Vol 2, #3: May 1999
Editor: Bernard Tirva
Website Design: Mrs. Karen Downing
REQUEST FOR SUBMISSIONS
If you have an article for LABAS, submit to: Bernard Tirva, Editor
Stalinist Crimes Hunted in Baltics
Memories of the 1940's aftermath of the war
An Appeal for Help
Landsbergis' book - an Appeal
A New Perspective
Part 3: A Short Lithuanian History
Article from "Lietuviska Gazieta"
Russia Expresses Concern
Lithuanian Days are coming Agian
17th Conference on baltic Studies
Statues of Lenin . . .
Lafayette Friend of Lithuanian
Our Duty to Vilnius
STALINIST CRIMES HUNTED IN BALITCS
by Michael Tarm
The Associated Press
Dateline: TALLINN, Estonia (AP):
In one file is the deportation order for an entire family, including an 8-year-old boy. In another is a death sentence handed down to a businessman for joking about the demise of communism.
These old files from the former Soviet secret police, among 30,000 in a city archive, are the focus of a campaign to root out Stalinist-era agents and convict them.
``This isn't just history,'' said archive researcher Indrek Urjo, waving a set of wispy, peppermint-green papers, each stamped with a faded red hammer and sickle. ``This is evidence of a crime."
Millions of people were deported and killed during Stalin's 25-year iron reign, but most former Soviet republics aren't pursuing prosecutions from that dark era. In all three Baltic states, however, efforts to hunt down those responsible for Stalinist crimes are in full swing.
An Estonian court last month found 78-year-old Johannes Klaassepp guilty of deporting dozens of families to Siberia, the first conviction for Stalinist crimes in the country. Latvia and Lithuania also have achieved convictions.
Pursuing those responsible for crimes a half-century old is laborious work. Investigators patiently comb through files at the vast, cellar archive in Tallinn almost daily.
But with fewer than 20 investigators assigned to the cases, Estonian police say the main problem is deciding which of the mountains of documents to tackle first.
``It's a daunting task,'' said police spokesman Hannes Kont.
After matching suspects with death certificates, investigators found that the top secret police officials in Estonia were all dead. Investigators are working their way down the command pyramid to second- and third-level agents.
More than 100,000 people were deported from the Baltics during the Soviet era. The first wave of deportations was in 1941, followed by even larger deportations starting in March 1949.
The first deportations were mostly of political, business and military leaders. Deportations in 1949 and 1951 targeted relatives of deportees.
``The idea was to first arrest, deport and shoot the cream of society,'' said Kont. ``Later, they went after their wives, children and parents.''
An estimated 80 percent of those deported in the first wave died in exile, and about 20 percent of the later deportees perished. The lower figure for those deported later is due in part to the somewhat eased conditions that came after Stalin's death in 1953.
Arrests were often made in the early morning, with guards giving people just minutes to gather a few clothes before they were marched off.
One witness in the trial of Vaseli Beskov, who was convicted this month, described how he, his brother and his parents were loaded onto a Siberia-bound train.
His mother ``fell to her knees and cried, 'You can shoot me, but I beg you to set my children free,''' a tearful Vello Leibur said in court. ``My brother and I just stood there screaming.'' The children survived, but the fate of their parents is unknown.
Prosecutors say one obstacle to prosecutions is a shortage of reliable witnesses. The half-century since the deportations has dimmed many memories. The accused also claim memory loss.
Asked at his trial about signing deportation papers when he was a secret police official, Klaassepp said he could recall nothing.
Klaassepp's lawyers also argued he was a tiny part in a larger machine. It is not known why Klaassepp, a native Estonian, even joined the secret police. Many of those under Soviet rule felt compelled to commit distasteful acts to save their own lives; some supported Soviet rule.
Most Estonians say that whatever the reason for joining, taking part in deportations cannot go unpunished.
``Neither Hitler nor Stalin ever personally killed anybody,'' Kalju Pajupuu recently wrote in Estonia's Postimees newspaper. ``It was always the little cogs who did all the dirty work.''
Authorities in all three pro-Western, strongly anti-communist Baltics insist their efforts to track down old Stalinist agents has nothing to do with revenge.
``It's about being able to look victims in the eye and say, 'Look, we did something. We got a verdict. The truth was revealed,''' Kont said.
Estonia might be able to deal with crimes of the '40s and '50s, but it will probably never shed much light on later repression.
