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ALBINAS KENTRA, LITHUANIA.

Invite to a visit and a lecture

THEMES OF THE LECTURE

The partisan movement (The Forest Brothers), the GULAG camps, the freedom struggles in the 1980s and 90s in Lithuania. Video footage of the freedom struggles, particularly the bloody January events of 1991 in Vilnius.

LANGUAGES

English, German, Lithuanian, Russian.

CONTACT INFORMATION

Postal address: Totoriu 9/ Labdariu 10, LT – 01001 Vilnius, Lithuania

E-mail: audra@dki.lt (E-mails for Albinas Kentra can be sent to Audra Sabaliauskiene, the Danish Cultural Institute, Vilnius)

Telephone number: +37060025485

Albinas Kentra’s mother, sister and three brothers. All his brothers, here wearing the partisan uniform, were killed during the Lithuanian freedom struggles.

Albinas Kentra is chairman of the Lithuanian Freedom Fighters - Forest Brothers Association.

He is one of a seven-member family that resolved to defend Lithuania from the Soviet invaders.

To this end, they built a sophisticated secret partisan bunker even before the Soviet Red Army had invaded Lithuania for the second time in 1944. Albinas Kentra joined the nation-wide partisan movement in 1945 when he was 16 years old. On July 7, 1946 he was surrounded by NKVD (later KGB) troops and, even when interrogated in front of a Russian army firing squad, did not betray the freedom fighters or their supporters. The Russian Military Tribunal sentenced him to ten years in a Soviet Gulag. He and his two sisters survived but his three brothers died heroically for Lithuania on the battlefield: two brothers fought for five years, and one for seven. Their mother died in hiding in 1961. Albinas was released from the Gulag with his name misspelled on his identification papers. This lucky mistake enabled him to study at Vilnius University, graduate and then gain employment there as a lecturer in English. At the university, he concentrated on designing and building a language laboratory to teach students true spoken English so that they would be able to understand radio transmissions from the West; radio broadcasts from the Free World in Lithuanian or Russian were jammed throughout the Soviet Union. Albinas succeeded in breaking a hole in the Iron Curtain with regard to information.

Today he is known for his unique video footage of the bloody January events of 1991 in Vilnius, when hundreds of thousands of Lithuanian people took to the streets in their newly-independent country to protect key institutions from the Soviet military forces.