I Had Nowhere to Go
by Jonas Mekas
480 pp., with photographs
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.
"A timely book... I was enormously moved by it."
"Jonas Mekas diaries have an aching honesty, puckish humor and quiet nobility of character. Many readers curious about the early years of this seminal avantgarde 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."
"...His frank, honest, first-hand appraisals are often remarkable..."
"These diaries of a seminal American experimental filmmaker begin in 1944 in a Nazi forced labor camp and end 11 years later in Brooklyn. This story of survival is particularly timely because it recalls the oppression of Lithuania..."