Thursday, 17 July 2014

In memory of Romas Kalanta


Romas Kalanta (February 22, 1953 – May 15, 1972) was a Lithuanian high school student known for his public self-immolation protesting Soviet regime in Lithuania. Kalanta's death provoked the largest post-war riots in Lithuania and inspired similar self-immolations.
Kalanta became a symbol of the Lithuanian resistance throughout the 1970s and 1980s.

At noon on May 14, 1972, Kalanta poured 3 litres of petrol on himself and set himself on fire in the square adjoining the Laisvės Alėja in front of the Kaunas Musical Theatre, where in 1940 the People's Seimas declared establishment of the Lithuanian SSR and petitioned the Soviet Union to admit Lithuania as one of the soviet socialist republics.  He died about 14 hours later in a hospital.  Before the suicide, Kalanta left his notebook with a brief note on a bench. Its content became known only after the declaration of independence in 1990 and opening up of secret KGB archives. The note read "blame only the regime for my death.

After his death rumours spread that a few of his classmates formed a patriot group, and that they held a lottery to determine which of them would have to carry out the mission. The official Soviet propaganda claimed that Kalanta was mentally ill.

In 1982, an advertisement was inserted into the Advertiser by  V. Stalba, a member of the Adelaide Lithuanian community.

Kalanta Romas: In memory of Romas Kalanta who 10 years ago, died in Kaunas Lithuania, in protest of Soviet Russia’s oppression of all human rights of his people.  Your sacrifice has not gone unnoticed and will always be remembered.

The Adelaide Lithuanian community produced a small brass plaque in Kalanta's honour, which was blessed by the priest in a ceremony that brought together many members of the community. The plaque is located in the Adelaide Lithuanian Museum. The plaque can be seen in the photograph above.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Flying Officer Karpys


Antanas was born on 2 Jan 1938 in Taraugė.  He arrived with his parents Domas and Kaze and brothers Tomas and Victoras.  They arrived at Sydney on the Protea 25 March 1949.  

Antanas enlisted in the RAAF, and was attached to the 76th Squadron, as a Flying Officer.

Flying Officer Antanas Karpys, was killed instantly when his Mirage crashed during aerobatic manoeuvres near the base on 29 September 1967, aged just 29 years.
The Mirage jet crashed 60 feet from the married quarters at Williamtown Air Base, disintegrating into what searchers described as "a million pieces".

Karpys was doing a series of solo stunts at 500 feet when the jet broke up on its 500 up on third roll, brushing trees and TV aerials on houses in the quarters where he had lived.

The RAAF inquiry team searched the crash area for pieces of the $2.4 million aircraft, which cut a swathe 80 yards by 700 yards north east of the base.  Since their introduction to the RAAF in 1964, five Mirage aircraft have crashed and two pilots, including Flying Officer Karpys, killed. Another Mirage crashed at the end of the month, but fortunately the pilot was ejected from the plane and survived. 

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Record launch for Vaskas


On 3 August 1969, at the St Casimir church hall, Genovaitė launched her USA produced record. It was the first record launch for the Adelaide Lithuanian community and 120 people attended.  The table were beautiful laid with tablecloths on which was placed hot tea and coffee and cake.  On a long table to the side of the hall a table was used to display Genė’s programs from her concerts, over 100. If one was to place programs from every appearance of the singer in the last 20 years, there would be several hundred on display. 

The evening began with J. Stepanas saying a few words.  A congratulatory telegram was then read, sent by Australian Community President Narušys.  Adelaide Lithuanian Cultural committee president Petkunienė also spoke.   Pranas Pusdešris also spoke of Genė’s talents and read several comments made after several of her performances. 

The record has eleven songs, of which three were recorded live.  The men’s octet Klajunai sang a cheer for their director. 

Genė sang two songs on the evening.




 MP 1969 rugp 19.