LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 33, No.3 - Fall 1987
Editor of this issue: Vilius L. Dundzila
Copyright © 1987 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
LITUANUS DATA BANK
* The Lithuanian Society of Science (Lietuvių mokslo draugija), the predecessor of several learned organizations including the currently operating, Vilnius-based Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, was founded 80 years ago. On March 25, 1907 96 charter members gathered in Vilnius to found the society, to adopt the by-laws and to elect the first president, Dr. Jonas Basanavičius.
* Dr. Raymond Viskanta, Professor of mechanical Engineering at Purdue University, has been elected to the National Academy of Engineering earlier this year. Dr. Viskanta is the first and, at this time, the only Lithuanian-American, holding membership in this most prestigious engineering organization in the U.S.
* Literary historian Viktoras Petkus, who is serving a 15 year sentence in Perm 36-1 Soviet labor camp, has had yet another manuscript confiscated from his cell, according to a report received by Lithuanian Information Center. The confiscated work is a literary encyclopedia on world writers, which Petkus is reported to have compiled, with official permission, during his years of imprisonment. Natan Shcharansky of Israel confirmed that Petkus began this work in 1978 when the both of them shared a cell in Chistopol prison.
* Part II of Miss Nijolė Sadūnaitė's memoirs has recently reached the West, reports the Lithuanian Information Center. The 88-page manuscript, written in longhand, details the trials and tribulations of the author, an outspoken Catholic activist who has been in hiding in the Soviet Union for the past five years to avoid a second arrest.
Virginia-based publisher Trinity Communications has already issued an English-language version of Ms. Sadūnaitė's memoirs.
HUMAN RIGHTS CONFERENCE IN LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
On March 21, 1987, the Sixth Annual Human Rights Conference, sponsored by the Baltic American Freedom League, took place in Los Angeles at the Ambassador Hotel. The aim of the conference was to continue exposing rights violations in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, to review new approaches and to record significant events in the human rights field.
The conference was opened by a verbatim reading of a report from the Lituanus Data Bank: Nils Melngailis' The Chautauqua Conference and its Meaning for the Baltic Cause, Lituanus, 1987, Vol. 33, No. 1, page 83 et seq. This session of the Conference took place in Jurmala, Latvia, and it was the first time that United States officials reaffirmed, on Baltic soil, the U.S. policy of not recognizing the illegal annexation of the Baltic States by the Soviet Union. Most of the proceedings were broadcast on Latvian television, thus opening briefly the media Iron Curtain for this event.
Dr. Tönu Parming, a visiting professor at the University of Toronto, addressed some conceptual issues of human rights. For instance, Or. Parming extended the human rights concept to the collective level. He pointed out that the very survival of small nations was in danger due to the saturation of the Baltic region with weapons and nuclear plants. The area militarily has become a target for NATO, a most undesirable position. On the positive side, the professor noted that access to the media has improved. A lot of factual and favorable material is being published.
Professor Charles A. Moser, chairman of the Department of Slavic Languages at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., author of books on anti-communist insurgency and publisher of "The Freedom Fighter" newsletter, reviewed the theory and practice of insurgency. Interestingly, the professor found that a lot of Mao's and Guevara's writings are applicable to anticommunist insurgency as well. He advocated a firm U.S. policy in support of qualifying freedom fighters anywhere in the world, very much like an "entitlement" program.
Dr. Guntis Silins, President of the Baltic National Federation of Canada, recounted "Baltic Activity in Canada" with a look at world-wide Baltic entente. Greater inter-Baltic cooperation is vital to the human rights cause, insisted Dr. Silins.
He also reported on the Canadian approach to the war criminals issue. After considerable public debate and hearings, the Canadian government has decided to try accused war criminals in Canada under Canadian rules of justice. This is in sharp distinction to the U.S. OSI which takes an administrative approach to punishment, without jury trial.
William J.H. Hough III, Law Clerk, New Hampshire Supreme Court provided an overview of the recent Council of Europe vote in favor of self-determination of the Baltic states. This council represents twenty-one European states. Mr. Hough also noted that a number of these states still have various valid treaties with the Baltic states and continue the policy of recognition of the independent Baltic republics.
