Vol 2, #2: April 1999


Editor: Bernard Tirva
Website Design: Sandra Souveskas, Webmaster


If you have an article for LABAS, submit to: Bernard Tirva, Editor


Independence Day Speech
United Nations Librarian Dies
A Little Bit About Jazz
A Book Review
American Property Recovery In The Baltics
Book Review: History of the Lithuanian Military During The Second World War
The Vilnius Program in Yiddish Language and Literature
Baltic States Still Vulnuerable to Russia's Troubles
17th Conference on Baltic Studies
Part II: A Short Lithuanian History
The Statues in Lithuania
Lafayette – Helper of Lithuanians Too?
Ona Petrulis
Draugas – March 4, 1931
Independence Day Speech
by Vytautas Sliupas

Lithuanian-American Community, Inc.
Commemoration of Lithuania’s 81st Independence Day
February 21, 1999
215 Silliman St., San Francisco, CA 94134
Speaker: Vytautas J.Sliupas, P.E.

Dateline: February 16th - Lithuania's Independence Day

Ladies and Gentlemen: My fellow Lithuanian-Americans and our distinguished guests, our friends!

Dr. Konce requested that I speak to you here today about the meaning of this February 16th - which is the 81st anniversary of Lithuania’s Independence. I will speak 10 minutes in English and then 10 minutes in Lithuanian.

We all remember when, after almost 50 years of Soviet occupation, on March 11th, 1991 Lithuania regained its Independence. We were shocked seeing on our TV screens Soviet tanks rolling in the streets of Vilnius on January 13th - on the day today known as “The Bloody Sunday.” We could not comprehend the brutality of Soviet OMON ‘shock troops’ trying to suppress the inalienable human desires to be free. And then, we rejoiced when Lithuania once again became independent. We were then, and still are today, proud of the fact that Lithuanians were among the first within the Soviet Empire to say to the occupants, “We have had enough, we want our Independence!” This cry of the Lithuanians, and the spirit of the suppressed humans, initiated the downfall of the ‘Evil Empire," the name coined by our president Ronald Reagan. Lithuanians can be very proud of having been the instigators of this act.

But why do we commemorate February 16th, instead of March 11th, as Lithuania’s Independence Day? Because, it was in the year 1918, that Lithuania, on February 16th, first declared its Independence. Just like in 1991, in 1918 Lithuania had to fight for its independence and that fight - that fight against three enemies at the same time - lasted for four years. And Lithuania won! Therefore, February 16th is today being celebrated as Lithuania’s Independence Day.

However, please do not think that Lithuania, as a country, is only 81 years old. Far from it. In another 10 years we will be celebrating Lithuania’s Millennium - 1000 years from its earliest mention in the Latin Chronicle of Quedlinburg, written in Germany before 1009 AD. From then on, Lithuania’s name is mentioned more and more often. For example, the first recorded military campaigns against the Lithuanians were in 1040 and 1044, by the Kiev ruler Iaroslav the Wise. Both campaigns against the Lithuanians came to failure. Yet these attacks, together with the invasions by Mongols from the east and the Germanic Teutonic Knights from the west, by the end of the 12th century facilitated the consolidation of a Lithuanian state.

King Mindaugas is considered the founder of the Lithuanian state around the year 1236. But his father, Ringaudas, had previously established centralized rule and in the old Livonian Rhymed Chronicles he was called “a great king”.

For two hundred years Lithuania was engaged in wars of survival. Enemies - principally Russians, Germans, Poles and Tatars - attacked Lithuanian lands from three sides. During that period Lithuania not only beat back these attackers, but under the capable leaderships of Kings Gediminas (the legendary founder of Vilnius), Algirdas and Kestutis (who ruled together) and Vytautas the Great (who led the combined Lithuanian-Polish armies, and their allies, in the greatest battle of that century, in the Battle of Tannenberg-Zalgiris, July 15th 1410, where Europe’s mightiest Teutonic Order, with all its Western European allies, was decisively crushed for 500 years) extended Lithuania’s borders from the Baltic to the Black sea.

