VilNews

THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

24 September 2017
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By: Linas Johansonas LTnews.net

(Cleveland) Linas Muliolis was your average young Lithuanian born in the USA. The son of World War II refugees, Linas grew up in Cleveland's Lithuanian community. In January 1991, he was just a month away from turning 21 years old & was in Vilnius during the historic Jan. 13 events. Earlier this week, LTnews.net talked with Linas about his experiences 22 years ago.

HOW DID A YOUNG MAN FROM CLEVELAND END UP IN VILNIUS DURING A 'REVOLUTION'? "I went there (Lithuania) to live for a year, to study language at Vilnius University.  Things were heating up and in the beginning of January, I went there (parliament building) and volunteered to be an interpreter. I worked in the information bureau with Rita Dapkute".

 WERE YOU AT THE PARLIAMENT BUILDING ON JAN. 13? "Yes. I was there for four days with only two,  four-hour breaks of sleep ..... Had my own gasmask issued to me". (it was 108 hours with 2 four-hour naps) 

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Category : Historical Lithuania

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13 January 1991
through an artist’s eyes


The photo.

Artist Ruta Brazis-Velasco:
“Lithuanians day of commemoration, January 13, 1991 Television tower victims. The tower incident where 14 people were shot dead or crushed by Soviet tanks that stormed the parliament and TV tower. Thousands of unarmed people had confronted Soviet troops while Lithuania was battling to regain its independence.

This painting was done as an exercise in college of a trauma painting, done in oil with a pallet knife in 5 minutes. I used a Magazine type book that documented the truth.”

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Category : Front page / Historical Lithuania

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2nd World War was over
- though not in Lithuania

Christmas of 1945 was over most of the world celebrated with a joy and delight almost never before seen. Young and old gathered in homes, on streets and in churches. An endless series of victory ceremonies took place in almost every corner of the world. With a deep sense of joy and gratitude all wanted each other warm, comfortable and relaxing Christmas holidays, knowing that the Nazi era was over and that the world now more than ever could look forward to a future of peace and prosperity. The war had finally released the grip, forgotten was the economic recession of the 1930s. Forgotten was also our Western World’s close friends and neighbours - the Baltic States.

On a small farm in northern Lithuania, in the outskirts of the village Šilagalis, Christmas 1945 is nearing. It is the 22nd of December, and the mother of the house feels very happy that her 21 year old son Povilas has finally come home to visit after having been away for many months.

He has come to change into dry clothes to keep him warm through the cold winter days waiting. His mother is infinitely happy to have her son home this one day, and she does everything she can to treat him with all the good food and drink their little farm can produce. You never know how long it will be till next time.

Povilas had joined a local partisan group earlier in 1945, and now spends all time in the North Lithuanian forests where the local "forest brothers" have established their hideouts. It is from these caches, usually at night, that they conduct their operations against military installations and forces of the Soviet Red Army and NKVD (the secret Soviet police that later changed name to KGB).

Read more…

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Category : Historical Lithuania

The West ignored all Soviet abuses!

- (4) Comment

 
Joseph Stalin (1878 – 1953) One of the most powerful and murderous dictators in history, Stalin was the supreme ruler of the Soviet Union for a quarter of a century. His regime of terror caused the death and suffering of tens of millions, but he also oversaw the war machine that played a key role in the defeat of Nazism.
Illustration:
http://sspurlock.wordpress.com

By Tony Olsson, North Devon, UK (guest blogger)

How could the western nations ignore the abuse by its wartime ally the USSR of all of the countries it had conquered during WW2?

Why didn’t America and Britain declare war on the USSR as its tanks and troops invaded Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and Poland?

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Category : Historical Lithuania

- (2) Comment

CHRISTMAS IN SIBERIA
A Lithuanian family at Lena river, 1942

“The tents were freezing cold, harsh, and distressing; so, the adults decided to build better living conditions. "We can build barracks," said one Lithuanian, "We can catch the logs in the Lena River." The men waded barefoot into the icy water, caught floating logs, brought them to shore, and built the barracks. They covered the outside walls with snow and ice which they learned would help keep out the frigid temperature. They also found a large iron stove, which they placed in the middle of the building.”

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Category : Historical Lithuania

- (2) Comment

My great grandfather came home
from Siberia in a suitcase

 
The farm where my wife’s great-grandfather lived
before the deportation to Siberia.

By Aage Myhre, Editor-in-Chief

Egle, my wife, comes into my study here in Vilnius as I am preparing the articles about the deportations to Siberia. "You should tell the story of my great-grandfather," she says. Because she, like almost all other families in Lithuania had relatives who were sent to Siberia. Many never returned, as was the case with her ​​great-grandfather.

