Classic Lithuanian Literature Antology

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Jonas Basanavičius

PRIEKALBA
The Preface

Auszra

    After his departure to Bulgaria at the beginning of the year 1880, doctor Jonas Basanavičius began a search for opportunities to publish abroad a Lithuanian newspaper for Lithuania. At the beginning of 1882 J. Mikšas, after consultations with J. Šliūpas and J. Vileišis, proposed in a letter to J. Basanavičius to publish a newspaper for Lithuania in the East Prussia part known as Lithuania Minor. In his letters dated 7th January, 1883 to J. Mikšys and A. Višteliauskas, Dr. J. Basanavičius suggested that the newsletter might be published in Ragainė. On January 23, 1883, Dr. J. Basanavičius dispatched an outline of the editorial programme with the text of the preface and several messages for the first issue of the newspaper. On suggestion of J. Šliūpas, the title AUSZRA (i.e. Aušra, the Sunrise) for the newspaper was chosen.
    In April, 1883 (though with the printed date of March) in the town of Ragainė in Lithuania Minor, the first issue of the first newspaper in Lithuanian language designed for the Greater Lithuania had come into being. Its title page informed that the newspaper is published by Dr. Basanawiczius (J. Basanavičius).
    The preface of the first issue of AUSZRA is preceded by the old Roman maxim: "Homines historiarum ignari semper sunt pueri" - "People ignoring history remain children forever". AUSZRA, proffering various materials on the past of Lithuania and Lithuanians, followed this maxim at all times.
    AUSZRA was published in the years 1883-1886. Though called by its editors a newspaper, in fact it was a monthly magazine due to appear on the 20th day of each month. The first five issues (No. 1-5, 1883) were printed in Ragainė, and the subsequent issues, beginning with 1883 No.6 up to the end in 1886, were printed in Tilžė.
    AUSZRA made a decisive impact upon Lithuanian national renascence. The newspaper was evoking national consciousness, rallied Lithuanian intellectuals and formed the programme of their activities on national issues. AUSZRA aimed to become an intellectual centre consolidating Lithuanian national movement.
    The text of J. Basanavičius's "Preface" for the first issue of AUSZRA is presented in its authentic form.