On 25 November, 2019 the screening of a film “Coming Home Soon: The Refugee Children of Geislingen” by Dutch-Estonian film director Helga Merits took place at the National Library of Lithuania. The director’s latest film is about Estonian children who fled Estonia in 1944 with their parents, sometimes with only one parent or relative, and spent the war in the Geislingen refugee camp in southern Germany.
Despite the testimonies
about extreme poverty and especially difficult living conditions during and
after the war, Merits says that her film is also about hope and inspiration.
And while the documentary tells a story of Estonian refugee children living in
the Geislingen refugee camp from 1945 to 1950, it is also the history of many Eastern
Europeans. The film draws parallels with the current situation of the refugees
in Europe as well. “Coming Home Soon” has already been screened in 11 countries
and 24 European cities.
“Coming Home Soon”
is the fifth documentary film by Helga Merits. All her films tell stories about
people who were forced to leave their homes and establish new lives in new and
The director was
present at the screening and answered questions from the audience.
On November 8, 2019,
on the initiative of Vytautas Magnus University, the Society for the Study of World
Lithuanians was established.
The president of
the Society, Dr. Ilona Strumickienė,
says that the name was chosen in memory of the Society for Aiding the
Lithuanians Abroad which was active in Lithuania in 1932-1940. The Society
provided aid to and maintained contacts with Lithuanians living abroad. It also
contributed to strengthening of the Lithuanian identity among expatriates. In
1935, the Society organized the first World Lithuanian Congress in Kaunas.
By following the
example of the Society for Aiding the Lithuanians Abroad, the newly established
society hopes to build a network of and disseminate message about Lithuanians
around the world, share discoveries and research results, and help
strengthening civil society in Lithuania.
The first event
organized by the Society was a discussion about how Lithuanian schools receive children
who have returned from emigration which took place on December 13, 2019.
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