About Us

THE TATRA PROJECT TEAM is a small group of professionals who share an interest in the history and welfare of Eastern European peoples coping with what years of Soviet repression did to their lives. We have a simple structure: a director and an advisory group. Our common interest is in the work we do.

Most recently our work has focused on preparing fifteen hours of interviews filmed in 2006 for the documentary Red Terror on the Amber Coast for free, public access on the internet.

Because only about thirty minutes of the fifteen hours of historic and truly memorable interviews were used in the hour-long documentary, we decided that all these interviews merited a public place in the human record.  And for that we are creating this free, visual archive.


David O’Rourke

Rev. David K. O’Rourke, OP, S.T.Lic., S. T. Lr.,
Executive Director

Dominican Father David O’Rourke is a writer and editor who has published extensively in the area of cultural history and current affairs.  Most recently four works on the use of language as a tool for repression have been published in the series Berkeley Insights in Linguistics and Semiotics.  In 1999 he began has working as a volunteer  in Lithuania, serving first as a program consultant to the Seimos Centras of the Archdiocese of Vilnius, and teaching  the practice of family therapy to graduate students in social welfare in Vilnius University.

In 2002, essentially by accident, he began working in the former photo archives of the KGB, studying the records of the Lithuanian resistance to the Soviet takeover.  This has led to the co-production of the documentary film Red Terror on the Amber Coast with film-maker Ken Gumbert.  (Domedia Productions.)

He is a licensed marriage and family therapist (1969) in California where he lives.  He is a graduate of Yale University.

Click here to send an email to Director, Fr. David O’Rourke, OP

Michael Carey

Michael Carey

Czeslaw Jan Grycz

Czesław Jan Grycz

Mr Grycz is Executive Director of the Władysław Poniecki Charitable Foundation, a non-profit California public benefit corporation, active in Central and Eastern European countries. Its principal work is in the area of Internet training for librarians.

Working in collaboration with librarians from six countries, and under a grant from the US-AID administered by the WWF, Mr Grycz and Barbara K. Rodes and their international team from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, the Slovak Republic and Poland published, in 1994, the first directory of environmental resources in libraries and archives of the region. Libraries and Environmental Information Centers in Central Eastern Europe: A Locator/Directory was published in print and was made available online at the Regional Environmental Center in Budapest, Hungary.

Mr Grycz has worked in the area of scholarly publishing and scholarly communication for over thirty years, at Stanford University Press from 1970 to 1974, and then at the University of California Office of the President, first as Design and Production Manager for the University of California Press from 1974 to 1989; following that, in the Division of Library Automation.

In 1990 he was asked to become CEO of Octavo, a company founded by Dr John Warnock (co-founder of the great Silicon Valley Company, Adobe.  Octavo employed ultra-high resolution digital cameras to digitize rare books and augmented the resulting images with advanced digital technologies for navigation, close examination (magnification), searching and associated editorial apparatus.

Grycz is the author of many scholarly articles and three books and is the 1997 recipient of the Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Scholarly Publishers.

Ken Gumbert

Rev. Ken Gumbert, OP, M.Div, BFA

Prize-winning film-maker Ken Gumbert is Associate Professor in the Theater, Dance and Drama Department at Providence College where he also runs the movie making program.  His films principally explore the lives and situations of people deprived of human, legal, and religious rights.  These include two films on the life and rituals of the Ute peoples in Utah’s high desert, Between Two Worlds and Ritual Ways. His film, Saving Grace, on the Soviet crushing of religious and human rights after the takeover in Czechoslovakia in 1948, was given the Gabriel Award for the best documentary shown on national television in 2005. Saving Grace can be viewed here in its entirety.

Father Gumbert directed the documentary Red Terror on the Amber Coast which he co-produced with David O’Rourke.  This hour-long film tells the stories of  survivors of the gulag slave labor camps, KGB prisons, Siberian exile, and years in the forest as partizanai.  Email Rev Gumbert

Theo Maniatis

Theo Maniatis

Theo Maniatis is a senior loan officer/mortgage consultant at MPR Financial, located in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has just celebrated his 21st year at MPR and has helped thousands of bay area clients realize the dream of home ownership in one of the most competitive and complex housing markets. Ted is a Northern California native and graduated with a degree in civil engineering/construction management from UC Berkeley before moving on to his current career in real estate finance. He currently lives with his wife and 3 young children in Lafayette and enjoys spending time with them in a variety of outdoor adventures and all manner of sports. Ted takes great pride in his Lithuanian and Greek heritage and is planning a family trip there in 2020.

Andrew Miksys

Andrew Miksys is from Seattle. For the last 15 years he has been living in Vilnius, Lithuania. His photography has been shown internationally including exhibitions at the Seattle Art Museum, the Vilnius Contemporary Art Centre, Kaunas Gallery, the “Ў” Gallery of Contemporary Art (Minsk), and the Maureen Paley Gallery (London).

He has been the recipient of grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, Fulbright, and the Aaron Siskind Foundation.

In 2016, Andrew was awarded the Balys Buračas Prize for Photography by the Lithuanian Cultural Ministry. Andrew’s work has appeared in many publications and online including DAZED, The New Yorker, Harper’s, HOTSHOE, BuzzFeed, VICE, and AMERICAN SUBURB X.

He has published several books through his publishing imprint, ARÖK Books. His books include DISKO (2013) from his series about Lithuanian village discos and TULIPS (2016) a new book about Belarus.

Arnas Palaima

Arnas Palaima, Ph.D.

Dr. Palaima worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology at University of Mississippi, Advisor for Scientific Program and Innovations at Collaborative Drug Discovery, Inc. (San Francisco), Project Coordinator at San Francisco State University, just to mention a few. He has taught for 9 years at University of Miami and University of Mississippi, giving more than 800 lectures to more than 3,000 undergraduate students. He is an author/editor of well-cited scientific publications and the book Ecology, Conservation and Restoration of Tidal Marshes: the San Francisco Estuary that was published in 2012 by the University of California Press, one of the most distinguished university presses in the United States. The book is widely read internationally by the scientific community interested in coastal ecosystems, conservation and wetland restoration with more than 800 academic libraries (from 40 countries around the world) that purchased the book. Examples of such academic libraries include Harvard University, Stanford University, University of Oxford, University of Cambridge, and others.

In addition, as a Director of the Ecological Economics Innovations Center, Dr. Palaima is a well-known expert in eco-innovation.  Over the last decade he has been working with numerous San Francisco Bay Area companies in technology development. He earned Diplomas in Biology from Vilnius University (Lithuania) and Ph.D. in Biology from University of Miami (USA). He is also a recipient of Fulbright scholarship (1995, USA) and Marie Skłodowska-Curie fellowship (2018, EU). Starting August 2018, Dr. Palaima is a Research MSC Fellow in Ecological Economics at the University of Cambridge (UK).

We wish to express our deepest admiration and gratitude for our WebMaster, Jennibeth Bongalon without whose patience and expertise this website would be impossible for us to construct.  Jennibeth earned her BFA from the College of the Holy Spirit and additional certification from the Platt College in San Francisco.  She is employed as Senior Designer for the San Mateo County Transit District in the San Francisco Bay Area and is Web/Graphic Designer for DigitalBarrio Productions.  Jennibeth is a dream to work with and  may be reached at jb@digitalbario.com