Our reading destination for April was Lithuania who joined us on this leg of our world tour and how did you choose to visit Lithuania?
Before we get to the book I choose to read here are some fun facts about Lithuania from Interestingfunfacts.com
Official Language: Lithuanian
Other Languages: Russian, Polish, and Others
Religion: Roman Catholic (predominant), Lutheran, Russian Orthodox, Protestant
Independence: 11th March 1990
Area: 65,300 sq km
Population 3.3 million (UN, 2011)
Currency: Lithuanian Litas
National Bird: White Stork
The Lithuanian language is one of the oldest and existing languages of the Indo-European category.
The very first written depiction of Lithuania is in a medieval German manuscript known as the Annals of Quedlinburg, in a record, dated 9th March, 1009.
Lithuania was the last European country to adopt Christianity.
Lithuania’s first publishing house was set up in 1522 (This is a very important fact for readers)
The most popular sport in Lithuania is Basketball.
Cepelinai is one of the most popular dishes of Lithuania; it is an oval shaped dish made from potato and ground meat. The most interesting thing about this dish is that, it got its name from the zeppelin or dirigible, the aircraft invented by the German Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin. (This sounds delicious sadly I didn’t have time this month to make a Lithuanian dish, I may be able to remedy this in the coming months)
The other famous dishes of Lithuania are vėdarai, which are intestines filled with potatoes and are also known as potato pancakes. (Not sure I fancy this one)
On March 11, 1990, Lithuania became the first Soviet republic to announce its independence and hence became an independent nation
The method of making vodka from corn was first discovered by the Lithuanians. (Now I know who to blame for numerous teenage hangovers)
Lithuania, till date, has kept the long lost European myth that birds bring babies. Little children still claim that they were brought by a stork. (My parents tried to convince me this was how I arrived…)
For my visit to Lithuania I choose to read a non fiction book which is very rare for me, the book was A Holocaust Memoir of Love & Resilience Mama’s Journey from Lithuania to America by Ettie Zilber.
This book is written by the daughter of a holocaust survivor based on tape recordings made of her mother retelling the family history to her family. It is split into 3 sections Mama’s Memoir: the story told by her mother about the family experiences during the holocaust and how they were among the few lucky ones who survived.
Travels in Mama’s Footsteps: The author decides to explore the family history first hand by visiting Lithuania and the old family home as well as visiting the work camps and walking the death march route that her mother was forced to walk in the freezing cold while severely malnourished. All this despite the fact that her mother refused to ever visit Lithuania again after leaving.
The Second Generation: This section looks at how the traumatic events experienced by parents can be passed to their children who themselves never lived through those events. It looks at things like always being prepared for the worst case, always eating as quickly as possible and making sure you have something in reserve. The family motto became “if they ask if you can do something, say yes. You can always learn how afterwards.”
This is an interesting look at one families history and it raises many interesting points about the holocaust as a whole and particularly the after effects that are felt down through the generations.
At the end of the book there is a collection of photos which are touchingly poignant.
The author ends with this request “It is my sincere hope that reading these memoirs has increased your knowledge and understanding of the Holocaust. It would be greatly appreciated if you would submit a short review. That would offer greater exposure for my book” Well Ettie this one’s for you, thank you for the insight into your family and for keeping memories alive.
Next stop Oman – who will be joining us and what do you plan to read?