VilNews

THE VOICE OF INTERNATIONAL LITHUANIA

27 March 2017
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Section 7: LITHUANIA IN THE WORLD

“Why do you love Jews so much?”

- Posted by - (14) Comment


Vilnius, the old Jewish Synagogue.

By Aage Myhre, Editor-in-Chief
aage.myhre@VilNews.com

I have repeatedly been asked, by Lithuanians and others why VilNews, and I as a Norwegian without a single drop of Jewish blood, love Jews so much? Recently I met a Lithuanian-American, well educated and well read, who yet bombastically trumpeted. "You lick the asses of the Jews, Aage."

During my meetings with Jews in South Africa, where 90% of the Jewish population of almost 100 000 are of Lithuanian descent, I have also been asked why I have such great interest in Litvaks.

My answer to all these, has been that I do not love Jews more than other peoples.

But I also tend to add that I am always impressed by people who achieve more than the common herd. Intelligence and wisdom are to me among the most important qualities a person can have, and I have no problem admitting that these are qualities I've seen a lot of among the Jews I have known through life.

As to the Litvaks, they were subjected to an almost total extinction here in Lithuania during the Holocaust. It was an assault and a genocide of an unimaginable scale that we must never forget, and which memory must find its fair balance in the mental as well as in the practical.

Read more...

Category : Lithuania in the world / Litvak forum

- Posted by - (2) Comment

Ona Šimaitė:
Righteous – and Human


Julija Šukys,
Author of
Epistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona Šimaitė

Julija Šukys interviewed by Ellen Cassedy

In her new book, Epistolophilia, Julija Šukys follows the letters and journals—the “life-writing”—of Ona Šimaitė (1894–1970), a Lithuanian librarian who again and again slipped into the Jewish ghetto of German-occupied Vilnius carrying food, clothes, medicine, money, and counterfeit documents.  Often she left with letters to deliver, manuscripts to hide, and even sedated children swathed in sacks. In 1944 she was captured by the Gestapo, tortured for twelve days, and deported to Dachau.

Šukys beckons back to life this quiet and worldly heroine.  Ona Šimaitė is a giant of Holocaust history – one of the “Righteous among the Nations” honored at the Yad Vashem memorial in Israel – and yet little known. 

Julija Šukys lives in Montreal, Canada. In addition to Epistolophilia, she is also the author of Silence Is Death; The Life and Work of Tahar Djaout.  Visit her website at http://julijasukys.com.

Read more...

Category : Lithuania in the world / Litvak forum

Saluting the Lithuanians of Brockton, Massachusetts

- Posted by - (3) Comment


Lithuania Hall, Brockton, Massachusetts, 1913

This article was written by JOHN BERNOTAVICZ, BS, MS, PhD (1913-2009) for Lituanus (Lithuanian quarterly journal of arts and sciences) in 1990

On Sunday, April 24, 1988, l drove from Hyannis to Plymouth to pick up Mrs. Florence Melevsky, my sister-in-law, so we could attend the 90th anniversary for St. Rocco-St. Casimir Parish in Brockton. Originally, all we had was a basement church, as l remember it. Now, over the basement towers a huge bell-towered edifice.
The following credentials will establish my family and my roots in this parish.
My father, Mykolas Juozas Bernotavicius from Marcinkonys, Lithuania, was married on June 1, 1905, to Ona Geceviciute from Varėna, Lithuania, by Father M. Peza in the old wooden church on Webster Street. Later, this building became our church hall. Although my parents had four children, l was the only one to survive beyond infancy. Because my birth occurred on St. John's Day, June 24,1913, l was baptized John. On June 11, 1939, l married Amelia Veronica Jermolaviciute (the youngest of seven sisters) in this basement church by Father John Svagzdys. Our two children, John (a graduate of Notre Dame University and Georgetown Law School) and Mary (a graduate of the Georgetown School of Nursing) were christened here in 1943 and 1946, respectively. In addition to the above data, my parents and my wife were buried from this church. 

