Sruoga, Balys

Sruoga, Balys Image 1

Balys Sruoga, 1921 © Lietuvos albumas. Janina Markevičaitė, Liudas Gira, Adomas Kliučinskis – Kaunas / Otto Elsner, Berlin
Balys Sruoga (Feb. 2, 1896 - Oct. 16, 1947), born in the Biržai region of Lithuania, was a Lithuanian poet, dramatist, critic, theoretician in literature and drama, as well as professor at the University of Vilnius. Completing school in Panevėžys, Lithuania, he began his higher education in Leningrad, continued in Moscow and finished in Munich with a doctorate degree in Slavic studies, minoring in art history and dramaturgy. On March 16, 1943, Sruoga was arrested by the Germans and together with 47 other Lithuanian intellectuals held hostage in connection with the refusal of Lithuania's youth to join the German Army upon the Nazis' announcement of mobilization in an occupied nation. The hostages were sent to Stutthof Concentration Camp near Danzig. With his health ruined, Sruoga returned to Lithuania where he died in 1947. Till the end, he refused to cooperate with the Bolshevik demands to write propaganda for them. His wife, an historian, and his daughter, fleeing from Soviet occupation, had gone west as had thousands of other Lithuanian scholars, artists and writers. The cruelties of Soviet occupation, the trains with Lithuanians exiled to Siberia had forced Sruoga to send them a warning: "Don't return home." He never saw them again.