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Booksmugglers: Antanas Baltrusaitis



Antanas Baltrušaitis. Nuotrauka iš B. Kaluškevičiaus archyvoANTANAS BALTRUSAITIS, (1865-1949), booksmuggler, born in the hamlet of Papartynai, county of Sakiai, on June 10, 1865. The date of his birth almost coincides with the phohibition of the printing of Lithuanian books and periodicals in Latin characters (1864). In spite of being an invalid, he became one of the well-known distributors of prohibited Lithuanian books, the so-called book-smugglers. The books were printed in neighboring East Prussia and in the United States and smuggled over the Russo-German border. Baltrusaitis set up secret stores of books and a network of agents. About 40.000 rubles' worth of smuggled Lithuanian books passed through his hands. He was often searched by the Russian police but on the few occasions when he
was arrested and jailed (1890 and 1892), he avoided exile to Siberia, where other
booksmugglers used to be sent. When the prohibition of the printing of Lithuanian in Latin characters was lifted in 1904, he made a living as a storekeeper. He left Lithuania in 1944 because of the second Bolshevik invasion, and died in Germany on December 15, 1949.