The once great city of Kiev surrendered to the Lithuanians. Algirdas led Lithuanian cavalry regiments against the Tatars and defeated their Golden Horde in 1362-63 (thus saving Europe from the Mongolian invasions). Lithuanian armies led by Algirdas, three times stood at the gates of Moscow, until its ruler Dmitrii Donskoi came out of the Kremlin and, in 1372, on his knees begged for a truce (even to the middle of this last century, the hills on which the present day Moscow university stands were known as the “Paklovnyj gori” - the ‘hills of bowing’ to Algirdas ).

Those were the days of Lithuania’s Golden Age. Lithuania prospered and was respected, because its leaders respected the rights and beliefs of others. The University in Vilnius (first named as the Academy of Vilnius in 1579) was among the earliest such institutions of highest learning in Eastern Europe (older than the University of Moscow). The Lithuanian Statute - the 16th century Lithuanian legal code - at its time was the only codified system of law in Europe sanctioned in writing by a sovereign (the Lithuanian Statute has been copied or subsequently incorporated into many other legal codes of Europe, including those of the former Soviet Union).

I could go on and on about the greatness of our forefathers, but there is no time for this today. Sufficient to say that one of the relatives of a Russian czar once proudly said: “Gentlemen, I am not only a Romanov but my family line extends from the Gediminas Dynasty.” Unfortunately, the multitude of enemies on all sides, the sudden lack of great leaders, the Alliance with Poland and subsequent internal strife, then the great Plagues of the 17th and 18th centuries (the worst plague to ravage Lithuania occurred during 1709-11, when some towns and villages lost up to one-half of their inhabitants) dissipated Lithuania’s energies, until finally the country was completely dismembered and occupied by the Russians in 1795.

Napoleon Bonaparte marched through Lithuania in 1812, but even he was defeated by that enemy of many armies - the Russian winter. There were several valiant but costly attempts at anti-Russian insurrections in 1795, 1812, 1831, 1863 and in 1905. Afterward, many of Lithuania’s surviving patriots were sent to Siberia, others fled to Western Europe and the United States of America. Lithuanian education was brutally suppressed; Russians even banned the publication of Lithuanian books in the Latin alphabet for 40 years (1864-1904). But all these suppressions did not crush the Lithuanian spirit; the country and its people - like the legendary Phoenix - rose from the ashes, and DECLARED INDEPENDENCE on February 16, 1918.

But then, after only a short 22-year period, two barbarians - Hitler and Stalin - decided to divide the world between themselves. After signing the August 23, 1939 so called ‘Ribbentrop-Molotov Agreement’ - first Germany, then several weeks later, the Soviet Union - together they started what is today known as the World War II, which destroyed close to 100-million innocent people. Lithuania, against her will, was occupied by the Soviet Union (this illegal occupation was never recognized by the principal Western countries). The result of that occupation, which lasted close to 50 years, was a horrendous loss of over one-million Lithuanian people, out of a total of three-and-a-half-million population. Putting it in prospective, comparing today’s population of the United States of America, it is equivalent to uprooting, deporting to Siberia or killing over 80-million Americans.

Today Lithuania again is enjoying its re-established independence. Fifty years of Soviet oppression left a deep scar over the country and over its people. Recovery pains are tremendous and progress is slow. I personally visit Lithuania every year, a total of 14 times thus far, and I can see that progress is being made.

What worries me today, are not the internal problems which Lithuania is facing, but the external ones. Although the Soviet Union has disappeared from the map, the ‘Evil Empire’ is still there. I see an ominous black thundercloud forming above the eastern horizon. That cloud is called ‘Russia’. It is a dangerous, unpredictable and threatening country, with its old KGB remnants still in place, with the old Colonialists and Communists still entrenched in the Duma, with the Imperialists (such as Zhiuganov, Zhirinovsky, Lukashenko and the like) still threatening their neighbors and hoping for the resurrection of the “good old Soviet days”. We, in the West, pretend or wish not to see this danger, but believe you me, it is there. Fortunately, sober voices of far-sighted and realistic political figures (like Zbigniew Brzezinski and Paul Goble) are warning the West to be on the alert. Former KGB officer Oleg Gordievsky told Estonian journalists recently that the successors to the KGB are more active in the Baltic states than previously was thought.

