The events of WWII forced many Lithuanians to flee their country. Unable to return, over 10,000 came to Australia and of those 1,500 made South Australia their home. This is their history.
Monday, 30 November 2015
Book review - Lithuanians roots in American soil
I think I have read every autobiography concerning Australian Lithuanians, and so thought I would give an American Lithuanian story a read.
Lithuanian Roots in American Soil: A Memoir of the Barunas Familyby Audrone Barunas Willeke 2014
The story reads like so many of the DP's who fled the Soviet invasion at the end of WWII. The Barunas family, then consisting of Kazys, Jadvyga and baby Audrone left Lithuania in the summer of 1944. They expected to return home at the end of the war but instead had to move further west into war-ravaged Germany.
After miraculously surviving bombings and near starvation, they ended their flight in displaced persons' camps under American administration. In these camps three more children were born and a grandmother died.
Unable to return to communist-occupied Lithuania, they found the chance to start a new life when a helpful stranger invited them to the United States.
The book is compiled by Kazy's two daughters, using Kazys journal mixed with family memories written by Audrone. The book is well written, includes lots of photographs, and family details. It explains the historical time well giving the reader context. It evokes the emotions of the families loss, of homeland and family left behind, but also the thankfulness of a new life in a country and the opportunities that arose from migration.The Barunas family had close ties to the Lithuanian community, which helped them to feel a part of a community where otherwise one could easily not fit in anywhere.
It was interesting for me to read of how the family moved about as adults, all living in different locations.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and quickly read it, so I could learn the fate of the family. The sisters wrote the book mainly for their own family for those who no longer speak Lithuanian. I think they have given the family a fantastic legacy.
I purchased a new copy from the Book Depository for only $15.00.