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LABAS: The Lithuanian E-Zine

Volumn 1 (Issue 2)
Editor: Bernard Tiva
Assistant Editor: Sandra Souveskas
To subscribe to the E-mail version of LABAS: Write The Editor and type "subscribe" in the subject line.

Response to the first issue of LABAS- The Lithuanian E-Zine was overwhelming!  We started with about 60 subscribers and now have more than 300!  Thank you to everyone who subscribed and the original 60+ who sent it on to relatives and friends.

Comments received from the first issue . . .

Wonderful idea – keep up the good work.
Your E-Zine is great, put me on the list!
Wonderful idea.  Many others probably thought of this, but you acted, congratulations.
Please refrain from sending me this drivel!!!! (Always one in a crowd?)

Many of you asked about me – I seem to have appeared out of nowhere, so I thought I would put a few paragraphs together about me.  Hope you enjoy them.

1. The Lost Opportunity Generation
2. An Idea For A Book
3. Description of the Lithuanian Museum Archieves of Canada
4. A Non-Lithuanian Helps Lithuanians
5. Almus' Tudbits From the Lithuanian Press
6. Twinning (Two Articles)
7. Volleyball
8. Sports In Lithuania
9. Receipes For Lent
10. History of Lithuanians In Maryland
11. Olympic Trivi
12. Lithuanian Mercy Lift
MEMORIES ... Sweet Memories ... of ... quiet nights and ... gentle days ...

Perhaps it was a word, a special treat, or a Lithuanian family reunion ... all memories stored in your mind. Share your memories! Send your story to:

Sweet Memories

We'll store your memories on this webset for future generations. Our first memory is from the editor of LABAS and my buddy Bernard.

The Lost Opportunity Generation

By Bernard M. Tirva, Editor - Photo of Triakai Castle Compliments of Len Mizutowicz

We belong to the "Lost Opportunity Generation." We were born in the late thirties and early forties, outside large Lithuanian communities and of second generation Lithuanian parents.

the late 1800's, my grandparents arrived in the United States from Lithuania. When my parents were born in Pennsylvania, Lithuanian was their language, although they probably didn't know the linguistic significance of such a fact. First generation Lithuanian-Americans learned the Baltic Tongue and the second heard it. By the time the rest of us came into being, it wasn't "fashionable" to be anything but "apple pie American." That meant speaking only English. Teachers in public schools made us over into "good little citizens" by changing or shortening our names to be more "American." The Lost Opportunity Generation lost much more than a language - we lost our culture and our identity.

are great places to dig around in. In ours, the old player piano rolls were etched with dust, a semi-permanent home for lost spiders. Although many of the rubber hoses in our old player piano were brittle from age, it still worked. Among the rolls in the attic were old Lithuanian songs. It was fun to pedal and listen to my mom sing her favorites. The one I remember vividly was "Lakstingalele". My mom sang and translated it for me. It amazed me, as a child, that someone could switch from one language to another with such ease.

with the player piano rolls were the old Marian magazines, filled with stories and Lithuanian history. I read them once, twice ... and many more times. I was proud to be Lithuanian. I wanted to learn everything about our history. In the neighboring "big town" of Pottsville, there was one book on Lithuanian history in the library. It seemed to me, I was the only one who ever checked it out.

1940, the year of my birth, in June, the month after my birth, my father was killed in an accident while down in the bootleg mine he worked with his brother. On the same day, my second brother graduated valedictorian of his high school class. Along with our older brother, he left for the "real big city" of Philadelphia to find work and help support our family.

by friends, my brother would visit us on weekends. Some of his friends, probably most of them now that I think of it, were from Lithuania. They were all older than I and not much interested in a little kid. Finally one weekend he brought four kids with him, one of them my age!

, just a year or two older than myself, and I became very close weekend friends. Again, I was amazed at the ability of my new young friend to be conversant in three languages. And, he switched from one to the other without even thinking about it! Because his family came through the DP camps in Germany, they spoke German as well as Lithuanian and English.

were constantly together on those wonderful weekends. Oh, how I loved hearing Lithuanian spoken by someone my age! It was a first! Although I had been exposed to Lithuanian during grade school, none of my fellow "Lost Opportunity Generation classmates spoke Lithuanian. But, Walter did! The fact that he had two beautiful sisters helped too {grin}.

we grew older, Walter and I grew apart. He went his way, I went mine. My way took me to Germany then to Pennsylvania State University where I met Dr. William Schmalstieg, the wonderful professor who taught me the history of the Lithuanian language. I continued my education on a scholarship to Fordham University where I studied under Senn and Salys. Thanks to Dr. Schmalstieg, I entered Goethe University in Frankfurt where Lithuanian was taught.

my return home, I found America's interest in Lithuania and Lithuanian things more pronounced then ever. The Knights of Lithuania had formed a chapter in the Anthracite region and, of course, I joined. Then came the economic downturn and a move to Houston, Texas, the city of few Lithuanians who were not easy to find. Then, a local newspaper published a picture of a young girl who played volleyball on the deaf Olympic team in New Zealand. To the Texas population, she had an unpronounceable last name: Lazauskas.

phone call proved fruitful and eerie. Her father and I had the same birthday, only a year apart, and, like myself, he was also a member of the "Lost Opportunity Generation." Finally, I had found a Lithuanian friend. After that, things only got better.

evening during the Perestoika period, two Lithuanians were on Public Television. As a direct result of that broadcast, many more Lithuanians "found" each other in Houston, Texas and a chapter of the Lithuanian American Community was formed. Again, I eagerly joined and began a newsletter for the community to keep everyone informed of our activities.

