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Revisiting Lithuania

October 29, 2000

Being of Lithuanian descent and having been to Lithuania twice, I looked forward to reading Martin Hollander's article about his short hop to the Baltics ("A Triple Play Into History," Oct. 15). However, I found the article slanted; the Baltics were seen through narrow spectacles.

Hollander's impressions during his quick and superficial tour do not match my experiences. Perhaps the author should return there and stay a little longer to more fully experience the countries and cultures. Then he could write a more credible account.

He may find, as I did, that the locals are not "sour," as he wrote. They may not be artificially "smiley," but I found them to be hospitable, intelligent and optimistic.

VAIDAS BAIPSYS

Costa Mesa

Hollander's article is a pretty lame depiction of present-day Lithuania. I am no apologist for Hitler, but I spent six months in Lithuania a few years ago and got a much different impression of the place than Hollander conveys.

If he went there to find evidence for the Holocaust, he didn't do an adequate job. The so-called Ninth Fort in Kaunas, for instance, is a standing prison where thousands of Jews were murdered in World War II. He doesn't mention the non-Jewish Lithuanians murdered by the Germans and Russians or deported to Siberia.

The Lithuanians have plenty of reason to be depressed. (I'm sorry some of them spoiled Hollander's vacation.) The war was followed by 50 years of Soviet oppression. But these are interesting and lively people. They are doing their best to cope.

ROGER NANCE

Los Angeles

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