Dalia Grinkevičiūtė was 14 years old when in June 1941 she was deported by the Soviets from her hometown of Kaunas with her mother and siblings. They stayed in the Altai Krai for a year, but as soon as they managed to acclimate, the Lithuanians were transported even further, to the most difficult conditions possible: beyond the Arctic Circle.
They ended up on Trofimovsk Island at the mouth of the Lena River to the Arctic Ocean, where extreme conditions prevail for half a year: polar night, frost, snow storms. Slave work, hunger and living in underheated barracks covered with snow — few survived the first winter.
After being taken to Yakutia, where Dalia was allowed to study, she fled to Lithuania — she was again deported deep into the Soviet Union.
After her final return to the hometown of Kaunas, Grinkevičiūtė trained as a doctor. She wrote down her memories and buried them in a jar in the garden. Later she was unable to find them, so she wrote them again. The original manuscript was found after the author’s death.
The Polish edition contains both texts — the first one is full of emotions and dramatic descriptions. The second one shows efforts to provide posterity with as much information as possible about people, who were companions in misery.
As part of the meeting about this book — on Monday, June 19, 2023 at 5:00 p.m. — the discussion about deportations as a tool of repression against entire nations will be attended by historians from the Sybir Memorial Museum and guests from Lithuania: the book’s translator and journalist Vytenė Saunoriūtė-Muschick and the director of the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania, Arūnas Bubnys, PhD.
It will also be possible to purchase the book “Lithuanians by the Laptev Sea” published by the College of Eastern Europe.
Free attendance – you’re welcome!