In order to improve the human rights situation in general and to advance the cause of the Baltic republics, Mr. Hough made a number of suggestions. He suggests the creation of an International Trust for the Baltic States, which would be an umbrella organization for a number of specialized operational trusts or funds. Thus, one would be a Baltic Press Office for publishing and information purposes. Second, a Baltic Education Fund would provide educational grants to Baltic defectors and supply appropriate university departments with Baltic literature and speakers. Third, a Prisoner of Conscience Support Fund would aid such prisoners in the U.S.S.R. and those released from prisons. Fourth, a Baltic Historical and Cultural Fund would aid Baltic creativity inside and outside their countries to maintain archives, museums, etc. Finally, a Baltic Freedom Fund would be used for various political, legal and lobbying activities world-wide.
The International Trust itself should be located in London in order to avoid automatic association with superpower conflicts and to be closer to the occupied states themselves. Funding would naturally be a tall order. But, as Mr. Hough pointed out, the variety itself of the subsidiary units would facilitate access to specialized American funds.
The political-legal ramifications of the Baltic situation have been further explored by Mr. Hough in an article in the New York Law School Journal of International and Comparative Law, titled "The Annexation of the Baltic States and its Effect on the Development of Law Prohibiting Forcible Seizure of Territory," Vol. 6, No. 2, Winter 1985.
The individual presentations were followed by a panel discussion on Baltic Futures Last Decade of the Twentieth Century. The previous speakers were joined by Mr. S. A. Gečys, President of the Lithuanian-American Community of the U.S.A.
Tönu Parming and Guntis Silins largely agreed on a fairly positive view of the future: national identities are still strong, youth demonstrates and intellectuals speak out. Abroad, the Baltic question is now better known than years ago. For instance, the Toronto Star forecasts that one of the top three stories for 1987 will be "Visit of Pope in Lithuania." The need for greater Baltic cooperation was stressed.
Mr. Gečys also dwelled on the public opinion improvements in the Baltic situation. Some areas where the Baltic issue is in a much stronger position than a few years ago include an ad hoc commission of Congress on the Baltic states; European democracies come out in favor of Baltic self-determination; the non-recognition policy is alive and well; the U.S. government agrees to provide for replacement of diplomatic personnel; annual Baltic freedom resolution in Congress; major corrections achieved in the Britannica, and so forth. In conclusion, Mr. Gečys assured the audience that the Baltic organizations will streamline their operations and expedite information to the media. He also insisted that all holocausts belong in the proposed Holocaust Museum in Washington.
The banquet keynote speaker was James M. Montgomery, Senior Assistant Secretary for Human Rights at the Department of State. His subject was "Non-recognition Policy of the United States," with particular attention to the interaction of human rights and diplomacy and how policy conflicts are being worked out.
Mr Montgomery stated that human rights are indeed in bad shape in the Soviet Union and also affirmed that "we will never recognize the unlawful situation" in the Baltic states. And he noted a changed diplomatic circumstance: till the late 1950s, human rights were not even mentioned in diplomatic agendas.
Three issues are paramount, continued Mr. Montgomery: one nuclear survival; two how do the regimes we deal with treat human rights; three trade. Addressing the second issue, we may ask how did human rights come into focus in about 1960? Foreign aid, then and now, has been extensive. The taxpayer asks, what kind of people are we supporting? This question had its impact on our Congress. By law, we now must report once a year to Congress what is the human rights position in countries that we help. Even our allies are checked, and it is an' accepted part of dealing with the U.S.S.R.
Various approaches are taken, from quiet diplomacy to public diplomacy which involves speaking out and refusing to approve human rights violations. Coming back to the non-recognition policy, Mr. Montgomery noted a need for consistency and credibility. Questioners from the floor brought up, for instance, the inconsistency in imposing sanctions on South Africa when none are imposed on the U.S.S.R. Another inconsistency was brought up between the Departments of State and Justice. Equality of Soviet and U.S. justice is now implied in the OSI procedures, a real problem for the U.S.
