At 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 15, 2022, the Illinois State Museum in downtown Springfield will show the 1-hour documentary film, “Displaced.” This FREE public showing is co-sponsored by the Lithuanian-American Club of Central Illinois in memory and honor of our own “displaced persons” (“DPs”), still living or deceased, who found refuge in the U.S. after World War II. (See the movie trailer at this link: https://vimeo.com/297785221 )
Please come to the Museum’s downstairs auditorium and bring a friend. The film will be publicly dedicated to the following individuals and families: Irene Blazis, Romualda (Sidlauskas) Capranica, Vince Baksys; Kaz and Vida Totoraitis; Alphonse, Lucyna, and Grazina Maculevicius; Constantine, Helgi, and Mike Lelys; Vita and Ben Zemaitis; Paul, Sophie, and Hank Endzelis; Stephanie, Walter, and Violeta Abramikas; and the Uzgiris, Sidlauskas, and Paulionis families.
“Displaced” is the story of the refugees who fled westward into Germany from Lithuania and other Eastern European countries in the final, desperate days of WWII to escape the Soviet conquest of their homelands. The story is told by former child refugees, whose interviews are illustrated with newsreel footage and animation.
Learn how the refugees believed they were leaving only until the end of the war, when they expected the Soviet Army to retreat and the independence of their homelands to be restored. See how refugees were accommodated if they were lucky enough to reach the American, British, and French occupation zones of post-war Germany, and often coerced to return to Soviet-occupied homelands, where they feared for their lives.
See life in the refugee camps established by the precursor to the United Nations. Learn how the refugees became immigrants when the U.S.S.R. did not withdraw from their homelands and they had to re-start their young lives in exile, their parents often working as manual laborers in countries with post-war manpower shortages.
Several hundred World War II displaced persons (“DPs”) from all over Eastern Europe arrived to work in the Springfield area, thanks to relatives, churches, and employers who sponsored them under the U.S. Displaced Persons Act of 1948. Please join us at the Museum Sept. 15 to commemorate this history, and reflect on the massive, new Ukrainian refugee crisis in Europe.