Monday, 7 December 2009

Latvian little birds of God

I have recently come across a beautifully produced website on Latvian Displaced Persons and life in the camps. Dieva Putnini which translates to Little birds of God's has an English, Latvian and German translation. Most of the site is in Latvia. It looks at life in the camps, and migration around the world. It features some fantastic photographs as well. As the Lithuanian story is so similar to the Latvian one, this may be of interest if you are wanting to know more.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Baltic Homes

Baltic Homes began in 1989 when the Federal government granted the Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians a million dollars to build a old aged facility. The project committee elected Lithuanian architect Algis Navakas as President. The project took several years and was finished in May 1991.

The Homes consist of five complexes. Four complexes consists of eight units and the fifth is the administration building.

The committee consisted of Lithuanians, Algis Navakas, Z. Vabolis, and Viktoras Baltutis. A nurse was employed, Latvian Baiba Kerrison.

The complex consists of 32 units, each unit is one room with amenities. Each resident is responsible for their own furniture and belongings. The administration is responsible for food, cleaning, washing etc.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Independance Day 1965

Lithuanian Independence Day is celebrated annually on February 16. Some form of concert usually takes place at Lithuanian house. Here's who participated in the 1965 celebrations.

Contribution by youth, sisters Julija and Rima Germanaitis (acordean, solo and duet), Dalia Viliunaite (recital), Ramune Klimaite (piano), Vytas Straukas (fiddle), Nemira Masilyte (piano) and Adelaide Youth chouir directed by Vytas Straukas who performed three folk songs. Choir members, Nijole Beinoraviciute, Laima Kuncaitte, Valdone Mikeliunaite, Maryte Damasevicius, Maryte Kersyte, Vida Urneviciute, Aldone Urneviciute, Dana Brazauskaite, Alma Krivickaite, Rima Serelyte, Ramune Klimaite, Alfredas Barauskas, Vytas Vanagas, Leonas Vasiliunas, Antanas Stepanas, Leonas Macpanas, Gintautas Kaminskas, Algis Bernaitis, Klevas Rudzinskas, Eugenijus Brazauskas.

Also the final year Lithuanian school students for the year were acknowledged.
Kristina Baskute
Alma Krivickaite
Nijole Bataityte
Aldona Tugaudyte,
Grazina Bagdonaite
Dalia irvaite
Dalia Viliunaite
Julija Germanaite
Edmundas Rapsevicius
Algis Radzevicius
Vytautas Levickas
Nemira Masiulyte

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Chess champ dies

Romanas Arlauskas was born 11 June 1917 in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Arlauskas played at sixth board (+4 –7 =7) in an unofficial Chess Olympiad at Munich 1936. He tied for 1st-3rd, with Birmanas and Leonardas Abramavičius, ahead of Povilas Vaitonis, Povilas Tautvaišas. At the end of World War II, Arlauskas, along with many other Baltic players escaped to west, just before the advancing the Soviet forces arrived, to avoid deportation to Siberia. In 1947, Arlauskas tied for 6-7th in Kirchheim. He arrived in Fremantle onboard the General Stewart on the 12 February 1948. In 1949 Arlauskas won the South Australian championship.

He finished 3rd in the 4th World Correspondence Championship (1962–1965) and was awarded the Correspondence Chess grandmaster in the world in 1965. He is the third Australian to hold the title.

You can actually view some of his chess games on line, by going to

Romanas passed away at his home this week aged 92 years.

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Community house begins

On October 19th 1985 the Adelaide Lithuanian Community Committee celebrated 30 years. In 1955 the organisation was registered, but the community began years earlier. The community was not flushed with funds, money was needed to established themsleves in their new home, but the community was full of hope.

A meeting held on 8 February 1953 formed a committee to look into the establishment of a community centre.

The first committee consisted of
V Raginis President
J Kalvaitis Vice President
J Pyragius Secretary
A Sliuzas Treasurer
L Garbaliauskas
K Reisonas
S Cibaras

On August 24th 1957 the old church at Eastry St, Norwood was purchased. To purchase the property the bank required guarantors, who were K Reisonas, V Raginis, Jonas Lapsys, J Arminas, L Martinkus, and Antanas Morkunas.

The property then went through many changes, building, renovating and decorating.

