Lithuania: land of sorrow and misery
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No nation today is suffering as great misery, as great want, as great destitution as the Lithuanian. Nowhere has the present European cataclysm left such rampant desolation, such untold distress, such severe calamity. About four million of Lithuanians, the old- est and purest Aryan race, dwelling along the shores of the Baltic sea, from Memel, in Prussia, to Riga in Russia-and from the Baltic eastward to Vilna, their old historic capital, are practically without shelter, food, and the most primitive necessities. The greater number of the Lithuanian cities and villages are razed. Sections where once rich fields and prosperous farms were sup- porting a peaceful and industrious Lithuanian nation-are today a mass of ruin and desola- tion. Although neutral and absolutely unguilty Lithuania has borne and is bearing the heaviest burden in the fearful struggle of two giant nations. Her men have unwillingly been forced into both the German and Rus- sian armies. The first shot of the war was fired in Shir- vinta, Lithuania. It was in Lithuania that the German field marshall, von Hindenburg, struck the heaviest blow upon the Russians. Vast Russian and German armies have crossed and recrossed Lithuania four times, fiercely struggling with each other requisi- tioning, destroying and devastating the entire country. Practically all children up to five years are dead from lack of food and care. The starving population which is left is being fearfully decimated by disease and epidemic.
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