As we descended the steps to the hall, a flood of memories of long ago surged through my mind. Nowhere in sight did l see the confessionals, nor the organ or choir loft, nor any pews or stations of the cross, nor any main altar with two side altars—only a huge expansive area filled with long tables and chairs prepared for a family-style feast for the parishioners and friends of the parish. At one end we saw an hors d'hoeuvres table. Other tables along the sides of the building were lined with pictures, photos, newspaper clippings of past functions, mementoes of other activities and paraphenalia illustrating past history of its parish and people.
During the 1920-1935 era, Brockton, a bustling city of 55,000-65,000 inhabitants, was known as the world's largest shoe manufacturing center.

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Category : Lithuania in the world

- Posted by - (0) Comment

“I will always wonder how many other Lithuanian parishes can match what
the people of St. Rocco's-St. Casimir's has accomplished.”

St. Casimir Church in Brockton closed in 2008
Over the past years, six Catholic parishes in Brockton have closed or merged, making the city one of the hardest hit by the Boston Archdiocese's reconfiguration process. In 2008 St. Casimir Church, a 110-year-old Lithuanian parish held its final service…
Read more…

___________________________________________________________________________________________________

Lithuanian Brockton disappears
Nearly a century after she was born in Brockton’s Lithuanian Village, Helen Savilonis Giovanello still remembers the aroma of Lithuanian bread baking at Kilkus Bakery. She remembers the lush flower gardens grown by Lithuanian immigrants. She remembers her family’s well-tended home at 18 Albert St. and her days at the neighborhood’s Franklin Elementary School.
But most of all, she remembers the solidarity of the people who lived in that northeast section of Brockton. “It was a cluster of Lithuanian people that were all friendly with the church,” says Giovanello, now 98.Those days are over. The Lithuanian Village is but a shadow of the once-vibrant enclave, and the expected closing later this month of the venerable St. Casimir Church may mark the end of the Lithuanian community in Brockton.
Read more…

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Category : Front page / Lithuania in the world

- Posted by - (0) Comment

Boston, Massachusetts, July 1, 2012

The 14th Lithuanian Folk
Dance Festival!


Lithuanian folk dance group of Vilnius Gediminas technical university

The Boston Lithuanian American Community will be hosting as many as 47 Lithuanian folk dance groups from around the world. The dance festival is held every four years and for the first time will be coming to Boston. The festival begins with an entry march, as 1,800 dancers dressed in distinctive folk costumes fill the stadium floor, then together perform intricately choreographed dances, creating a kalaidescope of movement, music and color.

Come experience this celebration of Lithuanian dance and culture!

Learn more at: http://www.sokiusvente2012.org/

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Category : Front page / Lithuania in the world

Boston Lithuanian Cultural “Subatvakaris” – 50 years

- Posted by - (0) Comment

Slideshow commemorating 50 seasons of Boston Lithuanian Cultural Saturday evenings (Subatvakaris) and 60 years of the National Lithuanian Society of America, Boston Chapter (Amerikos Lietuvių Tautinė Sąjunga (ALTS)). Background singing from the Vilnius University girls choir Virgo performing during the cultural part of the jubilee program, November 7, 2009, at the South Boston Lithuanian Citizens Association, 368 W. Broadway, South Boston, Massachusetts USA.

The slideshow includes pictures of events and the founders at the Boston Chapter's National Lithuanian Society House at 484 Fourth Street in South Boston, MA from the 1950's to 1980's. After selling the building, and a period of inactivity, the Subatvakaris cultural evenings were revived in the 2000's and are now held at the South Boston Lithuanian Citizens Association, 368 W. Broadway, South Boston, MA.

Draugas article (in Lithuanian), http://www.draugas.org/12-03-09boston.html

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Category : Front page / Lithuania in the world

Would you like to join me to the Lithuanian Cultural Garden in Cleveland?

- Posted by - (0) Comment


Linas Johansonas,
LTnews.net Editor-in-Chief

Linas Johansonas, chief editor of Ltnews, think we were too negative in our article about the tomb of President Smetona, where we used the title "No flowers for Smetona." Linas believes that the tomb is visited and honoured by many. To convince us of this, he invited me to Cleveland so I can see with my own eyes.

He also thinks there is more I should do while in Cleveland…

***

Aage, after you visit President Smetona's grave in Cleveland, make sure you visit Cleveland's historic Lithuanian Cultural Garden :)

Lithuanian Cultural Garden in Cleveland Ohio

The Lithuanian Cultural Garden was dedicated October 11, 1936.