Internet is a wonderful place. After many years, I have now found my friend Walter, and, may I add, at a most opportune time. He was traveling cross-country and stopped by to visit. It was a wonderful reunion, one which will keep us together for the rest of our lives. We still have much in common. As a matter of fact, we are both are married and have raised two children.

being a member of the "Lost Opportunity Generation", I am proud of my heritage. I hope my contribution to Lotsa Lithuanian Links will prove of value to you, the reader, as much as it is of value to me. Hearing from you, being a part of a much larger Lithuanian community than heretofore, makes me prouder of my roots, especially when I find others as interested, or more interested, in their roots than I am, and are willing to share their knowledge with our community.

M. Tirva, EditorLABAS: The Lithuanian E-Zone

Please ... be sure to visit:
Lithuanians Helping Lithuanians

An Idea For A Book

By Laima Sruoginyte & Ruta Aidyte

The idea to interview "survivors" of a Lithuanian-American (not limited to Lithuanian-Americans, including the experiences of Lithuanian-Canadians, Lithuanian-Australians, Lithuanian-Brazilians, Lithuanian-Germans, etc.) upbringing arose over coffee and apple crumb cake at one of Vilnius' fashionable new pubs.

Ruta's and my path had crossed in Vilnius because of the Fulbright program.  She recently arrived from the Netherlands (where she had been living for the past five years) on a Fulbright Scholar's grant to interview female small business owners, while I was completing a two-year Fulbright lecturer's grant, teaching poetry translation, creative writing and the American multicultural novel at Vilnius University.  We had known each other as children; been through Neringa together, scout camp, and both had gone to Vasario 16tos Gymnasija in Germany.  After college, we had lost touch with each other for almost ten years, but strong common experiences in our backgrounds, and similar reactions to our present cultural situation, were enough for us to speak openly and intimately with each other about issues that concerned us the most.

Obviously we were concerned with Lithuania, with Lithuania's present economic and social conditions, but when we scratched the surface just a bit further we both realized that what really concerned us was the Lithuanian-American community's relationship with Lithuania, and taking this concern one step further, the fate of what we termed "the lost generation", namely the generation of Lithuanian-Americans born in the Diaspora, raised to be concerned with freeing Lithuania from occupying Soviet forces, but now that the dust has settled, the generation which has been forgotten, and has difficulty feeling 'at home' in Lithuania (where they are regarded as strangers, "Amerikonai") or in the United States, because they were taught that their home was not the place where they resided, but the United States, but elsewhere.

Some of us felt that we had turned out as strange hybrids - as children it had been drilled into our heads what the "elders" had told us: that we were a dying race, that we, the children of the exiles, were the last hope to keep the Lithuanian culture and language alive.  The unfortunate part was that we spoke Lithuanian with accents, and made awful grammatical mistakes.  With the miracle of Lithuanian national rebirth, and then independence, we, the children of exile, find ourselves uncertain of our role in Lithuania's future.

As our conversation progressed, we exchanged some of those events that shaped us as Lithuanian-Americans:

(Ruta).... giving cultural lessons at age 5 upwards; babbling one type of Lithuanian propaganda or another before that.  My name was usually what provoked it; with a name like Ruta, it's not easy to blend in.  To this day I have yet to meet someone that does not at one point or another ask me where my name is from.  At one very rebellious stage I used to say that it was an American name but even then I would eventually break down and tow the patriotic line.

Asking my name was not a simple question-answer type of activity but a ritualized conversation that almost always covered the following issues: Litho what? Oh, so you're Russian? You speak Slavic? Say something in Lithuanian..." or the memory of A group of Lithuanian parents standing around chatting casually, my parents included.

I am playing with the other kids and as I run by am suddenly pulled into the adult group. Sweat beads start forming in my palms as I am asked to perform those linguistic tricks; to speak casually in a tongue that at the age of 10 is already foreign and difficult to say correctly.  I feel overwhelmed by a fear of negative judgement that my language skills will be branded inadequate, that my American accent considered too harsh, that I have failed somehow...

