Jūratė Regina Statkutė de Rosales (9 September 1929 – 4 September 2023) is a name that stands out in historical debates due to her unique theories. This Lithuanian-born Venezuelan journalist and amateur historian has made waves with her controversial claims regarding the Goths’ origins.
Born in Kaunas, Lithuania on 9 September 1929, Rosales had a tumultuous childhood, living partly in Paris with her parents until 1938. The fate of her father, Jonas Statkus, the head of the State Security Department of Lithuania, was sealed on 6 July 1940. He, along with other high-ranking officials like Augustinas Povilaitis and General Kazys Skučas, faced arrest following the Soviet ultimatum to Lithuania. Consequently, he was incarcerated in the Butyrka prison in Moscow and presumably met his untimely death there.
The post-war era saw Rosales relocate to France, where her academic journey began. She acquired proficiency in Latin and French, culminating in her becoming a French teacher. The quest for knowledge took her to Columbia University in New York, where she wore multiple hats as a teacher of English, Spanish, and German.
In 1960, love blossomed between Rosales and Venezuelan engineer Luis Rosales. Their union was marked by the birth of five children—Luis, Juan, Sarunas, Rimas, and Saulius. In their household, both Spanish and Lithuanian reverberated, celebrating the essence of a multi-lingual family.
Her journalistic instincts shone through in 1983 when she took the reins as the editor-in-chief of Zeta, a Venezuelan opposition magazine. She further showcased her journalistic prowess by writing for Venezuelan newspaper El Nuevo País and the Cleveland-based Dirva. In recognition of her contributions, the Lithuanian University of Educational Sciences honored her with a doctorate.
Controversial Hypothesis on Goths’ Origins
Rosales passionately delved into a theory that challenges conventional beliefs. She asserted that the Goths, historically considered a Germanic tribe, were actually of Baltic descent. Her studies, published in various countries like the US, Spain, Venezuela, and Lithuania, trace their roots to the 17th-century Prussian scholar Matthäus Prätorius. He is believed to have introduced this idea, subsequently backed by Lithuanian historians such as Simonas Daukantas and Česlovas Gedgaudas and linguist Kazimieras Būga.
However, like every theory that dares to defy convention, Rosales‘ claims attracted criticism. Noted academics like Zigmas Zinkevičius dismissed her hypothesis as pseudohistory, tainted by nationalism rather than academic rigor. Professors Alvydas Butkus and Stefano M. Lanza similarly criticized her research methodology, accusing her of misinterpreting sources and employing “nonexistent” Lithuanian terms. But Rosales, the fierce academician she was, rebutted by emphasizing the superficial critique of her detractors who merely focused on a minuscule section of her comprehensive work.
In summary, Jūratė Regina Statkutė de Rosales was not just a journalist or a historian; she was a torchbearer of debates that urged historians to rethink and reevaluate established beliefs. Whether one agrees with her or not, her indomitable spirit to question the norm will remain her lasting legacy.