Hope and Spirit

The Hope and Spirit project was dedicated to the 20 million victims of Soviet atrocities, who suffered the brutality of genocide, and the injustice of the subsequent denial of their victimization.

I organized this highly successful project, which took place at the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture in Chicago. This was to mark the 70 year anniversary of the mass deportations from the Baltic republics to Siberia by Stalin, and to commemorate the victims of these atrocities. Four of my blood relatives died during NKVD interrogations and 12 were deported to Siberia.

The primary purpose of this project was to inform the general public of these events and the deaths of 20 million innocent people. If history is forgotten, it will repeat itself. With the recent political changes in the US and internationally, it appears that my concerns were prophetic. Unfortunately, history is repeating itself.

Those who survived deportations and life in Gulags, did so due to the strength of their spirit, the force of their will, and endless hope. Thus, the title was Hope and Spirit, a celebration of the human spirit.

This was an extensive program of art and photography exhibits, film screenings, book signings, poetry readings, lectures, and exhibits of original historical materials. The Hope and Spirit series took place from June 2011 through zmay 2012.

This website is periodically updated with new material about the resurgence of Stalinism in Russia, the US, and other countries. To view these please click here: UPDATES and English Articles.

Further information:  http://www.plioplys.com/

Program Overview

The Hope and Spirit series was dedicated to the millions of victims of Soviet deportations–the men, women and children from all Soviet-occupied nations, and of all nationalities, religions, and races–who suffered two indignities: the brutality of forced exile, imprisonment, starvation, torture, and genocide and the injustice of the subsequent denial, minimization and suppression of their suffering and victimization. June 2011 was the 70th anniversary of the beginning of mass Soviet deportations of Lithuanians to Siberia. More than 132,000 Lithuanians were deported to remote areas of Siberia. More than 70 percent were women and children. 30,000 Lithuanians died as a result of slave work and starvation. In addition, 150,000 were sent to Gulags, Siberian concentration camps, where most died. Historians estimate that as many as 20 million people were killed by Stalin’s genocidal machine.

The numbers of deaths due to Stalin’s brutality far exceeded those of Hitler. His death machine functioned at the same time as Hitler’s, in the same geographic location, but produced many more casualties. Continue Reading →