As the Soviet Union began breaking apart in the early 1990s, Moscow took more recent KGB documents out of Estonia. Others were destroyed. But for reasons that aren't clear, Soviet authorities left behind the Stalinist-era files.
``Perhaps they were in too big a hurry and didn't have time to destroy them,'' Kont said. ``But I think they simply figured these old files were just history, and that no one would ever try to sort out the crimes documented here . . . They were wrong.''
MEMORIES OF THE 1940s
(AFTERMATH OF WAR)
The MEMORIES project was set up to allow people - of ALL countries - to describe what happened to them in their everyday lives during the years 1940-1950. We encourage children to ask their grandparents about those times and to submit their short stories to the MEMORIES LIST and ask questions about other peoples' stories that they read there. We particularly welcome stories from the Eastern European Republics and the occupied countries of Europe.
The period after the defeat of Germany is one that contains a wealth of important social detail; absent sons and fathers returning, or never to return; the stresses of rebuilding a shattered economy; a new understanding of what had actually happened during the six years of the war. Sadly, in many countries a new regime exerting itself over the old, sometimes with equal viciousness. This was a time of social change on a major scale.
We believe that those that LIVED THESE THINGS should find a way to DESCRIBE THESE THINGS directly to the generation of the twenty-first century, without waiting to be asked to do so by this or that publisher.
MEMORIES is not a project with a start date and a stop date - it is a resource that teachers can plan for and use in their classroom whenever they wish. For more information or joining instructions please write to me, or VIEW OUR WEB-SITE.
Answers to some frequently asked questions:
The purpose of the program is to provide participating schools with some information about the Elders taking part, and to provide guidance on questions.
Why are you setting up this project?
It is now 50 years since World War II and we want young people to learn of the conflict from those who lived it. We are a LIVING HISTORY BOOK. We have passed beyond the hatreds we suffered at the time. We tell our stories in the hope that YOU will learn from them and will realize conflicts on this scale do not solve problems.
Are the people mentioned in the announcement all real people?
Yes. You will find a list of some of us at the end of this document with very brief biographical details, but many more 'Elders' are on the list and will also be sending their answers.
Are they all available by e-mail on the Internet?
Most are, but a few do not have internet access and will be interviewed as required and their answers sent back.
We have decided to take part in this project, but what do we do now?
The easiest way is to subscribe to the MEMORIES List at St Johns University in New York. When you do that you will automatically be sent copies of stories and interviews being submitted by schools, the questions that schools are asking and the answers that the panel reply with. If you have been sent this document as a result of subscribing to MEMORIES then you are now ready to start interviewing senior citizens about their experiences of the 1940s.
What sorts of questions can we ask the panel?
You will find the Elders are a cross-section of people who were caught up in the war. We were not involved in decisions or strategies; in a sense, whether we were civilians or soldiers, we were the victims of decisions made by others.
We can answer questions about our daily lives and the effect the conflict had on us. We will leave it to YOU, teachers and students, to decide what you want to know or what you would like to tell us about the Elders you have spoken to.
Are there subjects we should avoid?
Common sense will tell you civilians who lived in cities that were carpet-bombed for 'strategic reasons' or whose relatives were killed for 'ethnic reasons' will not want to be closely cross-examined about the experience. Similarly, those who were put into uniform unwillingly will expect some sensitivity.
Look at the list of Elders. Think who we are and what we have seen. Remember that we are now friends who wish to love each other. That can be your guide.
Some of the participating Elders include:
THE LAND GIRL
Anne Oliver completed her studies at Liverpool University but was immediately 'called up' to work on a farm. She remembers having to learn all the tackle that the huge shire horses used for pulling the machinery. She is now a retired schoolteacher.
THE BERLIN SCHOOLBOY
Eberhard Weber lived in Berlin during the war and remembers during one period "spending more time in the shelter than out of it". He now lives in Los Angeles.
THE LONDON SCHOOLBOY
Tom Holloway lived in London throughout the blitz and remembers seeing American soldiers for the first time "with their strange clothes and amazing build - like Martians...". He now runs an Email Charity for children with special needs.
THE VIENNESE SCHOOLGIRL
Lotte Evans lives in Melbourne, Australia, but remembers her schooldays in Vienna vividly, and the discrimination because of a Jewish great-grandmother.
