OPEN ARCHIVES OF KAUNAS

OPEN ARCHIVES OF KAUNAS

Kauno zenklas
1993

The sign of Kaunas


Neringa: Yesterday, while driving from Vilnius to Kaunas, I saw the “new” sign of the city of Kaunas and realized that the old sign was a really special place.

*Neringa:* Yesterday, while driving from Vilnius to Kaunas, I saw the “new” sign of the city of Kaunas and realized that the old sign was a really special place. We would stop next to it every time we came back from Vilnius, even if relatives from America came to visit us. This was the first stop after Vilnius Airport, where we would all take photos with guests we haven't seen for a long time (or saw for the very first time). Even though the sign was a relict of the Soviet times, but compared to the “new” one, it had certain image and uniqueness to it. From my childhood, I remember those steps up to the sign and the red brightness of its background, that would contrast to the light blue summer sky. In this picture, it's me, my mother, and guests from America: Debbie and Ramutė in 1993. (2014)

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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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Laisvės Ave. 3


Asija: “When the family got too big, we received a room in Laisvės Ave.

*Asija*: “When the family got too big, we received a room in Laisvės Ave. 1A (currently Laisvės Ave. 3). The apartment had 5 rooms, each housing a different family. The rooms were separated by glass doors. Each side followed their own way of living. This “transparent’’ life continued for a long time, as covering the doors or building a wall were not affordable. Those doors made the apartment authentic and beautiful.”

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Namai Laisves alejoje
 

A house in Laisvės Alėja


Alvydas Vaitkevičius: I am sending several photos by a famous photographer from the Soviet times, Stanislovas Lukošius which he gave me before he passed away.

*Alvydas Vaitkevičius: *I am sending several photos by a famous photographer from the Soviet times, Stanislovas Lukošius which he gave me before he passed away. Photos feature explanations by Stanislovas Lukošius himself. He had a phenomenal memory and knew about the past of Kaunas in great detail. He wrote the texts himself, even though he was almost blind, so they are not easy to read... Almost 30 years ago, I got an opportunity to speak with him at his home. At that time, he had been blind for maybe 10 years and could not manage the archive of his photos and negatives without help. My son, who was then around 12 helped him at that time. Lukošius was a great patriot of Lithuania and greatly influenced my son's attitude towards history. Lukošius gave these and other photos to my son, but these are of the best quality. Maybe later I will find more... (2014)

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Vilijampolė


„Ne kiek to baisiausio žmonijos istorijoj karo Tadas ir beprisimena – keli paveikslai, ir tie neaišku, ar paties prisiminimai, ar vėliau išgirsti žmonių pasakojimai, pavirtę prisiminimais, keli pablukę vaizdai: vienas iš Kauno, antras iš Vilniaus, trečiasis iš Veprių.

„Ne kiek to baisiausio žmonijos istorijoj karo Tadas ir beprisimena – keli paveikslai, ir tie neaišku, ar paties prisiminimai, ar vėliau išgirsti žmonių pasakojimai, pavirtę prisiminimais, keli pablukę vaizdai: vienas iš Kauno, antras iš Vilniaus, trečiasis iš Veprių. 1938 metais gimęs, trijų ketverių penkerių metų bamblys – kas gi tokio peliuko galvoj galėjo įstrigti? Ugnis? Sprogimas? Gaisrų pašvaistės? Ir vis dėlto šį tą prisimena: ant aukšto kalno – minia žmonių, visi tyli, visi žiūri į žemumą, į tolimą duobę, kurioje kažkas liepsnoja, virsta dūmais, bet neįžvelgsi kas (dabar Tadas jau žino: tai liepsnojo Kauno Slabados rajonas, vokiečių paverstas getu ir sudegintas, tame priemiesčio kampe glaudėsi ir jo tėvų namelis, o tie ant aukšto kalno stovintys žmonės, tos raudančios moterys – tai Slabados gyventojai, išvaryti iš savųjų gūžtų kaip stovi – visiems jiems teko viską pradėti nuo pradžios: ir butelius susirasti, ir baldelius susikalti, ir vėl iš naujo išmokti gyventi, mylėtis, daryti vaikus, o laikui bėgant ir vagiliauti, ir apgaudinėti), tik kruvina pašvaistė ant žmonių veidų, kruvinos kibirkštys raudančių moterų ašarose“.

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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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Edita 1963 m erzina liutus
 

Lions of the War Museum


Rimantas: “This photo of my daughter Edita is taken in 1963, when she was 3.5-years-old.

*Rimantas*: “This photo of my daughter Edita is taken in 1963, when she was 3.5-years-old. I liked taking photos since my very childhood, we used to visit the garden in front of the Museum of War quite often, and this was where I captured her photo teasing the lions. I was working in a special scientific workshop, where various architectural and historic monuments were restored. Among many preserved architectural monuments in Lithuania, I also contributed to the repair of facades and interior of M. K. Čiurlionis National Art Museum and Museum of War. Your initiative inspired me to browse old photo archives. While looking for this photo, I looked through photos and slides featuring the construction of the Open-Air Museum of Lithuania, restoration of the Town Hall and Town Hall (Rotušės) Square, as well as reconstruction of The House of Perkūnas, the spire of Vytautas Magnus Church and many other monuments. Thus, I immersed into memories...” (2018)

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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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Laisvės Alėja (Freedom Avenue)


Laisvės alėja (Freedom Avenue)

Laisvės alėja (Freedom Avenue)

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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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rsz 1tarnauskas ir tarnauskiene
1930 / 1940

"Versalis"


Liuda Riaukienė: “My grandparents Povilas and Vanda Tarnauskai were shareholders of Versalis company.

*Liuda Riaukienė*: “My grandparents Povilas and Vanda Tarnauskai were shareholders of Versalis company. They founded it with two more friends in 1930. Tarnauskas also worked in the kitchen as a chef, and Tarnauskienė was a cashier. In some sense, she was the face of the restaurant: her duty was to welcome everyone and smile to the guests. [...] The restaurant had a very large kitchen. The food was of very high quality. The wine would be provided from the wine cellar that was located at the corner of Laisvės Alėja and Maironio Street. My grandfather learned his culinary skills in Petrograd, where he went specifically for this purpose. There was no one else like him in Kaunas, who could organise such luxurious receptions and cook various birds, pheasants and so on. While he worked, there used to always be a porcelain decanter with krupnik or Lithuanian wine nearby: he used to sip it while cooking. If it wasn't for my grandfather's culinary skills, both of them would have been deported with the first trains, but as I have said, no one else could have organised receptions as he did. [...] Restaurant Versalis had its own orchestra, with a leader of Jewish origin, Jaša Kašinski. This restaurant was the only one in Kaunas with cabaret featured in its evening programme. Cabaret dances usually were dancers hired mostly from abroad (Germany, the First Czechoslovak Republic), also two Lithuanian girls, sisters Irena and Genutė Lyvaitės (when they worked at Versalis, they were both approximately 17 years-old). The girls used to dance on a round stage in the hall. The restaurant was frequented by high officials and artists. Theatre director Borisas Dauguvietis and his wife used to come here often as well. Count Jonas Benediktas Tiškevičius rented a room in Versalis hotel for quite a long time.

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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)

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All memories

SITES OF MEMORY

1 Projects 113 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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