Memories like this sparked our curiosity: what would other Lithuanian-Americans have to say on this topic?  Would their own experiences and perceptions of Lithuanian-Americaness be different? These ideas launched our study, and we are sincerely interested in continuing this dialogue with others.  For this reason we have contacted you and would like to ask you to answer all, or as many as you wish, of the questions presented in this packet; and to provide free-associated reactions to the statements Ruta has put together.

Our thought is that once we have collected enough responses, to put them together in one volume and publish it.  Although there is material on the Displaced Persons' camps and the development of the DP’s artistic and intellectual life, the activities of Lithuanian émigrés, as well as the lives and conditions of the previous immigrants from Lithuania (late nineteenth, early twentieth century), no one has looked closely at the question of identity in terms of the children of exile.  This is what we would like to do in this study, and would like to invite you to participate in this project.

Tentative Book Title It's amber not plastic and we're not Russian Lithuanians abroad: The raising of a living heirloom.

Objective: to collect the diverse memories of a generation of Lithuanians born and raised abroad as a means of providing a voice for and recognition of a unique cultural and emotional phenomenon.

Being Lithuanian was an identity we all had in common. But what does it mean to us individually?

Who are we?

Being Lithuanian had a double impact.  On the one hand, it was comforting to know where our families came from, where our names came from, why we ate kugelis and celebrated kucias.  Other Americans didn't enjoy this comfort of knowing they had a clear exotic bloodline.  In fact, few other Americans seemed to understand the implications of the dual-identity including its benefits, peculiarities, and costs.

What did we do?

I (Ruta) was able to spend the summers frolicking in the woods of Vermont with the other girls from all over the US and Canada learning Lithuanian songs.  But during the rest of the year I had to spend my Friday nights memorizing the fourth declension and a Maironis poem for Saturday school.  In addition, I was raised with the notion that I was somehow different from my fellow Americans and it was my role in life to retain that difference for better or worse.  During the Cold war years, this meant taking on the responsibility of maintaining a language and culture that I learned only from my parents and a small handful of other immigrants.

How did it feel?

This resulted in a combination of emotions: joy but also resentment; pride but also guilt; happiness and inadequacy.  How can a child possibly become Lithuanian in a completely non-Lithuanian environment? But that was the goal: the development of a unique breed of Lithuanians that had never set foot in Lithuania.  Some of us adapted well; others rejected the identity completely.  For most of us, there remained stories, events, recollections of experiences unique to our situation that conjure memories of the sometimes humorous, sometimes bittersweet predicament as "Lithuanians."

How does it feel now?

Our identities were further complicated when the dream finally came true; when Lithuania became independent.  This freedom was a mixed blessing since it further raised issues that until then had remained unbreached.  For some of us, this was experienced as a great relief to have the burden of cultural preservation raised off our shoulders.  But for others, it brought on an identity crisis since being a Lithuanian from the Diaspora was completely different from being a Lithuanian in Lithuania.

Please respond in writing to either your personal associations to the statements made above or to the more structured questions on the last page.  Please mail your responses (computer diskette preferred, Windows compatible program), along with a short bio statement (or a resume or CV will do), via snail mail to:

Ruta Aidis
Vienuolio 12-4
2001 Vilnius
Or, E-Mail Me!

Tentative Deadline: April 31, 1998

We will contact you again, when we make final decisions about inclusion in the book and publication.  We regret that there will probably be no honorarium paid for your participation in this project, other than two complimentary copies of the published book, as we are financing this project out of pocket.

P.S.   Please indicate if you would like for your response to remain anonymous. Be as creative as you like!!

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Description Of The Lithuanian Museum-Archives of Canada

By Dr. Rasa Mazeika, Director

Our Museum-Archives was established in 1989 to collect, preserve and display documentation of Lithuanian-Canadian community life and activities.  We also collect the family heirlooms of Lithuanian Canadians.  Once Lithuania began to break away from the Soviet Union, we added a third category of collections: documentation of the process and atmosphere of the era of regaining and reserving Lithuanian independence, 1989-present.  Our holdings include:

1. Historical objects and heirlooms: old Lithuanian textiles, coins, medals, stamps, folk craft objects, tools, carvings by prisoners in Siberia, objects from post-WWII "DP" refugee camps, military uniforms, a piece of the Lenin monument which stood in Vilnius during the Soviet era, etc. etc.

2. Documents, photos and ephemera (programs, pamphlets, posters, memorabilia, flags) of Lithuanian Canadian organizations such as the Lithuanian Canadian Community and its branches all over Canada, the Lithuanian Canadian Foundation, the Lithuanian Community Houses in Hamilton and Toronto, "Sauliai", Lithuanian Veterans, Lithuanian Scouts, World Lithuanian Youth Association, Lithuanian schools in Ottawa and Toronto,  etc.