Mr. Montgomery responded by noting that the U.S. continues to maintain diplomatic relations with the three republics in the absence of regular ministers; government does not permit cabinet level officers to visit the Baltic states and does not aquiesce to the situation. Mr. Montgomery concluded his remarks by promising to take these problems back to Washington with him.
April 11, 1987
ASSIMILATING SMALL NATIONS
According to Juhan Kahk, Academic Secretary at the Social Sciences Department of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, ethnosociological studies started in Estonia in 1965. The results were published in 1974 only. A. Roosson, sociologist at the Historical Institute of the same academy, who studies bi-ethnic families in Soviet-occupied Estonia, has arrived at the following conclusions:
"Bi-ethnic families constituted 14 percent of the total number of families in Estonia in 1970. In Tallinn, the percentage was significantly higher: In 1965, 23.3 percent of all marriages registered in Tallinn were mixed marriages, and 29.1 percent in 1975. The percentage of marriages among Estonians in Tallinn decreases: In 1965 it was still 54 percent, in 1970 47 percent and in 1975 40 percent. Young couples where one partner is an Estonian, were in 1965 - 11 percent, in 1970 - 9.2 percent, and in 1975 - 8.8 percent of all couples married in Tallinn."
E.. Richter, a researcher at the Historical Institute, collected data on 100 bi-ethnic families in Tallinn and remarks:
"In 70 percent of these families, the children learn from early childhood to speak freely both the Estonian and Russian languages. Of the Russian parents, 60 percent had acquired knowledge of Estonian to some degree. One half of the children attended Russian-language schools, the other half went to Estonian schools. Sixty-five percent of the children considered themselves Estonians. Of those attending Estonian schools, 85 percent of those interviewed considered themselves Estonians; of those studying at Russian schools, 40 percent felt they were Estonians and 37 percent said they were Russians."
J. Kahk terms this mix of different cultures with a bi-ethnic background "creative re-processing".
("Reports on Communist Activities in Eastern Europe", Vol. 41, No. 529/530, August, 1986)
THE NATIONAL LITHUANIAN LIBRARY OF BALTIMORE
Danutė S. Harmon, Ph, D.1
The first Lithuanian library in Baltimore was founded on September 28, 1891, by Lietuvių Mokslo Draugystė (The Society of Lithuanian Studies). Later, various organizations founded their own small libraries.
Six of these Saint Casimir, Saint George, Saint Isidore, Saint John, Mindaugas, and Simanas Kudirka joined and on April 6, 1908 incorporated as the National Lithuanian Library Association of Baltimore City (hereafter referred to as the Library). The executors of the document (S.C.L. No. 48, Folio 336) were Kazys Baltrušaitis, Antanas Karalius, K. Widman, Antanas Mandranickis and Antanas Žalnieraitis. The above organizations paid yearly dues, and their representatives comprised the administrative body of the Library.
From 1908 to 1910, the Library was in the basement of a church at Paca Street, and for the next seven years it occupied rented space at 112 N. Green Street. From 1917 to the present, it is located at the Lithuanian House at 853 Hollins Street, Baltimore, Maryland, where it enjoys a rent-free room.
The 1908 by-laws of the Library were drawn up on four hand-written pages and signed by the president, secretary, and treasurer. In summary they outline the following:
I. Its name and purpose to provide for public use Lithuanian books and periodicals of general interest, without promoting any given party, principles or scientific theories. The books, newspapers, and periodicals shall encompass subjects of all branches of literature, drama, history, music, natural sciences, biography, spiritual writings, sociology, politics, economics and medicine, including textbooks (Rakvedzei).
II. The administrative body is made up of two representatives each from every Lithuanian organization which pays yearly dues; in case of withdrawal, dues and gifts are not returnable. The representatives shall be persons of integrity, with a love for truth, virtue and enlightenment. Representatives of a fanatical bent who are interested only in promoting their own party, theories or principles, can be dismissed by a majority vote. The representatives elect from among themselves the president, secretary, treasurer, two trustees and a librarian. The president chairs the executive committee meetings and oversees the discharge of duties by other officers. The secretary is in charge of the minutes. The treasurer is responsible for all incoming and outgoing funds as decided by the administration and approved by the president and secretary. The trustees are charged with assuring that the treasurer and librarian are bonded as set forth by the administration; they are also responsible for the general state of the treasury. The librarian is responsible for cataloguing, lending and returning books and is to be in attendance during hours designated by the administration.
