POLIN Reading Room: Silvia Foti’s "Storm in the Land of Rain: A Memoir"
We invite you to join us at a meeting devoted to the book titled "Storm in the Land of Rain: A Memoir." Yale Reisner will talk to the author Silvia Foti and film maker Michael Kretzmer. The Polish edition of the book was published by Wielka Litera, the English one by Regnery House.
- 29 June 2023 (Thursday), 6 PM
- Meeting in the museum
- Conversation in English with translation into Polish
Sylvia and her family, Lithuanian immigrants residing in the United States, have always lived in the shadow of her grandpa, who sternly watched over them from his portrait on the wall. He himself never made it to America — he was tortured, tried, and executed in a KGB prison. Yet he remained present in their lives, often recalled in reference to his courage and wartime achievements. He fought in an uprising against the communist occupation, was imprisoned at a German concentration camp, and joined a guerilla unit. Ultimately, he refused to emigrate and died a martyr’s death when the Soviets returned to Lithuania. When Lithuania regained its independence, the invincible ‘General Storm,’ i.e. Jonas Noreika, entered the pantheon of national heroes. Justice was served.
Or was it? Everything changed with a familial pledge. A dying mother compelled her daughter—experienced writer and journalist Sylvia Foti—to write her grandpa’s biography. To keep her promise, Sylvia started down a path from which there was no turning back and opened an investigation. The hidden truth she reveals not only uproots her family’s memory of her grandfather, but also challenges the historical consciousness of post-communist Lithuania.
Silvia Foti – American journalist, writer, lecturer and teacher, brought up in a family of Lithuanian immigrants. Granddaughter of Jonas Noreika, Lithuanian national hero known as ‘General Storm.’
Michael Kretzmer – film director and producer, directed the documentary titled J’Accuse which follows the story of Sylvia Foti discovering the cruel truth about her grandfather.
Yale Reisner – genealogist, former employee of the Lauder Foundation and the Jewish Historical Institute in Warsaw. A Litvak (Jew from Lithuania) whose family members were murdered by Lithuanian Nazis during the Second World War.