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STOCKHOLM, Sweden - A message in a bottle apparently thrown into the sea 60 years ago by an Estonian refugee fleeing the Nazis has been discovered on a remote Swedish beach.
Thorsten Schwarz said Friday he found the bottle outside Oxeloesund, a town 55 miles southwest of the capital, Stockholm.
Schwarz, a Swiss tourist, said the message was written in English and dated 1943, when the Nazis occupied Estonia, 200 miles east of Sweden, across the Baltic Sea.
He said the message was signed by Maja Westerman, an Estonian refugee who wrote that she and her sister had arrived a year earlier on the small Swedish Baltic island of Gotska Sandoen, 68 miles southeast of Stockholm.
"We are still dreaming about our home," the yellow letter said. "Is the war over yet? We are looking forward to peace and friendship. I would be very grateful if I could see my family again."
About 2,000 refugees from the three Baltic countries — most of them from the Estonian islands of Saarema and Kaerdla — were given asylum on Gotska Sandoen during the war.
"It is very moving," Schwarz told The Associated Press by telephone from his home in Altnau, near Lake Constance in Switzerland.
"Just imagine if Maja Westerman is still alive today and it would be possible to find her," he added.
Schwarz said he found the bottle Tuesday, and returned to Switzerland on Friday. He said he would search for the letter's author on the Internet and attempt to authenticate the letter.
Schwarz said he had to break the bottle to get the letter out. He said he will mail it to a journalist on Gotland, a resort island near Gotska Sandoen, who will try to confirm the letter's authenticity. Schwarz said he doesn't believe the letter is a hoax.
"I know about the type of paper used during that time," Schwarz said. "And my brother, who is a doctor of history, said he too believes it is real."
Soviet troops occupied then-independent Estonia in 1940 and the Nazis invaded in 1941.
Most of the 100,000 Estonians who fled the small Baltic state during the war left as Red Army soldiers returned in 1944. Estonia regained its independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.