23 to October 31, the visitors of the National Library of Lithuania had an
opportunity to see the exhibit dedicated to Lithuanian-Canadian Community, Inc.
and its political, cultural, and educational activities over the past 67 years.
The organizers of the exhibition are the Lithuanian Museum-Archives of Canada and
the Lithuanian-Canadian Community, Inc.
The exhibition presents
the history of Lithuanians in Canada: the establishment and development of the
Lithuanian Community, its political, cultural, and social activities, as well
as significant support to Lithuania, especially in the early 1990s. The stands
showcase the photos from the first Lithuanian Days in Canada, the World
Lithuanian Community Congress in New York, and the first World Lithuanian Youth
Congress in Chicago. The exhibition also demonstrates the cooperation of the
Lithuanian-Canadians with the Reform Movement of Lithuania and the state of Lithuania
after the restoration of independence, and reminds of many other important events
that took place during the 67-year-old history of the Community.
The exposition was
supplemented by a video which was specially prepared by the staff of the
National Library of Lithuania. In the video, various people from the field of culture,
diplomacy and politics share their thoughts about Lithuanians in Canada, the
development of relations between Canada and Lithuania and other important
issues. The video in Lithuanian can be found on “Youtube”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hFmRiZJyT0Y
In the early September,
the Lithuanian Minister of Culture, Mindaugas
Kvietkauskas, visited New York and Chicago. In New York, the Minister met
with the director of YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, Jonathan Brent. They discussed the cooperation between the
Institute and Lithuania and other relevant issues in preparation for next year’s
commemoration of Vilna Gaon (born Elijah ben Solomon Zalman) and Lithuanian Jewish history.
The Minister participated
in the Litvak Days organized for the first time in New York and Chicago on the
initiative of the Consulate of the Republic of Lithuania in NY. The event
included a public lecture and three debates. In New York, Kvietkauskas, along
with writer Tomas Venclova and Prof.
Saulius Sužiedėlis participated in
the discussion “Challenges of Multiculturalism in Contemporary Lithuania.”
While in New
York, Kvietkauskas also visited one of the world’s largest American avant-garde
film archives, Anthology Film Archives, founded in the early 1960s by
Lithuanian-American Jonas Mekas. The
Minister participated in the opening of the exhibition of the Lithuanian
American artist Vytautas Ignas and met with representatives of the Lithuanian
Alliance of America and the Lithuanian National Foundation.
Kvietkauskas paid a visit at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Poetry
Foundation in Chicago, and met with the leaders of the Lithuanian World Center
in Lemont. At the UIC, where students can learn Lithuanian language as part of
their academic curriculum, the Minister participated in a discussion “The Narratives
of Pluralism: Lithuania’s Past and Present” and met with the students of the
Lithuanian Culture course.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”