Lifelong Foe of Tyranny: Vilius Brazenas Has Spent a Lifetime Battling on Behalf of Freedom. through Writing and Speaking, He Has Opposed Tyranny in America and in His Native Lithuania. (Interview)

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In a few months, Vilius Brazenas will celebrate his 90th birthday. Throughout his many years, he has spent considerable energy working to achieve freedom for his native Lithuania and preserve it in the United States. Beginning in 1994, he began journeying to Lithuania with his beloved wife and helpmate, Eda, who passed away in 2000. His main goals are to help the people of Lithuania understand recent world developments, aid patriots in that nation in their fight for the soul of a country ravaged by 50 years of Communist rule, and contribute to the struggle to keep Lithuania independent.

THE NEW AMERICAN: Before we ask you about Lithuania today, tell us a bit about yourself You have lived through an amazing period of history

Vilius Brazenas: My parents were Lithuanians, but they were living in neighboring Latvia when I was born in 1913. My father had taken the family there to find work. When World War I began, Czarist Russia controlled the Baltic nations [Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia]. When German forces threatened the region, the Czarist government relocated entire factories to Russia. In 1915, my family went with the factory to Moscow.

When the Bolsheviks came to power in 1917, my parents tried to return to Lithuania but were trapped. Then my father died in 1919. By 1922, at age nine, all of the children in my first grade class were forced to march in a Communist May Day parade in front of Lenin himself. But later that year, my mother, my one surviving sister, and I were finally able to get back to Lithuania.

TNA: Were you in Lithuania all during World War II?

Brazenas: Almost all. We lived under the Communists for one year, then under the Nazis for three. But in 1944, as the Red Army was reinvading and in the face of tanks, I retreated toward the West and finally found my wife and daughter [who had preceded him]. In 1949, we were able to get to America. I had studied engineering and, once in this great country, I was able to make a decent living. With great joy, I became a citizen in 1955. But when I joined The John Birch Society in 1960, I felt I had become a much better American.

TNA: You have always spent a great amount of effort promoting freedom, opposing Communism, and trying to awaken fellow Americans. What exactly have you done over these years?

Brazenas: I have always been actively alerting people to the threat of totalitarianism--of both the Nazi variety and the Communist form of tyranny. Having lived under both, I can speak with authority about the horrors that are inevitably associated with total government. Eventually, I became the vice president for Communications of the Supreme Committee for the Liberation of Lithuania, a group formed by the underground resistance during the Nazi occupation. I wrote articles for various Lithuanian-language newspapers in the West, served as editor and reporter for an independent conservative newspaper in Florida, toured the nation speaking for The John Birch Society, and served as an instructor at many of the Society's summer camps for teenagers [now sponsored by Robert Welch University]. I have also appeared as a guest on hundreds of radio and television programs.

Then, I have written two books on geopolitics in the Lithuanian language that have been distributed throughout that country and elsewhere. One of these addresses the conspiracy above Communism and the other warns about the "new world order." And while in Lithuania during my most recent lengthy stays, I have written numerous articles for the local press, given many speeches, and attended political programs where I was able to inform the people. In everything I do, I convey the information I obtain from The John Birch Society.

TNA: What kind of reaction have you received?

Brazenas: Generally, the people like what I have to say because I deal in facts and have the documentation to back them up. But when my messages reach some of the politicians and government workers, their reactions remind me of the time when Russian Social Democrats became Bolshevik Communists. …