During the burdensome events of the 20th century, thousands of Lithuanians were separated from their country and scattered far from home, across the globe. Lithuanians gathered in free lands where they lived by the Lithuanian charter’s moral values. They became active members of the Lithuanian World Community, worked, and served the Lithuanian nation.
When Lithuania regained its independence, as well as freedom of speech when censorship of press collapsed – the cultural heritage of Lithuanian emigration returned. That is when research, regarding Lithuanian exile culture, press and education, started. There were some studies about this issue written in earlier years in foreign countries, by Lithuanian émigrés themselves, but here we want to present publications and studies written in Lithuania since 1990. This is just a small part of the publications, written during two decades of Lithuanian freedom, which examine, present emigrants and their cultural activities.
Dr. Remigijus Misiūnas, “Books of Barrack Culture: Lithuanian DP Publishing in 1945–1952“. This publication analyses the evolution of books, trends, and regularities in 1945-1952 DP camps. The author describes political, economical, and cultural conditions that determined post-war social and cultural life, book publishing, and distribution. This study describes around 1,100 books published in Western Europe during 1945-1952. Alongside books, music, art, and cartographic publications, newssheets and pamphlets are also included in the study.
Dalia Kuizinienė: “Lithuanian literary life in Western Europe in 1945 – 1950“. This is a book from the „Exodus archive“ series. It is separated into two parts: scientific study and archival addition. This study deeply analyses Lithuanian literary life in Western Europe – Lithuanian writers in exile societies’ work, cultural press, anthologies, and chronicles of literature. The archival edition of the book contains documents and letters from Lithuanian writers in exile societies, revealing DP camp details of cultural life, specific features of the press and book publishing.
Two political organisations must be mentioned – The Lithuanian Diplomatic Council and VLIK (The Supreme Committee for the Liberation of Lithuania). A study written about these is called “VLIK and Lithuanian Diplomatic Council in the emigration. Berne and Paris conference protocols.” It holds conferences protocols, discussions and resolutions. These materials are very important historical works for further research of Lithuanian exile history.
Another study to be presented is by professor Linas Saldukas, who specialises in Lithuanian exile research. “Lithuanian Diaspora” is available in English. The first chapter of the book is allotted to early Lithuanian émigrés from the 1600s to the 1860s; the next one is dedicated to old emigration to the United States, from the latter part of the nineteenth to the beginning of the twentieth century. After that the post-World War II migration, cultural life is analysed. The last part is devoted to the concept of the “World Lithuanian Community” as propagated by the organisation of that name with subchapters outlining Lithuanian settlements in the United States, Canada, Australia, Argentina, the United Kingdom, Germany, Belarus, Latvia, Poland, and Siberia.
There are a series of books about different communities, for exile example – “Lithuanian community in France: history and present”. Articles published in the book outline various historical periods and events of the Lithuanian community in France. With many picture, this book analyses community cultural and public activities, with an attention to national identity and its preservation in foreign country.
“Lithuanian community in Great Britain: past, present, future”. These are Lithuanian scholarly articles that published discourses of are the emigrants themselves, with the wisdom of their own experiences and long term activities.
“Beverly Shores Lithuanians near Michigan” by Remigijus Naužemys. This book is about a small resort, Beverly Shores in Indiana and its large Lithuanian community, its history, especially of the DP generation, who came here after the Second World War. All of Lithuanian post-war exile political and social movement, relations between Americans and Lithuanians, their efforts to save their Lithuanian identity is shown about this small Lithuanian colony. This book tells personal stories about Beverly shores citizens, their hard toehold to the new land, life, and culture.
Jūratė Vyliūtė – “Lithuanian musicians in Germany 1944-1949“ and “The Lithuanian opera in Chicago“. These topics are separated from general cultural DP’s activities, because at the end of the Second World War, more than half of the music specialists retreated from Lithuania to the West, almost all of them – to Germany, where they lived for 5 years in the difficult conditions of the DP camps. But they preserved the prestige of the profession and continued to compose. The bigger part of these musicians never came back to Lithuania. Musicologist Jūratė Vyliutė used archive documents, private collections, encyclopaedias, occasional and special publications, and memoires. Pictures and letters from that time complement the text.
There is one more field that requires separated individual research – education in the exile – Lituanistic schools and education programmes. The author Kęstutis Pečkus is known for his research in this area – his study “A historical outline of Lithuanian educational thought outside of Lithuania“ and others, about Lituanistic school programs, textbooks, and systems has great potential for further research.
Also known, is Dr Jonas Dautartas. He published several books at the Lithuanian Research and Studies Centre in Chicago. A couple of them: an anniversary issue for the 45th year of the Pedagogical Lituanistic Institute in Chicago „Pedagogical lituanistic institute 1958-2003“. This institute is the place, where teachers for lituanistic schools in almost all Lithuanian communities were shaped. This institute was essential in preserving Lithuanian identity for several generations. This book has also quite a wide bibliography of the institute’s work and literature. And another book by this author – “Lithuanian émigré pedagogical ideas“, separates two periods in Lithuanians in exile pedagogical history – one part is the DP period, and the second is long-term stay in foreign country education. Pedagogical scientists, who worked in independent Lithuania, continued their research, even after moving to the West.
There are some more studies regarding this matter that are worth mentioning – “Beginnings and Ends of Emigration. Life without borders in the contemporary world.” This is a collection of scholarly essays, published in English. The goals of this collection of articles is to focus attention on researchers from different countries on those moments in the history of civilisation that affect the process of emigration, as well as to analyse more closely how the motives for emigration have changed in modern times, and which of today’s and tomorrow’s challenges can most strongly influence the process of migration.
It is important to present studies that analyse the continuum of emigration – “Between two worlds: recent Lithuanian immigrants in Chicago (1988-2000)” by D. Kuzmickaitė, are also available in English. This book is an ethnographic study of migration and settlement of recent Lithuanians in Chicago during the period of 1988-2000. It depicts a story told about “America“ by recent Lithuanian immigrants, the insiders from the outside. The treatise recounts how the global events of the last decade of 20th century inspired the lives of ordinary and often, unknown people. Seeking to understand a contextualised Lithuanian migration phenomenon, recent Lithuanian immigration experiences are studied and compared with its different elements: historical setting and empirical changes in Lithuanian migration by gender, race, class, and social locations of these immigrants. Social networks emerging in the structures of immigrant society are at the core of this study, which intend to trace the process of migration, adjustment, and differentiation of settlement, internal the ethnic community.
“World Lithuanian Community 1949-2003“. This issue is dedicated to the overview of the history of the Lithuanian World Community. It is like the encyclopaedia of this community, with presentations of 35 Lithuanian communities, older and newly established, their life, work and efforts to sustain their Lithuanian identity.
These studies and surveys of Lithuanians’ lives in foreign countries are just a small part of what is already done, and hopefully just a start of what is to come.