On June 22, 1941, the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact was violently broken by Hitler when the Third Reich declared war on the USSR, a war that ended with the annexation of the Baltic states to Germany. The scenario changed in 1944 when Stalin reunited the ‘stolen’ territories under his own rule. The 20th century was for the Baltic states a period of repeated occupation.
To break down resistance against the occupation, Stalin, between 1940 and 1953, caused 600,000 civilians to be deported to Siberia.
In Lithuania 150,000 men were arrested and taken to so-called gulags, forced labor camps. In addition, during two mass deportations, a total of 132,000 people were subjected to forced labor. 70% were women and children.
The first part of what will become a trilogy entitled Siberian Exiles, focuses on the experiences of six survivors of Lithuanian nationality: Irena Valaityté, Nijolé Lelkaité, Jonas Markauskas, Vilius Kairys, Jonas Puodzius and Vaidutis Kasperaviciust, who were deported when they were still children to the Laptev Sea territories.
The books contain portraits of survivors as well as photographs of the Altai Mountains and Yakutia, drawings by exile veteran Gintautas Martynaitis, and numerous unpublished archival photos. The author supplements the eyewitness narratives with archival material and photographs of the places where their story took place. The book ultimately offers a glimpse into the past and present immortalized by the photographer.
The box set contains the following volumes:
– Drawings and expedition
– Short History