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Issue Details: First known date: 1997... 1997 Elena's Journey
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

The story of a young Lithuanian woman whose world was turned into one of grief and loss by the Germans in 1941 - She came to Australia in 1949 to begin a new life.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

Literary Cultures of Eastern European 'Displaced Persons' in Australia : Elena Jonaitis, Helen Boris, Pavla Gruden and Elga Rodze-Kisele Sonia Mycak , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Life Writing , October vol. 11 no. 4 2014; (p. 423-435)

This paper draws upon findings from a project undertaken to interview writers who came to Australia as ‘Displaced Persons’ (DPs) after the Second World War, and examines the literary cultures within their communities. The focus is on four women writers, who exemplify the talent, resourcefulness, and contribution these immigrants made to literary and cultural life in Australia, and who significantly contribute to establishing alternative histories of Australian literature. The writers are Elena Jonaitis, originally from Lithuania; Helen Boris from Ukraine; Elga Rodze-Kisele from Latvia; and Pavla Gruden from Slovenia. The four women reveal how ethno-cultural identity and national attachments are an important aspect of these literary cultures. Their work also shows how their personal experience of immigration and the specificities of the DP experience impacts on literary production. These writers have had work published in their ethno-cultural community in Australia, their wider international diaspora and their original homeland. They have also established literary and cultural networks within their local community, and managed to engage a wider Australian audience. [Author's abstract]

A Literary Biographical Exploration of the Transnational Literary Journeys of the Australian Writer Amy Witting and a Lithuanian Migrant Elena Jonaitis Coleen Smee , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 14 no. 1 2014;
This paper explores the genesis and reflexivity of two inter-connected texts, one Elena’s Journey (1997), an autobiographical memoir of a Lithuanian migrant woman Elena Jonaitis and the other, Maria’s War (1998), a fictional novel written by the acclaimed Australian author Amy Witting. The latter text was first conceived from the oral recount of Elena Jonaitis’ experiences fleeing across Germany during World War Two. Witting, an Australian writer in a transnational setting, recognised the significance of Jonaitis’ story, even travelling to Germany to research material for a novel based on the migrant woman’s experiences. Witting subsequently decided that she was too much of ‘a born barnacle’ to write a novel underpinned by places and cultural discourses located outside Australia. Instead, Witting empowered Jonaitis, the other, a woman for whom English was a second language, to write her own story, one of ‘dispossession, endurance, love and survival.’ Soon after, Witting used the life writing of ‘the other’ to inform her own fiction, grounding her novel Maria’s War in Australia by creating the persona of an elderly migrant woman living in a retirement hostel in Sydney, who recounts her war-time experiences to a biographer. Witting commented that both books were ‘tracing the path followed by many Australian citizens and ancestors’. (Publication abstract)
Lithuanian Writer Reveals a Refugee's Dispossession and Loss Luisa Percopo , 1998 single work review
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 12 no. 1 1998; (p. 66-67)

— Review of Elena's Journey Elena Jonaitis , 1997 single work autobiography
Elena's Journey: A Personal Memoir Betty Birskys , 1998 single work review
— Appears in: Social Alternatives , January vol. 17 no. 1 1998; (p. 51)

— Review of Elena's Journey Elena Jonaitis , 1997 single work autobiography
A Tale of Two Elenas Angela Bennie , 1998 single work biography
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 5 September 1998; (p. 8)
Elena's Journey: A Personal Memoir Betty Birskys , 1998 single work review
— Appears in: Social Alternatives , January vol. 17 no. 1 1998; (p. 51)

— Review of Elena's Journey Elena Jonaitis , 1997 single work autobiography
Lithuanian Writer Reveals a Refugee's Dispossession and Loss Luisa Percopo , 1998 single work review
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 12 no. 1 1998; (p. 66-67)

— Review of Elena's Journey Elena Jonaitis , 1997 single work autobiography
Elena's Story Elisabeth Wynhausen , 1997 single work criticism biography
— Appears in: The Australian Magazine , 2-3 August 1997; (p. 20-21,24-25)
A Tale of Two Elenas Angela Bennie , 1998 single work biography
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 5 September 1998; (p. 8)
A Literary Biographical Exploration of the Transnational Literary Journeys of the Australian Writer Amy Witting and a Lithuanian Migrant Elena Jonaitis Coleen Smee , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 14 no. 1 2014;
This paper explores the genesis and reflexivity of two inter-connected texts, one Elena’s Journey (1997), an autobiographical memoir of a Lithuanian migrant woman Elena Jonaitis and the other, Maria’s War (1998), a fictional novel written by the acclaimed Australian author Amy Witting. The latter text was first conceived from the oral recount of Elena Jonaitis’ experiences fleeing across Germany during World War Two. Witting, an Australian writer in a transnational setting, recognised the significance of Jonaitis’ story, even travelling to Germany to research material for a novel based on the migrant woman’s experiences. Witting subsequently decided that she was too much of ‘a born barnacle’ to write a novel underpinned by places and cultural discourses located outside Australia. Instead, Witting empowered Jonaitis, the other, a woman for whom English was a second language, to write her own story, one of ‘dispossession, endurance, love and survival.’ Soon after, Witting used the life writing of ‘the other’ to inform her own fiction, grounding her novel Maria’s War in Australia by creating the persona of an elderly migrant woman living in a retirement hostel in Sydney, who recounts her war-time experiences to a biographer. Witting commented that both books were ‘tracing the path followed by many Australian citizens and ancestors’. (Publication abstract)
Literary Cultures of Eastern European 'Displaced Persons' in Australia : Elena Jonaitis, Helen Boris, Pavla Gruden and Elga Rodze-Kisele Sonia Mycak , 2014 single work criticism
— Appears in: Life Writing , October vol. 11 no. 4 2014; (p. 423-435)

This paper draws upon findings from a project undertaken to interview writers who came to Australia as ‘Displaced Persons’ (DPs) after the Second World War, and examines the literary cultures within their communities. The focus is on four women writers, who exemplify the talent, resourcefulness, and contribution these immigrants made to literary and cultural life in Australia, and who significantly contribute to establishing alternative histories of Australian literature. The writers are Elena Jonaitis, originally from Lithuania; Helen Boris from Ukraine; Elga Rodze-Kisele from Latvia; and Pavla Gruden from Slovenia. The four women reveal how ethno-cultural identity and national attachments are an important aspect of these literary cultures. Their work also shows how their personal experience of immigration and the specificities of the DP experience impacts on literary production. These writers have had work published in their ethno-cultural community in Australia, their wider international diaspora and their original homeland. They have also established literary and cultural networks within their local community, and managed to engage a wider Australian audience. [Author's abstract]

Last amended 18 Nov 2015 17:34:00
Settings:
  • c
    Australia,
    c
  • c
    Lithuania,
    c
    c
    Former Soviet Union,
    c
    Eastern Europe, Europe,
  • Bonegilla, Wodonga area, North East Victoria, Victoria,
  • 1940s
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