3. Documents, photographs and letters of some individual Lithuanian Canadians, especially relating to their emigration from Lithuania and immigration into Canada.  Larger collections include the papers of: Elze Jankute (daughter of writer and publisher Martynas Jankus);  historian Adolfas Sapoka; diplomat and historian Martynas Anysas;  L. Balsys, liaison officer for Balt refugees with Allied occupation forces in Germany after WWII;  author and journalist Pranys Alsenas;  Winnipeg Lith. Community activists E. Fedaras and K. Strikaitis;  Lithuanian Canadian Community founding member dr. P. Lukosevicius;  opera singer E. Kardeliene; Lithuanian Canadian Community founding member Jonas Kardelis;  former Lithuanianarmy officers Tadas Bartkus and Mecys Pranevicius  etc. etc. Some interesting memoirs and documents from 1939-1944 era.

4. Many maps of Lithuania (including 4 antique maps).

5. Posters produced in Lithuania and Canada.  Ephemera of all kinds relating to Lithuanian Canadian events: programs, tickets, lapel pins, banners.

6. News service faxes, newspaper and magazine articles from all over the world, "Sajudis"-sponsored newspapers, photographs, posters and souvenirs from the era of regaining Lithuanian independence, 1989-1992. Documentation of elections in Lithuania 1992 and 1996 (campaign literature, posters).

7. Current news about Lithuania from ELTA news service, OMRI-L, BALT-L, other Internet sources and Canadian newspapers.

8. Art by Lithuanian modern artists -- painting, lithographs, sculpture.

9. Approximately 1,500 rare books and journals, dating from the 1860's to the 1940's.

10. A. Full sets of the two Lithuanian Canadian newspapers, "Teviskes Ziburiai""and "Nepriklausoma Lietuva".

B. Some issues of most Lithuanian American magazines and journals.

C. Full or almost full sets of the journals "Moteris", "Karys", "=C4idai", "Laiskai lietuviams"", "Lituanus", "Lietuviu Dienos","Skautu Aidas".

11. A small library with  approx. 1,600  books.  We have some fiction, but the best collections are in the areas of history, archaeology, folk lore and folk religion, music, art, study of Lithuanian language, religious books, documentation of Soviet rule in Lithuania etc.

A partial catalogue, still in rough form and in the process of being corrected, is available in ASCII or "Word for Windows" format.  This is an abbreviated version of our database catalogue, which does not encompass all our holdings because, like all archives and museums, we have a backlog of uncatalogued materials and during our first two years material was catalogued using a borrowed non-DOS computer.  If you would like a copy of the DOS brief catalogue, I can try to send it as an attachment by e-mail (will be about 50 pages) or can send a disk to you.

We usually cannot spare the time to do much research, but will be very happy to send copies of finding aids to our collections or of specific documents if you know what you require and are willing to pay photocopy and mail fees.

Our address:

Lithuanian Museum-Archives of Canada
2185 Stavebank Rd.
Mississauga, Ont.  L5C 1T3

Director: Dr. Rasa Mazeika
(905) 566-8755
(416) 252-7638 - Fax (allow to ring 5 times)
Or, E-Mail Me!

Everyone has a photographic memory.  Some just don’t have film.

A Non-Lithuanian Helps Lithuanians

Note From The Editor:

I don’t like to refer to people as “non” something, but I had to title this article to point out that it isn’t only Lithuanians who help our people and country.  A big Lithuanian ACIU to Connie Lundgren for her help and the following articles.

I am preparing to go to Lithuania for the 6th time this coming September.  I have conducted 3 conferences and participated in two training seminars, first as a participant, then second as the instructor.  My area is Family Therapy.  The organization that “sponsors” me and the other trainers in that part of the world is:

The Institute for International Connections
Mabs Mango, President

She can be contacted at  The institute was founded by Virginia Satir and Laura Dodson (of Denver Colorado) and has sent seminar leaders training others in the Satir Growth Model of Family Therapy to Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Romania, Russia and the Ukraine.

There was a brief write up about our organization in the Lithuanian Heritage Magazine last year.

It has been requested that I return for two reasons this September. One, to provide training in two Universities (Klaipeda and Vytautas Magnus in Kaunas) this fall to begin a year long training seminar, in which the Lithuanians themselves will be doing the major teaching/training components. The other is to speak before the Seima to testify regarding the work I am doing in the United States with abused and neglected children in a therapeutic daycare setting and to assist Lithuania in setting up a similar program.

The problem is, at this time, funding.  If anyone has any information regarding humanitarian funding, I would appreciate hearing from you.  I have been funded by the Satir community for the past 5 years, but that funding is not available to me this year.  The contacts I have in Lithuania are also working on developing a funding program for this project.

Information regarding funding for this worthwhile cause should be directed to:


Lithuania 1997
Kaunas and Klaipeda

The program this year was to present the Satir Model to students and professionals in Vytautas Magnus University and Klaipeda University.

Nijole Liobekiene, coordinator for the Caritas Family Centers throughout Lithuania was my hostess and had prepared the setting well.

On June 13, 1997, the training began, held in the Caritas Conference Room in Kaunas. We had 38 participants.  Some students, Masters of Social Work and Psychology, and Psychologists, Psychiatric Students, teachers and pediatricians. A few were participants from years past. Most were new.

