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:

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 →

Siberia Souls

Stalin’s atrocities included the deaths of four of my blood relatives at the hands of NKVD interrogators, and the deportation to Siberia of 12 others. The purpose of the Hope and Spirit project was to commemorate these individuals and the 20 million others who perished from this hideousness.

It is due to my efforts that over 400 letters and photographs, sent from Siberia, were found and saved from oblivion. Many tragic family histories were finally revealed. It is these photographs that served as the basis for my own artistic commemoration, the Siberia Souls sequence of art works. Continue Reading →

Virtual Tour

The Hope and Spirit exhibit, which ran from June 2011 through  April 2012, still can be visited in this virtual tour. Clicking on the cursor, and moving it, will let you move left, right, up and down through the exhibit. Click on the arrowheads to move through the exhibit. Scrolling will bring the images up close. Much of the text on display can be read by scrolling it up close. Continue Reading →

Radio Interview

Radio interview prepared by Ms. Lynette Kalsnes, and aired on December 8, 2011, as part of the Worldview program, and across the entire nation as part of All Things Considered. The text of this interview can be downloaded (click here).

Children’s Art Exhibit

What my parents and grandparents told me about deportations and life in Siberia. 52 children across North America participated and sent in a total of 54 works of art on paper. Continue Reading →