THE POLISH EXILE
Feliks Chustecki was Head teacher of a Polish school in Coventry and is now retired. In 1944 he arrived in England via Egypt to train as a pilot in the Polish Air Force.
THE AMERICAN SOLDIER
Phil Bernheim was in England during 1943/44 and recalls "the awesome sight of airplanes from horizon to horizon on D-Day...". He lives in South San Francisco.
THE CROATIAN SOLDIER
As a teenager, Zvonko Springer was forced into a German Uniform and made to fight. He survived the 'Croation Death March' of soldiers who surrendered to Tito's partisan army. He now lives in Salzburg, Austria.
THE LANCASHIRE SCHOOLBOY
Sidney Allinson was a schoolboy during the Second World War, living in Southport, Lancashire. Southport was a rest-centre for US Air Force crews and Canadian troops. Sidney retains vivid memories of wartime; he is a professional writer who lives in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
THE RAF ENGINEER
Horace Basham serviced Typhoons and Tempests. He says "I was in the RAF for four years two months and two days and in that time served on seventeen stations. Mostly in East and southeast England and for a while in Northern Ireland."
Mary Langley first worked getting disabled children and expectant mothers out of London during the blitz. She then became a Nurse and worked in hospitals in Northampton and London until the end of the war.
THE CANADIAN ADMINISTRATOR
Raymond Delaveaux served as a Pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force in several occupied countries. After the war he was seconded to the Allied Military Government of the Occupied Territories to assist in the process of post-war recovery.
Submitted by: Tom Holloway
Home: 1926-771772 Fax: 1926-771707
AN APPEAL FOR HELP
Lithuanian biologists would like to respond to the official invitation to participate in the activities of the International Congress of Mycology, Bacteriology and Applied Microbiology, which will convene in Sydney, Australia, August 16-20.
They believe it is vitally important that Lithuanian scholars from the Institute Of Botany be in attendance to meet international colleagues, share knowledge, and participate in research, especially now - when polemics about bacteriological threats are constantly manifested in the public media.
However, they cannot expect full financial funding from Lithuanian sources. It has been estimated such a trip will cost approximatley US $2,595 air round-trip flight [Vilnius-London-Sydney-Vilnius].
The first individual approached pledged $500, "Pro Memoriam" of late Clara Monroy, who recently succumbed to stroke.
Balts residing in Sydney, Australia could assist by offering traditional hospitality.
All pledges and information requests should be directed to ALMUS, Deputy Directory of the Institute of Botany.
LANDSBERGIS' BOOK - AN APPEAL
Original Sender: Darius Furmonavicius
I would like to appeal to all readers of this newsletter. Your action is needed now.
Landsbergis' book, Lithuania Independent Again, is a particularly important source of truthful information about the break-up of the Soviet Empire. It is useful for every academic working in the fields of European history, International Relations, etc.
It seems that almost all university libraries in the UK and the USA have Gorbachev's memoir book, but few libraries have Landsbergis's volume.
Gorbachev's memoirs are full of nonsenses, e.g. he writes that he just recently knew about the Alpha troops during the January 13th events in Vilnius from some KGB colonel memoir book ...
Therefore, it is crucially important that your libraries in the UK, USA, Australia, Europe and other states order Landsbergis' memoirs. Please ask your university library as well as your local ones to place an order for Landsbergis' book as soon as possible.
Attention Students: Please encourage your teachers and course directors to place an order with your university librarian. Your kind help will be greatly appreciated by many Lithuanians, Balts, and academics interested in contemporary European history.
If you have any questions, write: DARIUS FURMONAVICIUS
LITHUANIA - INDEPENDENT AGAIN: The Autobiography of Vytautas Landsbergis Prepared for an English-speaking audience by Anthony Packer and Eimutis Sova.
SEPTEMBER1998, Hardback, ISBN 0-7083-1454-1
University of Wales Press, 6 Gwennyth Street, Cathays, Cardiff CF2 4YD, Wales.
COMPETING VISIONS OF NATO'S FUTURE
By Paul Goble
The 12 March celebration of the formal inclusion of the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland into NATO highlighted the existence of three very different views among alliance members about the nature of the challenges they face and about the proper role of the Western alliance in meeting them.
The first view, articulated most strongly by the leaders of the newest members of the alliance, might be called the traditional one. It identifies Russia as the most likely potential threat. And it presents NATO as a guarantee of the independence and security of alliance members precisely because it, unlike any other European institution, involves the power of the U.S. in the defense of the continent.
