OPEN ARCHIVES OF KAUNAS

OPEN ARCHIVES OF KAUNAS

...
 

Kaunas Trade Union House


Gercas: "Basically, all amateur activities had to go through a selection process.

*Gercas:* "Basically, all amateur activities had to go through a selection process. There had to be songs in Russian and Lithuanian. Amateur activities were allowed, but I am almost completely sure that there were people infiltrated in them as well. Director Judelis Rondaris decided to create a drama in Jewish language (Yiddish) and he needed people who new Jewish (Yiddish). I could speak it quite well and I liked acting. The play was called “Shalom Aleichem”. We were envied by dancers and singers, because they wanted to sing and dance more. They met our drama with hostility, but residents of Kaunas liked it very much. Our audience was not only Jewish, but also Lithuanian and of mixed families. There are quite a few mixed families among us." (2018)

Read more
parke 3
 

Vytautas Park


Neringa: In childhood, our parents would bring us to Vytauto Park.

*Neringa: *In childhood, our parents would bring us to Vytauto Park. Back then, the roofs of Orbita looked like the caps of amanita mushrooms. This carousel was perceived as big children entertainment. So, what was left for us? The slow-paced Saulutė. In my early memories, children's festivals would take place in the park; it was possible to buy cotton candy and ride a pony. When the travelling American amusement park arrived at Kaunas, my mother protested our desire to go there and pay more than needed for our screams and flashing lights, so she brought us to Vytauto Park. She said that we would stay here just for a little while. The silence in the park was sometimes disturbed by tiny cars driven by its visitors. Right then, five minutes in a ship turned into an hour full of the simple joy of wind, and nothing better could have happened at that moment. I feel so thankful for her incredible patience watching her daughters from the bench. I come back here every spring for more than five years. Every time, I bring some people for whom this is a discovery. Now in my memories I see carousels, big ones, lots of slow conversations, Lithuanian music playing on the summer stage on weekends, with old ladies wearing starched collars waiting for the dancing on the little stage. Vytauto Park can be described as a little universe with its own spirit. But its crown does not belong to the carousels, their ancient demeanour and wild atmosphere, but rather to Regina, the employee who oversees a part of the park. I remember her presence in this space all the time and cannot imagine it without her. Without her, it would be a simple attraction. She somehow fills the space. Even when she stopped dyeing her hair orange and started to ignore the greying effect of time, she remained just as energetic: painted ladybugs on carousels, and if she recognized us, she would reproach us (“Why do you come so late this year?”). Sometimes she would wink and let us ride Orbita free of charge. This once, when I brought a group of foreigners, she got excited and started telling about her youth, when once at night, at Kaunas Botanical Garden, she caught a glimpse of a blossom of a large-flowered cactus that blooms once a year, and the other time, she told us about the real tree of knowledge: something about a walnut tree growing nearby and squirrels. Things like this helps you understand that sharing is good. Only each time, you return to the park as an old, somewhat guilty acquaintance, but not a conspirator enough for this to last for a little bit longer. This photo is for Regina. I have always wanted to give her this. (2014)

Read more
4.21 3
 

Kaunas mosque


Jonas: "The mosque that previously belonged to National M.

*Jonas:* "The mosque that previously belonged to National M. K. Čiurlionis Museum was returned to Tartars in 1990. Someone had to overtake it, and there was no one who could do it. So, this is how I became the head of the community. My activities were mostly related to the mosque, its installation, exploitation and fund-raising. The building had grey walls, sealed windows and did not have any floor. The museum did not use the mosque, but before giving it back to us, it was renewed.

Read more
Karo muziejaus sodelis XX a. 8 as desimtmetis
 

Garden of the Museum of War, 1970s


Alvydas Vaitkevičius: A note on the monument of Salomėja Nėris: I remember it standing there.

