A Time to Remember
As many as 100,000 people were deported to Stutthof, one of the many camps in the Baltics. These were mainly non-Jewish Poles and Catholics from Baltic countries. Polish Jews from Warsaw and Bialystok, and from forced labor camps in the occupied Baltic States were among those imprisoned in many Baltic camps. Here, along the highway leading to the beautiful Gdansk resort area, more than 60,000 people died of typhus, gas and lethal injections. In 1944, as Soviet troops advanced, Germans evacuated these camps.
The stories of the courage and faith of those who died and those who survived are inspiration to us all. There is nothing as inspirational as the stories of the perseverance of captives; the courage of those who refuse to be victimized; those who die as martyrs; those who live and tell the stories. They are heroes. They just kept doing the best they could with what they had. This happens yet today in Baltic countries and around the world. The Ukrainian people are facing the same thing the Lithuanians endured as World War II advanced toward their country. And even today Baltics don’t give in. For love of their country and their families, with their faith strong and enduring, the ordinary become heroes.
The video I’m sharing with you, The Hill of Crosses, is the cover of Rock and a Hard Place, A Lithuanian Love Story. My book, a true story, is about two ordinary families caught between a Russian invasion and a German betrayal, and their love for their country. Russia still today tries to crush this Hill of Crosses, and yet it stands as a testament of the faith, love and endurance of the Lithuanian people of all faiths who continue to build the Hill. I hope you enjoy it, and as we commemorate the liberation of the camps, let us not forget people around the world who are still not free, while we celebrate with those who are.