Lithuanian Cultural Garden in Cleveland Ohio
www.clevelandpeople.com
Photos from the Lithuanian Cultural Garden in Cleveland Ohio - statues of Vincas Kudirka, Pillars of Gediminas, Jonas Basanavicius, Fountain of Biruta , Maironis

Checkout some of my photos from the LT garden in this photo album http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.1046292712242.2009191.1073375623&type=3

Lithuanians
Photos by: Linas Johansonas
By: Linas Johansonas 

http://www.facebook.com/groups/52628882669/


Friends of the Lithuanian Cultural Garden of Cleveland
"One of Cleveland's Cultural Gardens, sponsored by its foreign born citizens. The Lithuanian Cultural Garden is laid out in the form of a huge lyre, which symbolizes the Lithuanians' love for music. The stone work depicts three stages of Lithuanian history. The bust in the center is that of Dr. Jonas Basanavicius, Lithuanian liberator."The Lithuanian Cultural Garden also features busts of Maironis (poet/writer) and Vincas Kudirka (author of Lithuania's national anthem), the Pillars of Gediminas (Gedimino Stulpas), and a fountain dedicated to Lithuania's Grand Duchess Birute.Dedicated in October 1936, the Lithuanian Cultural Garden extends from East Boulevard down three levels to Martin Luther King Boulevard. According to Clara Lederer, in Their Paths are Peace , the "original design was drawn up in Lithuania by Professor Dubinecras, and was modified to fit the boulevard topography by the City Plan Commission of Cleveland." The Lithuanian Cultural Garden’s choices of sculpture reflects how much questions of national identity played into the construction of many of the gardens. ~Dr.M.Tabeau
http://www.culturalgardens.org/federation.aspx

After you visit the LT Gardens, you can stop at the Lithuanian Club at the Lithuanian Community Center for a Svyturys…

http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10150236615690337.344774.356431370336&type=3

Lithuanian Community Center - Cleveland, Ohio

Read more...

Category : Front page / Lithuania in the world

No flowers for Smetona

- Posted by - (13) Comment

 
Ohio crypt holds remains of first Lithuanian President,
yet he has been forgotten here in a Mausoleum tucked
away in a Catholic Cemetery east of Cleveland, USA.

By Frank Passic

There are no flowers at his crypt, although the Mausoleum is filled with them on the vaults of others nearby. He was the President, yet you would not know that by reading the simple inscription found upon his nameplate. His image was on a coin, a banknote, various stamps and medals. Yet he has been forgotten here in a Mausoleum tucked away in a Catholic Cemetery east of Cleveland, Ohio, USA.

His body has already been moved once since his death. But his remains haven’t been taken back to Lithuania since Lithuanian independence was restored, unlike the remains of his counterpart, President Kazys Grinius’ were. So his remains lay here in Ohio, far away from the country he loved and served.

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Category : Historical Lithuania / Lithuania in the world


OPINIONS

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

My worldviews
broadened up and now I
was not fitting any
longer into the
Lithuanian realm. It
made me feel lost,
confused...
By Rugilė Šablinskaitė
Brussels - Belgium

For many years I have been questioning where my home is. It is quite tricky to define home in this globalized, rapidly moving world where people are so used to traveling and changing their locations within the matter of hours. However, home is this important place where we find security, inner peace and get out of our turtle's armor.

I left Lithuania when I turned 18. Inspired by my mother's stories of her youth years in a new city with new people, I also wanted to experience this time of "golden student years". Being from Vilnius (the dearest city to my heart till this very day), the only option I saw for myself was moving outside of Lithuania. So, my destination was the UK. There, for the first time in my life I felt homesick. For the first time I realized the weight and the value of the word Motherland (or Fartherland, if you prefer). I learnt about the cultural differences, systems of values, traditions, etc. And I started missing something 'mine'... When Skyping with my mother, she first started calling my changing feelings and worldviews nationalistic till it turn into a bit of chauvinistic ones. I impatiently waited for my holidays in Lithuania to come, to unite again with 'likeminded' (the idea that was planted in my soul) people, my fellow countrymen... However, when I got back to Lithuania, unfortunately, no miracle happened.

Read more...
* * *
Greetings from Toronto
By Antanas Sileika,
Toronto, Canada

Toronto was a major postwar settlement centre for Lithuanian Displaced Persons, and to this day there are two Catholic parishes and one Lutheran one, as well as a Lithuanian House, retirement home, and nursing home. A new wave of immigrants has showed interest in sports.