Why do you think Russia stopped dismantling its nuclear arsenal and why did they recently deploy a new generation of armed missiles aimed at Western Europe? This was done at a time when Russia is experiencing economic crisis, when their people and soldiers go unpaid for months, when they are suffering tremendous hardships, and when we in the West mindlessly continue pouring billions of dollars into Russia’s coffers. Doesn’t this say anything to you?

Russia, during a period of 500 years - by treachery, butchery and wars - expanded its borders 550 times at the expense of its neighbors. It subjugated 10 times more non-Russian people than they had their own, until finally today there is practically no such thing left as a pure slavic Russian.

Imperialistic desires are deeply ingrained in the ruling class of Russia, and it is difficult for them to give up the idea of not having armies of slaves around to exploit. This ruling class is not made up of honorable statesmen, but of opportunists, thugs, former KGB agents, and other “homus sovieticus” types. They cannot be trusted, they do not honor their commitments. We, in the West, have to understand what types of people we are dealing with, and yet we have to live with them in this world. I want to repeat the warning that our former president Ronald Reagan issued: “Trust, but always verify."

So today, while we are celebrating Lithuania’s 81st independence, we should remind ourselves that the fight for its freedom is not over yet. The same threat is directed against other East, North and Central European nations, therefore I see a need for closer economic and military cooperation between the Scandinavian and the Baltic states with Poland, Ukraine, Hungary, Romania and the Check and Slovak Republics. I just hope that in time the past and future Imperialists will become tamed and will leave their neighbors alone.

I wish my best to Lithuania on its 81st Birthday.

United Nations Librarian Dies

Levas Vladimirovas, 87, the Chief librarian of the United Nation's Dag Hammarskjold Library, 1964-1970, died February 20, in Vilnius, Lithuania, after a long illness. Mr.Vladimirovas distinguished himself as a Lithuanian cultural historian and bibliographer while directing the ancient (1570) Vilnius University Library, Scientific Information Department. Born in Siauliai, Lithuania, Mr. Vladimirovas graduated Vilnius University's language and economics faculties, to be awarded later with the titles of Professor emeritus and a Ph.D. Mobilized as an officer, during the closing days of WW II, he was severely wounded in battle of Kurland during a fierce fight with the surrounding Nazi army.

At the UN Library, he widely expanded its functions, introducing microfiche and mechanization. He wrote and published numerous scholastic books and articles in several languages mostly concerning the history of Baltic printing as well as the history of Vilnius(Vilna, Wilno) University.

After determined research, he succeeded to repatriate unique scholastic books to Vilnius Library which were stolen by the Tsarist occupants following the unsuccessful Polish-Lithuanian insurrection in 1832. At Odessa's Public Library, Vladimirovas located the first Lithuanian book "Catechismus" written by Lutheran pastor Martynas Mazvydas and published in 1547 Koenigsberg ( still bearing Stalinist "Kaliningrad" name in East Prussia). This, and more than other 15,000 invaluable books, were returned with tremendous acclaim to Vilnius Library. Even after retirement Mr.Vladimirovas kept himself busy contributing to various international historical and bibliographical publications. He was a member of the International Association of Librarians. He has been decorated by the Soviet and Lithuanian authorities alike in 1981 and 1995. Surviving is his daughter Maria with her family in Vilnius.

A Litte Bit About Jazz
An overview, including history, and a discussion of the current scene.
by Bernd Jahnke

In the March issue of the Jazz Institute of Chicago website Jazz in Lithuania, "While the presence of jazz during Lithuania's first period of independence (1918-1940) has been clearly documented, opinions differ very much on its extent and caliber. The city of Kaunas, its capital during that era, was clearly the center of such activities. In 1940, the first official jazz band was formed by the national radio broadcast station, but was forced to disband a year later after the country's invasion by warring Germany. By 1945, the Soviet-Russian occupiers and Stalin's strict dictatorship prevented any resurgence whatsover of a jazz scene."

