayed by local communist activists, one of them was a man who people of Kudina called Soo Koll (the Swamp Monster). Through the hands of communists, the following Kudina people died: Elmar Kool, Ludvig Kool, August Tamm, Karl Tamm, Kaljo Värnomasing, Karl Värnomasing and Selma Rätsep who was cruelly tortured for not betraying the location of her husband who was hiding in the Saare forest. As a result of the murders, many farms were left empty and perished.

On 22. of July, the Battle of Kudina took place. The retreating Russian army camped at the Kudina manor while the Germans advanced on them. Two German spies entered the manor park to inspect the Russian formations. The Germans attacked as a motorized battalion and hence did not have any casualties except for one officer who was shot by a wounded Russian soldier. The Russians on the other hand had hundreds of casualties. Later on the Russians devoted a statue made by Endel Taniloo to the fallen soldiers in Kudina park.

The war went on and now the Germans mobilized Estonian men.

In 1944 the Germans retreated from Leningrad and all Estonian schools were closed. The Kudina manor that housed a school at that point was also occupied by the German army. The battalion had also had battle dogs who were housed in temporary buildings in the park. Kudina village suffered a bombing and there were civilian casualities. The end of the war did not bring desired freedom and instead ended with a new occupation, mass deportations and nationalisation.

Life in kolkhoz

In the beginning, each village had its own kolkhoz. People of Kudina were forced to gather in the Tähe farm and sign up for joining the kolkhoz. Many people were reluctant to join but fear for their lives made them sign. The first kolkhoz of Kudina was called “Red Dawn” (Punane Koit). Ülo Kivisikk was elected to be the chairman and Toomas Jõgi became the accountant. The small kolkhoz survived only for a few years and in 1951 all kolkhozes united into “The New Way” kolkhoz, which had its headquarters in the former house of Makkari. The first few years were especially difficult since the deportations had left many villages empty. The Fall of 1952 was especially cold and rainy, the vast potato fields of The New Way kolkhoz were buried under snow, crops failed. Most of the cattle died of hunger, horses were tied up with ropes so they could stand. Children were made to collect fur tree branches to feed the animals. People did not get paid any money, only a few hundred grams of grains for a full day`s work. Many people migrated to the city and there was an increasing shortage of working hands.

The kolkhoz survived despite the harsh years. Men such as Jüri Jürimäe and Ottomar Jürgenson worked in the cattle farms and also as vets. Life started to get better slowly. In 1970 the Kudina New Way kolkhoz united the big Spring kolkhoz that worked until 1992. After that the financial situation got considerably better. People started organizing cultural and sport events. The cultural life started flourishing when a young energetic man Viljar Karo became the chairman

The singing revolution

People from Kudina also took part of the 1989 Baltic human chain. Kudina people were designated to stand 8km from Türi.

We arrived in Türi about seven o`clock. There were so many cars that it was impossible to drive on. Church bells were ringing, a trespassing train gave a long, long honk and Tõnis Mägi sung “Koit”.

People shouted – Freedom! – Freedom! – Freedom! It was a very intense event, people were elated and sung national songs, flags were flying and a helicopter flew above, filming the Baltic Chain: Tallinn-Riga-Vilnius. It was the dawn of a new area.

The Stories

The sky was clear and sun shined on the Sunday of 25th of March. People of Kudina went to Maarja-Magdaleena church wearing light summer clothes. During the services, the wind turned North and it started snowing. People struggled to get home. Some people lended clothes from the Kassema village while others stayed there for the night. Many got sick. The Kudina manor`s cattle couldn`t go down to the lake and had screamed in the barn all night. People said of this: „Look how much trouble Maarja (Mary) did!“ – Liina Kool, born in 1879.

I was a 16 year old girl when I sold eggs to the builders of the new manor house. At the moment they were bulding the spiral staircase, the parts had been brought over from Germany and now they were putting it together. – Liina Kool