Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture

The Balzekas Museum sincerely thanks the following donors for their generous support of the "Hope & Spirit" series: Mr. & Mrs. Joseph X. Grassi - $500.00 ....... Paul Yakaitis - $500.00 ........ Tadas Stomma - In Memory of My Grandfathers: General Vytautas Stomma and Donatas Malinauskas...... Juratė Kazickas - $250.00 ....... Christopher, Marta, Emilia & Olivija Batus $200 - plus Matching Grant from Peoples Gas - In Memory of Magdalena Linionis, Salomeja Popiera, Justyns Popiera, Petras Popiera--"They all survived. They were exiled on 2/18/1946." ....... Sarunas Valiukenas - $200.00 - In Memory of Antanas Valiukena ....... Rūta Lee - $200.00 - In Memory of the Kamandulis Family ....... Joseph & Jenny Daubenas-Dubickas - $200 - In memory of deported from Vilkaviškis and all Lithuania ....... Mr. & Mrs. Viktoras Petroliunas $112.35 - In Memory of Jonas Ciplijauskas ....... Jorge & Violeta Abad - $100.0 - In Memory of deceased Abramikis Family members ....... Abdon J. Bray - $100.00 - In Memory of Joseph & Antoinete Brazaitis ....... Arlene Burkowski & Marion Gillen - $100.00-In Memory of Anna & Walter Burkowski ....... Robert Gawryla - $100.00 - In Memory of Norbutas Family Michael P. Lukas - $100.00 - In Memory of Ieva Lukosiute ....... Irene MacLeod - $100.00 In Memory of Magdalena & Walter (Vladas) Bubnis & Alaveckis Families ....... Christina McDonald - $100.00 ....... Katherine Mikals - $100.00 - In Memory of Barth A. Mikals ....... Saulius Modestas & Robin Harris - $100.00 - In Memory of Pranas & Matilda Cesas ....... Thaddeus Navickas - $100.00 - In Memory of My Uncle's Family of Five persons ....... Patricia Nelia Paulauskas - $100.00 ....... Mr. & Mrs. Donald A. Petkus - $100.00 - In Memory of Tom & Adele Petkus ....... Joana Rachus Metteucci - $100.00 - In Memory of Joseph & Rosalie Rachus ....... Irena Raulinaitis - $100.00 ....... Bertha E. Rychlik - $100.00 - In Memory of Catherine Gelzinis - her Mother ....... Gerry & Mary Sharko - $100.00 ....... Donald L. Singletary - $100.00 - In Memory of "Mother & Grandparents" ....... Enata Skrupskelis - $100.00 - In Memory of "Father Dr. Ignas Skrupskelis, who died in the Pechora labor Camp system, Komi Republic, Soviet Union, sometime in Early 1943." ....... Rasa Valaitis - $100.00 - Generolo Jono Sutkus ir šeima ....... Marie Vanagas - $100.00 - In Memory of Vytautas Vanagas ....... Eugene Willis - $100.00 - In Memory of Uzdrevaitis/Vilis Families ....... Richard Slicko - $100.00 - In Memory of Frank and Ruth Slicko ....... Chester Lawrence - $100.00 - In Memory of Pranciskus Mumgaudis .......Thomas M. and Juliann L. Slicko - $75.00 - In Memory of Frank and Ruth Slicko ....... Michele Richards - $75.00 ....... Julie & Mark Vickers - In Honor of Mary Krauchunas's birthday ....... Barbara Mankus - $60.00 - In Memory of "June Mankus Hill, daughter of the late Stanley & Julia (former Women's Guild member) Mankus" ....... Liuda Butikas - $50.00 - In Memory of George Butikas ....... Rose Marie & Andre Gouin - $50.00 - In Memory of Sophia (Wasni) & Warner Grandaw ....... James L. Govan - $50.00 - In Memory of Mr. & Mrs. Michael