‘Home’ is often thought of as the place where one belongs. However, what if one wants to belong somewhere, but a great weight of painful history has separated you from your old home? In this paper, the author interleaves the history of his family in Lithuania with the momentous events that occurred there, especially during the Second World War. The invasion of the country by the Nazis, the horrific massacre of the Lithuanian Jews and the occupation of the country by the Soviet Union, punctuate the stories of emigration, destruction and the attempt to build a free independent country. There are some heroes in this narrative and quite a few villains, including a prominent Lithuanian whose misdeeds have been excruciatingly exposed by his granddaughter in a new biography. Those who stood by are depicted in an unusually sympathetic way. The author concludes that Lithuanians will have to face up to the unsavoury parts of their past to create a wholesome future.
My lost Lithuanian home: An autobiographical essay on belonging and not belonging