Book Launch: “The Making and Breaking of Soviet Lithuania” at the National Library of Lithuania

June 7, 2014

On April 9, the National Library of Lithuania hosted a book event – the discussion of “The Making and Breaking of Soviet Lithuania: Memory and Modernity in the Wake of War” (London: Routledge, 2013) by Violeta Davoliūtė. In the discussion led by Dalia Cidzikaitė, the author of the book, Violeta Davoliūtė, historian Tomas Balkelis, journalist and translator Jonas Ohman, and philosopher Nerija Putinaitė discussed the strongest and weakest points of the book.

In a new study, Davoliūtė uses various sources, among them interviews with the representatives of Soviet Lithuanian intelligentsia, autobiographical memories, newspapers and magazines, literary works, and others. She is very detailed in her descriptions of the traumatic events of the 20th century, such as the Holocaust, deportations, and collectivization, and their impact on Soviet Lithuanian society.

Davoliūtės’ focus is the generation of the 1930s and its role in social, political, and cultural processes of that time. “[That generation] was born and came of age when Lithuania was independent; they were the first ones to use the possibilities of social mobility that became available to them; they graduated from universities, were given good jobs, and filled in the social vacuum that was felt in the cities after the war; and later they became the makers of a new ideology and society”, says Davoliūtės.

The book, written in English, presents many new possibilities for researchers who study Soviet Lithuania’s social and cultural development in the second half of the 20th century. There is no doubt that the forthcoming Lithuanian translation of the book will be popular among Lithuanian readers as well.

Jolanta Budriūnienė