Dudonis ....... Albin O. Hoffman - $50.00 ....... Grazina Kenter - $50.00 ....... Walter Klosis - $50.00 ....... Edward J. Kozich - $50.00 - In Honor of All Lithuanians ....... Dr. Michael J. Kudlas - $50.00 - In Memory of Kudialas Family ....... Algirdas & Aldona Leskys - $50.00 - In Memory of Jonas Malisauskas ....... Otto & Barbara Listing - $50.00 - In Memory of Elizabeth Burges Backwick ....... Jim & Dolores Merica - $50.00 - In Memory of The Katauskas Family ....... Aldona & Norbert Miloch - $50.00 - In Memory of Simkus & Alisauskis Families ....... Dale Vaikutyte Murray - $50.00 - In Memory of Petras, Elzbieta, Jonas & Aldona Poska ....... Anne Pridala - $50.00 - In Memory of Deceased Members of William Stankevick Family ....... John Roland - $50.00 - In Memory of Adele Roland ....... Helen Stanickas - $50.00 ....... Robert M. Pine - $50.00 - In Memory of Edvardas Punkevicius ....... Mary Byington - $50 - In Memory of Frank and Ruth Slicko ....... Diane Rockall - $50.00 - In Memory of Charles and Margaret Dunn .......Donna Donovan - $50.00 - In Memory of Stephany Pivarunas .......William T. Kvetas, Jr. $50.00 - In Memory of Matthew, Sigitas and Gražina Kvietkauskas ....... Joseph J. Blazys - $30.00 - In Memory of Deported Lithuanians ....... Dalia Briedyte Stonys - $25.00 - In Memory of Juozas Briedis - Grandfather ....... Vito Belauskas - $25.00 - In Memory of Belauskas Family ....... Eleanor T. Davis - $25.00 ....... Christine Henning - $25.00 - In Memory of Dorothy Petroskey ....... George I. Kolosov - $25.00 ....... Laura Manzari - $25.00 ....... Mike McNamara - $25.00 - In Memory of Thomas Tunstall ....... Mary Ann Mott - $25.00 - In Memory of Alice Gregory Gergorluna ....... Beverly J. Murer - $25.00 - In Memory of Kleophas Iwanowski ....... W. Daniel Sable - $25.00 - In Memory of My Parents ....... Frances Slutas - $25.00 ....... Edwin Lenhardt - $25.00 - In Memory of Frank and Ruth Slicko ....... Diana Luellen - $25.00 - In Memory of Maternal Grandparents Jonas and Elizabeth Galinaitis Lizdas .......Joseph Jakubauskas - $25.00 ........ Edward Janulionis - $25.00 In Memory of all the Lithuanian Deportees to the USSR ....... Jean Banys - $20.00 - In Memory of Albin K. Banys ....... Anna Conner - $20.00 ....... Linda Gray - $20.00 - In Memory of Aldona Owens ....... Norene Lacho - $20.00 - In Memory of Andrew & Constancia Valavicius ....... Elizabeth Pazerunas - $20.00 - In Memory of Juozas Pazerunas ....... Rosemary Sedowski - $20.00 - In Memory of Sophie, John & Frances Sedowski ....... Jeanne Sigman - $20.00 - In Memory of Tekle Norbut ....... David Yodhes - $20.00 ....... Frank J. Rutkoski - $15.00 - In Memory of Lee Zukauskas ....... Jason Baltutis - $10.00 - In Memory of Algird Baltutis - Grandfather ....... Aldona Buntinas - $10.00 ....... Genovaite Korsakas - $10.00 - In Memory of Benediktas Marma ....... Viktoras Motusis - $10.00 - In Memory of Kazimieras Balsaitis ....... S.M. Bernice Petrauskas, OSF - $10.00 ....... Jonas Vazbys - $10.00 ..... Tony Macevicius - $5.00 ...... If you would like to make a donation to the "Hope & Spirit", please see donation information below.
  • BALZEKAS MUSEUM OF LITHUANIAN CULTURE