Monday, 31 August 2009

Honoured Lithuanians

SA Lithuanians awarded Australian medals

DAVIS, Isolde Ira
Award: Member of the Order of Australia (AM)
Date granted: 26 January 1995
Suburb: Henley Beach
Citation: In recognition of service to the Lithuanian community and to education

DICIUNAS, Algirdas Petros
Award: Conspicuous Service Medal CSM
Date granted: 08 June 1992
Citation: In recognition of service to the RAN as the Fleet Marine Engineering Officer servicing on the Maritime HQ staff

DICIUNAS, Algirdas Petros
Award: The Order of the British Empire - Member (Military) MBE(M)
Date granted: 31 December 1977
Citation: RAN - Postwar Honours List

DICIUNAS, Algirdas Petras
Award: National Medal
The National Medal is awarded for diligent long service to the community in hazardous circumstances, including in times of emergency and national disaster, in direct protection of life and property.
Date granted: 14 July 1977

DICIUNAS, Rimgaudas Adolfas
Award: Member of the Order of Australia (AM)
Date granted: 11 June 1990
Citation: In recognition of service to the RAN, particularly in the field of Marine Engineering HMAS Brisbane

JONAVICIUS, Jurgis George
Award: Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Date granted: 26 January 2006
Suburb: Croydon Park
Citation: For service to the Lithuanian community, particularly through administrative roles in a range of sporting organisations.

KANAS, Sofija
Award: Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Date granted: 13 June 1993
Suburb: Hyde Park
Citation: For service to multicultural organisations and to women’s health issues.

NEVERAUSKAS, Vytautas Stasys (OAM)
Award: Medal of the Order of Australia
Date granted: 26 January 1998
Suburb: St Marys
Citation: For service to the Lithuanian community, particularly as President of the Adelaide Lithuanian Association.

Award: Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Date granted: 08 June 1992
Suburb: South Plympton
Citation: (GENERAL DIVISION). For service to the Lithuanian community

Award: Centenary Medal
Date granted: 01 January 2001
Suburb: Glenelg North
Citation: For service to the Lithuanian community, particularly through social and welfare services

Award: Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Date granted: 26 January 2001
Citation: For service to the Lithuanian community.

Award: Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM)
Date granted: 26 January 1993
Suburb: Torrens Park
Citation: For service to the Lithuanian community

Monday, 17 August 2009

Baltic Corps III

The corps was made up of 6 squads of three grades each. Each grade had 12 men. There was also a farmers squad, they were chauffers, cooks, sanitary works, interpreters. The head of the corps held the rank of Captain. Each corps had 240-250 men. The first corps was lead by Captain Drabišius and later Sukys. The second corps was captained by Andrašiunas and later Kriksčiunas.

Once training was over, the men went to Furth near Nurenburg. Both corps resided in one barracks. They guarded the dynamite factory, prison, motor pool, journalists and high ranking US army officer’s homes and other army objectives. The motor pool held tanks and jeeps.

From Furth both corps was moved to Zindorf. They guarded US general Taylor and Watson.

There were several excellent sportsmen among the corps. They had basketball, soccer and volleyball teams, as well as boxing and table tennis. Furth had a Baltic club, which also needed guarding. The club held dances and various programmes. Beer and other drinks could be brought with dollars or ‘scripts’ which were special money of the occupying army. It held the same value as American dollars. They would receive the scripts after five months. Some of the wages were in marks and also P.I.X ‘pieksa’ items such as toiletries, chocolate, lollies, biscuits etc.

The first corps was named after king Vytautas and the second after king Algirdas. Each corps had their own flag. Each corps also had their own number. Corps I was 4204, and II- 4129. The Baltic headquarters was in Heidelberg. February 12, 1947, corps II was transfer to Wurzburg, corps and later transferred to Bamberg. In Wurzburg the DP prison was guarded and received a new number 4065. December 17th, 1947 transferred to Bad-Kissingen.

The corps moved again and was renumbered 4200, June 26th 1948, a secret place in the French zone, not far from Kaiserslautern. They lived in a tent town.

Dogs were introduced into he corps, they underwent training, guards and dogs would only go on night duty.

Once immigration began, the corps underwent screening process. The majority of men from the corps immigrated to the USA. The corps in Germany was then filled by older Lithuanians and Germans.

Written by Balys Nemeika and printed in
Mūsų Pastogė Nr 13 1996.4.1 page 5 & 7
Nr, 14 1996.4.8 page 6
Nr 15, 1996.4.15 page 4

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Baltic Corps II

English army uniforms were black, the wage about 102 DM and 24 shillings. These corps folded once immigration began.