*Alvydas Vaitkevičius*: A note on the monument of Salomėja Nėris: I remember it standing there. I needed to check the dates and facts: the final collection of poems by Nėris called Lakštingala Negali Nečiulbėti (The Nightingale Cannot Stop Singing) was published at the end of June 1945. While still at the hospital, the poet had some time to enjoy it. On 7 July 1945, Salomėja Nėris passed away in Moscow and on July 9, she was burried in Kaunas. The poet was burried in the garden of the Museum of History. In 1998, the remains of the poet were solemnly reburied in Petrašiūnai Cemetery. It is said that photographer Romas Juškelis was the only one who captured the reburial.

Read more
20181119 162200 003
 

Lions of the War Museum


Birutė: "It was a long time ago...When in 1955 I‘ve settled down in Kaunas together with my parents and saw the sculptures of lions in the Garden of the War Museum, I was so surprised.

*Birutė: *"It was a long time ago... When in 1955 I‘ve settled down in Kaunas together with my parents and saw the sculptures of lions in the Garden of the War Museum, I was so surprised. For me, a 12-year-old villager, it was so beautiful, so beautiful – that was the first time I saw sculptures. I stood in front of them and stared, stared... Then, I came closer, petted... and hugged, both, one after another. Probably somebody at that time could have been very surprised, maybe I did look foolish, but for me it was an unforgettable joy, which I still remember. It took me a while to go through my photo archive. But I‘ve found a small amateur photo, taken in 1958, where I am sitting on a lion. Why am I sitting there, who got me up, who took it? It was 60 years ago. Probably someone from my classmates. It used to be the place for our meetings, dates, walks. I'm sure the lions are still "alive" in my classmates' memories. The music of the bells, fully seated benches, and the children splashing in the fountain – all of it had remained in my memory. And the unforgettable garden of roses. I‘ve lived in Aleksotas for a really long time, at the First Julijanava. When we went to the city with my classmates, our route (we would save money for ice cream, movies...) most often would be: Veiveriai road, Aleksotas cemetery, Aleksotas funicular (students could use it for free), Aleksotas bridge, Town Hall, Vilnius or St. Gertrude Street... And the garden of the War Museum, museum, Lions used to be almost mandatory objects. Our walks around the "city", would usually end in Vytautas Park. Lions became a part of my life. I‘ve visited them during my youthful days, after marriage – with children and grandchildren. I would still visit and pet my lions nowadays. I've went through "Memory Places" - a wonderful idea. Thanks to the author. Almost all of those places have been visited, walked and dropped by... All the places are still "alive" in my memories. Kaunas has already become my city - walked, sensed, ever more loved. "MY" LIONS – are in Kaunas. Lions, have a happy upcoming Anniversary!” (2018)

Read more
1962 Jonas N
 

Lions of the War Museum


Jonas: “At the beginning of July 1962 and after graduating the 1st High School of Ukmergė (now the High School of Jonas Basanavičius), My classmate Vytautas Juknys and I, Jonas Navikas, arrived at Kaunas for the first time (!).

*Jonas*: “At the beginning of July 1962 and after graduating the 1st High School of Ukmergė (now the High School of Jonas Basanavičius), My classmate Vytautas Juknys and I, Jonas Navikas, arrived at Kaunas for the first time (!). After submitting our documents to the graduate admissions committee at the Central Office of Kaunas Polytechnic Institute (KPI) to enroll in the programme of radio engineering at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, we reached a beautifully-shaped building on the other side of K. Donelaičio Street, which was then the History Museum. After looking around for some time, we noticed that individuals or groups usually take photos next to the lions. Having a photo camera at our disposal, we took photos of one another unaware of the fact that this place symbolizes the city of Kaunas. After coming back from Kaunas, you could show it with pride as a proof that you have visited Kaunas... These were the hot topics back then, when television was only making its first steps in Lithuania, and sightseeing tours were popular among both adults and school students. It is difficult to compare with contemporary technologies that have entered our daily lives...

Read more
1
1986 / 1987

Sculptures in Ąžuolynas (The Oakwood Park)


Alvydas (50): When my then-future wife was studying in Kaunas Polytechnic Institute, we would often walk around the Oakwood Park...

