OPEN ARCHIVES OF KAUNAS

OPEN ARCHIVES OF KAUNAS

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Prieplauka


Audronė: „Prieplaukos krantinę vadindavom cimbruvka.

*Audronė:* „Prieplaukos krantinę vadindavom cimbruvka. Gyvenimas prie upės vyko pilnu tempu. Buvo ir laivų, ir garlaivių, ir dyzelinių, ir garinių – visokių. Pavasarį atitempdavo dviejų aukštų prieplauką: antrame aukšte – restoranas, pirmame – kasos, aptarnavimas. Buvo du gariniai garlaiviai, su dideliais ratais, plaukdami keldavo dideles bangas – Kęstutis ir Ždanovas. Valtimi nuo tos prieplaukos kilnodavo į Marvelę. Bėgdavome pasitikti garlaivių. Žmonės atplaukdavo su gyvom vištom ir žąsim. Vyko judrus gyvenimas. Vakarais daug kas eidavo į restoraną. Jį atplukdydavo su barža. Rudenį nuvilkdavo į žiemos uostą saloj, kurio irgi dabar nebėra. /..../

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Judita zaidzia su nuotraukomis2
 

Vilijampolė


Judita: ”I had many photos in the ghetto house.

*Judita*: ”I had many photos in the ghetto house. They became toys when my parents would go to work and my little brothers to school. When being alone in the ghetto, I was mostly afraid that some man with a gun would come and shoot me down. That fear hasn’t disappeared up until this day, but now it is different…”

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1
1949

Miesto sodas (City Garden)


Lili Kristina Vaičekauskaitė-Čepauskienė (2014): We would often play in Miesto Sodas.

*Lili Kristina Vaičekauskaitė-Čepauskienė (2014): *We would often play in Miesto Sodas. There used to be a toy shop Du Gaideliai, where Miesto Sodas restaurant is currently located.

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azuolynas rimante
 

Ąžuolynas (Oakwood Park)


Alma: It is very nice to remember how people would gather in the Oakwood Park.

*Alma: *It is very nice to remember how people would gather in the Oakwood Park. In summer, it was full of people. Even though there were no normal paths in there back then. Some would play the harmonica or guitar. Everyone would gather in groups or families to spend some time in nature. It is also very pleasant to remember Song Festivals. The songs used to fly all around the Oakwood Park. 

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A 24
 

Nemunas str. 14, 14 b


Eglė: Hens running across the yard, pigs being farmed behind the house and the old horse of Kaunas silently sitting in the garage...

*Eglė:* Hens running across the yard, pigs being farmed behind the house and the old horse of Kaunas silently sitting in the garage... It is a description of a casual rural household after World War II, of one of the buildings located in Nemunas Street. Described as the Red-light district during the interwar period, the street was many times called the Venice of Kaunas as well, as the overflowing river used to flood the street. Despite the street being unknown to many tourists, and a few of who live in Kaunas since birth having been there, locals are full of memories. It is known that since the 1870’s, the property of land belonged to the town dweller Chaim Gidoni and after his death in 1876; to his family’s generations. In 1900, two-storey buildings (now Nemunas St. 14 and 14B) of red brick masonry were built. Later, in 1927 the property was sold to Benjamin Gruzdas, who was the owner of a jewellery store in Laisvės Avenue and the official provider of Omega watches. The oldest residents remember themselves being children, sitting in the house and watching playfully the overflowing river. Together with floating giant floes (heet of floating ice) the river used to flood almost up to the windows of the ground floor of the Nemunas St. 14B building. Ms. Elena was one of these children, who grew up listening to the clamour of children’s voices and saw adults organising birthday celebrations with food, music and dances until sunrise. However, not all of the memories cause nostalgia. According to Mr. Levas, several tragic accidents have happened: during one of the floods, a woman drowned when she accidentally fell into the basement, a German military officer jumping out from the balcony of building 14B, and one woman burned alive in the fire of a storehouse where she lived. Another local resident, Romas, remembers the times when several families had to live in one small apartment. Once, his mother hosted two students, who protested against the Soviet Union government by sewing so called “granny” pants out of the union’s flag and hanging it on the fence next to the parterre. These past stories allow people to feel the spirit of the street and re-live every moment experienced by former residents of Nemunas street.

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1956 Arunas Alesius pusbrolis Vytautas pussesere Laimute ir seuo Ruta
 

Lions of the War Museum and Meteorai band


Arūnas: “I spent my childhood and youth in Kaunas.

