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The Lithuanian Helsinki group: to join or not to join?


General Pyotr Grigorenko
Tomas Venclova Poet
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Ir įsikūrė tokia antroji grupė Ukrainoje, kur vadovas yra generolas Grigorenko. Generolas Grigorenko irgi labai įdomi figūra, aš vėliau su juo susipažinau. Antro pasaulinio karo generolas, kariavęs su vokiečiais. Kariavęs labai didvyriškai, visa krūtinė pilna ordinų, ir staiga, jau gerokai po karo, jis pradėjo suprasti, kad ta sistema, taip sakant, nežmoniška, žiauri, nepriimtina, ir pradėjo prieš ją protestuoti. Jam atėmė generolo laipsnį, atėmė visus ordinus, pasodino jį, vėl gi, į beprotnamį, į Įsrutį arba Černiachovską, Kaliningrado srityje prie Lietuvos sienos, paskui paleido, bet jis buvo, taip sakant, jau tarsi už visuomenės ribų. Ir štai tasai generolas, žinomas labai žmogus, apie jį irgi Vakarai linksniavo jo pavardę nuolat, dėl to jį ir iš beprotnamio paleido, ir aplamai paliko, daugmaž ramybėje, jis buvo Ukrainos Helsinkio grupės vadovas. O štai mes, sako, Petkus ir Finkelšteinas, norime organizuoti Lietuvos Helsinkio grupę.

A second such group was set up in the Ukraine, the leader of which was General [Pyotr] Grigorenko. General Grigorenko was a very interesting figure, I later met him. He was a World War II general, who fought against the Germans. He was a great hero, with a chestful of medals, and all of a sudden, quite a while after the war, he began to understand that that system, so to speak, was inhuman, cruel, unacceptable, and he began to protest against it. His general’s rank was taken away from him, all his medals were taken away, he was put into prison, and into a mental asylum as well, in Įsrutis [Chernyakhovsk], in the Kaliningrad Region near the border with Lithuania. He was later released but he was, as it were, already disintegrated from the society. And this General, a very well known person – the West was constantly bringing up his name, that’s why he was released from the mental asylum, and they left him more or less in peace – was the leader of the Ukrainian Helsinki group.

Born in 1937, Tomas Venclova is a Lithuanian scholar, poet, author and translator of literature. He was educated at Vilnius University and later at Tartu University. As an active participant in the dissident movement he was deprived of Soviet citizenship in 1977 and had to emigrate. Between 1977 and 1980 he lectured at University of California, Berkeley, where he became friends with the Polish poet Czesław Miłosz, who was a professor of Slavic Languages and Literature at the school, as well as the Russian poet Joseph Brodsky. He is currently a full professor at Yale University.

Listeners: Andrzej Wolski

Film director and documentary maker, Andrzej Wolski has made around 40 films since 1982 for French television, the BBC, TVP and other TV networks. He specializes in portraits and in historical films. Films that he has directed or written the screenplay for include Kultura, which he co-directed with Agnieszka Holland, and KOR which presents the history of the Worker’s Defence Committee as told by its members. Andrzej Wolski has received many awards for his work, including the UNESCO Grand Prix at the Festival du Film d’Art.

Tags: Ukraine, Pyotr Grigorenko

Duration: 1 minute, 2 seconds

Date story recorded: May/June 2011

Date story went live: 20 March 2012