Book Review
Original Sender: Al Taskunas

An excellent 342-page book, Lithuania against Soviet and Nazi Aggression has just appeared on the market.

Written in succinct and un-emotion English by Dr Adolfas Damusis, a senior participant in the Lithuanian resistance during WW2, the book systematically surveys the major events in Lithuania, from the eve of World War II to the post-1990 re-establishment of Lithuanian independence.

Dr Damusis, having personally suffered in German prisons, retains his objectivity throughout the volume.

Using ample documentation, he demonstrates how the power-hungry conquerors of all colors had lost their human compassion and brutally trampled upon the defenseless.

The book is richly illustrated, has many maps and diagrams.

It is essential reading for anyone wishing to discover the truth about Lithuania - an unfortunate country "geographically caught in the middle of powerful competing military and imperialistic interests" [page1].

The book is available from the publishers:

I Laisve Foundation
J. Prakapas
14 Thelma Drive
Bakersfield, CA 93305, USA
Or: "I Laisve Magazine
9240 Cliffside Lane
Orland Park, IL 60462-7790, USA

Price is not indicated.

American Property Recovery in the Baltics
by Almus

The Congressional Helsinki Committee will convene on March 25 to review the process of reclaiming American property in the Baltic and other Nordic states nationalized by Stalin and Hitler and still under control of pro-soviet mentality's authorities. Strangely, Lithuania, 11 years after self-liberation, still operates under the Soviet judicial system [ !!! ].

American-Lithuanians at the hearing will be represented by Vytautas Sliupas, who organized a class action. He could be reached untill March 18 by E-Mail.

With the Lithuanian government in continuing turmoil, it is important to return to Lithuania a system of 'iustitia est fundamentum regnorum'. There are speculations that this turmoil has been intentionally created to scare Western investors and politicians away from the Belarus-Russian interest zone.

Elected by the Lithuanian people conservative majority at Seimas, [the government] has been in passive condition with its Speaker traveling around the World leisurely - from China to Kuwait and now for 9 days on [an] official visit in the US.

Despite his orders not to change the status quo, there are rumors of the possible collapse of Mr.Vagnorius' cabinet.

Book Review: History of the Lithuanian Military During the WW II
by John M. Keydash, Lt. Comdr., USN (Ret.)

Recently I found a newly published history of the Lithuanian military during the second world war.

It is a book that passed my way while I was conducting research on the American 95th Infantry Division. My late uncle, Reverend Casimir F. Keydash, (nee Keidosius) was the Catholic Chaplain for the 378th Infantry Regiment, 95th Infantry Division during WW II. The Lithuanian military history book has a section about Lithuanian-Americans who served in WW II and someone passed it my way. Although my uncle is not mentioned, I found the book totally fascinating.

It was written by a fellow named Henry Gaidis and I intend to write him via his publisher unless you or your readers have his e-mail address. The proper title of the Gaidis book is:

A History of the Lithuanian Military in World War II (1939-45)

I am a third generation Lithuanian American whose exposure to his heritage was limited. I found the Gaidis book absolutely refreshing to read (and it is in English! -- my Lithuanian is so poor) and he relates episodes of the heroic accounts of cousins and uncles, brothers and sons, that fought for our dear homeland.

No doubt that I have an affection for them because of my own near 25-year naval career. Nevertheless, you will find that Gaidis writes in a factual, no nonsense manner and separates fact from fiction as he presents an account of the Soviet and German occupations, provisional governments, defense forces and forces conscripted to the German/Red Armies, combat histories, the holocaust, and the partisan movement.

I was frankly surprised to find such a book and it belongs in our libraries and classrooms. I hope someone will be able to translate it into Lithuanian since I know no nothing else that comes close to the subject in either of our two languages.

Although it lacks a comprehensive index, the book is well footnoted with a center section containing pictures, maps and primary source documentation. Topics I researched were easily found within the books 300 pages and I used the Table of Contents' outline format to locate specific information relating to my areas of interests.

