By Lindsay Carey
Lithuanian native Janina Nawarskas lived a cozy life with her parents and brothers until the 1940s, when her homeland was torn apart.
Nawarskas detailed her lifestory in a memoir, “A Child Lost.” She recently held a reading and signing at the Southington Library.
The memoir follows Nawarskas’ challenging past, caused by the chaos and cruelty of World War II. When the war began, she and her family attempted to flee Lithuania, but found themselves caught by German soldiers. Nawarskas and her mother were separated from their father and struggled to survive in the brutal German camps.
“It’s my life story,” said Nawarskas about her war time tale.
Her story darkens as her mother passes away when she was only seven, leaving her essentially as an orphan in the hands of German soldiers. She was moved from camp to camp for years before finally reuniting with her father in 1948.
The memoir begins to brighten as she and her father immigrated to the United States in 1949. The two settle in Minnesota to live and work on a farm.
After some time in the United States, Nawarskas joined her brother in Connecticut and has remained here since. She lived in Southington from 1956-1989.
“It’s quite a story of her endurance and strength,” said Southington Library Adult Program Coordinator Jeanne Chmielewski. “It’s a heartwarming and encouraging story for anyone coming from another country having to deal with adapting and learning the language.”
Nawarskas said the purpose of the memoir is not only to tell her life story, but also to “portray the ugliness of war, the toll it places on the innocent victims caught in the middle of the conflict, and how it changes the feelings of an individual as one transforms from friend to enemy in the hellishness of war.”
Those that wish to purchase a copy of “A Child Lost” can contact Nawarskas directly at 203-879-1109 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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By Lindsay Carey