The second view, reflected in the speeches of many European leaders, downplays the possibility of a Russian threat and insists that the alliance not expand its mission beyond its traditional one as a defense pact.
Some of those who hold this view stress the role of the alliance in maintaining a link with the U.S., while others see it as a security system that will permit the gradual expansion of Europe itself.
The third view, presented primarily by U.S. officials, shares the assessment of most Europeans that Russia is no longer a threat but argues that other threats to the security of the continent, such as the conflicts in Bosnia and Kosova, mean NATO must assume a new and more active role. And that new role must be undertaken, they argue, even if the alliance has to redefine itself as something other than simply a defensive institution.
As they have in the past, spokesmen and commentators in alliance countries insisted that these views do not reflect any fundamental divisions in the alliance. Instead, they said, such variations in view are simply matters of differing emphasis on parts of a common agenda.
But in the absence of a common threat identified by all members, these differences are likely to grow. And to the extent that happens, they are likely to have a profound impact on those who have joined or want to join the alliance, on links between European members of the alliance and the U.S., and on relations between NATO, its individual members, and the Russian Federation.
The most immediate impact of these divisions within the alliance may be on those countries who have recently become members and on those who want to join as soon as possible. All these countries want to join NATO because they see the Western alliance as the best means of protecting themselves from a potential new Russian threat. If they discover that the alliance now has a different agenda, they may find themselves in some difficulty.
The governments of these countries have justified the financial costs of NATO membership in terms of the popular perception that the alliance has not undergone any fundamental changes. If it becomes obvious to many people in these countries that the Western alliance has changed, at least some segments of the member states' populations may be less willing to pay those costs.
And these regimes have counted on the alliance precisely because of its U.S. dimension. If they decide that Europe and the U.S. are moving in different directions on security questions, that, too, may lead some to question the value of alliance membership.
The impact of these differences on ties between NATO's European members and the U.S., however, is also likely to grow. Not only are Europeans seeking to play a larger role in a grouping long dominated by Washington and are thus prepared to play up divisions that they would have once ignored, but the U.S. also appears to many of them divided over the future role of NATO and thus open to pressure.
Both Europe and the U.S. downplay any immediate Russian threat. Indeed, both appear to want to include Moscow in ever more alliance councils. But they openly disagree on what Europeans call "out of area" activities and what Americans stress are the major challenges facing the West now: the violence in the Yugoslav successor states.
But the greatest impact of these differences within the alliance is likely to be on relations between the alliance and its individual members, on the one hand, and Moscow, on the other.
The Russian leadership not only opposes the expansion of the Western alliance to the east but also believes that NATO, which it describes as a "relic of the Cold War," should cease to exist. Consequently, it is almost certain to seek to exploit these differences in approach in at least three ways.
First, it is likely to try to avoid any step so overtly threatening as to re-unite the alliance. Second, it is likely to continue to reach out to European countries, such as Germany, that appear most opposed to U.S. efforts to redefine the mission of the alliance.
And third, Moscow is likely to try to play up the notion of a special relationship with Washington, something that may anger Europeans and restrict U.S. efforts to overcome the divisions within the alliance itself.
Fifty years ago, one observer commented that NATO existed to "keep the Russians out, the Americans in, and the Germans down." Now, both the divisions within the alliance and the policies of its members could create a situation in which the Russians are increasingly inside Europe, the U.S.'s role there reduced, and the roles of individual European states far larger and more unpredictable.
Copyright (c) 1999 RFE/RL, Inc.
All rights reserved.
A NEW PERSPECTIVE
In 1992, I traveled from Denmark to Lithuania to privately support the new Lithuanian Army. When I arrived, one of the people I met was Vitautas Sestauskas, who was second in command in Kaunas. I could tell several stories about Sestauskas, but before I tell this one you need to know a little bit about him.
Vitautas was born around 1920 in Lithuania. He was trained as a soldier by the Wehrmacht (not SS). At the age of 19, Vitautas was a Lieutenant fighting on the Eastern Front. In 1943, along with many fellow-countrymen, he was taken prisoner and shipped to Novaya Semlaja.
When Stalin died, Vitautas and many like him were released (not his German colleagues) and began to make their way home. While Vitautas made it, thousands of his comrades didn't.
