OPEN ARCHIVES OF KAUNAS

OPEN ARCHIVES OF KAUNAS

...
 

Ramybės park (Kaunas Old Cemetery)


Eugenija: "I lived nearby.

Eugenija: "I lived nearby. I crossed the street, where there currently stands a Russian school. That’s how I walked into the cemetery. There was a mosque there, benches, the backyard of the school. Later they started dismantling everything there, diggings began, excavators came and they wouldn’t let us walk there anymore. I would only walk near the mosque and with the trolley I would then go to the central path. I saw that they were dismantling it, but from far away. That side was fixed just until the central path. Just as you walked in through the main entrance, on the right side there was a row of crosses made out of cement for soldiers. They were for Lithuanian volunteers. After a while they were all dismantled, replaced by benches and there sat “grannies” who jabbered. When they were dismantling the other side, near the orthodox church, you couldn’t see a thing. The dismantling there was grave. You could go to the marketplace by Vytautas avenue. I used to see a lot of people there, that would go on walks. Although I live really near, I just need to cross the street, this place is not a park to me even now. It’s a cemetery. I can’t be there. I get a bad feeling. One time an extrasens (medium) came to the city, she was showed around it. Although I don’t know why. the extrasens lady said that this place was no good. There were a lot of dead peoples’ bodies which weren’t transferred. There’s a bad aura. My son feels the same. He doesn’t take walks there and doesn’t walk the dogs. When I used to go on walks there, the mausoleum of Darius and Girėnas was still there. I was down there to take a look at it. But it was empty, the graves were no longer there. I saw the graves of Darius and Girėnas in the institute.

Read more
DSC 9048
 

Miesto Sodas (City Garden) during the Soviet times


Arkadijus Vinokuras (member of the "Company"): We were proud of Kaunas, and the situation of Lithuania hurt us, so a lot of us would carry a litas coin featuring Duke Vytautas from the Smetona times.

*Arkadijus Vinokuras (member of the "Company"**):* We were proud of Kaunas, and the situation of Lithuania hurt us, so a lot of us would carry a litas coin featuring Duke Vytautas from the Smetona times. Miesto Sodas has become the symbol of wanting freedom, a little island of anti-conformism and the hippie movement itself was an important phenomenon as an explosion of freedom in the Soviet Kaunas and Lithuania.

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
baptistu
1991

Baptist Church


Pastor Vladimiras Sereda: "/.../ In 1980, I came to Lithuania with my wife after our wedding. As people of faith, we were looking for some community.

*Pastor Vladimiras Sereda:* "/.../ In 1980, I came to Lithuania with my wife after our wedding. As people of faith, we were looking for some community. At first, we used to go to Vilnius, because there was a community of the Seventh Day Baptist Church. Later someone told us that there were several sisters in Kaunas, who gathered to pray. They used to gather in the house No. 23 in Sodų Street. When we went there, we found four or five sisters, their age was around 70. They were very happy, when young people arrived. The next Sunday, I was already preaching something from the God’s Word, and this was actually when my spiritual service started. I became the leader of this little group. /.../ The Soviet government had overtaken [the church building] and turned it into a club, and when it could no longer be used as a club, into a salt warehouse. In 1988, we found the church with bricked up windows, broken roof, full of salt and garbage. We decided to ask for permission to use the building and on 20 December 1988, we received a document allowing it. Reconstruction was a difficult process: as it was characteristic to those times, it was difficult to purchase building materials. We had to look for people who could help.  But with the Lord’s help, on 26 July 1991, the house of prayer opened its doors to the community and remained open ever since. (2014)

Read more
Vilijampole 5
 

Vilijampolė


Jolita: My grandparents lived "on the hill", in Vilijampolė.

