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Vilius Storostas-Vydūnas
Vydunas 1930.jpg
Vydūnas in 1930
Wilhelm Storost

(1868-03-22)22 March 1868
Jonaičiai, Lithuania (Jonaten, East Prussia)
Died20 February 1953(1953-02-20) (aged 84)
Resting place Bitėnai (reburied 1991) [1]
Spouse(s)Klara Füllhase
Vydunas as featured on 200 litas banknote (1997 release) Wilhelm Storost (Vilius Storostas-Vydunas) on 200 LTL banknote.png
Vydunas as featured on 200 litas banknote (1997 release)
Vydunas playing harp at home Vydunas plays a harp.jpeg
Vydūnas playing harp at home
Vydunas holding a funeral speech in 1931 Vydunas delivers a speech.jpeg
Vydūnas holding a funeral speech in 1931

Wilhelm Storost, artistic name Vilius Storostas-Vydūnas (22 March 1868 – 20 February 1953), mostly known as Vydūnas, was a Prussian-Lithuanian [2] teacher, poet, humanist, philosopher and Lithuanian [3] [4] [5] [6] writer and philosopher, a leader of the Prussian Lithuanian national movement in Lithuania Minor, and one of leaders of the theosophical movement in East Prussia.

Lithuania Minor

Lithuania Minor, or Prussian Lithuania, is a historical ethnographic region of Prussia, later East Prussia in Germany, where Prussian Lithuanians lived. Lithuania Minor enclosed the northern part of this province and got its name due to the territory's substantial Lithuanian-speaking population. Prior to the invasion of the Teutonic Knights in the 13th century, the main part of the territory later known as Lithuania Minor was inhabited by the tribes of Skalvians and Nadruvians. The land became depopulated to some extent during the warfare between Lithuania and the Order. The war ended with the Treaty of Melno and the land was resettled by Lithuanian newcomers, returning refugees, and the remaining indigenous Baltic peoples; the term Lithuania Minor appeared for the first time between 1517 and 1526. With the exception of the Klaipėda Region, which became a mandated territory of the League of Nations in 1920 by the Treaty of Versailles and was annexed to Lithuania from 1923 to 1939, the area was part of Prussia until 1945. Today a small portion of Lithuania Minor is within the borders of modern Lithuania and Poland while most of the territory is part of the Kaliningrad Oblast of Russia.

Theosophy (Blavatskian) religion

Theosophy is an esoteric religious movement established in the United States during the late nineteenth century. It was founded largely by the Russian émigrée Helena Blavatsky and draws its beliefs predominantly from Blavatsky's writings. Categorised by scholars of religion as both a new religious movement and as part of the occultist stream of Western esotericism, it draws upon both older European philosophies like Neoplatonism and Asian religions like Hinduism and Buddhism.

East Prussia province of Prussia

East Prussia was a province of the Kingdom of Prussia from 1773 to 1829 and again from 1878 ; following World War I it formed part of the Weimar Republic's Free State of Prussia, until 1945. Its capital city was Königsberg. East Prussia was the main part of the region of Prussia along the southeastern Baltic Coast.



The Storost family was for centuries living in East-Prussia and Wilhelm was born in the village Jonaten (Lithuanian : Jonaičiai), near Heydekrug, in the Kingdom of Prussia. Wilhelm Storost was the name on his German passport, while Vilimas or Vilius Storostas was the literature Lithuanian form used by himself, his family, and other Lithuanians. "Vydūnas" was added to his surname as a pseudonym when he was about 40 years old. Storost was married to Klara Füllhase.

Šilutė District Municipality Municipality in Lithuania Minor, Lithuania

Šilutė District Municipality is one of 60 municipalities in Lithuania. It is known for spring floods when ice on Nemunas River starts melting. This is the only municipality in Lithuania that gets flooded on regular basis.

