BasicfactsaboutLithuania • Official language – Lithuanian. • Capital – Vilnius. Major cities – Vilnius, Kaunas, Klaipėda, Šiauliai, Panevėžys. • Basic law – the Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania adopted 25th October,1992. • Background: Independent between the two World Wars, Lithuania was annexed by the USSR in 1940. In March of 1990, Lithuania became the first of the Soviet republics to declare its independence. • Government – Executive branch: chief of thestate – President, head of the government – Premier. Legislative branch: unicameral Parliament or Seimas. • National currency – Litas (LTL; 1 LTL = 100 ct). Exchange rate - 1 EUR = 3,4528 LTL.
The northwestern side • Since 1795 Lithuania belongs to Tsarist Russia. The Lithuanians lived mostly under the rule of the Russian Empire until 20th century;the name of Lithuania disappears from the map. It becomes the northwestern side.
Lithuaniauprisings . • In 1832 and 1863 Lithuania rebels against Russia. Emilija Pliaterytė was a revoliutionist. Sheis a national heroine.
PROHIBITION OF PRESS • After the uprising in 1863the Lithuanian press was prohibited. It lasted for 40 years.The Lithuanians printed books with Lithuanian letters in Tilsit and Karaliaucius. Book-smugglers (bringers), risking their lives forsaving the Lithuanian language, smuggledbooks, newspapers, magazines, transporting from Prussia to Lithuania,because the Latin alphabet was prohibitedand distributed tounderground schools.
Schoolin 1864-1904 • . Since the official schools did not teach native language, the Lithuanians themselves taught their children at home or in secret schools established by them in villages and townships.
1918–1940: PERIOD OF PROSPERITY On 16thFebruary,1918, 20 courageous, determined and trusted representatives of the Lithuanian nation signed the Act of Independence of Lithuania “re-establishing an independent state, based on democratic principles.
DEPORTATION TO SIBERIA1941-1953 • 300 000 Lithuanians were deported to merciless inhumanity in Siberia... • During the period 1941-1953, some 132,000 Lithuanians were deported to remote areas of the USSR, in Siberia, the Arctic Circle areas and Central Asia. They were not allowed to leave the remote villages they were brought to. More than 70 percent of the deportees were women and children. Around 50,000 of the deportees were not able to return to Lithuania ever again. During the same period, another 200,000 people were thrown into prisons in Lithuania and elsewhere in the Soviet Union. Some 150,000 of them were sent to the Gulags, Soviet Russia‘s concentration camps, situated mostly in Siberia.
EXPEDITION „MISSION: SIBERIA“ • Duringthismissionyoung Lithuanians will visit their countrymen’s exile locations in Siberia. • During two weeks in Siberia, the young Lithuanians cleared the cemeteries of Soviet-era Lithuanian deportees and constructed wooden crosses there. They also met with some descendants of Lithuanian deportees still living there.
WOLF CHILDREN • In1944-1945, millionsofGermanCiviliansfromEast-PrussiaandotherareasoftheBalticshad to fleefromtheRedArmy. Additionally, several hundreds of thousands of Germans were displaced by force from their homes where Polish and Lithuanian territories are today. • There are credible estimates that 25.000 German children lost their parents during the flight, and wandered around in East-Prussia in search of food and work. About 5.000 ofthesechildrenreachedLithuania.
WOLF CHILDREN • Theywerecalled “wolfchildren” becauseoftheirwolf-likewanderingthroughtheforestsandalongrailroadtracks, sometimescatchingridesontoporinbetweenrailroadcars, jumpingoffbeforereachingSovietcontrolstations. • Only a fewhundredofthechildrensurvived. SomewereadoptedbyLithuanianandRussianfarmers.
WOLF CHILDREN • TheWolfChildrenweregiven a newLithuanianorRussianidentity, and many forgottheirrealnames, originandmothertongue. TheSovietrulersdidnotallowtheadoptionofGermanchildren. Infearofgettingdeported to Siberia, thosewhoadoptedGermankidsprohibitedthem to speakGerman. Mostlythesechildrendidnotget a chance to go to schoolintheirnewcountryeither. • AfterLithuaniahadgotitsindependence, a groupofformerGermanwarrefugeesgatheredinKlaipedaandformed “Edelweiss – Wolfskinder” – theorganisationfortheWolfChildren – in 1992. The organisation counted about 250 members . Todaythere are lessthan a hundredGermanWolfChildrenleftinLithuania
WOLF CHILDREN • OnlyfewWolfChildrenreturned to Germany after 1991. ThosewhoremainedinLithuaniagotsupportfromtheGermanauthoritiesuntil 2005, whenLithuaniahadjoinedtheEuropeanUnion. Today (in 2007) theyreceiveLithuanianmonthlypensionsbetween €28 and €200.
LeftBehindinLithuania Thefrost-bitten,six-yearoldUweTritzcouldnotwalk, andbecame a burdenforhissister. Leftbehind, hegrewupunderharshconditionsinSoviet-occupiedLithuania. Today he is Bronius Dapkus, and he is thankful for his life.
„AM I MORE GERMAN OR LITHUANIAN?“ Erika Sauerbaum-KaziurieneisoneoftheoldestlivingGermanWolfChildreninLithuania. Shefeelscaughtbetweentwoworlds. Unlikemany otherWolfChildren, shealwaysknewshewasGerman, thatshewas Erika Sauerbaum.
„I AM LUISE QUITSH“ “Mother made me repeat the phrase ‘I am Luise Quitsch’ until I had learned it, and told me that I should say it to people I meet. I found it incredibly strange, because I was only ‘Luise’. Butmotherknewwhatwasgoing to happen”, saysthe 67-year oldwomen, whoistheleaderoftheorganisationfortheGermanWolfChildreninLithuania.