Author Archive

My meeting with the Chechen ambassador

My meeting with the Chechen ambassador

Aminat Saijeva is Lithuania’s ambassador-in-exile to the Chechen Republic of Ichkeria. The day of our meeting her thick black hair is tied back in a low bun and she is dressed in a white linen suit jacket with an orange t-shirt, an olive and white flower-patterned skirt, and white pumps. We meet beside the bell […]

Time for guns and Georgian wine

Time for guns and Georgian wine

I have discovered that I like to shoot guns. I’d always been a little stuck-up about guns and a bit of a snob, too. But after firing the World War II Nagan rifle in the woods out by the old partisan, Jonas Kadzionis’s, bunker, I felt a sense of empowerment I didn’t know I could […]

Smoke bombs, crosses: the first gay pride march

Smoke bombs, crosses: the first gay pride march

Normally, I never turn on Facebook while at work. First of all, it’s against the rules and secondly, it would be infantile of me to be peeking at my Facebook account while admonishing the students for doing the same. I’m convinced that people who are close in spirit have a psychic connection that transcends time […]

A post-war love story

A post-war love story

I dreamt last night I was hiking across a muddy field with my comrades. We were armed and anticipating an attack. As we walked our feet sank deeper and deeper into the mud. We reached a little house beside the forest and I saw an enormous rose bush growing alongside one of its walls. I […]

A girl with no name

A girl with no name

Irena and I met in our usual spot in the Rūdninkų parking lot not far from my apartment. This time we were driving to Šilo Street in Antakalnis to interview another woman from the Birute’s organization, Gražina Pucevičiute-Paloniene. Along the way, Irena gave me some background on Gražina. “Gražina is a neuropathologist,” Irena said, “now […]

The 1984 Soviet bunker reality show

The 1984 Soviet bunker reality show

VILNIUS — “We’ve got to have clear roles and we must stick to them,” I said to Amanda, “otherwise this exercise is pointless.” “I agree,” Amanda said, gazing out the Honda’s window at endless kilometers of pine forests flashing past. “You, obviously, have got to play the dissident. You Lithuanian-Americans were all dissidents to the […]

A mythical border

A mythical border

As our Suburu sped through the Latvian-Lithuanian border the landscape immediately went flat. Gone were the rolling hills of Latvia. Vykintas and I were returning from a conference in Turaida on Baltic sacred sites. We had spent the past few days gathered together with Baltic archeologists from Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Poland, and Sweden discussing holy […]

The liaison woman

The liaison woman

“Every time my back hurts, I remember Kaplan, my interrogator,” Leonora said, leaning over the dining room table, setting down three tea cups. “Why?” I asked, then immediately slapped my hand over my mouth, embarrassed by my own stupid question. Leonora looked up and said in a matter-of-fact voice, “Because during my interrogation he beat […]

The will to live

The will to live

Paulina Zingeriene is both regal and dainty all at the same time. At the age of 88, she is as comely as a young girl. For our interview, she is dressed in a pressed white blouse and a tailored skirt. A pearl necklace peeks out from just beneath her collar. Her hair is dyed a […]

Heimweh

Heimweh

A LITTLE GIRL RETURNS TO THE VILNIUS GHETTO TO TAKE BACK THE DOLL SHE LEFT BEHIND (1943) On a December night (Bloody footsteps in the virgin snow) A little girl comes running over — All eyes and hair — and freezes Before the door of the yellow house, She bangs on the door and shouts: […]

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