Lithuanian language Language spoken in Lithuania

Lithuanian is an Eastern Baltic language spoken in the Baltic region. It is the language of Lithuanians and the official language of Lithuania as well as one of the official languages of the European Union. There are about 2.8 million native Lithuanian speakers in Lithuania and about 200 000 abroad.

Kingdom of Prussia Former German state (1701–1918)

The Kingdom of Prussia was a German kingdom that constituted the state of Prussia between 1701 and 1918. It was the driving force behind the unification of Germany in 1871 and was the leading state of the German Empire until its dissolution in 1918. Although it took its name from the region called Prussia, it was based in the Margraviate of Brandenburg, where its capital was Berlin.

Storost was educated as teacher at the Präparandenanstalt in Pillkallen (1883–85) and at teacher seminar in Ragnit (1885–88). From 1888 to 1892 he was a teacher in Kinten (lit. Kintai), when he went to teach at a boys school in Tilsit until 1912 and taught German, French, English, Lithuanian and sports. In 1912 he left his teaching position in order to take up philosophical studies, which he took at the universities of Greifswald, Halle, Leipzig and Berlin. 1918/19 he taught Lithuanian at the Seminar for Oriental Languages in Berlin under the director Eduard Sachau. Back in Tilsit he dedicated himself to reestablishment of Lithuanian Culture, especially folks songs and rural traditions. He directed a choir and wrote songs as well as theater plays. From 1933 on he worked in Memel at the music school.

Dobrovolsk Place in Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia

Dobrovolsk, formerly Pillkallen (1510-1938) and Schloßberg (1938-1947) is a village in Krasnoznamensky District of Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia. It has a population of 1,693 (2010).

University of Greifswald university in Germany

The University of Greifswald is a public research university located in Greifswald, Germany, in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.

Humboldt University of Berlin university in Berlin, Germany

Humboldt University of Berlin is a university in the central borough of Mitte in Berlin, Germany. It was established by Frederick William III on the initiative of Wilhelm von Humboldt, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Friedrich Ernst Daniel Schleiermacher as the University of Berlin in 1809, and opened in 1810, making it the oldest of Berlin's four universities. From 1810 until its closure in 1945, it was named Friedrich Wilhelm University. During the Cold War the university found itself in East Berlin and was de facto split in two when the Free University of Berlin opened in West Berlin. The university received its current name in honour of Alexander and Wilhelm von Humboldt in 1949.

1932 he wrote a book Sieben Hundert Jahren Deutsch-Litauischer Beziehung (Seven Hundred Years of German-Lithuanian relations). His idea of understanding between folks groups did not please the Nazis and in 1933 the book was outlawed. 1938 he was shortly incarcerated, but because of protests released after two months.

Together with nearly all of the people of East Prussia he was expelled during the Soviet take-over and lived in a refugee camp for some time. He died in Detmold, West Germany. [7] His grand nephews, Jürgen Storost, recently explained, that Wilhelm Storost's answered his friend Viktor Falkenhahn, that "his use of the pen name Vydunas was his chosen anthroposophic mission; that he did not want to be a "pavydūnas", but a "vydūnas" (one who wishes everyone everything good).

Detmold Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Detmold is a city in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, with a population of about 73,400 (2013). It was the capital of the small Principality of Lippe from 1468 until 1918 and then of the Free State of Lippe until 1947. Today it is the administrative center of the district of Lippe and of the Regierungsbezirk Detmold. The Church of Lippe has its central administration located in Detmold. The Reformed Redeemer Church is the preaching venue of the state superintendent of the Lippe church.

West Germany Federal Republic of Germany in the years 1949–1990

West Germany was the informal name for the Federal Republic of Germany, a country in Central Europe, in the period between its formation on 23 May 1949 and German reunification on 3 October 1990. During this Cold War period, the western portion of Germany was part of the Western Bloc. The Federal Republic was created during the Allied occupation of Germany after World War II, established from eleven states formed in the three Allied zones of occupation held by the United States, the United Kingdom and France. Its (provisional) capital was the city of Bonn. The Cold War era West Germany is unofficially historically designated the Bonn Republic.