*Alvydas (50):* When my then-future wife was studying in Kaunas Polytechnic Institute, we would often walk around the Oakwood Park... We made several photos there...:) (2014)

Read more
1988 / 1991

"Laumė"


Laumė café that was working during the Soviet times was famous for its good coffee and sweets but the most important thing there was the sense of community.

Laumė café that was working during the Soviet times was famous for its good coffee and sweets but the most important thing there was the sense of community. Youngsters who lived in the spirit of Laumė became a subculture of sorts, a group that called themselves lauminiai.

Read more
IMG 20150306 155214
1997

Russian Aesthetic Education Centre


A.K.: Russian Aesthetic Education Centre later received the name of Mstislav Dobuzhinsky.

*A.K.*: Russian Aesthetic Education Centre later received the name of Mstislav Dobuzhinsky. It is still operating in V. Krėvės prospect, not far from the shopping centre used to be called Pasimatymas. I guess most of its visitors back then were children from the neighboring Russian school No. 20, even though later I attended the Lithuanian Pilėnai school. Probably it was my father’s initiative for me to attend all these extracurricular activities and have someone to practice my native language with, yet for me it has been (and I hope that it still remains) an exceptional place of artistic education, even though when I look back at this building, sad thoughts come to my mind. This place is like an island among the gray multi-storey buildings of Dainava, where people would create things, while we talked with teachers and fellow students in Russian.

Read more
3
1949

Vienybės (Unity) Square after the war


Lili Kristina Vaičekauskaitė-Čepauskienė: If someone is collecting historical material, there is an interesting episode.

*Lili Kristina Vaičekauskaitė-Čepauskienė:* If someone is collecting historical material, there is an interesting episode. Photo (see photo No. 2) pictures mother of the Lithuanian partisan Kazys Veverskis (pseudonym Senis). Our family became acquainted with her under very interesting circumstances. This one time, my mommy went to the post office to run some errand and found a crying woman there. She came to send a parcel to her relatives imprisoned in Siberia, but she could not write their address. Then my mother brought her home to Vasario 16-osios Street, and my father packed everything nicely, wrote down the address and posted it for her. And this acquaintance was the one that lasted. I remember this woman visiting us for many years in relation to this matter. I called this woman my granny Veverskienė. (2014)

Read more
...
1990 / 2000

Žvangutis kindergarten


Gabrielė: Early morning.

*Gabrielė: *Early morning. Two-storey building. Unlocked door. So many lights. Corridors decorated with unclear pictures and all sorts of crafts on the windowsills. Little doors of lockers. Lessons, tasks, questions. The most delicious food, or maybe the most disgusting one. Women substituting for mothers. A hall with music, dances, concerts, plays and sometimes even exercises. The most interesting and unheard fairy-tales and stories. Two hours of numbing silence, while the rest is a spree. War of pillows and toys instead of silence. Discipline. Lessons, tasks, questions. A bunch of new friends. Boys and girls. Little beds and lockers with their names. Laughter, tears and anger. Pencils, crayons and toys. Lessons, tasks, questions. Little doors of lockers. Cold, sometimes just refreshing coolness. Sled, sometimes even the heat. Snow fights and angels. Sand castles and princesses. Post-nap dinner. Milk soup with noodles and a sweet slice of white bread. Doll house and police car. Knocking on the door. So many lights. Evening. (2017)* *

Read more
...
 

Senamiesčio turgus


Judita: "When I was young I used to live with my custodian in M.

*Judita: *"When I was young I used to live with my custodian in M. Valančiaus Street. There was a market in the old town that was always full of people. Rumours would spread very easily. Therefore, the women that worked in the market soon knew that I was Jewish. However, I was christened according to Christian traditions, so I became a Catholic. The women would warn me not to go back to my real family, because if I wanted to retract the christening and become Jewish again, then boiling milk would be poured down my throat because that is the only way to take the christening back."

Read more
All memories

SITES OF MEMORY

1 Projects 104 9 Routes
bottom quote
Our memory is framed by spatial reference points: places, sites, buildings, and streets give us our bearings and enable us to anchor and order our memories. So, the material alteration of these places can lead to the substantial modification of our memories, and even their disappearance.
Post your memory here