Courtesy of Press Service of the President (Lithuania) (October 7, 2011)
President Dalia Grybauskaite, currently on her official visit to Kazakhstan, unveiled a commemorative stone at ALZHIR (Akmolinsk camp for traitors’ wives in the Gulag system), the place where Lithuanian women had been exiled. After the ceremony, the President met with the Lithuanian community in Kazakhstan.
Dalia Grybauskaite underlined that historical memory and the fate of people who had suffered and perished in exile gave us a lesson of patriotism, national unity and dignity which should be passed over to future generations.
“Today we honor the memory of all innocent people who suffered at ALZHIR and other Gulag camps, expelled from their Motherland by force. The awareness of the historical truth educates a self-reliant and patriotic young generation. This is a lesson that tragic events should never be allowed to occur again. Human dignity and love for the Motherland and freedom are fundamental values that overcome even the most severe oppression,” President Dalia Grybauskaite said.
The President extended gratitude to the Kazakh people for helping the Lithuanian exiles to survive.
On the eve of the ceremony, the Presidents agreed that Kazakhstan would hand over to Lithuania the archives with the case files of Lithuanian exiles.
After the ceremony, during her meeting with representatives of the Lithuanian community in Kazakhstan, the President stressed that they were an important part of our nation. Dalia Grybauskaite thanked them for cherishing the Lithuanian spirit.
“Let’s remain Lithuanians wherever we are. Show respect for the country you live in but don’t forget your Motherland,” President Dalia Grybauskaite said.
About 6000 Lithuanians currently live in Kazakhstan. Most of them are Lithuanian exiles and their descendants. There are also Lithuanians who have recently come to Kazakhstan to work in various companies and implement international projects. Two Lithuanian organizations – public association “Lituanica” and cultural society “Aidas” – currently function in Karaganda and Almaty respectively.