OPEN ARCHIVES OF KAUNAS

OPEN ARCHIVES OF KAUNAS

Vasario 16 g. 1946 metu potvynis
1946

Flood in 1946


Lili Kristina Vaičekauskaitė-Čepauskienė: The flood of 1946 in Kaunas was a very strong one.

*Lili Kristina Vaičekauskaitė-Čepauskienė:* The flood of 1946 in Kaunas was a very strong one. The picture shows my mother and me on an ice flow at the corner of Vasario 16-osios and K. Donelaičio streets. After that year, there were no more floods like that.

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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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The Zoo


Kęstutis: "We were living at Gričiupio Street, where the current KTU student campus is located.

*Kęstutis*: "We were living at Gričiupio Street, where the current KTU student campus is located. Previously, it was a village on the outskirts of the city, however now it is almost the city centre. It was an international neighbourhood. My best friends were German-born children. Also, there lived many Russians and some Poles. Of course, there were Lithuanians, too. There was a zoo nearby, around 300–400 meters away. It was very interesting to go there through the fence, of course, without a ticket. Once, together with my friends, among whom I was the youngest, we decided to hunt ducks with bows at the zoo. I was waiting on the hill while my friends were at the bottom. They returned very quickly because someone was chasing them. We came back home without our bows. Probably I was very scared because even today I remember that fear."

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S. Darius and S. Girėnas


Eugenija: "I saw the graves of Darius and Girėnas in the institute.I was admitted to the medicine institute in 1945.

Eugenija: "I saw the graves of Darius and Girėnas in the institute. I was admitted to the medicine institute in 1945. As a student I was curious to see them. There was a chapel. In the chapel there were two graves. In the Soviet times. When the Germans came, the medicine institute got closed. Although some people were let to finish their year. At that time I was in my first year. I went there one day, the graves were no longer there. There’s a story to this. The faculty of the pharmaceutical chemistry was on the third floor. There were a lot of spirits there. German soldiers were put on duty near the institute. Because they thought that these were those graves. Darius and Girėnas were hit by Germans. In the faculty worked professor Šiaulis, he basically lived there, because he was a bachelor. I worked for him when I finished the institute. There also lived a man responsible for fires, Rauba. Professor Šiaulis along with Rauba invited the German soldiers, made them drink a ton of alcohol, gave them some ham and whilst the Germans were drunk the two men made a hole in a wall, put the two graves in it, and plastered the wall to finish it off. The graves had vanished. When the Russians came back, they built a mausoleum in the old cemetery." (2019)

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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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Linksmakalnis


Irina: “My dad is Russian.

Irina: “My dad is Russian. He came from Ivanov to serve in Šančiai, where he met my mother, a Lithuanian. In order to stay, he had to pass the Lithuanian language exam, he wasn‘t able to pass it right away. Eventually, he settled in the military headquarters in Linksmakalnis. Mom was a medical graduate. It is hard to explain what exactly they were doing. We just knew they were "serving." I went to a school in Išlaužas, one could tell right away - we were from Linksmakalnis. We were all named as ruskiai (Russians in a disrespectful way ). I had a Russian last name, so I was always excluded. I remember the times were very few people here. We would spot everyone who moved here. I was born here, therefore everything is so beautiful here. It may be weird for some. Although, if I think now, it was a scary place 13 years ago. There were very few people, everyone knew each other. The town was empty and grey, especially in the gloom of autumn. I remember once walking a dog when a car passed by. A window opens and somebody says, “How do we get out of here? We drove past when saw a beautiful name and decided to visit it here. But as far as we drive, we keep bumping into the forest...” We live in a house on the street which was built by German prisoners. When we were doing a renovation in the bathroom, we found a wall of red bricks. We have decided to keep them, exfoliate, polish them. On one of them we did find a calligraphic inscription in German "In this house ..." - we weren‘t able to read the rest. It would be very interesting to find out what is written there. ” (2019)

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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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1995

Senas Stalčius (Old Drawer)


Music club Senas Stalčius (Laisvės ave.

Music club Senas Stalčius (Laisvės ave. 46a) was open for several years since 1995. The club was established in the building of cinema Laisvė (called Forum during the Inter-War period). It is a great example of a certain type of architecture in Laisvės Alėja: a public building designed in the internal yard.

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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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1980

Robertas Antinis about Laisvės avenue and its people (video)


Sculptor Robertas Antinis sharing his memories about  people of Laisvės avenue and Kaunas (2014).

Sculptor Robertas Antinis sharing his memories about  people of Laisvės avenue and Kaunas (2014).

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Vienybės (Unity) Square


Galina: “Formerly, the Christmas tree was decorated at Vienybės (Unity) Square.

*Galina*: “Formerly, the Christmas tree was decorated at Vienybės (Unity) Square. There was a feast and Santa Claus was coming to see the children. We lived in S.Nėries Street (now V.Putvinskio Street), so we would see the decorated tree from our home windows. They would always decorate a real tree and near it would stand a sculpture of mister Lenin, pointing his butt to our windows…”

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1992

Kaunas Castle Bus Stop


 

All memories

SITES OF MEMORY

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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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