The students wanted methods to use in working with difficult families. Most had had some training in theory, but very little “practical” experience.  Some had a little knowledge about Virginia Satir, but most had not.

The Kaunas group was particularly interested in the Temperature Reading and the Family Map.  All felt that these were ways to intervene in a family, teaching them to communicate and to find ways of defining events in the family that were not blaming, but rather taught the family about coping strategies.

Especially useful were the “Iceberg” and “Ways of Perceiving the World”.  What the students saw were the patience and acceptance of the individual, and the importance of defining the individual’s needs and longings outside of the community and family.

They also grasped the idea of the Process of Change, including the “chaos” model.  Things are changing rapidly in Lithuania.   People tend to become discouraged and dismayed at the struggle.  But as the students understood the need for “stability” in the chaos, the need for someone (the therapist) to walk through the chaos with the family, they also grasped the idea as it translated into their experience of their country and how as the country changes they can impact the process.

“I have a deeper understanding of what happens in a crisis and how I can help individuals and families.”

“The most valuable and richest experience was to observe and practice how you work with and connect with your clients.”

In Klaipeda we had about 60 students.  Most were bachelor and master’s level students with a few professors also attending.

In both sessions we practiced our work in triads.  This was a powerful experience for the Lithuanians, in being able to observe themselves and others as they functioned as a therapist as a person and as a participant.

We also conducted a Parts Party and a Family Reconstruction in both seminars.  These were powerful experiences for all of the participants. The stories and responses at the end of the exercises wee rich and a deepening of the individual experience was evident.

I had the opportunity to visit a new project called Kartu Namai, which is a nursing home for the elderly and a residence for your mothers and their children.  It was  richly rewarding  to see the relationship between the children and the elders and the young mothers and their children.  The stresses of young single mothers has increased over  the past few years.  Fewer are giving their children over to children’s or foster homes for adoption or placement, but are trying to raise the children themselves.

I became aware of the great need for services for young people.  The number of “homeless” youth is increasing dramatically.  Many children are begging on the street as a way of “earning” money for rent and food.

There were three opportunities to visit families.  One was a four generation family in their home in Kaunas.  One was a beautiful new home that had been built just in the past year, with many “American”niceties, but blending the “traditional” Lithuanian designs.  The other was a family in a small town, a little larger than a village.  There we visited with the three generations of that household, and listened as the men in the family and our drivers discussed the current Lithuanian political situation.

I spent three days touring the coast, in Klaipeda, Nida and Palanga with Nijole Liobekiene and her children and Rasa Bielauskaite and her children.  Our driver from Caritas also brought two children and his wife along.  This was an opportunity to observe Lithuanian families and their highest functioning.  The cities are beautiful, filled with opportunities to explore art, culture and nature.  The Baltic sea was beautiful, Made only more so by the seven children in our party.  Their joy and spontaneity were invigorating and delightful.

The last couple of days I spent with Rasa Bielauskaite, my friend and sponsor in her home with her children.  While there I had the opportunity to meet with the Minister of Welfare and Work Committee, who invited me to speak to Parliament.  I was leaving the next morning, so was unable to take the time.  But she invited me to return next year. Meanwhile, I have corresponded with her and she wants to sponsor a program similar to the Childhaven (the therapeutic child care center where I work), and I have been sending her policies, laws and so on to make that happen.

Rasa and Nijole feel that it is time to begin a Satir Institute in Lithuania.  Nijole has continued to encourage and facilitate meetings with the participants after the trainings.  There are some 200 individuals who have studied Virginia’s work through the work begun by the Institute for International Connection.  We have begun looking for funding sources to begin a two year training program in the Satir Model at the Universities in Klaipeda and Kaunas.

I returned home with a joyful heart and gratitude for all that the Lithuanian people shared with me, in trust, hope and strength they are moving ahead.

Tidbits From The Lithuanian Press

Almus (Almus Salcius in Balt-L)

The Prussians, a new opera by Giedrius Kuprevicius, had its premiere in Lithuania’s Opera Theatre. The Prussians were a Lithuanian tribe annihilated by the Westerners'  " Drang nach Osten" theme: Crusades started in 13th century bringing  Christian civilization and culture, or, as now,  NATO, EU,  free markets, Mafia, unlimited sexual and political pornography.

In the libretto the composer wonders: "What was the fight for? All that is left is a mirage…  Who will save Lithuanians now ? Gods, Kings, Comedians?..."


Edita Degutiene, Correspondent for Lietuvos Aidas in Warsaw, reports:


"...Polish intellectuals admired Vita Zalakeviciute-Drygas documentary:  "Look,  Lithuania!" shown in a private TV presentation . It has been screened at the same time in Vilnius and Warsaw.

