OPEN ARCHIVES OF KAUNAS

OPEN ARCHIVES OF KAUNAS

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Orbita


Robertas Antinis: Orbita was a superb club. It was special.

Robertas Antinis: Orbita was a superb club. It was special.

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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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Nauja Romuva
1993

Romuva cinema


Vitalijus: I remember Romuva from my childhood.

*Vitalijus: *I remember Romuva from my childhood. A very long time ago, when my brother and I were little, we saw Phantomas here. Behind the cinema, there was an ice-rink, and we would go there to have fun with other children. Cinema was not an expensive entertainment option back then. It would cost 10 kopeks for children, and evening screenings, the most popular ones, would cost 70 kopeks. The room was divided into areas: more expensive in the front and less expensive in the back.

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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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3. Paminklo vaizdas is priekio
1972

1972, Romas Kalanta


(Saulius Eduardas Pauliukonis, actor of Šiauliai Drama Theatre, former actor of Kaunas Pantomime troupe, who worked in Kaunas Drama Theatre with director J.

(Saulius Eduardas Pauliukonis, actor of Šiauliai Drama Theatre, former actor of Kaunas Pantomime troupe, who worked in Kaunas Drama Theatre with director J. Jurašas and in Kaunas Musical Theatre).

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1933 / 1937

Ice-rinks of the Temporary Capital


Roberto: When ice hockey was the most popular winter sport in Kaunas, the teams of Kauno Jachtclubas, LFLS and Makabi had their own ice-rinks.

*Roberto: *When ice hockey was the most popular winter sport in Kaunas, the teams of Kauno Jachtclubas, LFLS and Makabi had their own ice-rinks. The largest, best installed, illuminated and most popular among the residents of Kaunas was the Ice-Rink of Kaunas Yacht Club (next to the Nemunas Island, somewhere between Maironio and I. Kanto Street), where the main matches between the teams of the highest league of Lithuanian ice hockey as well as figure and speed skating competitions took place. LFLS ice rink was a bit smaller. It was established at the corner of A. Mickevičiaus and Kalnų (now V. Putvinskio) streets. Not many people have memories about this ice rink in Kaunas, and even fewer of them have original photos. These three old photos from the personal album of the famous pre-war Lithuanian sportsman Vladas Dzindziliauskas captures the ice rink of Lithuanian Physical Education Union club c. 1933–1937. *Maybe some residents of Kaunas have more photos or memories about these ice-rinks of the Temporary Capital?* It would be very interesting to see them on this website. (2014)

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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)

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tarnausku seima sventinis pasiplaukiojimas nemunu
 

Bridge for Vytautas Magnus


1 photographPovilas (first to the right) and Vandas (second to the left), Tarnauskas, restaurant "Versalis" shareholders, festive visit to Nemunas.

1 photograph Povilas (first to the right) and Vandas (second to the left), Tarnauskas, restaurant "Versalis" shareholders, festive visit to Nemunas. 4th decade. From the family archive of Ludza Riaukienė.

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Kauno arkikatedra bazilika


Audronė: „Katedros šventorius buvo atskirtas plačia tvora, viduje buvo parduotuvytės.

*Audronė:* „Katedros šventorius buvo atskirtas plačia tvora, viduje buvo parduotuvytės. Smetonos laikais, pasakojo, buvo vien tiktai religinė atributika, o tuomet, žinau, ir mūsų namų valdybos poskyris. Ir įėjimas iš kampo, didžiuliai vartai. Šaligatvis daug mažesnis, Vilniaus gatvė – tokia suspausta, bet judėjimas vyko ir autobusais, ir priešpriešinis. Eismą uždarė gal 1973 m. Buvo keista.“ (2019)

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1988

Church of St. Gertrude


Gintaras Vitulskis: The first victory.

*Gintaras Vitulskis: *The first victory. At the end of the 20th century, St. Gertrude's Gothic church became endangered. Not only was it turned into a warehouse, but there was also an idea to put it into a bag, so to speak: to build a multi-storey building in J. Gruodžio Street. In 1988, rapid construction of a building intended for the use of K. Požėla District Committee of the Communist Party of Lithuania was started. It was supposed to appear in the lot next to the cemetery adjacent to the church and dating back to the 15th–18th centuries. The intention was to throw away the bones, and the church had to be quietly demolished. But the openness was the new trend (Gorbachev's glasnost) and the civic self-awareness of the residents of Kaunas awakened in time to prevent this. After a long fight, the victory has been achieved: the construction was stopped, and the building was demolished. In a picture captured in October 1989, we can see the Church of St. Gertrude and the end of demolition of the said building. The third photo was taken in September 2014. (2014)

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Karo muziejus Vaitkevicius
1989

The Baltic Way in the Museum of War


Indrė Žakevičienė: The most memorable event for me was the commemoration of February 16 in 1989 in Santaka Stadium and the “analogue” of the Baltic Way 25 years ago in the Museum of War.

*Indrė Žakevičienė: *The most memorable event for me was the commemoration of February 16 in 1989 in Santaka Stadium and the “analogue” of the Baltic Way 25 years ago in the Museum of War. The vehicle that was bringing us to the Baltic Way got stuck somewhere halfway. The driver got nervous, turned around, brought us back to Kaunas and let us go; there was no chance to reach our destination in time on foot. Out of desperation, we went to the War Museum and found a group of like-minded people; we held hands in front of the Eternal Fire, people had a radio, we listened to the translation from the Baltic Way at full volume. (2014)

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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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All memories

SITES OF MEMORY

1 Projects 105 9 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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