On July 15-17, 2015 about 150 delegates from 33 countries gathered at the 25th Lithuanian World Community (LWC) Seimas in Vilnius. During the three-day event, the participants discussed the present and the future of the LWC, paying special attention to Lithuanian education and cooperation with the Lithuanian authorities.
On the first day of Seimas, Lituanica Department of Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania in Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania invited the delegates to the opening of a new exhibition “Lithuanian Publishing in Post-WWII Europe”.
In the opening speech, the head of the Department, Jolanta Budriūnienė, talked about the idea of the exhibition – using the rich collection of Lithuanian DP Publishing, 1945-1952, housed at the National Library of Lithuania to commemorate 70 years since the mass westward flight of the Baltic Displaced Persons, refugees from war-torn Lithuania. It should be noted that in 2011, the collection was recognised as part of Lithuania’s documentary heritage and included in the UNESCO’s program “World Memory” for the Lithuanian National Register.
The Deputy Speaker of Lithuanian Parliament and the hostess of the exhibition, Irena Degutienė, stressed that at the end of WWII, while Europe was freeing itself, in Lithuania, guerrilla fighting had only intensified and the mass deportations were taking place. Thus, it is not surprising that Lithuanian publishing, exiled from the homeland, had to establish itself in the West. “Our language was alive and will be alive, because everything depends on our willingness to speak the language, regardless of where one lives,” Degutienė concluded her speech.
Dr. Vincas Bartusevičius, the director of Lithuanian Institute of Culture in Germany and the author of a monograph “The DP Camps in Germany, 1945-1951”, gave an overview of the historical context and the conditions under which Lithuanian publishing evolved in post-war Germany and other Western European countries.
The chair of the LWC Culture Commission, Jūratė Caspersen, invited Lithuanian diaspora communities to remember their historical origins by seizing the opportunity to exhibit the travelling exhibition “Lithuanian Publishing in Post-WW II Europe” in their host countries.
The exhibition was prepared by the Lituanica Department of the National Library of Lithuania in partnership with Lithuanian Institute of Culture in Germany. Support came from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania on the recommendation of Lithuanian Traditions and Heritage Commission.