The Lithuanian Charter Turns Seventy

Dalia Cidzikaitė


On June 14, 1949 in Augsburg, Germany, Lithuania’s Supreme Liberation Committee published a pocket-size book World Community of Lithuanians (Dr. Haas & Cie., KG., Augsburg), also known as the Lithuanian Charter. The document laid the foundations of the Lithuanian World Community, Inc., brought together and provided the new meaning to thousands of Lithuanian war refugees.

The Lithuanian Charter empowered Lithuanians, who after WWII once again found themselves homeless, to continue to fight for Lithuania’s independence and to strive to maintain at all costs not only the family and kinship, but also the national connection, so that “each countryman met abroad [would] be like brother.”


The Lithuanian Charter is exhibited at the National Library of Lithuania.

The publication of the Lithuanian Charter was Committee’s response to the rapidly changing situation of Lithuanian war refugees in post-war Germany and the future full of anxiety and uncertainty. At the end of the war, it became clear that Lithuania would not regain its independence yet, therefore many refugees decided to take advantage of the opportunity to immigrate to Canada, Australia, the United States and other countries not affected by war. Prelate Mykolas Krupavičius, the chairman of the Committee, and other members of the organization decided to establish a Lithuanian community in each country and create one united Lithuanian community abroad.

Continue reading “The Lithuanian Charter Turns Seventy”

The LAC Exhibition at the National Library of Lithuania


The exhibition at the Library. Photo: National Library of Lithuania

The travelling exhibition “We Created the Lithuanian State Together: The Lithuanian-American Community, Inc. 1951-2018” at the National Library of Lithuania highlights the fact that Lithuanian-Americans have always kept close contact with the homeland and have contributed to country’s development.

Lithuanian diaspora is an integral part of Lithuanian history. Despite the geographical distance, the Lithuanian immigrants tirelessly worked on behalf of Lithuania. Various initiatives of many relief organizations, the financial support, active propaganda work, and the establishment and strengthening of political, economic, and cultural relations between the US and Lithuania are undeniable evidence of the united struggle for Lithuanian independence.

Fighting for the independence of Lithuania was one of the main goals of the Lithuanian-American Community, Inc. founded in 1951. When Lithuania regained its independence, the LAC, which unites all Lithuanians living in the US, has actively cooperated with the homeland and its institutions, contributed to the development of ties between Lithuanian and the US government and business representatives.

Today, the ultimate goal of the LAC is to preserve Lithuanian culture and traditions and pass it onto the future generations. The organization’s main emphasis is on Lithuanian education, cultural, scientific, social, economic, religious, and sport and other activities in the US. It cooperates with other Lithuanian-American organizations, the US non-governmental organizations, and introduces Americans to Lithuania. Americans of Lithuanian descent and their non-Lithuanian spouses are also welcomed in the LAC.

The exhibition, which runs at the Library until the end of May, testifies to the glorious history of the LAC and introduces to its past and present activities.

Exhibition and Discussion about Russian Diaspora Publications and Publishers

At the start of 2018, a Swiss Arminio Sciolli decided to donate part of his Russian diaspora literature collection to the National Library of Lithuania. The collection consists of rare books, not yet seen in Lithuania. The geography of the collection covers a wide range of places – from South Africa to China – where Russian diaspora communities lived at the beginning of the twentieth century.

On September 21, 2018, the Library invited to the exhibition “Russian Diaspora Literature” opening and discussion about Russian diaspora publications and publishers. Dr. Pavel Lavrinec, Vilnius University professor, provided a broader context and a general overview of the exhibition. Prof. Tomas Venclova, Yale University emeritus and professor of Slavic literature, talked about the history of Russian diaspora in Harbin, China, its cultural life and his impressions from recent trip there.

National Library of Lithuania at the World Lithuanian Events in Vilnius

Dalia Grybauskaitė, the President of the Republic of Lithuania, visited the exhibition created by the Lithuanian Studies Unit. Photo credit: Presidential Palace of the Republic of Lithuania / R. Dačkus.

Thousands of Lithuanians living abroad came to Lithuania to celebrate country’s 100 anniversary of independence this summer. The National Library of Lithuania participated in and organized and hosted several events.

On July 1, the Lithuanian Studies Unit of the Documentary Heritage Research Department presented its travelling exhibition “Lithuanian Publishing in Post-WWII Europe” as part of the event “100 Faces of Lithuania – Let’s Connect Lithuania” in Vilnius City Hall Square. The exhibition reflects the situation of Lithuanians in the displaced persons’ camps in Western countries after WWII. Continue reading “National Library of Lithuania at the World Lithuanian Events in Vilnius”

The Three Friends: Damušis, Kazickas and Ambrozaitis

 

The opening of the exhibition “Three Friends: Damušis, Kazickas and Ambrozaitis.”

In commemoration of the anniversaries of the three prominent Lithuanian émigré activists and freedom fighters, scientist Adolfas Damušis, philanthropist Juozas Petras Kazickas and doctor Kazys Ambrozaitis, the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania, Adolfas Damušis Democracy Studies Centre and the Kazickas Family Foundation organized a series of events. Continue reading “The Three Friends: Damušis, Kazickas and Ambrozaitis”

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.