The end of WWII did not bring freedom and liberation for all countries and nations. Central and Eastern Europe fell into the grip of the Soviets and found itself isolated from the free world. Immediately after the war, relations between the Soviet Union and former allies began to deteriorate. It became clear to the Western world countries that the Soviet propaganda was a serious challenge to their national security and that measures needed to be taken to counteract this threat.
The position of the US as one of the superpowers had been particularly important. Assessing the technological possibilities of the time, soon it was realized that radio broadcasts penetrating through the Iron Curtain could be one of the most effective means of ideological struggle against the USSR. The US government devoted a lot of human and material resources to organizing radio broadcasts to Soviet-controlled areas. The waves of US radio stations also reached Lithuania and contributed greatly to the spread of Western and democratic values, the rise of national awareness, and the formation of a critical position towards the Soviet Union.
A book by historian Inga Arlauskaitė Zakšauskienė, “The Descent of Hope. US Radio Broadcasts to Soviet Lithuania” published by Vilnius University Press analysis this phenomenon.
A conversation with the author of the book led by Dr. Ilona Strumickienė, director of the Adolfas Damušis Center for Democratic Studies at the National Library of Lithuania, can be found on Youtube (in Lithuanian):
In April, sad news arrived from Germany. On April 21, 2020, Dr. Vincas Bartusevičius, a long-time friend of the National Library of Lithuania, passed away. Dr. Bartusevičius, a representative of the DP generation, moved to Germany with his parents in 1944 and stayed there for the rest of his life. In 1959, he graduated from the Vasario 16-oji Gymnasium. He studied sociology, history and psychology at the University of Munich and University of Tübingen.
For many decades, Dr. Bartusevičius devoted his time and energy to the Lithuanian cause. He chaired the Ateitis Association of Lithuanian German Students, was the editor of the newsletter Ateitin, active member of the Lithuanian German Youth Association, and the editor of the newspaper Jaunimo žodis. In 1967-1974, Dr. Bartusevičius taught at the Vasario 16-oji Gymnasium. He was active in the Lithuanian German Community, Inc. and served on its board. In 2010, the Board of the LGC awarded Dr. Bartusevičius the title of Honorary Chairman.
The pandemic closed the state borders and seized the flights but it did not cancel our passion to travel. The Lithuanian Community in France came up with an idea to visit and explore significant Lithuanian historical and cultural objects in Paris virtually.
This April, the National Library of Lithuania invited book lovers to participate in a competition “The World on My Bookshelf” and to present their favorite books by writing a book annotation. Readers were invited to describe a book they liked and those who were unwilling or lazy to write to photograph or film their bookshelves.
In three weeks, three dozen works were received from the readers living in Lithuania and abroad. We received works in the form of videos, essays, photo collage, poems, riddles, and letters. Annotations were sent by adults and children.
The Lithuanian Saturday School in Washington, DC also took part in the competition by sending a photo of the cover of the book “Lithuanian School in Washington—An Indelible Mark in Our Lives.” The students of the school have been writing their book for five years. On its pages, students leave their thoughts and memories about lessons, the most memorable meetings, the most beautiful Lithuanian songs, concerts and performances and their summer trips to Lithuania.
Damušis Democracy Studies Centre
of the National Library of
implementing a new project which main focus is Lithuanian re-emigration. Entitled
“30 Stories for 30 Years: The Experiences of Returning Immigrants and Their
Contribution to the Strengthening of Lithuanian Statehood” the project draws
attention to those who have returned from emigration, emphasizing the motives
of both emigration and re-emigration, peoples’ experiences, successes, and
failures. The story of American Lithuanians, Adolfas and Jadvyga Damušis,
who returned to Lithuania in 1997, also played a role in choosing this
particular topic for the new project.
To preserve the
memory of emigrants and their experiences, the implementers of the project plan
to conduct a series of interviews with Lithuanians who returned to Lithuania and
who contributed to different spheres of life in Lithuania.
A year ago, the former cultural attaché of the Republic of Lithuania in the United Kingdom, Rita Valiukonytė, handed over to the National Library of Lithuania the cultural documents of the diplomatic mission of the Republic of Lithuania in London. The archive covers the period from 1991 to 2016. Most of the documents were accumulated during the time served by two cultural attachés, Daiva Parulskienė (2008-2012) and Rita Valiukonytė (2012-2016).
The archive shows
the development of cultural relations between the Republic of Lithuania and the
UK and the efforts of the diplomatic mission to introduce the British people
with the works of prominent Lithuanian artists and the achievements of
Lithuanian scholars. It includes programs of various art events, presentations
by artists, correspondence regarding the events, press releases, reviews and
articles on Lithuanian artists, prominent Lithuanians living and working in the
UK, and recent developments in Lithuanian art and history. A separate part of
the archive is presentations of Lithuanian Jewish history and culture.
comprehensive and rich archive has become part of the Rare Books and
Manuscripts Unit of the National Library of Lithuania collection and is awaiting
its researchers and readers.