All wars create refugees and displaced persons. Here you see suitcases, trunks, crates, and blankets of World War II’s displaced persons.
In 1944 as the allied offensive began to end World War II, Soviet armies approached German-held lands from the east. Along with many other nationalities, hundreds of thousands of Lithuanians fled to the west. Having lived one year under Soviet occupation (1940-41), they sought to escape not only the battlefront but also the death and deportation that would follow the Soviet takeover. Families and individuals fled with very little, packing what they had in blankets, rugs, suitcases, trunks, and crates. Those same suitcases, trunks, and blankets were often used as furniture, bedding, or for other purposes in the spaces the displaced were assigned. For some, the trunks and suitcases became imbued with meaning and symbolism, sometimes reflected in their diaries and poems.