I obtained my copy of A History of Lithuanian Military Forces in World War II (1939-45) from:

Lithuanian Research and Studies Center
5600 Claremont Avenue
Chicago, IL 60636 USA
Their telephone number is (773) 434-4545 but I had difficulty getting through. I paid $31.50; $28.50 for the stiff paper cover version of the book with $3.00 added for shipping and handling inside the USA.

I have enjoyed visiting your web site and reading all of the commentaries. I hope my description of the newly published history of Lithuanian Military Forces in WWII by Henry Gaidis helps those with interest in this subject. I hope that anyone with information on the 95th Infantry Division will Drop Me A Quick E-Mail.

The Vilnius Program in Yiddish Language and Literature

An intensive four-week academic and cultural program [will be] held at Vilnius University in Vilnius, Lithuania from July 12 through August 6, 1999.

An international faculty of university professors and community leaders from Lithuania, America, Estonia, England, Russia, Belarus [will] teach elementary/advanced language, conduct seminars/tours of Vilnius and the countryside, and film screenings/concerts in the context of a city once renowned for its Jewish culture.


For complete information, contact:
Tina Lunson, Administrative Director
Phone: 301-270-2718 [Also Fax Number]

Baltic States Still Vulnerable to Russia's Troubles
by B. Michael Wyzan

The Baltic states are more susceptible to spillover effects from the Russian economic crisis than are the Central European countries, because the former (especially Lithuania) trade more extensively with Russia and their banks (particularly Latvia's) have been more active in lending to that country. However, the Balts are much less vulnerable than the CIS countries to that crisis, largely because their trade dependence on Russia is considerably lower.

In terms of international trade, Estonia has long been the least vulnerable of the Baltic States to ill winds blowing from the East. Russia accounted for a modest - by Baltic standards - 13.4 percent of exports and 10.8 percent of imports from January-November 1998, down from 18.8 percent and 14.4 percent, respectively, in all of 1997. Nonetheless, certain sectors, such as dairy farming, and certain regions, such as the heavily industrial, predominantly ethnic Russian northeast, have been hard hit.

Latvia experienced a strong decline in trade with Russia last year: from January-November 1998, exports to that country were 52 percent lower than during the same period in 1997, while total exports rose by 8.5 percent. As a result, its dependence on such trade is now similar to Estonia's. During the first 11 months of 1998, 12.4 percent of Latvian exports went to Russia and 11.5 of its imports originated there, compared with 21 percent and 15.6 percent, respectively, in all of 1997. The fishing and fisheries sectors have been particularly hard hit by the decline in Russian trade.

Lithuania remains the most dependent on trade with Russia, with the latter accounting for 18.6 percent of exports and 21.1 percent of imports from January-October 1998, down from 24.5 percent and 25.2 percent, respectively, in all of 1997. Lithuania's strikingly strong dependence on Russian imports reflects the fact that its Mazeikiai oil refinery is fueled entirely by oil from that country.

The big declines last year in exports to Russia have reduced the three countries' growth prospects. Estonian GDP growth fell from 9.3 percent in the first quarter of 1998 (compared with the same quarter in 1997) to 1.8 percent in the third. Estonia's 1999 budget envisages GDP growth of 4 percent, rather than the 6 percent originally forecast, while the other two Baltic States also expect growth declines of two percentage points this year. However, the forecast decline in Estonia's growth has a silver lining, since that country's economy was in danger of overheating.

Latvia's GDP growth took a similar nosedive in 1998, from 7.6 percent in the first quarter to 1.9 percent in the third, while Lithuania's GDP decline was more modest, from 4.7 percent to 3.2 percent over the same period. Industrial production has been hard hit in all three countries, especially in Latvia, where it was down during the fourth quarter by 11.4 percent relative to the same period in 1997.

Russian contagion also means that the probability of the Baltic States' having their own financial crises has increased. Lithuania seems the most vulnerable in this regard, its current account imbalance reaching 13 percent of GDP in January September 1998. The equivalent figures for Latvia and Estonia were 9.0 percent and 9.5 percent, respectively. Both those percentages are rather high, although the Estonian figure fell from 13 percent in 1997.

