2005 /

Little birds of God

80 min.  –  Documentary  –  80 min., color  –  2005 ,   Periferija
Director : Rimantas Gruodis
Director : Julija Gruodienė
Screenplay : Rimantas Gruodis
Screenplay : Julija Gruodienė

In 1944, when the Soviet Army was approaching Lithuania, many inhabitants of Lithuania who had not yet forgotten the reparations and deportations brought by the Bolshevik occupation in 1940–1941 were running to the West. 60 000 refugees from Lithuania found an asylum in the three occupied zones (USA, Great Britain and France), Germany and Austria. Lithuanians lived among others for five long years in the displaced persons camps (DP): writers, poets, artists, musicians, actors, teachers, scientists, diplomats and officers. The active refugees started working. They were concerned about surviving and preserving their identity, which meant remembering their mother tongue and preserving the national consciousness.

In 1946 in the Lithuanian camp in Hanau a meeting of exile representatives was held where the statute of the Lithuanian exile community was passed. Kindergartens, elementary schools, grammar schools, several schools of higher education and specialised schools were started. In 1946 a university was founded in Hamburg; in 1947 the Lithuanian Art Institute was founded in Hanau; in 1946 the Society of Lithuanian Exile Writers was re-established in Tübingen; the culture fund was founded. In 1944–1949 cultural and literary life was active in the DP camps. There were many literary evenings and recitals organised; some theatrical companies emerged. Ethnic ensembles organised in the camps: Čiurlionis, Dainava and Lithuanian National Ensemble.

After having survived the horrors of war Lithuanians used to call themselves “Little Birds of God”. They were creating the basics of life in exile in the DP camps and laid the foundations for the future activities of Lithuanians in emigration.

According to the authors, “old photographs, letters, documents, witnesses’ accounts and written memoirs will be equally important in the film: not archive and documentary, but emotional and intimate information will dominate it.”