The American zone formed guards, the first in 1946 in Wurzburg Military Community Headquarters APO 227, May 20th. This squad was from the Seligenstadt DP camp. The squad was lead y Captain Matulionis. They had no uniform but had UNRRA on their borrowed raincoats. Armed guards guarded the army’s railway wagons and other objects. The first corps was formed in the beginning of January 1946, Jan 5th the second corps was formed. The English corps was called the Labor Service Co, the Guard company was added, sometimes known as Lithuanian Guard Company, officially the word civilian was added. The corps was run along military lines, you were known by your army rank.

The first corps was from Scheinfeld and other DP Camps, the II corps was formed from several DP camps, this corps tried to recruit men who did not have DP status. The corps was formed in Scheinfeld DPcamp. From here, you were taken to Kafertal near Mannheim training centre. This centre had many Poles and was so called Camp Kosciuszko. From the train station, they marched singing. Most of the men had served in some army. Here they learnt drills, how to use firearms. Everything was by USA Army standards. All the commands were in English. At the camp they received black uniforms, white socks, ties, belts and either white or blue helmets. Because of the colour of the uniform, we were known as “blackies”. On their sleeves they wore the national colours with corps number or ‘Baltic’ on it. The rank insignia were like in the army on your shoulders or sleeves.

Monday, 6 July 2009

The Americans are coming

In 1964 a team of American and Canadian Lithuanian basketballs arrived in Australia. It was the first time a team representing a free Lithuania came here. Twelve athletes with their coach, plus media arrived July 9th 1964 in Sydney airport. They were met by ALFAS president Jurgis Jonavicius, Sydney “Kovas” sport team and women in national costume.

Twenty-five games were organised around Australia, competing against teams from different towns, ethnic groups and Lithuanian and Latvian combined teams.

The image above shows the team ariving at Adelaide airport.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Baltic Corps

This information was translated from the Lithuanian newspaper "Musu Pastoge" . It was published several years ago and details the activities of the Baltic Corp just after the war. It was written by Balys Nemeika (now deceased) who was in the Corps. Part I

Men in Displaced Persons camps could serve in the American or English occupying armies while they lived in Germany. After the war, soldiers wanted to return home and the occupying forces needed to search elsewhere for men to work. People from the Baltic states were considered as it would be much cheaper than retaining their own soldiers. There was no lack of volunteers; the camps while waiting for immigration were monotonous, food was plain and there was not nearly enough. The cold war had also begun with the USSR and men believed that if conflict arose then the volunteers could serve with the Lithuanian army. Some believed they may be looked upon more favourably if they wanted to immigrate to America.

About mid 1947, Baltic Corps were instituted in the English zone. About 30 squads were created each with between 30-32 men. Each squad leader was Lithuanian. The rationale was to work at various army objectives. Works squads worked in garages, kitchens, and as drivers.

Monday, 22 June 2009

More Questions...

Displaced Persons wanting assistance from UNRRA or seeking to emigrate after WWII filled out copious amounts of forms. Below is questions from Memmingen which was translated from English to Lithuanian for DP's to fill out.

UNNRA Team 155
APO 757 Memmingen


Married Single:
Address: DP Index card:
Birth date: Birthplace:

Date on which you left your country:
Date on your arrival in Germany:
Purpose of your arrival:
Where did you work in Germany:
Name of Firm:
Why did you work there:

Did you ever reside in Russia:
If persecuted, attach here copies of papers and details:
If married, give the name of other party:
Do you own any property in Germany:
Did you ever except German citizenship:
If yes, why:
Any proof:

Application for Assistance
Annex A to Administrative Order 29

Family name
Identity No
Religion: R.C, Prot, Jew other
Marital status:
Family Members:
Places where you resided for last 12 years:
Employment for last 12 years:
Languages spoken: Speak, Read, Write
Financial Resources:
Property Cash and income Assistance from relatives
Relatives details:
Have you or any member of your family been receiving assistance from UNRRA; IGC; Voluntary agency:
If you have been receiving assistance, please state the amount:
If you have been receiving assistance from a voluntary agency please give the name of the agency.
Organisation you belonged to and why:
Present address:
Do you wish to return to your country of former residence?
Do you wish to remain in Germany?
Have you any relatives, friends or resources in Germany:
Do you wish to emigrate to some other country? Is so country of first preference.
Do any factors exist which might facilitate your emigration to this country.
What close relatives have you in this country? Give addresses, state relationship and whether any such relative is prepared to help you financially or otherwise.
Other preferences as to resettlement and resources.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Saturday school

Who can remember Saturday's spent at Lithuanian school. Here is a photo from 1976. Hope it brings back some good memories.

