The Railroad to Exile
In 1941 after the Soviet Army invaded Lithuania and the deportation of thousands of Lithuanian citizens began. By 1952, over 130,000 Lithuanians were deported to forced labor camps in Siberia and over 150,000 Lithuanians were deported to the gulags (prison camps) as political prisoners. The conditions in Siberia were deplorable and almost 30,000 died because of those poor living conditions and many were murdered in those prison camps. While we were filming in Lithuania, we came upon a few locations that were on the route to exile in Siberia.
This first one we found is in Utena, Lithuania at the Freedom Wars Museum. The plaque stated that starting on June 14th, 1941 and from 1945-1953 exiles were brought through here in train cars like the one in the photograph below. The plaque also says, "Passersby, sit and think about that."
This monument sits right next to the railroad tracks in Kaisiadorys. The plaque states that this station is where the journey began for the exiles of Kaisiadorys from 1941-1953.
Each monument is haunting in its own way. Especially in the winter, one can almost picture what it must have been like for all of those people standing there waiting for the journey to nowhere.