Meeting our resident Sonya Winterberg

2022-06-09

My name is Sonya Winterberg and I am a journalist and documentary film maker. I am now  in Klaipėda until the end of September on a fellowship by the Deutsches Kulturforum östliches Europa (long name, essentially it is a German cultural organization working on intercultural projects in Central and Eastern Europe) in close cooperation with Klaipėdos apskrities Ievos Simonaitytės viešoji biblioteka. The fellowship is called Stadtschreiber and translates into ‘miesto raštininkė’ in Lithuanian. The idea behind it is that I am working on independent projects that relate to Klaipėda and the city’s heritage.

You might know me as the author of the book ‘Mes – vilko vaikai. Palikti Rytų Prūsijoje’. The book on the Wolf Children who came to Lithuania after World War II was originally published in Germany in 2012 and was recently translated into English. It will be published later this year in English-speaking countries across the globe. For this book and other projects related to the Wolf Children, I have conducted extensive research all across Lithuania since 2009. So this isn’t my first time in your beautiful country but I have never been here for that long.

I feel grateful for the time afforded to me and look forward to serving the community as best I can. While one of my goals is to write a new book, I am also here to meet people, hear their stories and offer to showcase some of my work in literature, film and creative writing.

The fellowship includes a weblog where you can follow some of my thoughts and experiences during my stay in Klaipėda (we just started it but in a few weeks time you can find more entries there).

The German link is here: https://www.stadtschreiberin-memel.de.
A Lithuanian translation will be provided here: https://www.miesto-rastininke-klaipeda.com.

What can you expect of me?
Events like talks, book readings and discussions, workshops on literature and film, interactive group work on history and current affairs.

What am I looking for?
Ordinary people who are happy to tell me about their life. I am particularly interested in their experience as it relates to Soviet times, personal experience (or in their family) with the forest brothers, deportations to the Gulags, or other forms of repression.

I am also interested in meeting younger people who have spent time abroad and have returned to Lithuania. What have they learned abroad and what brought them back? How do they envision their future?

Last but not least, I am always open to hear about how people feel about the war in Ukraine. Our world has changed rapidly in recent months and while times are uncertain, it is also a time of reckoning. What can we, as individuals and communities, do to counter the aggression? 

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