A researcher travels to his family's home country (Lithuania) and discovers what happened when his family fled during the war. Petty strange things happen that he cannot explain.
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Old Europe. Vilnius is just recovering from Soviet occupation.A scientist travels to the country of his parents and digs into the stories and numbers of the Holocaust and Gulag.His personal world begins to fall apart. Things happen that he cannot explain.Someone is leaving strange drawings in his apartment.Why? A story of travel, family, and loss.
Art by Tadas Gutauskas (www.tadasgutauskas.lt).
40 photo illustrations.
Cover design by Holly Russell (www.hrphotographics.com).
Print copy, PDF, eBook and Kindle versions available.
From: Mingen, Zenius [firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: June 30, 2003
Subject: made it!
I have met the motherland and it looks like it is going to be a one-sided date, with me doing all the work. Every Joe in the street speaks our private family language. I am not a stranger here, in looks or in language. The people in the street cannot tell that I have never been here before.
Of course, they don’t think of their city in guide-book terms. In my mind, I collapse centuries of history and politics. It is the Jerusalem of the East, the center of a pagan land, a capital of a Catholic Poland, Soviet occupied, Nazi cleansed, a flourishing center of art and hope in the new EU, an inexpensive tourist destination, and the home where our parents fell in love. I find it odd to feel a pedestrian atmosphere. Instead of dramatic swells of tragic and wailing opera, it sounds normal and quiet. People are getting groceries and going to work. At the same time the streets are marked by broken stone walls, remnants of inscriptions, architectural flourishes of seven centuries and the detritus of maybe 35 generations of people like me. A German street name. Hebrew lettering on a gate. A grimacing Baroque statue just above street level. Russian greetings in the street. Polish grave sites. A modern art studio showing bizarre, unwearable clothes. An Internet café in a windowless tiny catacomb of a room right off a narrow cobblestone sidewalk. I could read the screen as I passed by. A small patch of earth in the middle of a dense street with grass overgrowing some memorial marker. The Austrian Embassy residing in a building identified as the former synagogue in the ghetto. The U.S. Embassy in buildings that once housed the Soviet occupiers. Beautiful 13th Century streets that were also 20th Century killing fields.
I am still busy with the logistics of settling in. Getting used to walking everywhere. Hauling groceries.