Antanas Škėma was born in Łódź, Poland, in 1910 to Lithuanian parents. He and his family lived in Russia during the First World War, and in 1921 returned to Lithuania. He studied law and medicine at university before switching to theater in 1935. He experienced the first Russian invasion in 1938, the German occupation in 1941, and the return of Russian troops in 1945. Having fled to Germany to avoid the resumption of the Soviet regime, he survived in the wretched conditions of Displaced Persons Camps until he was allowed to emigrate to America in 1949. There he became a prolific stage actor and director, heavily involved in the émigré arts scene, until his fatal car accident in 1961. The White Shroud (completed in 1954), whose original Lithuanian version was published in London in 1958, is now considered a modern classic, famous for its unconventional style.