Ester Vee with her great-grandmother Lea Chapkowski

This is me and my great-grandmother Lea Chapkowski having a walk. This photo was taken in Tallinn in 1937, a few months before my great-grandmother died.

My grandparents loved me a lot. My grandmother and my grandfather’s sister Riva took care of me. The whole family loved and pampered me. After my father graduated from Tartu University my parents moved to Tallinn. My parents rented an apartment, and I returned to my parents. Initially they rented a smaller apartment in Imante Street. I have very dim memories of this period.

My father worked as a dentist, and my grandfather worked with him. My grandfather was a dental mechanic. There were not so many dental mechanics at the time, and my grandfather was considered a highly skilled specialist. He provided his services to a number of celebrities in Estonia. He was well-respected. My father and grandfather’s business improved, and we moved into another apartment on Viru Street. There were seven rooms in this apartment. My grandfather and father set up a dentist’s room where they received their patients.

My grandmother Eugenia had passed away by that time. She died in 1933, when I was two. My mother told me that my grandmother simply adored me. She fell severely ill and she had to go to hospital. She recovered, and the family came to take her home, when all of a sudden she had coronary thrombosis. She died instantly. It was a premature death. My grandmother was buried in the Jewish cemetery in Tallinn. Her mother, my great-grandmother Lea Chapkowski, lived four years longer than her daughter. She died in 1937.