On the other hand, there are some factors suggesting that a crisis in Lithuania is less likely than its current account deficit suggest. Those factors include its large foreign reserves, some $1.4 billion at the end of 1998 (but down from $1.7 billion in July), and its excellent performance with regard to foreign investment in 1998. On 5 July, a 60 percent stake in state-owned Lietuvos Telekomas was sold to Sweden's Telia and Finland's Sonera for $510 million.

Estonian and Latvian banks have lost considerable sums on Russian government and corporate securities. Latvia is the more vulnerable in this respect, with investments in the neighborhood of $300 million in the Russian economy.

Overall, Latvian banks experienced a poor 1998, losing $23 million (2 percent of total assets), while Estonian banks lost $40 million (1.2 percent). Still, neither country experienced a banking crisis, such as Latvia did in 1995, when its GDP declined by 1.6 percent. Ratings agencies remain confident that no similar catastrophe is in the offing in that country now.

Baltic stock markets performed poorly in 1998, the indexes falling by 66 percent in Tallinn, 75 percent in Riga, and 40 percent in Vilnius. These small markets are sensitive to investor attitudes toward emerging markets in general. Thus, their declines began in the aftermath of the East Asian crisis, well before August 1998.

However, the effects of such volatility on the countries' real economies remain insignificant. Unlike in Western countries, few individuals own stock, and there are no large institutional investors, such as pension funds, that have invested heavily in the stock market.

The author is a research scholar at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Laxenburg, Austria.

Copyright (c) 1999 RFE/RL, Inc.
All rights reserved. (Reprinted with Permission.)

17th Conference on Baltic Studies
Original Sender: Gundar King

The 17th Conference on Baltic Studies will be held at the Georgetown University in Washington, D. C. on June 15-17, 2000. Conference Chair is Professor Arvids Ziedonis. Address:

RR BOX 362-J
Cresco, Pennsylvania 18326-9744
Professor Gundar J. King, the Chair for Business and Economics Sessions, invites conference ideas and proposals, as well as draft articles for the special issue on Baltic business and economies of the Journal of Baltic Studies Summer 2000. Draft articles should be submitted before Christmas of this year, and travel funds will be requested from friendly donors such as the Soros Foundations.

Address for mailing draft articles is:

Professor Gundar J. King
School of Business
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, Washington 98447

Part II: A Short History of Lithuania
Lithuanian-American Contributions in the Struggle for Independence.

Original Sender: Gundar King

These were no mean accomplishments for an ethnic group with simple peasant roots. Yet such would not have been the case, if some inspired leader did not give direction and momentum to the Lithuanian National Renaissance among the Lithuanian immigrants. That person was the energetic and fiery Jonas Sliupas (ed note: there is a hachek over the “S” and a short line over the “u” in this name). A student activist at the Moscow and St. Petersburg Universities, in Russia, Jonas Sliupas was one of the dedicated founders and editors of “Auszra” (1883-1886) the clarion of the Lithuanian Renaissance. Even Dr. Jonas Basanavicius in his memoirs admits that is was Sliupas who gave the proper name to this first patriotic Lithuanian Language newspaper. Sliupas fled to the United States from East Prussia, where the German authorities were planning to deport him to Russia for his Lithuanian patriotic activities.

Jonas Sliupas became the leader of the Lithuanian National Movement in America. In 1884 Mykolas Tvarauskas and Jonas Sliupas published a new newspaper “Unija” in New York. Since Sliupas disagreed with the pro-Polish sentiments of “Unija” , the following year he began the publication of “Lietuwiszkasis Balsas” in Brooklyn, New York. It was a liberal nationalist publication with socialistic undertones. At first Sliupas had to write, edit, print and even disseminate the newspaper, aided only by his faithful wife Liudvika Malinauskaite (“Agle). For three years he molded Lithuanian consciousness, urged his compatriots to better their lot through education and the acquiring of useful skills. To the consternation of conservative Lithuanian clergymen, he was the first activist to draw his fellow national from the Poles, who had tried to 'woo' them with the long dead ideal of the “Lublin Union”. During a meeting of erstwhile Lithuanian organizers in Brooklyn, NY, the question arose which should be established first: a church of a school (baznycia ar mokslaine?). With logic and eloquence Sliupas opted for the school. This marked him as a “freethinker” (laisvamanis) for the rest of his career in America. And yet from a standpoint of ethnic sociology he was perceptive, for without education nothing is attainable among emigrees.

