Balys Sruoga

in #art5 years ago

Balys Sruoga was a lithuanian writer, critic, literary theorist and most importantly Stutthof concentration camp survivor.

In Lithuania we have quite a lenghty mandatory reading list, on that list was a book called 'Forest of the Gods' . It is a book written by Balys Sruoga after he came back to Lithuania from the concentration camp. And quite frankly that was the best piece of literature I have ever read and I believe it will stay that way.

The book shows the 'life' that these camp prisoners had to endure. It shows how fast death lost it's meaning in there and how fast people get dehumanized. You no longer care if you sleep or eat next to a dead body , there that was usual. Just like it was normal to have rotting limbs and still go to work and then be found dead in the bunks the next day. It was so easy and common to become a murderer just after a few days there. It was the most difficult thing to preserve your humanity and morals in there. Only few manged to do that, as only few managed to survive the camp.

There comes the next very important part of the book. Irony and jokes. While at the camp Balys realized that he won't survive if he takes things 'seriosly'. He might survive, but he would be dead mentaly. He learned to ridicule everything around him, look at things with a lot of irony. It was easier that way.

If you ever pick up this book, you will notice how much irony is packed in there. One of the reasons is after Balys came back home, it was too hard to write things for how they were. If he wrote all the horrible things that happened there in great detail, he would come back to that place and suffer once again. He used irony and lots of it to block himself from the emotional trauma at least a little bit.


Ever since I read 'Forest of the God' I wanted to create something in honor of it. It has been stuck in my head for a long time now. I want to create something but I shy away from it in fear I will not do a good enough job that I will not bring justice to it. I painted Balys Sruoga last year or at least attemped to. Here you see the painting. Quickly after doing it I was sure that I am not ready yet and not skilled yet to take up this type of personal project. I think I am much wiser and more skilled now. And 'Forest of the Gods' has been stuck in my head once again. I wish to pick up the book once again, analize it and illustrate some parts of it.

My only question to you is : do you want to come on a journey like this with me, learn more about history of that time, the camp and the horrors that were there? If so, I would be glad to create and post content like that here. I would only promise that it wouldn't be fast.


Very interesting article, I had never heard about this author. I love your drawing, too.

And to answer your question: sure, it looks like a very good idea.

That doesn't suprise me, Lithuania is a very small country, very few people know about it or lithunian people.

Thank you I'm very glad you like this idea!

I have been in Siaulai once! 😃

Oooh that's nice! Did you go see the hill of crosses by any change? :D

No, I didn't. I was only in the city itself and at a S. Johns party in Tytuvėnai. Then I went to Riga.

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