In memoriam Professor Dr. Jonas Antanas Račkauskas

On March 19, 2018, Jonas Antanas Račkauskas, a long-time director of the Lithuanian Research and Studies Center (Chicago, IL), an honorary doctor of Lithuanian University of Educational Studies and Šiauliai University, educator and active member of Lithuanian diaspora, died. Continue reading

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For Freedom. Lithuanian American Support for Lithuania’s Independence and Recognition

Photo credit: The Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture

In celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Lithuania’s Independence, the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture opened a new historical exhibit “For Freedom: Lithuanian American Support for Lithuania’s Independence and Recognition.” The exhibit explores Lithuanian Americans’ passionate and energetic support for the cause of Lithuania’s independence one hundred years ago.  Using photographs, documents, publications, and other historical artifacts, the exhibition gives an overview of Lithuania’s fate at the dawn of the twentieth century as a subjugated part of the Russian Empire; briefly portrays the Lithuanian American communities in America; and summarizes their significant cultural, political, and financial achievements.

The exhibition’s central focus is the vital role played by Lithuanian Americans as their native land seized a unique and complex opportunity to end its 125-year Russian subjugation. It demonstrates that Lithuanian Americans’ support for freedom in their native land did not end with the declared independence in 1918 nor with its recognition by the United States in 1922. In fact, as the exhibition shows, Lithuanian Americans supported their native land’s recurrent struggles to achieve freedom and independence for most of the twentieth century.

Drawing on materials in the Balzekas Museum as well as public and private national and regional archives and collections, the exhibition centralizes the presence of historical documents to prove that this century-long struggle for freedom was powered by ideas and ideals expressed in words and actions.

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To Be Banned: Baltic Books 1918-1940

On March 9, 2018 the prime minister of the Republic of Lithuania, Saulius Skvernelis, the prime minister of Latvian government, Māris Kučinskis and Estonian prime minister, Jüri Ratas opened the international exhibition “To Be Banned: Baltic Books 1918-1940” at the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania. Continue reading

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A Generous Donation

Arminio Sciolli, residing in Switzerland, decided to donate his collection of Russian exodus literature to the National Library of Lithuania. The collection consists of rare books new not only to the National Library of Lithuania but Lithuania in general. The geography of the collection covers a wide range of places – from South Africa to China – where Russian communities lived at the beginning of the 20th century. The new donation will significantly broaden the knowledge about the publishing in diaspora and open new horizons in researching the cultural history of multiethnic and multicultural Lithuania.

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Lithuanian Heritage Abroad: Challenges and Achievements

The participants of the discussion. Photo: National Library of Lithuania

A round table discussion about Lithuanian heritage outside Lithuania organized by the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania on January 26, 2018, was a good opportunity to assess not only the situation of the Lithuanian heritage abroad and to identify the challenges and problems, but also to talk about the achievements and the future work.

Augustinas Žemaitis, the leader of the project “Destination – America,” ​​started the event. He told about a 16-day trip to the United States that he took last fall visiting Lithuanian places, recording material heritage and listening to the stories of local people of Lithuanian descent. Žemaitis, who has been interested in Lithuanian heritage outside Lithuania for five years, is convinced that his project is important not only to Lithuanians in the US, but also Lithuania. In his opinion, it is necessary to find new ways of preserving the Lithuanian heritage abroad. He suggested volunteering or tourism as good tools to do it.

Ramojus Kraujelis, the Chief Archivist of Lithuania, noted that today, unfortunately, there are no resources to describe Lithuanian heritage abroad. He commended the private initiative “Destination – America” and proposed to continue this project covering not only US but other countries which also have many objects of Lithuanian material culture. Continue reading

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The Presentation of “The Red Flood”

The book cover of “The Red Flood.”

The Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania together with the publishing house “Briedis” presented a book “The Red Flood” by Ignas Šeinius (1889-1959), a Lithuanian diplomat to Sweden and other Scandinavian countries, on January 25, 2018. The book “Den röda floden” first published in Stockholm, Sweden in 1940 is author’s authentic account about the events that took place in Lithuania in 1940. Continue reading

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