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An offer from Julien Greimas


Confronted by VLIKas
Tomas Venclova Poet
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Mane tuojau susirado lietuvių emigrantai. Į mane kreipėsi VLIKas, VLIKas – tai Vyriausiasis Lietuvos išvadavimo komitetas, sukurtas dar nacių okupacijos laikais, pogrindyje, paskui persikėlęs į Vakarus ir koordinavęs emigrantų organizacijų veiklą. Tokia beveik, taip sakant, vyriausybė užsienyje, beveik Lietuvos vyriausybė užsienyje.Na, ir VLIKas kreipėsi į mane, klausdamas, ką aš manau toliau veikti. Aš padariau pareiškimą spaudai ir radijui, kad esu Lietuvos Helsinkio grupės narys, turiu jos pavedimą atstovauti ją Vakaruose, dėl to nenumatau prašyti politinio prieglobsčio, kad galėčiau prireikus grįžti į Lietuvą ir toliau dirbti grupėje. Na, ir buvau toks keistas labai variantas, tokių praktiškai tada nebuvo. Arba žmonės iš karto prašė politinio prieglobsčio, arba jau jeigu norėjo išsaugoti tarybinę pilietybę ir sugrįžti, tai elgėsi labai labai atsargiai ir su jokiais užsieniečiais stengėsi nebendrauti, tuo labiau su užsienio organizacijomis, su emigrantais. Arba jeigu bendravo, tai giliausioje paslaptyje.

Lithuanian émigrés quickly found where I was. VLIKas got hold of me. VLIKas – this was the Supreme Committee for the Liberation of Lithuania set up secretly during the Nazi occupation of Lithuania. It then moved to the West and coordinated the activities of émigré organizations. It was almost, as it were, a government-in-exile, almost the Lithuanian government-in-exile. Well, and VLIKas came to me and asked me what I was thinking of doing. I made an announcement to the press and the radio that I was a member of the Helsinki Group, that I had its authorisation to represent it in the West. I saw no reason to apply for political asylum, since then, if the need arose, I could return to Lithuania and go on working in the Group. Well, I was a very strange case; there was practically no one else like me. People either applied for political asylum immediately, or if they wanted to keep their Soviet citizenship and return, then they acted very carefully and tried not to associate with any foreigners, in particular with foreign organizations, émigrés. Or if they did associate with them they kept it a close secret.

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: VLIKas, Supreme Committee for the Liberation of Lithuania

Duration: 1 minute, 19 seconds

Date story recorded: May/June 2011

Date story went live: 20 March 2012