Balys Sruoga

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Srūoga, Balys


Born Feb. 2,1896, in the village of Baibokai, Panevézys District, Kovno Province, now Birzai Raion; died Oct. 16,1947, in Vilnius. Lithuanian writer, literary scholar, and theater critic. Doctor of philosophical sciences (1924).

From 1916 to 1918, Srüoga studied Russian literature at the faculty of history and philology of Moscow University. In 1924 he graduated from the University of Munich. He became a professor at the University of Kaunas in 1932.

Srüoga helped found the Vilkolakis Satire Theater (1919–25). From 1924 to 1943 and from 1945 to 1947 he taught at the universities of Kaunas and Vilnius. He was a prisoner in Hitler’s concentration camp at Stutthof from 1943 to 1945.

Srūoga began publishing in 1911. Muted atmosphere and emotional spontaneity predominate in his verse collections Sun and Sand (1920) and By the Paths of the Gods (1923). A lyric intonation is expressed in Srūoga’s historical dramas In the Shadow of the Giant (1932), A Terrible Night (1935), Radvila Perkūnas (1935), Fate Before Dawn (1945), and Kazimierz Sapieha (1947), which portray the life of the Lithuanian people at turning points in history. Srūoga’s ironical memoir of Stutthof, Forest of the Gods (Russian translation, 1957), depicts the tragedy of dehumanized man.

Srūoga also wrote a History of Russian Literature (vols. 1–2, 1931–33). His scholarly works laid the foundation of Lithuanian theater studies. He translated The Tale of Igor’s Campaign into Lithuanian (1952).


Raštai, vols. 1–6, Vilnius, 1957.
Bangų viršūnés. Vilnius, 1966.
In Russian translation:
V teni ispolina. Dramy. [Afterword by J. Lankutis.] Vilnius, 1968.


Lebedev, A. “Les bogov” (review). Novyimir, 1959, no. 2.
Samulionis, A. Balys Srūoga dramaturgijos ir teatro kritikas. Vilnius, 1968.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Balys Sruoga, Lithuanian writer and professor at Vilnius University who, in 1943, was imprisoned by the Germans in the Nazi concentration camp in Stutthof (now Poland) together with a big group of Lithuanian intellectuals and Catholic priests for the successful boycott campaign of Lithuanian SS troops (such troops were never created due to that boycott) also appears in the Purgatory.
The poet and playwright Balys Sruoga (1896-1947) wrote a series of plays on historical themes, the most famous of which is Milzino paunksme (A Place Under the Shadow of the Giant; 1929-30).