*Arūnas*: “I spent my childhood and youth in Kaunas. I managed to find a few photos. It makes me happy that people captured in them are still alive and well. So are the lions. The first photo was taken in 1956. From the left: me, my cousin Vytautas, my cousin Laimutė and sister Rūta. The second one was taken in the spring of 1969. While studying in Kaunas Polytechnic Institute (KPI), we had a big beat band Meteorai and before a trip abroad, we decided to shoot our promo photos in the garden of the Museum of War which was dear and interesting for us. From the left: me, keyboard, drummer Antanas Mačys, guitar players and vocals Gerardas Balaišis and Jonas Toleikis. Some of them have not parted with music to this day. We all wanted to be the Beatles in those times. We were restless. So, I am sending you another photo, without lions, capturing the attempt to fire at the central office of KPI with one of the museum's cannons...” (2018)

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Juozas Polis Kauno centras
1970 / 1990

Looking down from the Resurrection Church


Grafas: This photo hangs on a wall in my house.

*Grafas: *This photo hangs on a wall in my house. Interestingly, those who see it for the first time do not seem to understand what place and view it is. And this is the centre of Kaunas during the Soviet times, 1980. It is Janonio (Vienybės) Square and Mikalojus Konstantinas Čiurlionis Art Museum and War Museum. It is a view from an unusual angle, i.e. from the tower/roof of a building which was then a radio factory. The photo has was made by a professional and great expert of colours Juozas Polis. During Sąjūdis, he published several wonderful photo-albums about Lithuania. I got this photo from him as a present. Format: 60x50 cm.

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...
 

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)

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zs2
1982

Žalgiris Stadium


Gintaras: Žalgiris Stadium was not only a place of sports events; people were also interested in the shows by stunt drivers from Czechoslovakia.

*Gintaras: *Žalgiris Stadium was not only a place of sports events; people were also interested in the shows by stunt drivers from Czechoslovakia. You can only imagine how running tracks looked after their performances. :) The Soviet government took interest not only in the health of the sportsmen, but sophisticated pastime of the audience as well: next to the stadium (and in a lot of other places in the city), there were glass pavilions with drink vending machines. Here people could chat and discuss episodes from the matches and their results. Fifty kopeks and a glass of cheap wine called rašalas (‘ink, a derogatory term for cheap, poor quality wine) would quickly relax not only the tongue but brain as well... This place to get drunk has been replaced by a Hesburger restaurant, and instead of the stadium, there is MOLAS Shopping Mall. :) (2014)

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ka168
1945 / 1998

Cinema in Šančiai


Gintaras Vitulskis: After the war, when the wooden cinema Lyra (Lyre) burned to the ground, and Taika (Peace) cinema theatre had not been built yet, the Methodist church was nationalized and turned into a cinema theatre.

*Gintaras Vitulskis: *After the war, when the wooden cinema Lyra (Lyre) burned to the ground, and Taika (Peace) cinema theatre had not been built yet, the Methodist church was nationalized and turned into a cinema theatre. I remember watching Tarzan with Johnny Weissmuller as the lead in this very cinema. During the Soviet times, the cinema was turned into one of the weapons of propaganda, but we would still see some worldwide masterpieces created abroad like Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus with Kirk Douglas or Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor. The queues were massive.

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vyrai baltais2
 

Siūlų street


Fruma: "We were hiding in Petrašiūnai, a place that was not considered to be part of the city.

*Fruma*: "We were hiding in Petrašiūnai, a place that was not considered to be part of the city. We once came up with an idea to go back home. We were going from Aukštieji Šančiai down Siūlų Street towards the city centre, my father and brother were recognized by three Hiwis, and therefore were arrested and taken to an unknown location. My mother insisted that I run as far as possible. At home she asked the neighbours to hurry and follow the Hiwis to see where my father and brother were taken to. I remember my neighbour handing mother her new-born daughter and then immediately running downstairs."

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06 man puts political drawings kl
 

Kaunas Castle Bus Stop during the Soviet times


Liucija: I arrived from the sea coast to study in Vilnius.

*Liucija: *I arrived from the sea coast to study in Vilnius. During the last year, I married a guy from Domeikava. So, Kaunas Castle has become a stop in between Vilnius and Domeikava. And later, between my home and the workplace. Those were deep and poor Soviet times. The bus would leave every our, so if you were late at least for a couple of minutes, you had to wait for the next one to come for another hour. There were no shops around back in those days. So, in winter, you had to stand in the cold tortured by the wind. I sometimes see the same faces from those times, from the bus, but I don't feel any nostalgia for that place. It reminds me of dark times and distress. (2015)* *

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All memories

SITES OF MEMORY

1 Projects 114 10 Routes
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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.
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