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Kaunas
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K. Donelaicio gatvė 64
(Knygnešių kiemelis - Book Smugglers Yard)

Knygnešys

Book smuggler

Juozas Zikaras
1939

Kaunas /  Knygnešys   Kaunas /  Knygnešys

Description

Bronze statue of a man carrying a bag with books and looking forward wich his hand above his eyes.

Signature

J. Zikaras

Knygnešių kiemelis - Book Smugglers Yard

Kaunas - Knygnešių kiemelis

During the summer of 1863 Tsar Alexander II, issued Temporary Rules for State Junior Schools of the Northwestern Krai, ruling that only Russian-language education would be allowed there. In 1864, the Governor General of the Vilnius Governorate, Mikhail Muravyov, ordered that Lithuanian language primers were to be printed only in the Cyrillic alphabet. Muravyov's successor, Konstantin Kaufman, in 1865 banned all Lithuanian-language use of the Latin alphabet. In 1866, the Tsar issued an oral ban on the printing or importing of printed matter in Lithuanian. Although formally, the order had no legal force, it was executed de facto until 1904.

Book smugglers transported Lithuanian language books printed in the Latin alphabet into Lithuanian-speaking areas of the Russian Empire, defying the ban. Opposing imperial Russian authorities' efforts to replace the traditional Latin orthography with Cyrillic, and transporting printed matter from as far away as the United States to do so, the book smugglers became a symbol of Lithuanians' resistance to Russification.

With help of these books the children were teached the Lithuanan language by their mothers at home (Wikipedia).

35 years after the withdrawal of the ban, in 1935, the city of Kaunas created a memoral yard to commemorate the ban: a wall with the names of the known book smugglers and the book disseminators and three free standing sculptures:

  1. The Book Smuggler, by Juozas Zikaras, 1928.
  2. Lithunian schooling, by Petras Rimša, 1940
  3. The Parable of the Sower, by Bernardas Bučas, 1939.

The Lithuanian schooling sculpture and the wall were removed by the Soviets in the 1950s and re-placed in 1994 and the 90th anniversary of the withdrawal of the ban. The two other sculptures stayed during the Soviet period.

Kaunas - Knygnešių kiemelis

Sculptor

Tags

Location (N 54°53'58" - E 23°54'39")

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Item Code: lt147; Photograph: 14 July 2013
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