OPEN ARCHIVES OF KAUNAS

OPEN ARCHIVES OF KAUNAS

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Ramybės (Serenity) Park


Asija: ”A protest happened in Ramybės (Serenity) Park, after which it was decided to remove the cemetery located in the park.

*Asija*: ”A protest happened in Ramybės (Serenity) Park, after which it was decided to remove the cemetery located in the park. Three schools were located near the cemetery and we (students at the time) saw everything from very close. Male teenagers could not miss such an event. They scavenged graves and brought found bones into the classroom in order to scare girls. Braver ones went deeper into the graves and showed everyone crosses or rings they had managed to find. This was a most horrifying period of Kaunas history. It united us with the Lithuanians.” (2017)

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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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Siegfried2. Is vaziuojancio traukinio 2
 

Railway station


Siegfried: “Just at the outskirts of Kaunas, I was dug up by locomotive firemen and picked up like some kitten.

*Siegfried:* “Just at the outskirts of Kaunas, I was dug up by locomotive firemen and picked up like some kitten. It was the spring of 1947, the weather was still cold. The men asked me in German: “How did you end up here?” I told them: “I want nach Litauen, Kowno, Brot holen. To Lithuania, Kaunas, bring bread back to my mother.” The train stopped in front of Nemunas and the railway bridge. The main said: “You would not cross this bridge. We would cross it, bring you over and leave you in Kaunas.” And that was what they did. I saw clean, neatly dressed people walking around. The city and the station were full. I thought to myself, that I was probably dead, because my mother told me that we were “close to our graves”, and if people died, both children and adults, they went straight to heaven.” And when in Kaunas I saw one Russian and then another one, I woke up from that dream. My new life had started. When I started writing a book, I told people and to myself that this has been my second homeland. I was in Lithuania for the second time.” (2018 m.)

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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.

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Juozas Naujalis Music Gymnasium


Raimonda Pauzienė (51): [In Juozas Naujalis Music School] everyone was trained to be a musician.

*Raimonda Pauzienė (51):* [In Juozas Naujalis Music School] everyone was trained to be a musician. Only several people would not later apply for studies in the conservatory. There was this one girl in my class who strained her arm and went to a different school. Students from other schools used to say that they do not know what to do after studies, but for us it was all clear. Everyone knew that children from Naujalis or Čiurlionis schools were different. They had a different motivation, different extracurriculars, motivation to go to the theatre and concerts. Later they also tried to enrol their children in unconventional schools, because they understood how important like-minded people and friends were. Music changes a person. /.../ [At school], the focus was on music. A year before graduating from school, we basically completed all subjects of general education and practiced for musical exams only. We used to spend most of the time with the teacher of our speciality. I remember my teacher as a specialist with fondness, even though it was a difficult [experience].  However, when I communicate with my pupils, I try to behave in a completely different manner. /.../ [Then] the rules were very strict... You could get a warning for not bringing a handkerchief [to school], for crying during the lectures. My teacher was very strict. And teacher Kumpikienė has remained the same to this day. Of course, now I am thankful for everything, even though sometimes certain things went over the top. If you failed to bring a hair pin or a handkerchief, you got a warning. Your nose was runny, you were crying, because you pitied yourself, since you were embarrassed for not being able to do something, [you got] a warning. /.../ For a child, this school was really too strict. Relationship with teachers was not friendly. Even though our classroom tutor was very gentle. She was a teacher of Lithuanian language, she would bring us to camp by some lake. And others... You could not speak with teachers like you can now. It seems that children can speak to them more.

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tarnausku seima vienybes aikste
 

Family in front of War Museum


1 photographPovilas and Vanda Tarnauskai, shareholders of the restaurant Versalis, with their daughter at the War Museum .

1 photograph Povilas and Vanda Tarnauskai, shareholders of the restaurant Versalis, with their daughter at the War Museum . 4th decade. From the family archive of Ludza Riaukienė.

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Laisvės Alėja (Freedom Ave.)


Aleksandra: “I lived just next to Laisvės Alėja.

*Aleksandra*: “I lived just next to Laisvės Alėja. I remember myself, an 11-year-old, wandering somewhere around Soboras; first time alone, I walked outside without parents on a hot summer day and was so impressed by the number of people in Laisvės Alėja: I have never probably seen so many of them in one place. And everyone was moving, doing something, engaged in their important businesses. So, it became crucially important for me to participate in the social life. I had 15 kopeks and spent them solemnly in the modern public toilet installed next to Žilinskas Gallery, where everything, oh dear, smelled like shampoo and hand drier was functioning without any difficulties, blowing three types of air...

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Gyvenamasis namas Rotušės aikštėje


Audronė: „Namas priklausė Zabielų rūmams. Ir pats namas – dabar jis supaprastintas – buvo labai įdomus, ypač architektūra apačioje, visur – skliautai, didžiuliai praėjimai, sraigtiniai laiptai.

*Audronė:* „Namas priklausė Zabielų rūmams. Ir pats namas – dabar jis supaprastintas – buvo labai įdomus, ypač architektūra apačioje, visur – skliautai, didžiuliai praėjimai, sraigtiniai laiptai. Dabar nieko nebeliko. Rekonstravo.

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Demokratų (Democrats) Square


Dobrė: “The action was held in November 1941: at 6 pm we were lined up.

*Dobrė*: “The action was held in November 1941: at 6 pm we were lined up. Our line, where my aunt, my grandmother and I were standing, was checked only after dark. At the time, I was ill, covered in boils, and for that reason I looked very tired, and my grandmother as well. Only my aunt was able to work. A Jew officer came to us, he was a friend of my father, which is why he let us go to the „good side” and we were not condemned to die. Everyone was amazed; it was a gift from God to us.”

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Lions of the War Museum


Lili Kristina Vaičekauskaitė-Čepauskienė (2014): Everyone on the same lion !

*Lili Kristina Vaičekauskaitė-Čepauskienė (2014):* Everyone on the same lion !

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Neries krantinė


Audronė: „Prie Neries nevyko nieko įdomaus.

*Audronė:* „Prie Neries nevyko nieko įdomaus. Ten eidavome žvejot. Kol nepastatė Heso, būdavo gražūs, didingi ledonešiai. potvyniai. Bet per krantinę nesiliedavo, užliedavo tik tą stadioną, dabartinį parką. Ten buvo nuožulnus kraštas, nebuvo dabartinio pylimo. Kokio dydžio ledai būdavo! Žiemos kaip reikiant, pilną aikštę privaro ledų ir paskui jie tirpsta vos ne iki gegužės mėnesio.“ (2019)

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1993

Darius and Girėnas Monument


The funniest part was to spin circles around the monument with my Nikon, which was used but still great.

The funniest part was to spin circles around the monument with my Nikon, which was used but still great. I brought it back from a trip. Before leaving, I used half a film taking photos with my Zenit camera, capturing the monument which had not been fully built yet, and in June, I used the rest of the film in my new camera to capture the installation the sculpture. I was in time to the see the test installation of the sculpture, and later the actual procedure. When the team of construction workers made sure that everything was OK, some of them even started to pose, as if they gained some significant award. It somewhat reminded of a different photo, the completion of the railway that connected the Western and the Eastern banks... It was probably the first time when I saw all the benches in Sporto Alėja (Sport’s Avenue) occupied: people watched the installation of the sculpture as some show. The monument was uncovered on 17 July 1993 and it was probably the largest rally-type even in Kaunas after the restoration of Independence.

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All memories

SITES OF MEMORY

1 Projects 114 11 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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