When he arrived home in Kaunas, he joined the resistance and fought [in the underground] until 1963. Then all men over the age of 40 were sent home because the woods were "getting too small" for all of them. Vitautas kept his officer's papers hidden through the years until I met him at the age of 72.
Vitautas Sestauskas, although old, is what I would call "one hell of a man" - a man whom I would have been proud to call my father had fate arranged it like that. He was second in command in Kaunas at the age of 72.
One day in 1992, Vitautas was bicycling to work at the army headquarters in Kaunas. He cycled past a Russian train loaded with armour (mainly PT76 for those in the know). The train was stopped and there were no guards. Vitautas cycled down to a nearby village where his cousin Povl lived. Povl has an old crane.
Vitautas and Povl returned to the train - stole 2 armoured vehicles and hid them in the woods. The train rolled out of Kaunas and the theft was only discovered after it reached the Russian border. An official complaint was sent by Russia to the new Lithuanian defence minister, and down the chain of command until the commander of the Kaunas military region - my good friend Colonel Juras Abromavichius - launched an investigation.
Vitautas owned up to the theft and was fired. But, he would not tell where the vehicles were stored. The Russians accepted the results of the inquiry - the guilty party having been caught and punished. A few weeks later Vitautas enlisted again, and was promoted. We had a drink on that one.
Now, 7 years later, I still shake my head in wonder when I think about it. I hope fate gives me the opportunity to go back and visit Vitautas one day soon!
Alfred Gerald (Gerry) Davison, Denmark
A SHORT HISTORY OF JONAS SLIUPAS
For three years Sliupas fostered ideas of Lithuanian liberal nationalism through his numerous articles, speeches, and lectures. Yet even a patriot had to gain a livelihood which unfortunately could not be provided by being a patriotic activist. Jonas Sliupas was to temporarily curtail his activities to study medicine in Baltimore in 1889. Before leaving for his studies he invited Rev. Aleksandras Burba from Lithuania to organize the Lithuanian American Catholics. Although a socialist and freethinker at the time, Nona sliupas understood the necessity of Lithuanian unity; after all Rev. A. Burba was being persecuted by the Polish Church hierarchy in Vilnius and Fardinas provinces for his patriotic Lithuanian activities. While a student in Baltimore J. Sliupas in 1889 also formed the Lithuanian Scientific Society (Lietuviu Mokslo Draugyste), which published the liberal and freethinking journal "Apszwieta".
In June, 1889 Rev. A. Burba arrived in Shenandoah, PA to work among Lithuanian emigrants. Settling down in Plymouth, PA, Rev. Burba held services in Lithuanian. When the Poles protested and demonstrated in fury, he established the first purely Lithuanian Catholic parish in America in 1889. For nine years, until his death in 1898, Rev. Burba formed Lithuanian parishes and led the Lithuanian Roman Catholic Alliance of America. He was successful in transforming his compatriots and co-religionists into an ethnically aware community. Rev. Burba was the prototype of the patriotic Lithuanian priests in America: he was followed by Zebrys, Zilinskas, Milukas, Kaupas and other patriotic confratres. At first A Burba worked hand in hand with the freethinking Dr. J. Sliupas. their modus vivendi in Lithuanian matters came to an end in 1893 when the doctor pulled a tasteless prank in Scranton, PA which A Burba considered an affront to God himself. This was the beginning of the ideological differentiation of Lithuanian-Americans which has continued to this day.
Having worked together for four years, Dr. J. Sliupas the freethinker journalist turned medical doctor, and Rev. A Burba the Catholic missionary, were the ideological leaders of the late 19th century Lithuanian National Movement in the United States. The "Great Schism" occurred during the 1901 Convention of the Lithuanian American Alliance in Wilkes-Barre, PA, when active members split and formed liberal-national and Catholic fraternal benefit societies. The Roman Catholic Lithuanians went their separate way until 1914.
Dr. Jonas Sliupas is credited with being the father of several laicistic Lithuanian patriotic movements, namely, the Lithuanian freethinkers, liberals, socialists, and nationalist. Yet this hardworking, dynamic journalist, literary critic, historian, lecturer and organizer never stayed content to work within any narrow group or party.