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Category : Historical Lithuania

- (5) Comment

776 years since the Sun
Battle in North Lithuania


The Livonian Confederation in 1260, showing where the Battle of Saule
(battle of the sun) took place, near today’s Šiauliai in Northern Lithuania.

The Battle of Saule (German: Schlacht von Schaulen; Latvian: Saules kauja; Lithuanian: Saulės mūšis or Šiaulių mūšis) was fought on September 22, 1236 between the Livonian Brothers of the Sword and pagan Samogitians. Between 48 and 60 knights were killed, including the Livonian Master, Volkwin. It was the earliest large-scale defeat suffered by the orders in Baltic lands. The Sword-Brothers, the first Catholic military order established in the Baltic lands, was soundly defeated and its remnants accepted incorporation into the Teutonic Order in 1237.

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Category : Historical Lithuania


OPINIONS

Have your say. Send to:
editor@VilNews.com



    • 1941 – 1953:
      300 000 Lithuanians deported to Siberia
      The above picture, of innocent children looking out through a cattle car window from a train that would take them to the coldest hell on Earth, has touched many…

      60 - 70 years ago thousands of Lithuanian families 'celebrated' Christmas on the Siberian permafrost... In tents or shelters... 

      Below some of the comments we have received to our articles describing how it was to be deported and trying to survive in the terribly tough and inhuman conditions that Siberia offered for the hundreds of thousands brought there by Josef Stalin’s merciless forces.

      To read the articles, go to our SECTION 10

      Read more...

    • If you like horror stories, read this. You wouldn’t believe it if it wasn’t true

      Matthew Valentinas  
      via LTnews.net
      Read more...

    • The misfortune of being overrun and dominated by a sick tyrant
      Josef Stalin
      This is one of the many untold stories of cruel and unusual (Sorry, for the communist regime it was usual) treatment of non-communist foreign people who had the misfortune of being overrun and dominated by a sick tyrant Josef Stalin and all the other that followed him until they were forced to leave after the fall of communism. I am proud to say that Lietuva kicked out the occupying troops of the Soviet Union BEFORE East Germany and the other Baltic countries did. TEGYVOUJA LIETUVA LIETUVOS VISADA 
      Daniel Raymond Aleliunas  
      via LTnews.net
      Read more...

    • There is no grand museum in Washington, D.C., dedicated to those whose lives were destroyed by the communists.

      Dalia Kuodyte.

      "Virtually no one has been called to account for what was done. The West has chosen to forget these horrors. Nothing of these horrors is taught in their schools. There is no grand museum in Washington, D.C., dedicated to those whose lives were destroyed by the communists."
      Dalia Kuodyte.
      Read more...

    • I think no one can imagine the struggles all of the Gulag-prisoners saw in their lives

      Lars Persen, Norway
      This is such a strong story. I think no one can imagine the struggles all of the Gulag-prisoners saw in their lives. For Lithuanians, other nationalities, dissidents, this was the real life; to survive. Stalin's camps can only be describes as hell. But it is also the story of surviving hell, for some of them...
      Read more...

    • Many thanks for this very painful article.
      Ralph, Kfar Ruppin , Israel
      Many thanks for this very painful article.
      Read more...

    • Very important for all to remember (or more likely, learn for the first time, this tragic story)

      Arthur Hessel  
      Very important for all to remember (or more likely, learn for the first time, this tragic story. Also important to realize that the Soviets did not distinguish between Lithuanian Jews and Lithuanian gentiles in making their selection and that the Lithuanian population did not become so religiously divided until the Germans pushed back the Soviets the next year and made the Jews the enemy that had to be exterminated.

      Ray Janus  
      We need to always remember and keep those who perished and suffered in our prayers.

      Virginia Pudinas Schoenfeld  
      So very sad. Ray is right--we must never forget.

      Ruta Brazis-Velasco  
      It hurts my heart to look at the photo, truth hurts.

      Bea Rimas  
      Thank you for posting this, so our children can see and remember..

      Rasa Weber 
      Every nation has their darkest years, and this period was one of the darkest for Lithuania. We will never forget.

      Jane Kreivenas Hermanas  
      My father's oldest brother was taken away from his family. My father, his siblings and parents all fled just a day before occupation. He stayed behind. I thank God that years later he was allowed to visit America and I got to meet my Uncle Bruno.

