Sorrow’s ElegyA Family's Story of Loss and Re-DiscoveryAnna Takanen
“It takes four generations for a war to leave a family. I am the third generation.”
These are the words of Swedish theatre director, actor and writer, Anna Takanen. As the vestiges of the Second World War wrought devastation on Finland with the Continuation War and Winter War that would kill young Timo’s father, neutral Sweden offered a safe haven for Finnish children.
On losing their bread-winner, the Takanen family’s circumstances soon become dire; when Timo falls ill, his mother’s desperation to save his life outweighs her need to have him close by, so she makes the heart-wrenching decision to place her son on the child transport to Sweden in the hopes of improving her son’s chances of survival across the sea.
SORROW’S ELEGY is the heartbreaking story of Anna Takanen’s slow, and increasingly painful unearthing of her father’s family history, coming to understand the experience of being a child of war. Father and daughter travel together to Finland, at first in silence, but when she confronts him to tell his tory, both father and daughter realize that the emotional scars the family has tried to forget, still casts a long shadow down the generations.
Anna Takanen’s story has an acute relevance to our time, providing a much-needed perspective on the refugee crises still happening across the globe today. A true story, first rendered as a critically-acclaimed play, Anna Takanen now writes her transgenerational story with remarkable presence and tenderness.
Historical Note: between 1939 and 1945, during the Winter War and the Continuation War, almost 80,000 children were evacuated to Sweden. Some 15,500 of these children did not return to their families in Finland when the war ended.