  • 6500 S. PULASKI ROAD
    CHICAGO, IL 60629
  • TEL.: 773.582.6500
  • FAX:773.582.5133
  • info@balzekasmuseum.org
  • Open 10 AM - 4 PM daily
  • Except Christmas, Easter &
    New Year's Day
  • Directions

Ačiū - Thank you!

Thank you to all of the donors and sponsors who generously contributed to the Hope & Spirit series.

  • Mr. & Mrs. Joseph X. Grassi - $500.00
  • Paul Yakaitis - $500.00
  • Juratė Kazickas - $250.00
  • Christopher, Marta, Emilia & Olivija Batus $200 - plus Matching Grant from Peoples Gas - In Memory of Magdalena Linionis, Salomeja Popiera, Justyns Popiera, Petras Popiera--"They all survived. They were exiled on 2/18/1946."
  • Sarunas Valiukenas - $200.00
    In Memory of Antanas Valiukena
  • Mr. & Mrs. Viktoras Petroliunas $112.35
    In Memory of Jonas Ciplijauskas
  • Jorge & Violeta Abad - $100.0
    In Memory of deceased Abramikis Family members
  • Abdon J. Bray - $100.00
    In Memory of Joseph & Antoinete Brazaitis
  • Arlene Burkowski & Marion Gillen - $100.00-
    In Memory of Anna & Walter Burkowski
  • Robert Gawryla - $100.00 -
    In Memory of Norbutas Family
  • Michael P. Lukas - $100.00 -
    In Memory of Ieva Lukosiute
  • Irene MacLeod - $100.00
    In Memory of Magdalena & Walter (Vladas) Bubnis & Alaveckis Families
  • Christina McDonald - $100.00
  • Katherine Mikals - $100.00 -
    In Memory of Barth A. Mikals
  • Saulius Modestas & Robin Harris - $100.00 - In Memory of Pranas & Matilda Cesas
  • Thaddeus Navickas - $100.00 - In Memory of My Uncle's Family of Five persons
  • Patricia Nelia Paulauskas - $100.00
  • Mr. & Mrs. Donald A. Petkus - $100.00
    In Memory of Tom & Adele Petkus
  • Joana Rachus Metteucci - $100.00 - In Memory of Joseph & Rosalie Rachus
  • Irena Raulinaitis - $100.00
  • Bertha E. Rychlik - $100.00 -
    In Memory of Catherine Gelzinis - her Mother
  • Gerry & Mary Sharko - $100.00
  • Donald L. Singletary - $100.00 - In Memory of "Mother & Grandparents"
  • Enata Skrupskelis - $100.00 -
    In Memory of "Father Dr. Ignas Skrupskelis, who died in the Pechora labor Camp system, Komi Republic, Soviet Union, sometime in Early 1943."
  • Rasa Valaitis - $100.00 - Generolo Jono Sutkus ir šeima
  • Marie Vanagas - $100.00
    In Memory of Vytautas Vanagas
  • Eugene Willis - $100.00
    In Memory of Uzdrevaitis/Vilis Families
  • Michele Richards - $75.00
  • Barbara Mankus - $60.00 - In Memory of "June Mankus Hill, daughter of the late Stanley & Julia (former Women's Guild member) Mankus"
  • Liuda Butikas - $50.00 - In Memory of George Butikas
  • Rose Marie & Andre Gouin - $50.00 - In Memory of Sophia (Wasni) & Warner Grandaw
  • James L. Govan - $50.00 - In Memory of Mr. & Mrs. Michael Dudonis
  • Albin O. Hoffman - $50.00
  • Grazina Kenter - $50.00
  • Walter Klosis - $50.00
  • Edward J. Kozich - $50.00 - In Honor of All Lithuanians
  • Dr. Michael J. Kudlas - $50.00 - In Memory of Kudialas Family
  • Algirdas & Aldona Leskys - $50.00
    In Memory of Jonas Malisauskas
  • Otto & Barbara Listing - $50.00 - In Memory of Elizabeth Burges Backwick
  • Jim & Dolores Merica - $50.00 - In Memory of The Katauskas Family
  • Aldona & Norbert Miloch - $50.00 - In Memory of Simkus & Alisauskis Families
  • Dale Vaikutyte Murray - $50.00 - In Memory of Petras, Elzbieta, Jonas & Aldona Poska
  • Anne Pridala - $50.00 - In Memory of Deceased members of William Stankevick Family
  • John Roland - $50.00 - In Memory of Adele Roland
  • Helen Stanickas - $50.00
  • Robert M. Pine - $50.00 - In Memory of Edvardas Punkevicius
  • Joseph J. Blazys - $30.00 - In Memory of Deported Lithuanians
  • Dalia Briedyte Stonys - $25.00 - In Memory of Juozas Briedis - Grandfather
  • Vito Belauskas - $25.00 - In Memory of Belauskas Family
  • Eleanor T. Davis - $25.00
  • Christine Henning - $25.00 - In Memory of Dorothy Petroskey
  • George I. Kolosov - $25.00
  • Laura Manzari - $25.00
  • Mike McNamara - $25.00 - In Memory of Thomas Tunstall
  • Mary Ann Mott - $25.00
    In Memory of Alice Gregory Gergorluna
  • Beverly J. Murer - $25.00 - In Memory of Kleophas Iwanowski
  • W. Daniel Sable - $25.00 - In Memory of My Parents
  • Frances Slutas - $25.00
  • Jean Banys - $20.00 - In Memory of Albin K. Banys
  • Anna Conner - $20.00
  • Linda Gray - $20.00 - In Memory of Aldona Owens
  • Norene Lacho - $20.00 - In Memory of Andrew & Constancia Valavicius
  • Elizabeth Pazerunas - $20.00
    In Memory of Juozas Pazerunas
  • Rosemary Sedowski - $20.00 - In Memory of Sophie, John & Frances Sedowski
  • Jeanne Sigman - $20.00 - In Memory of Tekle Norbut
  • David Yodhes - $20.00
  • Frank J. Rutkoski - $15.00 - In Memory of Lee Zukauskas
  • Jason Baltutis - $10.00 - In Memory of Algird Baltutis - Grandfather
  • Aldona Buntinas - $10.00
  • Genovaite Korsakas - $10.00 - In Memory of Benediktas Marma
  • Viktoras Motusis - $10.00 - In Memory of Kazimieras Balsaitis
  • S.M. Bernice Petrauskas, OSF - $10.00
  • Tony Macevicius - $5.00