      Ruth Budrys Mandala  
      My Dad was jailed for being a dissident when they came and took his parents and brothers and deported them to Siberia. He was 16 years old and never saw them again. They survived the ordeal and lived out their life in Lithuania and he immigrated to America. Every day he appreciates his freedom in this country.

      Cheryle Prakop-Good  
      I have been reading lots of books of these most wretched times. As we set an extra place setting on Christmas Eve, say a prayer, light a candle, remember, as Lithuanians, we are peace loving people. I am blessed as my grandfather left before WW1. There is only one Prakapas left in the village. Maybe I should try to write to him.?

      Ray Chesnick  
      My paternal grandfather had a sister who was sent to Siberia from Zagare. I believe it was just after WWII.

      Ruta Rusinas  
      Both my grandparents, my aunt and my cousin (2 yrs.old) were sent to Siberia. All came back alive, thank God! My grandfather spent 14 yrs there!
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    • What a refreshing read!

      What a refreshing read! I understand that it is important to focus on current issues, surrounding socio-economic/political issues, but it is also excellent to satisfy the car enthusiasts amongst us. Being one myself, I really enjoyed this issue and will add it to the rest of my VilNews archives!!!

      Any chance of a future issue, containing all of the movies that have been made in Lithuania recently? Or perhaps a more current list of all the Lithuanians, who are shaking up the international arena?

      Regards,
      Eugene Rangayah
      London

    • Exceptionally well written article

      Exceptionally well written article by Vin Karila.
      How and may I share this article with my friends on The Lithuanian Rat Pack on Facebook and YahooGroups?

      Rimgaudas P. Vidziunas
      Mesa, Arizona

    • My 1978 Lada in New Zealand

      Letter from John Iavas - New Zealand

      Dear Vin Karnila,

      A friend of mine whose brother lives in Lithuania sent me a copy of your article Back to the USSR in Vilnews which I read with interest. Regarding your comments on buying cars during Soviet times reminded me that when my father purchased his car in 1969 (and for many years after), it was not possible to buy a new car in New Zealand unless you had access to overseas funds, which meant that you had to be someone like a dairy farmer who was exporting. At that time, some people would ask their relatives who were farmers to buy cars on their behalf, and then pay them back. In the neighbourhood in which I lived for example, the daughter of only one family had a new car as her husband was a farmer. In fact, they bought a new car (GM Holdens made in Australia) every couple of years. My father ended up buying a 1965 MK III Ford Zodiac imported from the UK by its first owner and I still own it. It is in original condition and has appeared in two UK car magazines. I also have a rare 1972 Volvo 164 (with only 42,000 mls) which I bought several years ago.

      My daily car is a 1978 Lada 21031 (1500cc) which I have had since 1987 and used almost every day until recently…

      Read more...

    • 1939: The Year that Changed Everything in Lithuania's History


      Book author: Sarunas Liekis

      In a commentary to our VilNews article series "Lithuania and the Soviet Union 1939-1940" (Section 10 - HISTORICAL LITHUANIA) Tony Mazeika from Mission Viejo in California writes the following:

      "It is necessary to read the full account of Lithuania's leadership response to Soviet demands and occupation in 1940. The book, "1939, The Year that Changed Everything in Lithuania's History", Arnas Liekis, reveals the unflattering response by the top leadership, their abdication, and flight from the nation, leaving the population defenseless...without any responsible and effective resistance. It's as if independence never happened. Lithuania, together with Latvia & Estonia, make no formal military resistance knowing that Finland fought in 1939-1940 and survived a Soviet onslaught. Much more need to be disclosed about those "patriots" who chose to run rather than fight for their nation."


      Tony Mazeika

    • Our VilNews Associate Editor, Vin Karnila, has edited the four articles we have presented on the topic "Lithuania and the Soviet Union 1939-1940" from the personal memoirs of Juozas Urbšys. Here is his response to Mr. Mazeika's commentary:

      Easy to say that they should have organized formal Military resistance – and get slaughtered


      Vin Karnila

      I would like to thank you Mr. Mazeika for sharing your thoughts with us and making us aware of what I'm sure is a very interesting book written by Arnas Liekis.

      You bring up a topic that has been discussed many times throughout the years following 1940. The members of the Lithuanian delegation that were involved in the negotiations with Russia have always claimed that they knew that Russia at any time they chose could have invaded Lithuania. They also felt that if Russia did in fact invade, whether there was organized military resistance or not, this would result in catastrophic consequences for Lithuania and its people. Throughout the negotiations they said that what they were trying to achieve was the best possible outcome for Lithuania. In the end what they achieved was the best possible outcome that Russia would allow.