Vydūnas was active in the old Lithuanian pagan religion (see Romuva). However, he never declared the revival of the pagan religion as either his personal goal or a goal of Lithuanians, remaining a national leader but not a religious one. His moral influence transcended the confines of being a typical political leader or a writer at his time. He was compared by later biographers with national leaders in India of his time, such as Rabindranath Tagore or Mahatma Gandhi. Pantheistic universalism, not predefined with participating in any obligatory religious practice, was one of the leading ideas of his philosophy, and gained him later fame as a pioneer of both pagan revival and theosophy in Lithuania.

Romuva (religion) pagan religion

Romuva is a modern reinstitution of the traditional ethnic religion of the Baltic peoples, reviving the ancient religious practices of the Lithuanians before their Christianization in 1387. Romuva claims to continue living Baltic pagan traditions which survived in folklore and customs. Romuva is a polytheistic pagan faith which asserts the sanctity of nature and ancestor worship. Practicing the Romuva faith is seen by many adherents as a form of cultural pride, along with celebrating traditional forms of art, retelling Baltic folklore, practising traditional holidays, playing traditional Baltic music, singing traditional dainas and songs as well as ecological activism and stewarding sacred places.

India Country in South Asia

India is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west; China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia.

Rabindranath Tagore Bengali poet and philosopher

Rabindranath Tagore, and also known by his sobriquets Gurudev, Kabiguru, and Biswakabi, was a polymath, poet, musician, and artist from the Indian subcontinent. He reshaped Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art with Contextual Modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Author of the "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse" of Gitanjali, he became in 1913 the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature. Tagore's poetic songs were viewed as spiritual and mercurial; however, his "elegant prose and magical poetry" remain largely unknown outside Bengal. He is sometimes referred to as "the Bard of Bengal".

Vydūnas was an ethical vegetarian, and wrote several essays about his ethical choices. [8]

Vydūnas was nominated for the Nobel Prize by the Lithuanian Writers Association. [3] [9]

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  1. Purvinas, Martynas (24 October 2016). "Vydūnas, Bitėnų kapinės ir Lietuva 1991-aisiais metais". Voruta (in Lithuanian). Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  2. "Lietuvininkas Vydūnas" Dr. Algirdas Matulevičius (1993). "Vydūnas – Mažosios Lietuvos istorikas" (in Lithuanian). Archived from the original on 10 July 2007. Retrieved 15 October 2007.
  3. 1 2 Jūrate Baranova; et al., eds. (2000) [2001]. "Chapter VII Vydunas: the essential features of his philosophy by Vaclovas Bagdonavičius". Lithuanian philosophy: persons and ideas Lithuanian philosophical studies, ii. Cultural heritage and contemporary change series iva, Eastern and Central Europe, volume 17. Washington, D.C.: Council for Research in Values and philosophy. ISBN   1-56518-137-9. Archived from the original on 28 September 2007. Retrieved 7 September 2007.
  4. Welters, Linda (1999). Folk Dress in Europe and Anatolia: Beliefs About Protection and Fertility. Berg Publishers. p. 214. ISBN   1-85973-287-9. Lithuanian philosopher Vydunas
  5. Prof. Kšanienė, Daiva (9 October 2003). "Vydūnas". Voruta (in Lithuanian). Archived from the original on 7 July 2007. Retrieved 16 October 2007.
  6. Bradūnas, Kazys (1979). "A conversation with Tomas Venclova". Lituanus. 25 (3). Retrieved 16 October 2007.
  7. "Auf den Spuren von Vydunas" (in German). detmold.de. 4 April 2018.
  8. "Žymių žmonių pasisakymai apie gyvūnų išnaudojimą". Animal Rights Lithuania. Archived from the original on 12 March 2009. Retrieved 7 December 2008.(in Lithuanian)
  9. Genys, Arvydas (2000). "Laisvės ir literatūros hipostazės". Mokslo Lietuva (4). Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 7 September 2007.