Andrej Milosz, brother of Nobel prize winner Czeslaw, film producer, who left its homestead in 1945, saw with his own eyes the mutilated corpses of the "freedom fighters" in Ukmerge shopping mall. He seemed surprised: "How horrible! The Russians stole even shoes from corpses...!"    Milosz (Milasius) also said that the Polish people did not know the extend of the past Soviet terror in Lithuania. This documentary will be an eye opener... While Vita father's top prize winning film: "Nobody Wanted to Die" was an outstanding example of film art, Vita's documentary presents facts..."

Ms. Degutiene quotes the opinion of the writer, as well as film producer, Tadeusz Konwicki.  Poles and the World should be constantly reminded the tragic fate of the Lithuanians.

Janusz Gazda, another film-maker, claims, "Look, Lithuania" is one of the best documentaries produced in Poland this year. He notes the musical background of the documentary's most macabre scenes supplemented by music from Kutavicius’ "Last Pagan Rites".

"In schools Poles learn a  lot about the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth but are ignorant of more recent events in neighboring Lithuania and its culture...Vita Zalakeviciute-Drygas fills the void, and promotes our cultural exchange".

Writer Jerzy Siemasz said he is preparing English and French subtitles for the documentary.

Dr. Leon Brodowski, the Chairman of The  Friends of Lithuania, complimented Ms. Drygas for a  professionally prepared documentary, testifying to Lithuania’s willpower to remain ever sovereign and independent.

Almus, comment if you will.

"Poles, as well as Lithuanians, betrayed by the Western powers in Yalta ( still remembering the 1775 humiliation and partition) did not continue WWII postwar hopeless, suicidal underground struggle. Contrary to the Lithuanians exiled leaders, safe and prosperous in postwar British, CIA, Swedish intelligence service, they called the latter "Merchants of Death".

Gallant, at the time hopeless, Polish resistance in 1939 to the Stalin and Hitler partnership, caused millions of deaths, a million and a half deported to Siberian gulags, heroic uprisings by the Polaks and Poles in Warsaw, to be slaughtered by SS troopers, while the Red Army former pals conveniently waited in outskirts, probably happy of SS liquidation of Polish manhood so they would never have to face it later..

The Soviets gladly repatriated the Poles from Vilnius, despite the Polish underground "Armia Krajowa"  being  first to enter the Lithuanian capital.

In gratitude the Soviet politburo had hundreds of its officers executed and deported, repeating the Katyn massacre of 15,000 Polish reserve and cadre officers in 1940.

Lithuanians, however, continued to  fight, as long as 1951, giving Moscow' usurpers, post Yalta, Potsdam contracts, an excuse to "pacify", deporting in mass, enforcing russification, denying basic human rights. The Westerners, knowing this all, kept their love affair with uncle Joe.

They encouraged self-made exodus leaders in Reutlingen and New York, allowing to quote the  hallow Atlantic Charter and Baltic non-recognition statements by the major Western states, while exploring peaceful coexistence and containment with tyrants.  Thus was required then their Western national interests"


Europe: Lithuania Blames It on El Nino

The El Nino climate pattern is blamed for ice too thin on Lithuania's Lake Sartai to hold the annual horse race across it.  The shore had to suffice."

A video of Sartai Race is available. E-mail:



Otherwise Known as Sister Cities
From Frits Glotze:

My translation of a press message in the regional daily Leidsch Dagblad. If you require clarification,

Drop Me A Line

Druskininkai Wants To Intensify Contacts
By Dimitri Walbeek

In Druskininkai, the sister-town of Voorschoten, plans are in place to establish a "Holland House". Inhabitants of Voorschoten, staying for the town-twinning, are in that case able  to stay overnight in that house.

"We want it because more and more people from the Netherlands are travelling to Druskininkai. That is why we are thinking to build an own house for citizens from Voorschoten, for when they are  here", says Kazys Barniskis since last Saturday 10.01.98 the newly  elected president of the "Draugija Druskininkai Voorschoten".

Barniskis is staying  in The Netherlands till today (13 jan) to get to know his new colleague in Voorschoten, Tjerk Brouwer of the Stichting Voorschoten Oost-Europa. They both started last Saturday a new period of co-operation between the two towns.

"Their enthusiasm is not lacking" Brouwer replied to the news of Barniskis, "but budgets the more. We do have difficulties getting such ideas  sponsored".

A famous sporting figure, frequently  on t.v. is attractive for sponsors,  Brouwer knows. "We do  not have much  to offer sponsors. But if we  find them for a longer period, the name of that house is mentioned  commonly with them.. We should like to go so far".

Until now only the removing firm Tipker is a big sponsor. A lorry of that local firm travels on 23.01.97 with a clavecimbel to the music school in Druskininkai.

The Voorschoter foundation  Musica Antica da Camera has collected for the instrument, thanks to donors.

Sponsors like Tipker, investing in projects, are very welcome, Brouwer says: "such contacts we are trying to establish in the coming year. That is our task".