      The topic of the courageous people of Finland and their organized military resistance to Russia's invasion of their homeland in relation to the fact that Russia's invasion of Lithuania in 1940 occurred without a shot being fired has also been discussed many times. The question remains how much did Lithuania know or did not know about Finland's armed resistance to Russia in what is known as the "Winter War"?

      3 October 1939 the Lithuanian delegation flew to Moscow to begin the negotiations with Russia. 30 November 1939 Russia attacked Finland to begin the "Winter War". By March of 1940 both sides began to negotiate a peace treaty. Did Lithuania know that in spite of the great courage of the Finns the primary factor in Finland's success was that the Winter War was fought in some of the harshest of winter weather conditions and in equally harsh terrain? This harsh terrain the Finns knew like the back of their hand and the weather conditions to them was normal winter weather? Did Lithuania know that if Russia attacked across the gentle rolling hills and flat farmlands of Lithuania in spring or summer that the advantage of weather and terrain, that so greatly helped the Finns, would only make Russia's evil task easier? An invasion of Lithuania by Russia in the spring or summer of 1940 would have been a military situation completely the opposite of the Finland's and Russia's Winter War. Did Lithuania know that whatever peace agreement Finland and Russia came to that it would end up being short lived? Had Lithuania taken notice of the fact that no Western power had come to Finland's aid with any meaningful support? From all reports, Lithuania realized that their Military, no matter how courageously they fought, was no match against the might of Soviet Russia's army.

      Many comments have been made and questions asked about the large number of government and Military top officials that left after 15 June 1940. Why didn't they stay? Why didn't they stay and resist? How could they leave their homeland? I would say that the real answers to these questions can only be answered by these top officials that left. Some left almost immediately as if they knew what would happen once Russia occupied the country. Others left after they saw what Russia was doing now that they occupied the country. In fact many people that had the means to do so left once they understood what their future would be at the hands of Russia.

      All these questions to all these situations I have asked myself over and over. Again and again I come to the conclusion that more than seventy years after these events occurred, while I'm sitting in the comfort of my home and while I can walk the streets of Vilnius without (for the time being) having to worry about being run over by a Russian tank, shot by a Russian soldier, kidnapped by the NKVD, put in a gulag or executed, I am really not in a position to judge people who were trying to do the best they could for our country and simply trying to survive during very difficult and dangerous times. I guess it could be kind of easy for some to say that they should have organized formal Military resistance – and got slaughtered. It could also be easy for some to say that the top officials and the people of means should have stayed – and got executed, imprisoned, put in gulags or sent to Siberia. Personally I can't judge these people for their actions because I wasn't alive then and I wasn't involved in these dangerous and difficult times. I also refuse to be a "Monday morning quarterback" and go on and on talking about all of the "should haves" for the same reasons I just stated. The opinions of others about these matters though are something I am very interested in.

      Having said all this I must say that the discussion of what happened, what did not happen, why it did happen and why it didn't happen during these times are matters that will continue to occupy my thoughts – I'm still trying to understand and make sense of all of it. Again I would like to thank you Mr. Mazeika for sharing your thoughts with all of us and I would also like to thank you for letting us know about the book by Arnas Liekis - 1939, The Year that Changed Everything in Lithuania's History. I'm sure that I am not the only one out there looking for more information about this period of Lithuania's history and I'm sure that I'm not the only one looking for more information about this so that I can try to make more sense of everything.

      Dear readers, I'm sure that Mr. Mazeika and I are not the only ones out there that are interested in what happened during these times and we are not the only ones with opinions. We would please invite you to share information and your opinions on this topic with all our readers throughout the world. I'm sure this is something we all are trying to understand better.

      Su pagarbe
      Vin Karnila
      Associate editor

    • You reduced me to tears with your addition of one Song of Freedom by Lithuanian fighters

      Wall of former KGB headquarters (now museum) in Vilnius. Each stone is engraved with the name of a Lithuanian partisan who was executed by the Soviets.

      You reduced me to tears with your addition of one Song of Freedom by Lithuanian fighters [Oh little falcon].

      Those songs, sung by my family in secret when I was a kid, still ring in my ears today, e.g. about the Kalniske battle or about the Soviet murdered freedom fighters whose bloodied bodies were put by the NKVD for display and further humiliation in the Lithuanian town squares:

      "Pagulde Tave ant akmeneliu, o aplink Tave kraujo klanai
      Ir neatejo nei Motinele, nei Tavo Broliai narsus kariai".