On February 10, 1886, Juozas Paukstis began the publication of the weekly “Wienibe Lietuwninku” (Vienybe). This newspaper, under the name Vienybe, has had the distinction of being the longest-lived Lithuanian newspaper in the world. At first it was a pro-Polish and Catholic periodical, but eventually it established itself as a liberal nationalist newspaper.

On april 17, 1886, during the meeting of the supporters of the newspaper Lietuwiszkasis Balsas in Brooklyn, NY, Jonas Sliupas, Pijus Paseckas, Pranas Ramanauskas, Juozas Bucinskas, V. Dziankauskas and A. Juskevicius conceived the idea of forming a broad-based society dedicated to Lithuanian fraternalism and benevolence, which would encompass all local Lithuanian societies in the United States. Plans were made for calling a conference of local Lithuanian societies in Pennsylvania.

In the same note in May of 1886, Lithuanian Catholics under the pro-Polish Rev. Antanas Varnagiris called for the formation of a Lithuanian Catholic alliance. On August 15, 1886 the Lithuanian Alliance of America was formed by liberal societies in Shenandoah, PA. On November 22, 1886 the Catholics formed the Lithuanian Roman Catholic Alliance of America. After a while the first Alliance merged into the latter group. [To be Continued.]

The Statues in Lithuania
VILNIUS [Reuters]

Statues of Lenin and other Soviet Communist heroes toppled when Lithuania regained independence in 1991 will be re-erected shortly in a theme park as symbols of oppression, local media said Wednesday.

They will stand as a historical reminder to Lithuanians and foreign visitors of a half-century of Soviet supremacy in the small Baltic republic.

Lithuanians woke up Wednesday to newspapers splashed with photos of Lenin statues being unceremoniously dragged away by cranes for the second time in eight years. The images recalled scenes in 1991 when Lenin was yanked off marble pedestals in Lithuanian cities as the Baltic state recovered its independence after 50 years of Soviet rule.

This time, five statues of Lenin and Soviet comrades like KGB founder Felix Dzerzhinsky - both reviled in Lithuania, which Moscow annexed in 1940 - are destined for an outdoor park in southern Lithuania, daily Lietuvos Rytas reported.

They will join eight others in a $1 million theme park in the making that a group called the Hesonos Club is building to eventually house 50 of the stone-faced Soviet icons.

Hesonos is answering a call by the culture ministry to find a permanent and appropriate way to exhibit the statues that once stood as symbols of Soviet heavy-handedness throughout Lithuania.

``We want that the citizens of Lithuania, future generations and the country's visitors have a chance to see with their own eyes the ideology that oppressed our culture for many decades,'' the culture ministry said last year in calling for the park.

Lafayette: Helper of Lithuanians Too?
From Lietuviu Enciklopedija [Published in Boston,MA), Vol. 14 of 1958

"LaFayette, Marie Joseph du Motier, marquis de (1757-1834) hero of two worlds, French and American soldier, in 1777.07.18 was accepted by George Washington to his general staff and was given the rank of major general... In 1779 returned to France and came back with a naval squadron (and 6000 men, commanded by graf Rochambeau), in which a relative of the Lithuanian army inspector general served. His name was graf M.Grabauskas.

When the uprising against the Russians took place in Poland and Lithuania in 1831, Lafayette urged the French Parliament to help the insurrectionists. To help this Polish-Lithuanian uprising LaFayette organized a French committee which later, after the uprising was crushed, helped the revolutionary refugees... LaFayette also urged his American friends to go to Poland-Lithuania and help as volunteers-soldiers (the poet E.A.Poe wanted to volunteer, but the uprising was too short lived).... LaFayette was a go-between in channeling financial aid... In Paris, when there was a one year anniversary commemoration of the uprising, on 1832.03.25, Lafayette was its Chairman.