Examples of steady 'friendships' are the Voorschoter Kunstkring, communicating now on its own with artists in Druskininkai. Or the musicians of Musica Antica da Camera. They are 'E-mailing' frequently to Lithuania.

In Voorschoten it is mostly hobbyists involved,  wanting  to widen their horizons. In Druskininkai the town-twinning is rather for pure necessity. The  newly elected mayor of Druskininkai, a urologist, aims for himself to intensify contacts by way of Voorschoten with colleagues in Leiden hospitals.

In the long run the town in the south of the Baltic State, where at one time the  rich communists in Soviet times relaxed in spa's, wants to establish  a nursery house and a elderly peoples house.

Therefore western and foremost  Leiden knowledge is very welcome. Barniskis says : "our medicines and others  needs advise to offer better help. We do want more knowledge and that is why we have to enlarge our contacts".


The first regional Norwegian-Lithuanian friendship agreement was signed on February 16th 1990 in Vilnius City Hall. This started a help programme from Oslo's side and several city buses, hospital equipment and technical advisory aid was given to Vilnius. Later more than ten other regions, some very small other cities, has signed agreements. The agreements often mention exhanges of school children, cultural and sport groups and officials. The Norwegian Foreign Ministry is granting means for democracy building. This means a possibility for exchange of ideas, advises and friendly conversations between local representatives from our two small countries. So far this programme has been functioning for some time in Russia and is now ending in Czechia with good results. Experience shows that 'huge' problems often are being solved after this type of meetings.

My personal opinion is that charity may still be needed, but more important is exchange of know-how. Lithuanians needs to learn how to rule local administrative units as well as their country. In exchange Norwegians learn much from the very rich level of culture at this close neighbor. (For more than 100 years we have discussed if we really need an opera building in Oslo.)

Representatives of political parties as well as government representatives, from our countries are frequently meeting. The same are representatives of a large number of NGOs. The Norwegian-Lithuanian relations are now relations between two quite equal partners.

Volleyball (Again!)

Last month I wrote about Terry Zemaitis of Penn State, a volleyball player who was instrumental in bringing the lady’s team to the finals. This time there is a story of another volleyball player with a very different story.  Al Jurkonis, a member of the Lithuanian American Community in Houston, told me about his niece, Sue Jurkonis.

Sue was a volleyball player at Purdue, and a very good one.  She was to play in the Kentucky conference Challenge games last August, but she started getting headaches.  The doctors thought stress, but further tests, after her condition worsened, showed that she had a tumor in the brain.  The tumor was successfully removed, but did prove malignant.

As in all cancer cases, chemotherapy was ordered.  Sue underwent the chemo and never got sick from it, probably due to her great physical shape.  With a strong will and her great physical condition she was able to return to school.  Also because her stamina and concentration were not back to par, she had to make a decision as to whether she would try to play in her senior year.  Although it was difficult, she decided that it would be best for the team if she took a medical “redshirt”.  She will be still with the team and she will complete her studies at Purdue. Despite the setback, she is determined that her future will be bright and all of this will be just a memory.

We in the Lithuanian Community wish Sue the best.

Sports In Lithuania

The people of Lithuania are preparing for two major summer sporting events which are expected to attract Lithuanian athletes and spectators from around the world.  The best Lithuanian athletes will compete in the Second Lithuanian National Olympics from June 23rd to June 26th and other Lithuanian athletes and sports enthusiasts will participate in the Sixth Lithuanian World Sports Games from June 27th to June 30th.

The First Lithuanian National Olympics occurred in July 1938.  This even commemorated the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the independence of the Republic of Lithuania.  Athletes of Lithuanian descent from the United States and other countries competed successfully in this historic national event.

For 50 years Soviet occupied Lithuania was prevented from holding another National Olympic event.  It was during this period that Lithuanians in Canada organized the First Lithuanian World Sports Games.  This even, which occurred in Toronto in 1978, recognized not only the 60th anniversary of the establishment of Lithuanian’s independence, but also the 40th anniversary of the Lithuanian National

Olympics.  Unfortunately, athletes from Lithuania were prevented from participating.  In 1983 and 1988, the Second and Third Lithuanian World Sports Games were hosted by Lithuanians in the United States (Chicago) and Australia (Adelaide) respectively.  A small contingent of athletes from Lithuania did participate in the Sports Games held in Australia. Finally, in 1991 and 1995, the fourth and Fifth Lithuanian World Sports Games were held in an independent Lithuania.  Valdas Adamkus, the new President of Lithuania, was the chairperson of the organizing committee of the 1983 Games and he led the delegation of Lithuanian athletes who traveled from the United States to participate in the 1991 Games.