Although Lithuanian activities have thinned over the decades as that postwar generation died out, the Lithuanian Martyrs' parish hall is crowded with many, many hundreds of visitors who come to the Lithuanian cemetery for All Souls' Day. Similarly, the Franciscan parish has standing room only for Christmas Eve mass.

Although I am firmly embedded in the literary culture of Canada, my themes are usually Lithuanian, and I'll be in Kaunas and Vilnius in mid-November 2015 to give talks about the Lithuanian translations of my novels and short stories, which I write in English.

If you have the Lithuanian language, come by to one of the talks listed in the links below. And if you don't, you can read more about my work at
www.anatanassileika.com

http://www.vdu.lt/lt/rasytojas-antanas-sileika-pristatys-savo-kuryba/
https://leu.lt/lt/lf/lf_naujienos/kvieciame-i-rasytojo-59hc.html
* * *

Hi, I am 18, I left
Lithuania two years ago
By Cassandra Myhre
Tromsø, Norway

August 2013 was a time full of changes. It was the beginning of a new chapter in my life. I did not know what to expect or look forward to. The only thing I was certain of was the pain and the complete and utter disappointment I felt when I left my friends and everything behind in Lithuania, moving to my father’s home country Norway. My name is Cassandra (18) and this is my story.

I was born grew up in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, and I absolutely adored the city. I danced ballet for 13 years in the “National Opera and Ballet Theatre”, I played the piano for 9 years, I had lots of friends at school and I was engaged in various activities. When I think about what I achieved in Lithuania I get a warm and a tender feeling inside. The memories I have are absolutely beautiful and very precious to me.

When I was 6 years old, I started going to a private school. It was hard for me, because I went to a French kindergarten before that. I cannot say that I was bullied, but I do know that many kids said things about me behind my back. I always felt like I was the outsider, but frankly, I did not mind. I remember once, one of my classmates was bullied so I took her hand and told her that I would be there for her. However, everything changed in 3rd grade when I became best friends with a new girl in class. It was fantastic. I did not know what friendship was and I could not believe how fun it was to have someone I could talk to and simply spend time with even outside of school! We were best friends until 7th grade when I decided to change school. My friend did not want to leave my side, so she did the same. It was amazing, I mean, we were so close that we even changed schools together. But all good things come to an end. She decided to get some new friends and once again I was left behind. It was horrible. I never felt lonelier. But what I did not know was that my classmate Greta would become one of the most important people in my life (she is my best friend until this day).

Read more…
* * *
Greetings from Australia!
By Jura Reilly
Victoria, Australia

Approximately 10,000 Lithuanians arrived in Australia after World War 2 from refugee camps in Germany. Previously, a small number arrived in the 1800s and then later after World War 1. Lithuanian communities were established in the capital cities of Adelaide, Melbourne, and Sydney. These cities host the bi-annual Lithuanian Days Festival on a rotating basis. Smaller communities were established in Albury, Brisbane, Canberra, Geelong, Hobart, Newcastle, Perth, and Wollongong. The three major centres accounted for about 86% of Lithuanian settlements, with the minor centres for another 10%, with the remainder scattered about the rest of Australia. Lithuanians built their clubs as well as their own houses. In South Australia, Lithuanians built a museum as well as their own church and had Lithuanian priests appointed. Dancing groups, choirs, scouts, sports teams and theatrical troupes were formed. Saturday language schools, staffed by volunteers, flourished. Committees organized concerts to mark special Lithuanian cultural events.

Most Lithuanian refugees who came to Australia between 1947- 1953 were single men and women or young families. The Australian government needed manpower after the war to replace the men killed in battle. Often young men migrated first and then sponsored their parents and younger siblings. They were housed in disused army barracks like those in Bonegilla near the border of Victoria and New South Wales. These corrugated iron structures were freezing in winter and hot in summer Irrespective of their professions. Lithuanians together with Latvian and Estonian migrants, had to work for two years wherever the Australian government sent them to pay back the cost of their journey and for their food and lodging. Men were usually were sent to farms or to cut sugar cane in the tropical state of Queensland, others to the Hydroelectric Snowy Mountain Scheme in New South Wales. Women mainly worked as domestic servants, or as factory hands or in hospitals as cleaners or cooks. The majority of Lithuanians were eventually granted Australian citizenship.