The Hope & Spirit series was partially supported by grants from these institutions:

The Balzekas Museum gratefully acknowledges these funding organizations for their generous support.


Balzekas Museum's Hope & Spirit series page and resources to remain online indefinitely


Hope & Spirit Exhibition - Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture
Hope & Spirit, a yearlong series of exhibits, programs and events marking the 70th anniversary of the start of Soviet deportations of Lithuanians to Siberia, has officially closed at the Balzekas Museum. The Balzekas Museum is pleased to announce the Chronicle of Violence exhibit, a comprehensive overview of Soviet deportations, including photographs, documents, and other information prepared by the Museum of Genocide Victims, Vilnius, Llithuania, is now on permanent display on the Balzekas Museum's main floor. This Hope & Spirit web page will remain indefinitely on the museum's web site as a resource for visitors, educators, and students who wish to learn more about Soviet deportations to Siberia.

History of Soviet Deportations from Lithuania

From 1940 to 1953, more than 132,000 Lithuanians were deported to remote areas of the USSR including Siberia, the Arctic Circle zone and Central Asia. More than 70 percent of the deportees were women and children. By the end of the deportations, some 30,000 Lithuanians had died as a result of slave work and starvation. Another 50,000 never returned to Lithuania. During this same period, another 200,000 people were thrown into prisons. More than 150,000 were sent to Gulags, the name for USSR network of concentration camps, situated mostly in Siberia. [GULag is the abbreviation for Chief Administration of Corrective Labor Camps and Colonies, Гла́вное управле́ние исправи́тельно-трудовы́х лагере́й и коло́ний in Russian.]

Featured books are
available through
the Museum's Online
Gift Shop
Books on Siberian Deportations available through the online giftshop

The first mass deportation began the night of June 14, 1941, after the Soviet Union invaded Lithuania in World War II. Thousands of unsuspecting people were awakened from their sleep and ordered to leave their homes immediately. Most failed to take anything with them. Crammed into cattle cars, women, the elderly and children were sent to remote villages where they were required to do hard labor; the heads of families were sent to remote prisons and camps, as far north as the Arctic Circle and as far east as the Bering Sea. In that first week, more than 18,000 Lithuanian people were deported. The number would have been even greater had the war between Germany and Russia not started on June 22, 1944. Deportations resumed at the end of World War II, when Lithuania was again occupied by the Soviet Red Army and continued until Stalin's death. The Gulag prison system continued to operate until the fall of the Soviet empire. Many prisoners of conscience, who objected to Soviet human rights violations, were sentenced to terms in Soviet prisons together with common criminals.


Hope & Spirit Events

Below is a summary of the events that comprised the Hope & Spirit series on Soviet deportations from Lithuania to Siberia and other remote regions of the former Soviet Union. The series opened on June 18, 2011. Initially the series was scheduled to end in the fall of 2011. Due to its popularity, series organizers decided to extended the series through the end of April, 2012. Speakers, exhibits, performances, and other events on the subject of deportations were added.

Hope & Spirit Exhibit Opening, June 18, 2011

At the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, Chicago

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The Gulag tradition continues today
Report surface of North Korean forced labor camps on Russian soil

Currently North Korea maintains forced labor camps on its own territory (The National Post, April, 2012) and in Russia. A 2011 US US Embassy report on human trafficking in Russia states: "There are reports of many men and women from North Korea subjected to conditions of forced labor in the logging industry in the Russian Far East." More than 150,000 political prisoners are incarcerated in North Korean Gulags, according to recent (4/2012) articles in the Economist and the Catholic Online. The existence of North Korean forced labor camps on Russian soil is corroborated in a Vice.tv documentary by reporter Shane Smith: "Siberian Slaves: Sneaking into North Korea's Secret Russian Labor Camp" (Caution: Language in this video may not be suitable for all audiences.)

