by Jūratė Juškaitė
Historians calculate about 17,000 people were deported from Lithuania during the first Soviet occupation. They were sent into Russia on cattle cars from June 14 to 18, 1941, and many didn’t survive their first winter. Most people who live here know these facts, but the tragedy turns out not to be uniquely Lithuanian.
Violeta Davoliūtė’s book “Population Displacement in Lithuania in the Twentieth Century” was recently completed and will appear soon [it appeared in 2016], in which the culture historian recalls the tragedy and attempts to put the deportation of Jews at the same time within the general Lithuanian context again. She says the story which appeared during the Lithuanian independence movement was ethnocentric and often way too “Catholicized.” Although official commemoration policies appear complex to say the least, and more complicated by the prevailing stereotype of the “Judaeo-Bolshevik,” Davoliūtė says these and similar stereotypes don’t divide deportees, who formed a close-knit community of shared experience.
Full text in Lithuanian here.