Known for their generosity, Australian Lithuanians have and continue to host and billet Lithuanian basketballers from America and Lithuania, also politicians and entertainers from Lithuania. Huge numbers of people turned out to meet and greet President Valdas Adamkus whenever he visited Australia.

Known for their generosity, Australian Lithuanians have and continue to host and billet Lithuanian basketballers from America and Lithuania, also politicians and entertainers from Lithuania. Huge numbers of people turned out to meet and greet President Valdas Adamkus whenever he visited Australia.

Nowadays, Lithuanian communities have their own Facebook pages, for example Lithuanians in Australia, Lithuanians in Western Australia, Lithuanians in South Australia, Lithuanians in Brisbane, Sydney Lithuanian Club and Melbourne Lithuanian Club. Many also belong to Facebook groups like “Baltics in Australia’’ and “Baltica”. For more information about Lithuanians in Australia, you can read Luda Popenhagen’s book, “Australian Lithuanians”:
https://www.newsouthbooks.com.au/books/australian-lithuanians/

This year a blog was started to collate material about the history of Lithuanians in Australia by Jonas Mockunas:
http://earlylithuaniansinaustralia.blogspot.com.au

Jura Reilly’, Victoria, Australia.
Founder of FB group Baltica
Author of “A Wolf at Our Door”


* * *
Greetings from Texas!
By Bernard Terway,
Texas, USA

When one thinks of Texas, the least expected thing that would come to mind is that there are actually Lithuanians in Texas! It turns out that some of the earliest settlers from Lithuania came to Texas with their Prussian neighbors and established themselves here. Most thought they were German, probably because Texas was highly populated by Germans. Recently, within the past 25 years or so, it has been established that there were Lithuanians among the German population.

Here is a link to a video about them:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=66Y0CJqkGKk

There is also a historical marker about the first Lithuanians in Texas:
http://www.stxmaps.com/go/texas-historical-marker-lithuanians-in-texas.html

There are also two large, active groups of Lithuanians, on in Houston, Lithuanian American Community of Houston and one in San Antonio.

* * *

Greetings from Venezuela!
By Vytenis Folkmanas,
Architect, Cracas, Venezuela

With great joy and enthusiasm I have just received the news that Vilnews will be restarted – now in its second stage. I´ve been for many years an avid reader of all items on the web page and on the VilNews Facebook pages.

I am constantly sharing the articles with the Lithuanian Community of Venezuela, from where I'm writing and from where I send Aage and his team my best wishes and success in this new release of VilNews.

Our community is very small, unfortunately, and it has been greatly reduced over the latest years, but we refuse to disappear and have therefore been maintaining the traditions and customs that our grandparents and parents taught us through all the activities organized by our Community.

These are some of our activities: Commemoration of the Independence celebration of Easter, Christmas, Boy Scout groups, theater, basketball teams, folk dance groups, exchanges with other communities, language training, etc.

VilNews has helped us with Lithuania related articles, to continue to feel proud of having Lithuanian blood in our veins, and keep teaching our youth of its magnificent history, of its people around the world and the mark that it has left in all of us Lithuanians scattered around the world.

Greetings to all Lithuanians around the world: From Venezuela we send many greetings to all our countrymen around the world and we are sure and confident that through VilNews we will always be connected, joined and updated on all matters relating to our country, so we thank Aage and his team for their wonderful work and we hope you never get tired!

In whatever collaboration you need from us, the Lithuanian Community of Venezuela, within its limits, will always be happy and eager to help and support you ... lots of SUCCESS !!

Kindest regards, wishing you the best!

Vytenis Folkmanas

Read more…
* * *

    • CONSIDER RETIRING IN LITHUANIA?
      Dear VilNews readers,

      Rimantas Aukstuolis (see below) believes there are many Lithuanian-Americans who would like to retire in Lithuania, while Gintautas Kaminskas thinks "the shocks" you have to expect makes such an idea less attractive.

      I think Rimantas is right that moving here for retirement is a good idea and that you may well enjoy many, many years in your home country's warm embrace. At the same time I give Gintautas right that there are obstacles that could easily topple such plans.

