Antanas Miškinis collection
Antanas Miškinis (1905-1983) was a Lithuanian poet and Soviet political prisoner. He started his creative activity in the mid-1920s. In the mid-1940s, he joined the Lithuanian partisan movement, for which he was convicted and sent to Siberia. While serving his sentence, he wrote romantic poems (psalms). Many of them were copied out or learned by heart by other Lithuanian political prisoners at that time in Siberia. The collection holds psalms and poetry written by Miškinis during his imprisonment from 1948 to 1956.
Kaunas Rotušės aikštė 13, Lithuania 44239
Show on map
Name of collection
- Antanas Miškinis collection
Provenance and cultural activities
Antanas Miškinis (1905-1983) was a Lithuanian poet and Soviet political prisoner. He attended a gymnasium (secondary school) in Daugavpils (today in Latvia), and later a progymnasium (secondary school) in Zarasai (1921-1922), and the Aušra (Dawn) gymnasium in Kaunas (1923-1926). He graduated in Lithuanian literature from Vytautas Magnus University in 1934. From 1932, he worked as a teacher in a Russian gymnasium in Kaunas. Later, he became an editor with Kaunas Radiofonas (Lithuanian Radio).
Miškinis started his creative activities in the mid-1920s. His first writings appeared in the Aušra gymnasium newspaper Skaidra (Clear). In 1928, he published his first collection of poetry Balta paukštė (The White Bird). Before the Second World War, he published the collections of poems Varnos prie kelio (Crows by the Road, 1935) and Keturi miestai (Four Cities, 1938). Thanks to this poetry, he became a well-known poet in Lithuania, and was recognised for his Neoromantic work. His poetry is full of folk themes and a feeling for the Lithuanian countryside. He sought to combine modern lyrics with folk songs.
At the same time, Miškinis was a very socially and politically active intellectual. He was elected to the Board of the Lithuanian Writer's Union several times, and he was one of the founders of the writers' newspaper Literatūros naujienos (Literature News). At the beginning of the Second World War in 1941, he started to prepare a programme for the Lithuanian Nationalist Party.
In the mid-1940s, he joined the Lithuanian partisan movement, for which he was tried, convicted and sent to Siberia. While serving his sentence, he wrote a number of romantic poems (psalms). Many of them were copied or learnt by heart by other Lithuanian political prisoners at that time in Siberia.
Miškinis returned to Lithuania in 1956 after the death of Stalin. He was made to repent publicly for his past work in 1959, and afterwards he was allowed to write and publish his poetry. His collections of poems Eilėraščiai (Poems, 1960), Arti prie žemės (Close to the Earth, 1965), and the poem ‘Svajonės ir maištas’ (Dreams and Rebellion, 1967), published in Soviet Lithuania, were full of Soviet optimism. He established himself as a full member of the Soviet Lithuanian Writers’ Union with these publications. With the poetry collections published later, Dienoraštis (Diary, 1972) and Klevai prie kelio (Sycamores by the Road, 1982), his poetry turned back to Neoromanticism. But the poems from his Siberian period were not published until 1989.
The collection was started during the Sajūdis (Lithuanian National Movement) period in 1989, when the Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum obtained some of Miškinis’ household and personal items from his family. Later, in 1999, the museum received a large quantity of manuscripts, photographs and letters written by Miškinis during his imprisonment in Siberia in 1948-1956 from his wife Aleksandra. Algis Geniušas, a literature researcher, brought this material back from Siberia in 1957. Because of the political climate at the time, it was impossible to disseminate the poetry. Drafts and manuscripts of the poems were kept secretly among Miškinis’ private papers until 1999, when they were transferred to the Maironis Lithuanian Literature Museum. All of this material had already been used for research purposes (see R. Tūtlytė, Antanas Miškinis, Vilnius: Lietuvos rašytojų sąjungos leidykla, 1997), and after the study came out, the material was transferred to the museum.
Description of content
The collection consists of books, manuscripts, letters, photographs, documents and other works: altogether 690 items. The archive holds 370 manuscripts by Antanas Miškinis. In this material, there are manuscripts of his poems, and recollections about Lithuanian writers (Jurgis Baltrušaitis, Petras Cvirka, Salomėja Neris, and others). From the point of view of cultural resistance, the most interesting are the works created during his imprisonment in 1948-1956: psalms written in pencil on small pieces of paper that were kept in a tin. These works are included in the Lithuanian national register of the Unesco Memory of the World Programme (registration number 49).
- grey literature (regular archival documents such as brochures, bulletins, leaflets, reports, intelligence files, records, working papers, meeting minutes): 100-499
Date of founding
Place of founding
Kaunas Rotušės aikštė 13, Lithuania
Show on map
Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- completely open to the public
Author(s) of this page
Markauskienė, Virginija , interview by Grybkauskas, Saulius, May 30, 2017, December 08, 2016. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection