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Booksmugglers: Morta Zauniute



Morta ZauniuteMORTA ZAUNIUTE, (1876-1945?), propagator of and collaborator on Lithuanian publications at the time of the Press Ban, daughter of Dovas Zaunius, born on March 22, 1876, in Rokaiciai, Lithuania Minor (East Prussia). She received her secondary education at Tilze (Tilsit) and later worked there as administrator of several periodicals, including Varpas (The Bell) and Ukininkas (The Farmer), which were printed in the city and then smuggled across the Prussian border into Lithuania Major, where a prohibition on printing In Latin characters was in effect. She maintained contact with the newspaper contributors living in Lithuania, Western Europe and the United States. For the World's Fair in Paris In 1900 she edited and published three catalogues of Lithuanian newspapers and books that had appeared between 1864 and 1900; she had gathered a large collection of these at her father's farm in Rokaiciai. In 1902 she opened her own book store out of which she supplied a great many booksmugglers with printed material. She was a member of the so-called Martyrs' Fund, established in Vilnius to provide help to Lithuanians persecuted or incarcerated by the tsarist authorities. Around 1930, as pressures on national minorities intensified in German East Prussia due to the growth of Nazi ideology, Zauniute moved from Tilze to Klaipeda (then part of the independent Republic of Lithuania) where she settled with her sister. Towards the end of World War II (1944-1945), she left the city at the approach of the Soviet front. The exact date and circumstances of her death are unknown.