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 “Lithuanian Heritage Abroad: Challenges and Achievements”

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 “The Presentation of “The Red Flood””

A Film Director’s Visit at the National Library of Lithuania

An interview with Dr. Giedrė Milerytė-Japertienė

On January 17, Arvydas Reneckis, the director and producer of the American Lithuanian TV that ran in Chicago for 13 years, visited the National Library of Lithuania. Currently he works on a multi-part full-length documentary about Lithuanians and their history in the US. The guest was interested in the publications and manuscripts of American Lithuanians housed in the Library. During his visit, Reneckis filmed a few interviews for his new documentary. He interviewed Jolanta Budriūnienė, the head of the Documentary Heritage Research Department of the National Library of Lithuania, Prof. Alfonsas Eidintas, the ambassador of the Republic of Lithuania, Dr. Giedrė Milerytė-Japertienė, the head of the Lithuanian Studies Department, and Dr. Dalia Cidzikaitė, senior researcher at the Lithuanian Department.

Exhibition “Diplomacy of Lithuanian Exiles in the Fight for Freedom”

Arūnas Antanaitis, the director of the Valdas Adamkus Presidential Library-Museum. Photo: National Library of Lithuania.

On January 9, 2018 the traveling exhibition “Diplomacy of Lithuanian Exiles in the Fight for Freedom” by Vytautas Magnus University Lithuanian Emigration Institute and the Valdas Adamkus Presidential Library-Museum was opened in the Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania.

According to Arūnas Antanaitis, the director of the Valdas Adamkus Presidential Library-Museum, when creating the exhibition, the most difficult task was to decide what to include and what to leave out – so vast is the archival material about Lithuanian political, lobbying and other activities in exile spanning for over a hundred years.

The exhibition is aimed at highlighting the most important activities of émigrés in the fight for freedom in the US, Australia, Canada, Brazil, Great Britain, France, and other countries. The creators of the exhibition wanted to show not the official efforts of the émigrés, but the so-called citizen diplomacy, i.e. the contribution of ordinary people to Lithuanian statehood. Alongside material, moral and political support, they helped to establish Lithuania’s name in the world and used all possible means to support Lithuania’s independence abroad.