      Valdas Samonis,
      Canada

    • Aciu Tetei ir Mamytiai!



      Thank you for posting this article which so affected my parents' post-war years in Germany and later in the US. I think they felt guilty for abandoning their homeland and relieved that they had gotten to freedom. What they did not leave behind is their love for Lietuva which they worked hard to pass on to their children. Aciu Tetei ir Mamytiai!
      Jurate Kutkus Burns

    • Very good article. Thank you Aage!

      Very good article. Thank you Aage!
      Lina Petrauskaite Rumskiene

    • "The inconvenient truth is that you in the West preferred not to know"


      One of the many killed Lithuanian partisans, Juozas Luksa – "Skirmantas", "Daumantas", after his death on the 4th of September 1951.

      You in the West preferred not to know, "the inconvenient truth" is.

      I learned that the hard way, from my grandparents & other family who closely worked with Skirmantas and other top Lithuanian freedom war leaders in the Seinai-Punskas (Sejny-Punsk), Poland, during their secret border crossing missions to the West (via Gdansk and Warsaw) and back to Lithuania in 1946-50. My family was put in hard-regime prisons for that, all the hard earned property confiscated, and I was born a communist slave, so to speak. While in high school I rebelled against the Soviet occupation of Lithuania, was arrested and thrown out of school, persecuted for a long time by communist secret services, and finally made my way to the West: Glory Be to God!
      Yours sincerely,
      Valdas Samonis,
      Canada


      P.S. My family was decorated with Lithuania's top freedom medals by President Adamkus. I was officially recognized by free Poland (IPN) as the freedom activist persecuted by the communist regime.

    • BUT THE SPIRIT OF LITHUANIA IS STILL NOT FREE

      Hi Aage,

      I found your article interesting and would like to get more of them. After looking at those young faces, who lost their lives for the freedom of Lithuania, I realize that these days we have freedom, but the spirit of Lithuanian is still not free, rather haunted by the past challenging experiences. I believe that eventually we will become free and will start feeling worthy again.

      Sincerely,
      Aušra, USA

    • IN MY OPINION IT IS A MISTAKE TO CONFUSE RESISTANCE TO OCCUPATION AND THE SECOND WORLD WAR



      Dear Aage

      The Second World War in Europe was a war fought against fascism – in particular the German variant exemplified by Nazism – and including also Italian fascism. The Second World War in Europe ended with the surrender of Germany; a surrender to which Russia was the major contributor because Germany was largely defeated at Stalingrad and Kursk and was always in retreat afterwards.
      The Resistance in Lithuania against Soviet occupation was a heroic effort by some Lithuanians to obtain freedom for their country. In my opinion it is a mistake to confuse resistance to occupation and the Second World War. After the end of the Second World War there have been many occupations of many countries by Capitalist and Communist powers and each side has tried to characterise any resistance to its forces as an act of the 'Other' side.

      Resistance to Occupation has a very long and courageous history in Europe and throughout the world and no 'side' has a right to claim the heroic activities of resistance fighters/activists to support its ideology. Inevitably that requires misrepresentation of the motives and objectives of the resistance; part of the theme of the book "The Ugly American" about the then developing Vietnamese war. It is also the type of misrepresentation that leads to one 'side' claiming "We are all Georgians now".
      This misrepresentation is a major cause of the inability of 'Western' countries to think in any clear way about the activities grouped under the label of 'terrorism' and it is better to avoid such ideologically driven commentary/analysis.

      Kindest Regards
      Robert Jennings, Ireland-Lithuania

    • UNFORTUNATELY YOU ARE GIVING SOME CREDIT TO THE BRITISH INTELLIGENCE



      Dear Aage,
      Thank you for the very moving story about the post WWII partisans. Unfortunately on page 6 you are giving some credit to the British intelligence, even though later on you mention Philby as having been responsible for the vicious death of thousands of the Baltic partisans. In fact the entire top levels of MI5 and MI6 since late 30's through early 70s were thoroughly penetrated by Britishers serving the soviet espionage services. Peter Wright in his book "the Spycatcher" identified Maclean, Burgess, Blake, Sinclair, Roger Hollis and numerous others who participated in setting up contacts with the partisans while assuring that the KGB was in full knowledge and control of their every movement and contact. Unfortunately, the doomed fighters sincerely believed for a long time that the British were on their side while being betrayed and delivered into the hands of the KGB.
      In my view, it is also the British who have much to apologize to the thousands and thousands of victims for the vicious treachery in peace time of their MI5 and MI6 services.

      Stan Backaitis
      Washington, D.C. , USA



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