VIDEOS


Hope & Spirit Opening
June 18, 2011 at the BMLC

Letters to Siberia - I

Letters to Siberia - II

Letters to Siberia - III

Letters to Siberia - IV

Juozas Kazlauskas

Elena Juciūtė: A Woman in a Hard Labor Gulag


Photograph by Juozas Kazlauskas - The graves of deported children are exhumed in Jakutija, 1989The Hope & Spirit series is dedicated to the hundreds of thousands of Lithuanians and the millions of people from all Soviet-occupied nations--of all ages, religions, nationalities and races--who suffered persecution once, through forced exile, imprisonment, torture and genocide, and again, through the denial, minimization and suppression of their victimization and suffering.
Audrius Plioplys MD
The Balzekas Museum gratefully acknowledges Dr. Audrius Plioplys—the Hope & Spirit project creator and curator— for his initiative, artistic vision, leadership and generosity in bringing this series into being and for his dedication to ensuring the people and events it commemorates are never forgotten. Dr. Plioplys was awarded the 2011 Balzekas Museum Award of Excellence for his many career accomp-lishments and tireless commitment to preserving the memory of deportees and deportations. Read more ...

Letters from Siberia

A letter and photograph of the Sukys familyThe Hope & Spirit exhibit includes letters written by deportees to relatives abroad. Even though letters to and from the Soviet Union were sensored, they nevertheless reveal glimpses into the day-to-day lives, concerns, and hardships of the deportees. Curator Dr. Audrius Plioplys scanned and researched the letters and writes about several of them on his blog: www.plioplys.com.

St. Rita High School

On March 27, 2012 Dr. Plioplys presented "Letters from Siberia" a lecture and slideshow to the students and staff of St. Rita high school in Chicago. His presentation was broadcast to Augustinian schools nationwide. Watch the presentation >>>


Hope & Spirit Virtual Tour

To advance through the tour simply move your mouse or cursor in the direction in which you would like to proceed until a small arrow appears. Then click the arrow to move in that direction.Virtual Tour Link

The Hope & Spirit virtual tour produced and provided by Dr. Audrius Plioplys.

Shedding new light on history

Writer Ruta Sepetys's critically acclaimed, international best seller Between Shades of Gray (Philomel, 2011) has singlehandedly brought worldwide attention to the victims of Soviet deportations to Siberia. Sepetys spoke at the final Hope & Spirit event on April 28, 2012.

Hope & Spirit in the Press

Educational Resources:

Soviet Deportations from Other Countries

Hope & Spirit Featured Films

ADDITIONAL ACKNOWLEDGMENTS:

The Balzekas Museum is grateful to the following individuals, organizations and institutions for their contributions, support and assistance with the Hope & Spirit series:
  • The 52 children from the United States and Canada who submitted artwork to the Hope & Spirit: What my parents told me about deportations and life in Siberia children’s art exhibition and the teachers, parents and grandparents who educated the children about deportations and encouraged them to create their artwork
  • Mrs. Irena Šapkutė-Valaitienė, Mrs. D. Karužienė, Kestutis Keparutis, and Rimas Mackevičius for sharing their stories and personal artifacts
  • The Lithuanian Youth Council (Lijot), organizer of the Misija Sibiras/Mission Siberia project for providing documentary films and photographs of the expeditions
  • Gintautas Alekna and Lemtis for providing documentary films about the deportations to the Soviet Gulag and the experiences of the deportees
  • Lithuanian Film Studio Monoklis for providing director Giedrė Beinoriūtė’s Gyveno Senelis ir Bobutė / Grandpa and Grandma
  • Paulius Mieželis, Misija Sibiras ’10 participant
  • Mr. Jonas Variakojis, President, Lithuanian Philatelic Society
  • Dr. Augustinas Idzelis, President, Ms. Kristina Lapienytė, Executive Director, and Ms. Skirmantė Miglinienė, ArchivesDirector, of the Lithuanian Research and Studies Center, Chicago, Illinois, for their assistance and loan of archival materials
  • The Museum of Genocide Victims, Vilnius, Lithuania
  • Lithuanian President Aleksandras Stulginskis Deported to Siberia exhibit curator Ramunė Račkauskas and the Stulginskis- Juozevičius family for loaning and sharing archival material.

The Hope & Spirit series is partially supported by grants from:

  • Illinois Arts Council, a state agency
  • Illinois Humanities Council
  • National Endowment for the Humanities
  • Illinois General Assembly
  • City Arts grant from the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
  • ECPC
  • Lithuanian Foundation, Inc.

The Balzekas Museum gratefully acknowledges these funding organizations for their generous support.

The Museum is partially supported by grants from: