Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Baltic DPs Project: Recovering the History of the Displaced Persons


In 2014, the Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture, together the Latvian Folk Art Museum and the Chicago Estonian House, are planning a yearlong series of exhibits, events and programs commemorating 70 years since the mass westward flight of Baltic Displaced Persons, refugees from the war-torn Baltic republics. The Baltic DP Exposition will include exhibits, programs and events, documenting the experiences of DP Estonian, Latvian and Lithuanians in European DP Camps; their subsequent immigration to the United States and Canada; and their contributions to their host countries, as well as to the countries they left behind.

The cornerstone of the Baltic DP Exposition will be an exhibit titled "Displaced to this Place", spanning three stages of the Baltic DP experience: pre-migration (an introduction to the events and circumstances which compelled the refugees to leave their Baltic homelands); migration (spanning refugees' flight from their Baltic homelands and life in the DP camps); and post-migration (their subsequent immigration and settlement in the United States and countries around the world). The exhibit will open in Chicago on April 26, 2014 and travel to other cities in North America and the Baltic Republics. A permanent online exhibit and website dedicated to Baltic WWII refugees, "DisplacedPersons.org" is also in development.


    Close living quarters in a DP Camp - Source ECLA 
The exhibit will serve as a launch padfor a series of film viewings, educational programs, art exhibits, lectures, and other events about Baltic DPs, their experiences, and contributions world wide as well as for the exploration of the theme of displacement in general, whether by political, social, economic, or environmental forces.