Official Site of Speaker, Historian and Author Sean Munger


Earth: Narrow street and shady bar, Vilnius, Lithuania.

pub in vilnius

Just for grins on my Google Earth I clicked on “Bars and Pubs” under Place Categories, and then flew to Lithuania. Totally at random I picked this one, which is on a narrow street somewhere in the capital of Vilnius. The bar is on the left. This looks to have been taken in the early morning, so it’s not open, and for that reason perhaps it looks a bit more shady than it might in real life.

I love the look of streets and cities in the Baltic area and Scandinavia. The streets are narrow, the buildings old and atmospheric, and often very fascinating in architecture (though this one, I admit, not so much). I hear Lithuania is a very interesting country. I wouldn’t mind visiting one day.

1 Comment

  1. I’d love to visit Lithuania. It would probably be in the top 5, or at least top 10, of countries I’d like to see. The language is really interesting. It’s supposed to be the closest living language to the old Indo-European. If you want to hear what people sounded like thousands of years ago, talk to a Lithuanian.

    I’m also interested in their Holocaust history. Lithuania had the highest death rate of Jews per capita of any in Nazi Europe: 95% of their Jewish population perished.

    A lot of Jewish people, when the Nazis invaded Poland, fled into the Soviet Union and some settled in Lithuania. When the Nazis invaded the USSR in June 1941, they were anxious to get the hell out of dodge again, but no other country wanted them. There was nowhere to go. The Japanese consul in Vilnius, a guy named Sugihara, was a huge help. He issued visas to Japan to anyone who wanted them, no questions asked, even though his government forbid him to do it. He actually made a dry stamp of his signature cause his hand got too tired signing visas. He issued thousands of them over a few weeks. When the Japanese government found out their Lithuanian consul had gone rogue and basically set the rule book on fire, they recalled him. Even at the train station though, about to leave, he kept signing visas, even THROWING VISAS OUT THE WINDOW as the train chugged out of the station. Needless to say, his career was totally ruined by this episode and he wound up selling vacuum cleaners for a living. But he saved so many people’s lives. In his old age, not long before his death, Yad Vashem and the government of Japan finally got around to honoring him.

    People asked him, “Why did you do it?” And he was all like, “What do you mean, why did I do it? These people were going to DIE if I did not help them. How could I not do it?” But no one else helped. And I think it’s all the more amazing because in Japanese culture, so they say, they’re big about following rules and stuff.

    I hope here’s a plaque or something in Vilnius to honor Sugihara, but it wouldn’t surprise me if there wasn’t. 🙁

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