Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Juozas Daumantas " Fighters For Freedom" p.5, p.253

Published by Manyland Books, Inc. 1975.

It is dinner time on a muggy Sunday afternoon in late July, and we are gathered around the table as usual. Father sits at the head, with mother on his right and our maid-servant, Ona, beside her. My four brothers and I are seated around them, filling up whatever places are left.

Wordlessly, father picks up a spoon and starts sipping his cold buttermilk-beet soup. We imitate his example without really wanting to do so. It is too hot and too noisy. Mortar shells destined for distant targets whine and whistle high in the air above our roof. Sometimes their targets are not so distant, and then the resulting explosions shake the walls and rattle the windowpanes. We are anxious and tense as we wait for the inevitable to happen. And we dread it so much the more because we know that it is inevitable. We can sense its presence in each other's eyes, feel it all around us in the room, in the house, everywhere....

Half-way through dinner we are startled by the tread of heavy military boots nearby, and look up to see a handful of German soldiers striding into our dining room. Hunger, fatigue, and the same kind of anxiety which has been plaguing us all day are written on their faces. "Essen ", one of them whispers and starts to push his way towards the table. His comrades crown in close beside him, leaving us little choice. We get up and let the Germans finish what remains of our meal. There is not nearly enough to satisfy the hunger of a tow-headed young private, who pulls out his automatic and orders mother to show him the way to the larder. A few minutes later he returns with a huge chunk of smoked bacon which he starts to devour as though it were some kind of prize.

The highest ranking of our uninvited guests has usurped father's place at the head of the table. We cannot help staring at him: for some reason, he has shaved only one half of his chin.

"Those damned Russians!" he grumbles. "They've been hot on our heels all day. The devils didn't even give me time to get a decent shave"!

But then his anger suddenly gives way to resignation, and he concluded with a sigh.

"Oh, well. What does it matter? It's all over, anyway: with us and with Germany".

Such were the last words if the last German to set foot on our land...

p. 253


In 1947, the author broke through the Iron Curtain. In 1948, he presented himself to the Scandinavian and West European democracies as a special delegate acting in behalf of the Lithuanian underground. He brought a letter form Lithuanian Catholics to Pope Pius XII and a considerable amount of documentary evidence about the situation in Lithuania. He remained abroad for three and a half years, seeking help for the resistance movement in Lithuania and maintaining contact with organizations based abroad which were working for the freedom in Lithuania. At the same time, he wrote Fighters from Freedom, a factual history of the resistance activities in Lithuania. He returned to his father land at the end of 1950 to continue his leadership of the resistance. He was betrayed by defectors and died in battle in a forest between Veiveriai ir Prienai in September of 1951.

His real name was Juozas Luksa. He was regarded with respect and admiration by the Lithuanian partisans. He understood well the psychology of leadership and, in addition, was gifted with a poetic talent which he used to compose a number of songs for the underground. The Communists considered him to be one of the most dangerous figures of the resistance and sought revenge on his entire family. His four brothers and his 74-year-old father were either killed or deported to Siberia by the Russians. Of his other close relatives, eleven were killed and twenty were deported.

Luksa’s memories, as well as the songs he composed to celebrate the cause of the freedom fighters, were greatly instrumental in creating a partisan “cult” among Lithuanians and served to influence a number of Lithuanian writers who had managed to escape to the free world.

(Based on Encyclopedia Lituanica)


Anonymous said...

Good article, braļukas!

Damn Kim Philby said...

Thank you very much, dear braļukas!
This is actually a book, that I am planning to post here eventually in its entirety. It's an invaluable source for beginning to understand the partisan movement, and what they were facing.