      I do therefore offer, hereby, to help anyone who plans to retire in Lithuania. I have lived here for 20 years (I'm originally Norwegian), and I must say that I most of the time have been very pleased and happy.

      I've managed to get through the problem areas Gintautas refers to, and I have an infinite number of good friends and interesting tasks that make life here extraordinary interesting and attractive.

      I am ready to share my many experiences with you who would like to move here or just visit for shorter periods, and I am willing to tell you which experts you should seek advice from, being it within legal, health care or other fields.

      I can also help you to find a new home.

      Call me or write me if you find this interesting. To retire in Lithuania is a brilliant idea, and I promise to help you getting things in place in an excellent way.

      Warm Regards,
      Aage Myhre
      Editor-in-Chief
      aage.myhre@VilNews.com
      ____________________________

      Makes me wish I were old enough to retire...:)
      The Baltic looks MUCH calmer in this photo than it did when I was there in July 2007...Makes me wish I were old enough to retire...:)
      Jenifer C. Dillis
      ____________________________

      My impression is that many of us Lithuanian-Americans have thought about the possibility of retiring in Lithuania

      Rimantas Aukstuolis

      Dear Editor,
      I enjoy reading VilNews and, VilNews seems to touch on, if not already delve into, a variety of issues which are relevant to someone who may wish to retire in Lithuania. It might be interesting for much of your readership to more sharply focus on specific retirement issues such as comparisons and advantages of retiring in Lithuania, vs. the US. This seems to be evolving as a hot topic in the US as many baby boomers face the reality of high living costs (particularly healthcare) and diminished pension resources.

      Detailed and systematic comparisons of living costs, tax issues, health care and real estate ownership might even result in significant "foreign investment" into Lithuania by foreign, especially US retirees. My impression is that many of us Lithuanian-Americans have thought about this possibility. I know several who have taken action. Perhaps such "dreams" should be encouraged with facts, experiences, even government incentives. Thoughts?
      Rimantas Aukstuolis
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA
      ____________________________

      Trying to retire in Lithuania is in for not just "a shock", but a number of shocks

      Gintautas Kaminskas

      Rimantas Aukštuolis asks for other readers' on the possibility of retiring in Lithuania. Well, I tried to (2008-9). I'm deliberately not going to go into specific details of my case (that's personal), but I have to say from my experience that any Lithuanian-American (and it's not just Americans, don't forget that there are Lithuanians in other parts of the world, too) who tries to retire in Lithuania is in for not just "a shock", but a number of shocks. By the way, I happen to speak fluent Lithuanian (I am a professional translator). That certainly helps in some ways, but it's no help against the myriad of problems confronting present-day Lithuania, which are mostly to do with the lingering Soviet mentality ("naglumas - antra laimė").

      Living costs are lower there, but the health care system is a nightmare. You won't even get the health care you're entitled to as a Lithuanian citizen without paying bribes, and as a foreigner you're "fair game". Real estate ownership? Make sure you have a very good lawyer. Government incentives? Which Government? The Lithuanian Government? As the kids say these days: "LOL". From the lowliest local or State government officials right up to some Seimūnai (Members of Parliament) and Cabinet Ministers - corruption reigns. They enter Government "service" asking not what they can do for their country but what they can get for No. 1. (For anyone not familiar with the English idiom - No. 1 is "moi", me, myself, I - and my family and friends and clan to some extent.) That's the reality. You only need to follow the Lithuanian media to realise that what I'm saying is the truth and no exaggeration.

      Just for the record, I am still in love with my native land and would still love to live there: theoretically (lengthy visits will have to suffice). It's green, beautifully uncrowded, lots of nice lakes and streams, and I have no problem with the climate, not even in winter. It's wonderful to meet thoughtful Lithuanians and to communicate with them in our native language. But .... see above.
      Gintautas Kaminskas
      ____________________________

      An issue for elderly seeking to reconnect with families and younger professionals who seek to participate in the economies

      Tony Mazeika

      Relocation back to Lithuania will only be an issue for elderly seeking to reconnect with families and younger professionals who seek to participate in the economies. The vast majority of "diaspora" have citizenship from their adopted nations like the US, Canada, Australia. Ironically, the real issue is the continuing alarming emigration of young educated from Lithuania to the UK, US, Canada, etc. The numbers are a threat to the developing economy and future political stability of Lithuania. That void could be made up with people within the EU including Muslims.
      Tony Mazeika
      California

      Read more...

    • I can only hope that we all will work together
      I was raised to have a very positive view of our ancestral homeland, and hope that we can avoid polarizing Emigres and Lithuanian citizens. I have always felt welcome when I visit, but have personally never attempted to do business. This could be a difficult process, and one that creates tension. I can only hope that we all work together for a successful and sustainable economy.

      Jurate Kutkus Burns,
      Florida, USA

      Read more...

    • “We have met the enemy and he is us!”
      Dear Editor
      There has been a lot of negative commentary in Vilnews recently from some of your readers and even from Regina Narusiene in the recent piece about the need for change in attitudes toward what the Lithuanian diaspora can do for the country and what volunteerism can do within Lithuania. I guess I don't disagree at all, however…

      Sitting here on the shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland I'm reminded of the battle flag of Commander Oliver Hazard Perry, USN during the decisive battle of Lake Erie during the War of 1812. On the blue flag were the words "Don't Give Up the Ship" which he had to transfer from his sinking flagship to the sistership, Niagara. Commander Perry ultimately won that battle against the Royal Navy and altered the military balance on the Great Lakes. In his report to superiors he stated "We have met the enemy and they are ours".

      To all my Lithuanian friends and friends of Lithuania I exhort "Don't Give Up the Ship" . And especially to my Lithuanian friends I quote the "Pogo" cartoon paraphrase of Perry " We have met the enemy and he is us!" Maybe our modern Lithuanian example of heroism needs to be Bishop Valancius who came to the conclusion that in the mid 19th century Lithuanians needed to sober up before they came to any national reawakening or effective resistance to Russian domination.

      Dealing with Russian occupation, as difficult as it was, may have been easier than dealing with ourselves. But we have sort of been here before, haven't we? Onward!

      Rimantas Aukstuolis,
      Cleveland, Ohio, USA

      Read more...

    • The 2nd FBI Director (1912-1919)
      Lithuanian-American Alexander Bruce Bielaski was born in Montgomery County, Maryland. He received a law degree from George Washington University in 1904 and joined the Department of Justice that same year. Like his predecessor Mr. Finch, Mr. Bielaski worked his way up through the department. He served as a special examiner in Oklahoma where he "straightened out the court records" and aided in the reorganization of Oklahoma's court system when the Oklahoma territory became a state. Returning to Washington, Mr. Bielaski entered the Bureau of Investigation and rose to become Mr. Finch's assistant. In this position he was in charge of administrative matters for the Bureau. At the end of April 1912, Attorney General Wickersham appointed Mr. Bielaski to replace Mr. Finch. As chief, Mr. Bielaski oversaw a steady increase in the resources and responsibilities assigned to the Bureau.
      Read more...

    • Lithuania needs writing in English
      I am positive that Lithuania - not only the expats who live there - need writing in English. A lot of it. As much as possible, really.

      The presence of a vibrant expat community, which is closely linked with Lithuanians or half-Lithuanians (if I may use this term), who have spent many years overseas and had been exposed to Western culture, is critical as an ultimate mind-opener.

      I have always been going against the flow in that I said good things about the Lithuanians who go abroad for a year, for five years or even for good. In Lithuania, it is often seen as a disaster and an exodus of biblical proportions with similarly apocalyptic implications. I see it as a natural part of being a free country. Even if it leads to some transformations that may even be irreversible, such as compromises over what is seen as Lithuanian ethnic purity (which is an artificial and doubtful construct anyway, in my view) or a changer of the Lithuanian identity, emigration is good because it opens the mind and creates new patterns of thinking. It opens up angles which people have not thought about. It changes the way that parts of the society interact with each other and their relationship with the government, the establishment, the educational elite.
      Read more...

    • How US journalists helped stop Russian tanks in Vilnius
      How much more blood would have been shed in Lithuania, had news about the Soviet aggression not reached the outside world? In commemorating January 13, US journalists still wonder why the Soviets did not expel them from Vilnius.
      Read more...




CONSUL GREETINGS

TODAY: From Carl Thomas Carlsten in Telemark, Norway

VilNews is hereby inviting the honorary consuls of Lithuania around the world to write commentary articles. What we want to learn more about is what characterizes the cooperation between Lithuania and the area the consul represents. We would also like to know more about the consul's connections with Lithuania, and we are eager to listen to his or her thoughts and opinions on current topics and news from Lithuania.