In 1896 inspired by Dr. Jonas Sliupas, the Patriotic Lovers of the Fatherland (Lietuviu Tevynes Myletoju Draugija) was established for the purpose of printing books in Lithuanian and shipping them to their brethren in the homeland. By 1900 it had 26 chapters and 859 members. During 35 years of active publication, it printed forty Lithuanian language books. On May 25, 1908 in Scranton PA, the Lietuviu Tevynes Myletoju Dragija was revived as the Society of Lithuanian Patriots (Tevynes Myletoju Draugyste). The first year it reformed fifty chapters with 1059 members. By 1917 the Society had 4000 members in 128 chapters. This Society published the Lithuanian patriot Vincas Kudirka's writings in six volumes, as well as other books.
ARTICLE FROM LIETUVISLA GAZIETA
translated by Gintautas Kaminskas
Here is the translation I promised earlier of some material Vilius provided. I understand it is taken from an article by Jonas Sliupas that appeared in "Lietuviska Gazieta", published in New York. The bit below is about "My memories from the SLA", by J. Kazakevicius, former SLA Secretary.
I don't really like talking about the minor job I had at SLA and the modest contribution I made there. Therefore, first I would like to set the context by telling you my impressions about the first Lithuanians in USA and their ethnic consciousness.
I arrived in America in 1887 as a youngster. I lived in the vicinity of some coal mines at Hazleton, PA. At that time in that town there were about 36 Lithuanian families and about 7 Polish families. Lithuanians had formed the Society of Saint George. Typically, the business of the society was conducted in Polish. A certain Zigmas Tvarauskas was head of the organisation. All the local Lithuanians referred to themselves as "paliokai" ("Polaks"). "What's new in Polscia?" they would ask me. I knew little enough about what was happening in Lithuania at the time: as for "Polscia", I couldn't tell them anything.
How did I get involved with the local Lithuanians and SLA? Well, at the time mentioned above there was at least one clear-minded Lithuanian living in Hazleton: M. Vilkauskas. As I was a young fellow he used to give me newspapers to read: "Varpas" and "Ukininkas" which were being published in Tilsit (Prussia) at that time. Once M. Vilkauskas gave me an issue of "Lietuviska Gazieta", published in New York. In this issue Jonas Sliupas really ridiculed the polonised American Lithuanians, calling them "neo-Poles". This article of Jonas Sliupas about the "Neo-poles" really appealed to me and I began to write news reports about the activities of Lithuanians in Hazleton. At that time J. Paukstis was publisher of "Vienybe Lietuvininku", ("Unity of the Lietuvininkai"), the official journal of LRKD. In my news reports I really made fun of the "neo-Poles" of Hazleton. These Polonised Lithuanians got very angry at me. One time in "Unity of the Lietuvininkai" there appeared a poem with the title "Susiprates Naujalenkis" ("A Conscious* Neo-pole") [* ie one who has come to his senses, woken up, realised the truth, realised his mistake GK]
When I was a lad , at home with dad,
I spoke Litho with my brothers and others [other kids].
But when I had to earn my bread, Polish nonsense got into my head.
Because I wanted to see how being "upper-class" would be.
I thought that to be a Pole was an important role.
And that without the Polish lingo, I wouldn't be worth a thing-o!
Well, in Polish I couldn't say "boo"
But I wanted to be a "Polak" too!
Because I believed all Poles would be saved
But Lithuanians to hell would be waved.
God knows how long this madness would have gone on,
If to America I had not come.
Now the newspapers I started to read
Which gave me the wisdom I badly did need.
I realised that to be a Lithuanian was a reasonable fate
And to save our country it wasn't too late.
So now I'm repenting my past mistakes
And amends for my folly I wish to make.
And I bid my "neo-Polish" brothers to awake -
Love Lithuania instead
Get Polish nonsense out of your head!
Together we will a patriotic song sing
Together we can achieve many things!
Note from Gintautas Kaminskas, translator:
Because of this poem I barely rescued my hide from a Slavicko pub one fine Saturday evening. This was the sad level of ethnic consciousness, not only in Hazleton, but generally among Lithuanians in America at that time, wherever they were.
RUSSIA EXPRESSES CONCERN OVER
DESECRATED SOVIET SOLDIERS' GRAVES IN LITHUANIA
The Russian Embassy in Vilnius has voiced its concern over "recurrent acts of vandalism against the graves of former Soviet servicemen in Lithuania," BNS reported on 19 March. In a note to the Lithuanian Foreign Ministry, the embassy drew attention to the desecration of Soviet soldiers' graves in the town of Kruopiai, in northern Lithuania, one week earlier. Vandals removed two plaques from a memorial and overturned some 40 tombstones. The embassy urged the Lithuanian authorities to punish those responsible.
