Submitted by Amy W

Endel Nelis (Mart Avandi) is an Estonian fencing master on the run from Soviet authorities during Stalin’s regime. During WWII, he was drafted by the Nazis, and is now viewed as an enemy of the USSR. He takes refuge in the village of Haapsalu, Estonia, where he is hired as a teacher and coach for the local school’s sports club. He decides to teach fencing against the wishes of his stodgy apparatchik principal, who doesn’t think fencing is “a sport for the working man.” Thankfully, the students’ parents disagree. Endel instructs eager youngsters, including Jan, Marta, and Lea, in his elegant art.

The principal has his assistant do some covert digging into Endel’s past. The two of them find out his name used to be Endel Keller (found on his German military passport.) If caught by higher Soviet police, he could be sent to hard labor in Siberia. Thus, he doesn’t want to go to Leningrad for his new fencing team to participate in a big-city tournament. After talking with his new love – Kadri, a fellow teacher – Endel knows he must risk his own safety for the honor and glory of those to whom he is dedicated.

Comrade Nelis, along with Jan, Lea and Marta, head to Leningrad and enter into the tournament despite not having modern electric foils (they borrow some from a helpful rival team coach). Jan and Lea manage to earn a good qualifying score, but after Jan is injured, it is Marta who must go head-to-head against an impressive opponent in the final match.

She claims victory – but it’s a political defeat for Endel, who humbly surrenders to the Soviet police waiting for him. His principal had urged him to flee before the final match, but Nelis refused to abandon his pupils. He is sent to Siberia for some time, but returns when released after Stalin’s death.

His grateful students embrace him, and the fencing club he founded still exists today.