1939: The Year that Changed Everything in Lithuania’s History

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Author: Sarunas Liekis

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Šarūnas Liekis is a professor of Mykolas Romeris University in Vilnius. Born in 1969 in Vilnius. Studied at Vilnius University (habilitation procedure passed in 2005); Brandeis University, Waltham, USA (1993-1998, PhD); Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel (1995-1996); Oxford University, UK (1991-1992, Diploma). Director and Professor, Vilnius Yiddish Institute at Vilnius University (from 2001); Professor, Department of Politics, Mykolas Romeris University (from 2000). Earlier on Miles Lerman Research Fellow of the Center for the Advanced Holocaust Studies at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (2001-2002); Deputy Director, Center for Stateless Cultures, Vilnius University (1998-2000); Assistant Professor, Department of History, Vilnius University (1999-2000) Director of Programs at the Open Society Fund Lithuania (1997-2001) Research and Teaching Assistant at Brandeis University (1993-1997). Expert for the Lithuanian Government Department for Minorities (from 2003); Country expert for the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance (ECRI) at the Council of Europe (from 2002); Country expert for the EUMC in Vienna, Austria (from 2003); Chairman of the Board of the NGO Information and Support Center, Vilnius, Lithuania (from 2000); Assistant at the Sakharov Archives at Brandeis University (1993-1997).
"the first non-fragmented study on the city’s [Vilnius] history." – in: War and Literature Yearbook XVII (2012)
"a valuable new contribution to the literature … In a fascinating account, Liekis adeptly punctures the crude ethnic stereotypes and myths that were propagated by contemporaries and in many cases carried over into the Polish and Lithuanian historiography of the 1990s. … the book has much to recommend it to those interested in the interwar Baltic, as well as to historians of World War II." – in: Slavic Review 70/2 (Summer 2011)
"This gripping and well-documented account of the history of the town of Vilnius and its surrounding region from the Polish ultimatum of March 1938, which forced Lithuania to open diplomatic relations with Poland, to the incorporation of Lithuania into the Soviet Union in June 1940 is set against the evolution of Lithuania’s relations with her neighbours during this crucial period. It is a major contribution to the outbreak of war in September 1939 and the subsequent evolution of Nazi Soviet relations." – Antony Polonsky, Brandeis University / United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
"In this volume on Vilnius during 1939-1940, Prof. Liekis presents a remarkable history based on archival sources never before utilized in any English-language study. In revealing the geopolitical, ideological, economic, social and ethnic dimensions of an immense tragedy in the heart of Europe, the author provides a new perspective on the unraveling of a society and nation during the initial days of World War II as prelude to the most violent period in European history." – Saulius Suziedelis, Professor Emeritus, Millersville University
"Sarunas Liekis, who is well versed both in Baltic and in Jewish history, has produced a masterful study of an important subject. Liekis tackles controversial topics, makes sophisticated use of documentary materials, and reaches thoughtful and original conclusions. This is an impressive book." – Jack Jacobs, The City University of New York
Acknowledgements
Introduction
Historiography
The Interwar Lithuanian Republic: Between Past and Present
A Developing Crisis
A New Focus
The Polish and Jewish Questions and the New Authorities
The End of the Republic
Endnotes
References
Index