Editor's Note: ALL Lithuanians, the world over, should express concern over the desecration of the Lithuanian populace and country by the Soviets in their fifty years of occupation after WW2 and in the hundreds of years of occupation by the Russians prior to 1918! If they don't want the graves desecrated, then they should crate the graves off to "mother Russia" where they can be protected by their own!
LITHUANIAN DAYS ARE COMING AGAIN
The 85th Annual Lithuanian Days will be celebrated on 14 and 15 August, 1999 at the Schuylkill Mall, Frackville, Pa at the intersection of I81 and Rt. 61. We invite families to come and have a reunion, enjoy the food, entertainment, and activities. Motels are very nice and reasonable.
We are looking for Lithuanian craftsmen who may be interested in selling their works. I will send more information as I receive it.
Contact: Bernice Mikatavage
321 St. Francis Street
Minersville PA, 17954
E-MAIL BERNICE Telephone: 717-544-4598
The Baltimore Lithuanian Festival will be Saturday, June 5 and Sunday, June 6 from 12-6 in Caldicott Maryland, a Baltimore suburb.
The Pittsburgh Pennsylvania Lithuanians will be dancing at the 48th annual Pittsburgh Folk Festival. We will have a food booth and display booth all weekend and Lithuanian woodcarver from Baltimore. We will be dancing on Saturday, May 29th at a time to be determined.
The Pittsburgh Folk Festival will be held on Friday, May 28th from 5-11, Saturday May 29 from 12-10, and Sunday, May 30th from 12-6.
The Baltimore Lithuanian Festival will have 5 food booths, Jore folklore group, dance groups from Wash DC, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh and lots of displays and stuff to buy. Lith beer and vodka and honey liquore too. It is a great festival.
Also, we will have a St Johns day party at the Lith Country Club sponsore by the Lithuanian Citizens Soc of Western Pennsylvania [ie: the Pittsburgh Lithuanians]. No date has been set.
If you would like additional information, send an e-mail to: ROB MEDONIS or,
Or, call 412-343-3670.
17TH CONFERENCE ON BALTIC STUDIES
The 17th Conference on Baltic Studies will be held at the Georgetown University in Washington, D. C. on June 15-17, year 2000. Conference Chair is PROFESSOR ARVIDS ZIEDONIS.
RR BOX 362-J
Cresco, Pennsylvania 18326-9744
Professor Gundar J. King, the Chair for Business and Economics Sessions invited 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 should be soon requested from friendly donors, such as the Soros Foundations.
Address for mailing draft articles is:
GUNDAR J. KING.
School of Business
Pacific Lutheran University
Tacoma, Washington 98447
Submitted: AL TASKUNAS.
STATUES OF LENIN . . .
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, FRIEND OF LITHUANIA
"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."
Lithuanian Ona Petrulis fought ravages of WWII to raise sons Ona Petrulis 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, Va.
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 counterrevolutionary 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 of the 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 UN 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 Co. 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 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.
Copyright 1995, The Detroit News
OUR DUTY TO VILNIUS
Today while going through the old Draugas papers to find obits I found this article that my have some interest about Vilnius!! This article is from the March 4, 1931 issue:
Arleen 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.
Levas Vladimirovas, 87, the Chief librarian of the United Nation's Dag Hammarskjold Library, 1964-1970, died February 20, in Vilnius,Lithuania, after long illness.. Mr.Vladimirovas has distinguished himself as Lithuanian cultural historian and bibliographer, being same time the director of the ancient (1570) Vilnius University Library, leading there also the 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 closing days of WW II he was severely wounded in battle of Kurland in fierce fight with surrounded Nazi army.
At the UN Library, he widely expanded its functions, introducing microfiche and mechanization. He has written and published numerous scholastic books and articles in several languages mostly concerning history of Baltic printing and 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. In Odessa's Public Library he located first Lithuanian book "Catechismus" written by Lutheran pastor Martynas Mazvydas, published in 1547 Koenisberg ( still bearing stalinist "Kaliningrad" name in East Prussia) in . This and more than other 15.000 invaluable books were returned with big acclaim back 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.