The New American
Originally published: September 6, 2004
I am going to tell you a story about Europe and America. It is a true story about tyranny and freedom, about hope, folly, deception and betrayal. It is also a warning about grave danger. Alarmed at the trends I see, I feel obliged to tell this story. Now in my 91st year, I am one of the few living souls who have experienced the major events of the last century. Being both European and American, I have witnessed and studied these events from opposite sides of the Atlantic.
I am Lithuanian by birth and saw my small country suffer under both Nazi and Communist brands of totalitarianism. My family was trapped in Russia when the Bolshevik Revolution brought the Communists to power. As a young boy in Moscow, in 1922, I was forced to march with my classmates in the Communist May Day parade in front of Vladimir Lenin himself.
Like much of Europe, Lithuania was overrun in the 1940s by the Soviet Red Army, then by the Nazis, and then again by the Soviets. In 1944, as the Soviet Red Army was reinvading Lithuania, and after facing Soviet tanks, I was able to escape with my wife and daughter. In 1949, we were able to come to America and, later, thank God, to become U.S. citizens.