Ona Petrulis: A Bit More of History
Copyright 1995, The Detroit News

Lithuanian Ona Petrulis fought ravages of WW II to raise her sons and crammed many lifetimes into her 99 years. She saw her husband, a former Prime Minister of Lithuania, dragged off by Soviet operatives, imprisoned and later executed in Siberia. She tasted the bleakness of refugee camps in West Germany after World War II, trying desperately to keep her three sons alive in a United Nations camp. She struggled to make a life for them in the United States, working at part-time jobs in Metro Detroit so her sons could have the education they needed.

Ona Petrulis died Saturday, August 26, 1995, in Oak Meadow Nursing Home in Alexandria, Virginia.

Her husband, Vytautas, a financier and statesman, was taken into custody in 1940 when the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania in World War II. "He was arrested for counter-revolutionary movement," said her son, Vitas. "The Soviets used that charge to arrest thousands of people. It was a false charge, but they felt it authenticated their right to do it."

The arrest came at a time when Mrs. Petrulis and her husband were running a model dairy farm in Lithuania, hoping to improve production throughout the country. She had supported her husband's career as he rose through the ranks of the Christian Democratic Party in Lithuania in the 1920s, first serving as minister of finance and then as the prime minister.

"She performed the obligations that go with being the wife of the Prime Minister," Vitas said. "She was active in many charitable organizations, helping the less fortunate people in Lithuania. She was a good administrator, and a good patriot."

After her husband was executed in 1942 in the Komi region of Siberia, Mrs. Petrulis sought refuge in the West. However, she and her sons -Vitas, Algirdas and Mindaugas – were forced to spend eight years in the United Nations camp in West Germany before they were able to come to Metro Detroit in 1950.

She worked at whatever jobs she could find and raised her sons. Vitas became a Ford Motor Company engineer, the late Algirdas, a Ford employee, and Mindaugas, an economist for the United States Department of Agriculture.

In addition to the two sons, she is survived by six grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

Services were scheduled for 10:00 a.m. today in Divine Providence Lithuanian Church, 25335 W. Nine Mile, Southfield. Burial will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery. The body will lie in state at the church until 9:30 a.m. today.

Draugas: March 4, 1931
Submitted by Arleen Gould

Musu Jaunuomene
Our Lithuanian Youth
By Stud. V. Ed. Pajoujis

Our Duty to Vilnius:

The Lithuanian national spirit of unity again manifests itself in the demand of all Lithuanians though out the world that Vilnius, our grand historical capital, which had been ruthlessly seized by the Poles in 1920, be returned to Lithuania. Ever since its seizure the Lithuanians have steadfastly demanded its return in no uncertain terms. This demand has been steadily gaining momentum, friendship and alliance of other kindred nationalities, the White Russians and the Ukrainians. At the present time a very eminent Lithuanian leader and educator the Honorable Prof. M. Birziskas outlined his wise and well conceived plan as to how our nation may secure the return of Vilnius. A united Vytautas Front formed by the alliance of the three nations, the Lithuanians, White Russians and Ukrainians, comprising a total power of over 55,000,000 people against the total Polish power of only 20,000,000 will thus be able to demand the return of all seized Lithuanian ethnographic and historical territory. The national freedom and independence of the White Russians and the Ukrainians each forming a separate and sovereign state, and a firm and lasting friendship and alliance of the three nations.

We, as Lithuanian American youth have before us also a great and worthy task-a duty to our nationality, we must by written and vocal word propagate the truth against political diplomacy of the Poles and the justice of our nation's claims. We must strive to form public opinion and indignation among the people here in the United States against the foreign tyranny designed against us by the Poles.

We are urging every Lithuanian youth to write articles on this matter to all noteworthy publications, to talk among the people, in general, to arouse sympathy and indignation of this world against the designing tyrants of our nation's freedom. If we are the true sons and daughters we will do it. Vytis

That's All For This Month.

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