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Banned In Lita

  • On October26th, 2018 AuthorRutaVanagaitė , best-selling author of five books in her native Lithuania was the toast of Vilnius – until she wrote a book about her country’s involvement in the Nazi killing machine and cast doubts on a national hero. Now she says she’s scared to leave her own home without pepper spray

    The morning after her memoir was launched with a lavish party of chicken, herring, and bubbly,Vanagaitė got a call from a journalist asking for her reaction to her publisher’s announcement that it was withdrawing all of her titles from all bookstores. Thousands of copies would be pulped .Vanagaitė’s source of livelihood was gone.

    Gone, too, was her ability to venture outside her home. She triedâ€"after the initial barrage of phone calls, she went out, accompanied by her nephew, and was immediately accosted by passersby. "They called me a pro-Putin Jewish whore," she said. What does Vladimir Putin have to do with it? The post-Soviet Lithuanian narrative centers on 'othering' all the horrors of the twentieth century: in this story, Lithuanians are a good, pure, and freedom-loving people who suffered under the Soviet occupation of 1940 to 1941, the German occupation of 1941 to 1944, and the Soviet occupation of 1945 to 1991. In its broad outlines, the story is undoubtedly true, but, like any historical myth, it’s an oversimplification: thousands of Lithuanians collaborated with the occupations. Some Lithuanians are willing to accept the fact that their countrymen collaborated with the German occupation, but the Soviet occupation–which lasted nearly half a century, and still hasn’t been acknowledged by Russia—is a story that tolerates no challenge.

    HearRuta's story atChabad following the Megillah reading on Monday, March 9 at 7:00 PM.  No cover charge. Signed copies of her banned book in a new English translation will be available for sale. 

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