In November 1997, the Government of Lithuania approved a recommendation made by a commission comprised of representatives from the Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania and the Lithuanian American Community, Inc. and by the Lithuanian Olympic Committee and the Government’s Department of Physical Education and Sports, which called for the organization of the Second Lithuanian National Olympics and the Sixth Lithuanian World Sports Games.  These events are currently being organized by a special committee whose membership includes high-profile members of the Lithuanian government and the Lithuanian Olympic Committee, various national and local Lithuanian governmental officials and representatives of the major Lithuanian athletic institutions in North America and Australia.

The Second Lithuanian National Olympics will be open to high-caliber athletes of Lithuanian descent who have met the eligibility standards set by Lithuania’s sports federation.  Approximately 1,800 athletes are expected to compete, including a Lithuanian men’s basketball team from the United States  The 14 events of these National Olympics will be held at venues located in six of Lithuania’s major cities, including the nation’s capital of Vilnius, Kaunas and the Baltic coastal city of Klaipeda.

Competition will occur in the following sports:

The Sixth Lithuanian World sports Games are open to males and females of all ages and competitive levels who are of Lithuanian background.  It is believed that about 2,500 athletes will participate in the 18 events to be offered during the sports Games.  The competition will be organized by gender and age groupings and will be held at venues located in seven of Lithuania’s major cities, including Vilnius, Kaunas and the Baltic resort city of Palanga.  The sports to be offered are:

All Lithuanian athletes are encouraged to participate in this summer’s sporting events.  Participants will need to make their own travel arrangements.  Accommodations during the events will be subsidized by the Lithuanian Government. Preliminary registration for the National Olympics and the Sports Games should be completed by February 16, 1998. Final registration will be due June 1, 1998.  Lithuanians in the United States may register or obtain additional information by contacting:

Mr. Algirdas Bielskus, General Secretary
Lithuanian Athletic Union of North America
3000 Hadden Road
Euclid, Ohio 44117-2122
Phone (216) 486-0889
Fax (216) 481-6064 or 943-4485

Recipes For Lent

From Kathy Hazlewood

With Lent starting on February 25th, now might be a good time to try some meatless Lithuanian dishes!

Lietiniai su Varske

Crepes with Cottage Cheese


Beat egg yolks with sugar.  Add half of milk, mix in flour and salt. Beat well, add remaining milk and beat again.  Lastly, add beaten egg whites and mix lightly.  Batter should be the consistency of sweet cream.

Heat frying pan and heat with butter. Pour in enough batter to cover the bottom of the pan in a very thin layer, tilting it to spread batter evenly.  Fry pancakes on one side only and remove from pan.


Beat cottage cheese will, add sugar and egg and beat will again. Raisins may also be added.

Lithuanian Cottage Cheese Cheesecake

If cottage cheese is course, force through sieve.  Add flour and ½ cup sugar, salt, and well beaten egg yolks. Beat egg whites until frothy.  Gradually add remaining sugar. Beat until very stiff.  Fold in cottage cheese mixture and turn into pastry lined 9x13 pan.  Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake 45 minutes.  Makes 12 to 15 servings.

Serve warm or cold.  In my family, this was traditionally served on good Friday at the end of dinner.

Potato Pancakes

This is a family favorite on Fridays during Lent:

Mix all ingredients in blender.  Fry.  Makes 18 pancakes.  Can be served with cottage cheese, sour cream, and/or bacon bits.  Unpeeled potatoes can be used, but the batter will turn black very quickly if not used immediately.
From Raimonda Mikatavage’s book “Your Journey to Success” my favorite lines:

“Expecting to the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting a bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.”

History of Lithuanians In Maryland

From: Henry L. Gaidis, Olney, Maryland

For anyone interested in genealogy or a history of the Lithuanians in the State of Maryland, I recommend a new book by Lillian J. Walsh:

"Saint Alphonsus Lithuanian Parish Baltimore - History of an Ethnic Parish

The history of the Lithuanians in Maryland is a history of their struggle to establish their own parish church.  This book documents the 150 year history of this Roman Catholic parish from the days of it's early German founders through it's the present Lithuanian stewardship.  A complete history of the early immigrants to Maryland is presented, their struggle to establish a complete Lithuanian parish, it's pastors, sisters, school, etc.  A must for anyone interested in the history of Lithuanians in Maryland.

Available Directly from the Author
Lillian J. Walsh, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
telephone number (410) 685-4842
Cost: $25.00 per copy plus postage.

Olympic Trivia

From: The Houston LABAS

Are you aware that the first gold medal of the Calgary Winter Olympics was won by a Lithuanian?   She was Vida Venckiene, a cross country skier.  Of course, in Calgary, she skied under the Soviet flag.  In fact, when the first medal was announced, which it always is, the name bore little resemblance to the Lithuanian spelling since it was first transcribed into the Russian Cyrillic alphabet in which the Soviet athletes were presented to the Olympic Committee and then retranscribed phonetically into Roman letters for worldwide dissemination.  She was not able to repeat the feat in the Albertville Olympics when the Lithuanian team went under its own flag in 1992.  Mrs. Venkiene was honored by having been appointed the leader of this year’s team to Nagano.
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