At least once a year, the administration shall designate several solicitors to visit Lithuanian homes for donations to the Library. For the same purpose the administration shall organize picnics, theatrical presentations, lectures and so on. All financial income shall be directed solely for the maintenance, expansion and improvement of the Library. III. The Library shall be available to all Lithuanians. They shall behave quietly and not talk among themselves; otherwise, they shall be asked to leave. All Library users shall obtain a card at the cost of twenty-five cents. Books shall be checked out for one month; those overdue shall be assessed two cents per day. No book shall be taken out without a valid library card. If desired, a book can be renewed beyond one month. The readers shall not abuse the books on loan; otherwise, they shall be charged according to the book's value. Readers shall not have foisted upon them ("Skaitytojams netur būt brukamos ...") unwanted books and publications. The librarian shall abstain from criticizing or praising any book or publication while in the reading room.
These by-laws cannot be amended as long as five members of the administration oppose it.
One cannot help but admire the endeavor of this avant-garde in its nurture of Lithuanian culture and studies. It is clear that responsibility, discipline and order were applied equally to members of the executive committee, organization representatives, and the reading public.
The Library flourished into the 1950s to judge from a perusal of minutes, annual reports and other documents.
In 1909, it carried the following newspapers: Vienybė Lietuvininkų (Lithuanians United), Keleivis (The Traveler), Darbininkų Viltis (Hope of the Working Class), Vilniaus Žinios (Vilnius News), Lietuvių Žinios (Lithuanian News), and Draugija (Society).
In 1919, the following publications were added: Amerikos Lietuvis (The American Lithuanian), Dirva, Lietuva (Lithuania), Laisvė (Freedom); in 1920: Naujienos (The News), Sandara (Unity), Kardas (The Sword), Draugas (The Friend), and Proletaras; in 1921 Artojas (The Plowman), Garsas (The Sound); in 1922: Vanagas (The Hawk); in 1924: Darbininkas (The Worker), Lietuvos Ūkininkas (The Lithuanian Farmer), and Socialdemokratas (The Socialdemocrat).
Of all the above newspapers, there is presently a complete set of the 1909 issues of Draugija and partial sets of it for the years 1910-1912. All other newspapers are unaccounted for. The readership rose from 149 in 1908 to 268 two years later.
During that same period, the following organizations had representatives in the administrative body of the Library: Koperniko Draugija (Copernicus Society), Centras Bažnytinių Draugysčių (Center of Church Groups), Baltimorės Lietuvių Teatro Mylėtojų Draugija, (Amateur Theater Group of Baltimore Lithuanians), Tėvynės Mylėtojų Draugija (The Patriots), Lietuvių Socialistų Sąjungos 14-ta kuopa (the Lithuanian Socialist Union, Chapter 14), Trijų Draugų Centras (Center of Three Friends), and Lietuvių Balandžių Draugija (the Lithuanian Dove Society). The Lithuanian Democratic Club and the Lithuanian Republican Club are represented between 1919 and 1924, as well as two organizations with communistic tendencies Lietuvių Darbininkų Literatūros Draugija (the Lithuanian Workers' Literary Society), and Lietuvių Moterų Pažangaus Susivienijimo Amerikoje (the Lithuanian Women's Progressive Union in America).
It is interesting to note that in 1921 the Lithuanian Dove Society donated four shares of the Lithuanian House Association to the Library valued at $100.00. Other donations were in the form of books by individuals and societies.
World events were reflected in newly formed organizations with representatives to the Library, such as: Kareivių Motinos, (Mothers of Soldiers), 1946; the Lithuanian Post of the American Legion, 1947; Tremtinių Draugija (the Society of Exiles) 1949; Lietuvių Veteranų Sąjunga Ramovė (the Lithuanian Veterans' Organization Ramovė) 1955; and youth organizations, such as Ateitininkai and Scouts.
