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.
On May 5-7, 2019
the First World Lithuanian Writers Forum took place in Vilnius. It was attended
by more than 30 writers, translators and literary critics from fifteen
countries. The program of the forum offered a variety of activities—from literary
readings to the presentation of the anthology of world Lithuanian authors, Exodica, to a book exhibition of the
Lithuanian émigré writers organized by the National Library of Lithuania.
of the Forum aimed at achieving several goals. The first one was to get to know
each other and share different experiences and perceptions of the world. The
event also commemorated the Lithuanian Press Restoration, Language and Book Day.
On May 6, the
participants of the Forum visited the National Library of Lithuania. Jolanta
Budriūnienė, the director of the Documentary Heritage Research Department of
the National Library of Lithuania, presented the writers to a wide range of library’s
activities. She noted that the Library has become a place where more than thousand
various cultural events take place every year and the space for the cultural
diplomacy. “We cooperate with the embassies of the Republic of Lithuania abroad,
the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Culture. We have broadened
the scope of joint works and projects in the East and West. The library is a unique
place, because it traces the signs of cultural diplomacy. It’s a place where we
systematically collect and house the books of Lithuanian authors published
abroad. Today these publications are an important part of the Lithuanian
documentary heritage,” Budriūnienė said.
The writers who gathered
at the National Library of Lithuania presented the director of the Documentary
Heritage Research Department with their books and publications published abroad
and in Lithuania. Afterwards, the participants of the Forum were given an
extensive tour of the Library.
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.
The Lithuanian World Community, Inc. together with the Lithuanian Writers’ Union and the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore is organizing the first congress of world Lithuanian writers in Vilnius. The event, which will take place on 5-7 May, 2019, will host 50 Lithuanian writers and/or writers of Lithuanian origin who currently live outside Lithuania.
During the event, the participants will meet with Lithuanian
writers. They will visit the Lithuanian Writers’ Union, the Institute of
Lithuanian Literature and Folklore and the Martynas Mažvydas National Library
of Lithuania. Readings will take place during the event. At the end of the
congress, an almanac of the participants’ fiction and poetry will be published.
For the sixth
year in a row, the diaspora researchers and archivists gathered at the National
Library of Lithuania. The aim of the seminar is to bring together researchers
working in the diaspora field, especially students, to give them the
opportunity to share their research, and also to encourage the representatives
of archives and museums to introduce the Lithuanian diaspora collections housed
at their institutions to the broader audience.
The first seminar, entitled “The Young Diaspora Researchers’ Seminar,” today is known under a slightly different name, “The Interdisciplinary Diaspora Researchers’ Seminar.” Currently, the community unites about 30 researchers working in various Lithuanian universities, institutes, museums, archives, and libraries.
Six Perspectives on Diaspora
Six perspectives on diaspora were presented at the sixth event. Ina Ėmužienė, Ph.D., who just recently defended her thesis on Lithuanian radio and TV programs in the US from 1944 to 1990, presented the Lithuanian-American electronic media. In particular she talked about the Lithuanian radio programs that were active in the country in 1944-1990: their frequency, geography, and the circumstances of their establishment. The researcher presented a list of the Lithuanian-American radio programs that ran during that period, stressing that it is not final. She is still discovering new archives, related to the topic she has been researching.
The two-volume monograph Nylon Curtain. Lithuanian Music in the Context of International History of Cold War, by the musicologists, Prof. Rūta Stanevičiūtė, Prof. Danutė Petrauskaitė, and Prof. Vita Gruodytė, was presented at the National Library of Lithuania. The book, published in 2018 by the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theater, consists of two volumes: a collective monograph, entitled Nylon Curtain. Cold War, International Exchanges and Lithuanian Music and a collection of correspondence, Foreign Correspondence of the Lithuanian Musicians, 1945-1990.
collective monograph, the authors using extensive archival documents gathered
from the state and private archives, as well as published sources, analyze the
channels of the exchange of musical information among the individuals and
institutions in Lithuania and foreign countries that took place during the
Soviet period. They also looked into the reasons that encouraged promoting personal
and transnational relations between the two musical environments divided by the
ideological confrontation of the Cold War, and posed questions, such as: which
ideological, economic, and cultural constraints and differences limited such
exchange and what impact international exchanges had on the national music