By Aage Myhre, Editor-in-Chief Close to 50% of all Lithuanians live outside their home country as there through nearly 200 years has been wave after wave of emigration from Lithuania.
Below we present some stories from past and present describing how Lithuanians have emigrated or fled from their home country, and how they over the years have established themselves in various countries and cultures. I guess everyone knows this cliché Christmas song as well as many more others that talk about this special time of the year when everyone becomes just a little bit better, a little bit more understanding, more giving, less angry.
Oh, and we shouldn’t forget about the so called Christmas miracle.
When Lithuania again was a free country in the period 1918-1940, there was a small number, often intellectuals, who returned to their homeland.
Towards the end of WWII, when Stalin's Red Army was ab of the out to push Hitler Germany's troops back, there were hundreds of thousands who fled westward to avoid deportation to Siberia and similar abuse.
Many of those who remained in Lithuania when the Iron Curtain fell, were deported to the cold hell far east.
Tens of thousands were killed during the guerrilla warfare that raged in the Baltic region in the years 1944-1953 and later.
“I live in this city with a feeling that it does not belong to me and that I have only come here for a visit – as a human being, a poet and a Lithuanian.
In this respect Vilnius could be compared only to Jerusalem.
The Jews of Lithuania lived an intense Jewish life, and their role and influence in the major Jewish political and cultural movements were far greater than their numbers would have suggested.
Vilnius became a prominent international, intellectual centre.
Lithuania before Holocaust was a society of love, full of colourful life and warm interaction between people.