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I Had Nowhere to Go

Black Thistle Press, 1991
470 pgs

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The twentieth century has produced millions of refugees, exiles, and stateless, Displaced Persons. Some of them eventually settle down and grow new roots; others continue traveling, waiting, dreaming of returning home.

This book is a first hand account of the life, thoughts and feelings of a Displaced Person. It's a painful record of one person's experiences in a Nazi Forced Labor camp; five years in Displaced Persons camps; and the first years as a young Lithuanian immigrant in New York City.

"Jonas Mekas' diaries have an aching honesty, puckish humor and quiet nobility of character. Many readers curious about the early years of this seminal avant-garde filmmaker will discover here a much more universal story: that of the emigrant who can never go back, and whose solitariness in the New World is emblematic of the human condition. I particularly liked the sections set in New York City, which convey the rapture and loneliness of a young man who has just escaped the worst nightmare of the twentieth century, only to discover the lesson of what Freud called 'ordinary unhappiness' in the great metropolis. This is a lyrical, essential spiritual anthropology."

-- Phillip Lopate

"I was enormously moved by it."

-- Allen Ginsberg

"I believe in survivors' testimonies."

-- Elie Wiesel

"Reality-ripple, so dissimilar from my own life -- but one that gives me a frame of reference to so many other lives --"

-- Seymour Krim