*Jolita*: My grandparents lived "on the hill", in Vilijampolė. I used to visit them with my parents at first and later I went there alone. I used to take a trolleybus from the 6th Fort to get to Kaunas Castle, and then waited for bus No 4 to get to Kaunas Clinical Hospital; buses on this route drove more often too. If I'm not mistaken, it was also possible to get to my grandmother‘s Josvainių bus stop by taking bus No. 33 or No. 24. I do not remember the final destination of those routes, but it was somewhere "in the middle of nowhere"; the buses on these routes rode very rarely too. Once we rode bus No. 33 and got off at the Milikoniai store. For me it was like the end of the world - the last place for people to be found. There used to be an ice cream kiosk at the bus station of Kaunas Castle and I would often not buy a ticket for 4 kopecks so I could save some money for an ice cream. A cup of dairy ice cream cost 11 kopecks, sour cream ice cream cost 15 and fatty ice cream cost 19 kopecks. I never bought the latter though, since it had too much fat and it was too expensive. For some reason, the Castle ice cream kiosk often sold sorbets, which cost 6 kopeck. This kind of ice cream was the most desirable for us, since it was delicious and hard to find. After some time, I started to get off the bus more and more ahead of my stop and I would walk by foot through Vilijampolė and then up the hill. It is hard to believe it, but my entire childhood I spent with my relatives in Vilijampolė; I never heard the word "Jew" from them (or at least I do not recall), and most certainly no one ever mentioned the word "ghetto". I was stunned, when after a long time I saw the name "Slabotkė" on an American website and realized that all those years I had been riding the bus through the little streets of the ghetto. However, there was something in that district that fascinated me and it still does. My grandmother died in 1983. The family drifted apart. Šilainiai district started to rise. My childhood ended and so did my time in Vilijampolė. For thirty years, the orange bridge over the river Neris was the border of Kaunas for me. I realized that it might be time for me to cross it, especially when I started to get dreams about all those places I walked through as a child. I took a walk in the down side of Vilijampolė, and then I got to the Child Care service at the hillside. That building, with its massive gray walls, used to be both fascinating and intimidating for me as a child. I walked up the hill. Many places have changed, except for the territory of the fort on Pylimo Street in front of my grandmother's house; which was untouched and belonged to no one. Just like my grandma’s house did not belong to me anymore. Just like the pictures that I did not care for as a child and did not bother taking them as I left. (2017)

Read more
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.

Read more
IMG 20190517 132233
 

A Monument "We Died for the Motherland"


Stasys: "Since I lived up the hill in the city, in Vaižgantas street, I used to go past the cemetery to work.

Stasys: "Since I lived up the hill in the city, in Vaižgantas street, I used to go past the cemetery to work. This one time, one red-cheeked guy said you can’t walk through here – go around. I say: “Why? How come?” He yelled back to me: “I’m telling you you can’t. Get out of here, it’s forbidden, there’s no path here!” I look past him and I see a crane, some construction workers – they were demolishing the monument "We Died for the Motherland". I felt really bad, I wanted to do something mischievous to them, but I couldn‘t... When I came to take a look at it in the evening, everything was wiped out, there were barely any footprints left of the monument." (2019)

Read more
Interviu su R.Viedrynaiiu. yd ligonin
 

Jewish Hospital


Rimantas Viedrynaitis: “I was born in Kaunas, the Jewish Hospital.

*Rimantas Viedrynaitis:* “I was born in Kaunas, the Jewish Hospital. It is sad that it does not look good right now. It is in front of the Seminary of Priests and Kaunas Castle. That building has a very interesting history: it was a Jewish hospital, and it was a brothel during the war and later a maternity ward, where women would tease the priests with naked breasts. I don't know, I feel some emotional connection to that place.”  (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
...
 

Demolition of Stalinas Monument


Eugenija: "I remember, when they destroyed Stalin’s monument.

Eugenija: "I remember, when they destroyed Stalin’s monument. The windows of our apartment were facing the appendix. From the window I could say that the traffic had been stopped, people couldn’t walk across the street, nor go down the street of Parodos. A truck arrived. It was dark, a lot of police. I saw how they threw ropes on it, pulled them and demolished it. The leftover pieces were put in the truck. A policeman was even standing near the gates of our yard." (2019)

Read more
IMG 20180721 092452
 

Lions of the War Museum


Žilvinas: “My brother and I, we are twins.

*Žilvinas*: “My brother and I, we are twins. We used to be very naughty children and to get some rest, our grandma would bring us for a walk to visit the lions. On one of such occasion, we found a photographer who took a photo of us all. Later something similar happened when we were 12-year-old. In those times, our parents would work a lot and we would spend a lot of time with our beloved grandmother. When we grew up and started living our own lives, we still have not been able to forget the wonderful times of youth and childhood. Because of this, when brother’s daughter Monika comes from America, I always say to her that she is always a Lithuanian and a Kaunasian. And I also go for a walk in Laisvės Alėja with my little son Nojus quite often. Every time, we visit the Museum of War for a meeting with lions. :) I have taken the last photo with lions in 2013, capturing my brother’s daughter Monika. I was born in 1966 in Kaunas and I am not planning on leaving it no matter what. :)” (2018)

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
All memories

SITES OF MEMORY

1 Projects 109 10 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