At its 50th anniversary, the following organizations had representatives on the Library's administrative board: Amerikos Lietuvių Atletų Klubas (Lithuanian American Athletic Club), Ateitininkai, Studentų Sąjungos Baltimorės skyrius (the Baltimore chapter of the Student Association), Mindaugo-Kęstučio Draugija (these two organizations had merged in 1958), Lietuvių Moterų Piliečių Klubas (Lithuanian Women Citizens Club), Lietuvių Siuvėjų Jungtinės Unijos 218 skyrius (Lithuanian Garment Workers' Union, chapter 218), Lietuvių Namų Bendrovė (the Lithuanian House Association), Amerikos Lietuvių Bendruomenės skyrius (American Lithuanian Community chapter), Ramovė and Susivienijimo Lietuvių Amerikoje kuopa (Lithuanians United in America, chapter).
Nevertheless, the Library's activities decreased, and the former organizational discipline and order eroded. One may speculate that it was due to the inevitability of aging members and their diminishing energies, as well as to the disintegration and actual disappearance of some of the organizations which were its basic financial support. Thus, there was also a decline in readership.
The new immigrant wave of post-World II kindled the hope of a renewed cultural contribution and continuation of the Library's work within the community. Some of these hopes were realized, but on a small scale. The new immigrants were inevitably beset by the mundane concerns of day-to-day life, not to mention the time and energy-consuming adjustment to a new socio-cultural environment.
Nevertheless, a new phase began when at least four new immigrants became interested in and involved with the Library; they were Algirdas Leonas, Matas Brazauskas (both now deceased), Kazys Bradūnas and Juozas Auštrą. They were received by the old guard with mixed feelings joyous and skeptical. K. Bradūnas undertook the task of librarian, while the others, together with Dr. Želvis of the old administration, undertook the task of selecting and purchasing new books and the general management of the Library and its finances. The executive committee was comprised of Martynas Raila, president; Dr. Želvis, vice-president; T. Matuliauskienė, secretary; and Matuliauskas, treasurer. Mr. and Mrs. Matuliauskas were among the most steadfastly loyal and devloted to the Library, having spent respectively thirty-nine years as treasurer and thirty-six years as secretary in its administration. Mr. Raila was active in this endeavor for thirty-two years. All are now deceased.
The basic income for administering the Library was derived from annual dues of $5.00 per organization. Obviously, this was insufficient as well as unpredictable, since there appears to have been a constant flux as to the number of organizations participating in the administration of the Library. Thus, there was a long-standing tradition of fund-raising, but decidedly on a modest scale, such as raffles, which would net on the average a couple of hundred dollars. The number of books bought depended on these modest resources. The first attempt at a larger fund-raising even was undertaken in 1958 to celebrate the Library's 50th anniversary. While the event was well received by the Lithuanian community, it nevertheless put the Library in the red for $1.35. (sic) As is often the case with Lithuanians, they consider the principle, rather than the financial gain, as paramount.
There follows a hiatus in the Library's activities from 1963 to 1967. There are no recorded minutes for that period, but the Library remained open through the devotion and unrelenting efforts of Morkus Šimkus, editor of Laisvoji Lietuva (The Free Lithuania) since 1981. He initiated a reorganizing meeting on April 4, 1971, attended by representatives of nine organizations who elected a new board.
A period of renewed activity began. Fund-raising dinners and lotteries helped cancel the Library's debts and the treasury was enriched. Nadas Rastenis, the poet, organized a commemoration of Vincas Nagranovskis (1869-1939), the dramatist and Lithuanian patriot.
At present, the Library's financial situation, although modest, is nevertheless sound. More importantly, it holds over 2,000 Lithuanian books, some of them very likely unique and rare.
Lituanus readers are invited to visit the Lithuanian National Library of Baltimore, 853 Hollins Street, Baltimore, Maryland.
Since 1986, Lituanus has been taped on audio cassettes for the blind and the disabled.
If you know of someone who would benefit from listening to Lituanus articles, why not send them a subscription to Lituanus audio cassettes?
For $20 a year, we will send four taped and printed issues of Lituanus to the address designated by you.
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1 This article is based on a translated overview of an address by Mrs. Genovaitė Auštrienė to the Lithuanian Women's Club of Washington, D.C., on March 9, 1986.