First to write, is the Honorary Consul of Lithuania to Telemark County in Norway, Mr. Carl. Thomas Carlsten.
Click here to read his article...




It is unbelievable what you have accomplished - created the best English language news forum about Lithuania and Lithuanians. Simply amazing!!

Vytautas Sliupas, P.E. Burlingame, California, USA


I will read you much and often

I try to follow all the English "press" from the Baltic Times to  alfa.lt "English".
FINALLY I discover you! AND..... you place an article on Feb 16th Lithuanian Independence on the FRONT PAGE and feature an absolutely marvellous "historical" section. BRAVO! Its about time! All too often "historical" news and commemorations in Lithuania seem to be taken for granted - as if everyone there wasn't interested or already knew about it. The fact is most of us are STARVED for this kind of information and even regular English speaking tourists need historical perspective to truly appreciate Lithuanian culture - if only to help understand a tragic and fragmented history.
I will read you much and often.  I own a flat in Vilnius and just returned to the USA after spending a month there.   I will visit you next time I am in town.
Edward Kestas Reivydas,
M&R Americana Insurance Service Inc Santa Monica, California, USA



Far away from home, we need a publication different from the mainstream news

Congratulations with VilNews! Far away from home, we need a publication different from the mainstream news portals, which are often permeated with negative attitude and serving narrow, short-term interests. Your interest to history and the international dimension of Lithuania has made your previous publications a very engaging reading. I trust VilNews will remain enthusiastic, honest and insightful. Please rest assured that you have a dedicated reader in Africa.
Paulius Kulikauskas, Nairobi, Kenya


Informative and well-balanced news forum

Your dedication to this e-magazine is remarkable. Thank you for providing such an informative and well-balanced news forum.
Jurate Burns, Destin Library Director Destin, Florida, USA


Excellent presentation and wealthy content

Congratulations - excellent presentation and wealthy content of your new VilNews !!
Best regards from Chicago - Jonas Pabedinskas



Labai gerai, graziai ir idomei sudetas

Excellent publication. You folks have outdone yourselves. Labai gerai, graziai ir idomei sudetas.Aciu Labai,
Rimantas Orlauskis , aka Orlauskas  (Colorado), USA Retired: US Forest Service, Girninkas


I greatly appreciate you courage

A hearty congratulations on launch of your new e-publication! I've already read parts of the first edition, and I look forward to future instalments. While I enjoy every bit of VilNews, I greatly appreciate your interest and courage in publishing articles on tough subjects. My connection with Lithuania? My grandfather emigrated to the US from a small village near Siauliai in 1912, and today I find myself as a member of the board of directors for the Auksuciai Foundation.
Ted Shapas, Alamo, California



Lithuanian events around the world


One of the most important events ever for the Lithuanian American communities took place in Washington in 1990, in a protest against Soviet policies concerning the Baltic States.

The event calendar will be constantly updated, showing what goes on of meetings and events within the different clubs, chambers and organisations dealing with the Lithuanian diasporas around the globe.
Each organisation will be presented by logo, address, email, telephone – and of course the name/time of the event in question.
Therefore:

Please contact us with details about YOUR event!

Write to: zilvinas.beliauskas@VilNews.com


Information for Lithuanians staying or living abroad


The following website gives you an overview of emergency numbers you can call – wherever in the world you are – to police, fire service and ambulance.
http://www.sccfd.org/travel.html


Lithuania's Diplomatic Missions and Consular Posts around the world


http://www.urm.lt/index.php?1366094069



Famous international Lithuanians

This column will bring stories of Lithuanians who have done some remarkable work outside their home country - some historical legends, others living individuals who have achieved honour and dignity in the arts, business, politics, etc. We start the series with the story of Alexander Bruce Bielaski. Few, even in Lithuania, know the story of the man who played such an important role in starting FBI, the U.S. federal police force, 100 years ago.





VilNews e-magazine is published in Vilnius, Lithuania. Editor-in-Chief: Mr. Aage Myhre. Inquires to the editorseditor@VilNews.com.
Code of Ethics: See Section 2 – about VilNewsVilNews  is not responsible for content on external links/web pages.
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All content is copyrighted © 2011. UAB ‘VilNews’.