Back row from left: Linas POCIUS, Romas WILLENBRECHT, Andrius BINKEVICIUS, Maryte SKEIRYTE, Janina DUNDAITE, Kotryna SKIPARYTE, Kristina LAZAUSKAITE, Azuolas PECIULIS.
Second row from left: Antanas POCIUS, Ramute GUSCIA, Angele SNARSKYTE, Antanas STARINSKAS, Liudas JANONIS, Antanas SNARSKIS, Arvydas GUDAITIS.
Third row from left: Vladas STATNICKAS (School Principal), Darius KALIBITAS, Petras DUNDA, Andrius STARINSKAS, Daniele POCIUTE, Birute STALBAITE, Melissa CARTER, Algis BERNAITIS (Teacher)
Sitting from left: Marija PECIULIENE, Janina REINKIENE, Gene VASILIAUSKAS,, Father Albinas SPURGIS, Anastazija PETRUSKEVICIENE, Marija PETKUNIENE, Valerija URBONIENE, Puriena PECIULYTE.
Sitting on floor from left: Markus NAVARKAS, Andrius CARTER, Nijole BERNAITYTE, Aldona BERNAITYTE, Dana KALIBATAITE, Kristina GUDELYTE, Rasa POCIUTE, Daina POCIUTE, Gene STARINSKAS, Edmundas GUDAITIS

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Lithuania 1000 years old!

2009 marks the 1000th year of the existence of Lithuania. There will be many activities throughout the year to celebrate this event. From 25 to 28th June the VIII World Lithuanian games will take place in Vilnius. There will be a team from Australia participating, among them several South Australians.

Aldona Bagusauskiene - Women's leader
Virginia Ports - First aid

Women's Gold basketball team - Emilija Ports
Women's Gold basketball team trainer - Daniel Jaunutis
Women's "Green' basketball team players
Esta Delisio
Sarah Krivickas
Kamille Murray

Men's "Green" basketball team
Luke Hoban
Geoff Molloy (Vaitkus)
Men's "Gold" basketball team
Simon Talanskas
Alexas Talanskas - Trainer

Eugenius Pocius

Good luck team Australia!

Sunday, 26 April 2009

Journey to Australia part II

Here continues the diary of Renoldas Cesna about his trip to Australia after WWII.

We are now traveling through Bavarija. There are a lot of crosses here or some sort of holy statues. We traveled near the aerodrome (they had over the radio that whoever gets left behind will be returned to their camp) already three from our transport had been left behind.

You could now see the Alps clothed in snow. We passed through Rosenheim, Munich where we were attached to an electric wagon. Today we received five days of butter. You could see many chapels here, the hills in winter. The snow was heavy enough for sleighs. We stopped at Kufstein where we met up with the second transport. We did not know that we could not give our tickets on the train. We were informed that only German tickets. We gave the stamps to the children who were travelling to Germany. The Railway workers and Police uniforms differ from the Germans.

Second transport arrived in Australia on the 7th of February 1949 at about 2 o’clock. We stopped for a short time at Kufstein. I was able to go into the station and onto the street, were I brought two yummy sandwiches for 3 DM. I was also able to see the Kufstein castle.

It was a beautiful view, nice hills and the trees covered in snow. At the foot of the mountain you could see the villages and small towns. The homes in the hills seem better suited to winter. They have electricity, where the train is attached to heating out train. We traveled through Innsbruck then to Turing Alps, mainly though tunnels.

Sunday, 12 April 2009

Deadly details

One of the best places to gain information about Lithuanian people in Adelaide is from the fortnightly newspaper that was printed. It sounds very morbid but upon a death of a member of the community a In Memoriam was printed with details of the persons life. For example:

Domas Kalikas died on 3 June 1001 at Noarlunga hospital, aged 75 years. He was born in Palanga in 1926 and had a twin sister Magdalena. Their mother died when young and the children where placed in different homes. Their father remarried. Domas sister was in a convent until she was 17 and became a seamstress. The second world war came and the German occupation of Lithuania. Domas joined the Lithuanian army but was later taken to Germany and ended up as a captive in Belgium. He was 21 years old and came on the first transport to Australia. His two year government contract was spend working ion the railroads and as a house painter in Adelaide.

In 1955 he married Genovaite Varoneckaite. They had two boys and two girls. The last two are twins. Domas was able to meet his twin sister again after 63 years apart.

Domas died of cancer. His funeral was on Wednesday June 6th. He was buried in Centennial Park.
ALZ 2001.VI.17 (136)

Combine this information with details from he National Archives, we can learn that;
Domas arrived in Fremantle on the 28 November 1947 aboard the General Stewart Heintzelmann.

If we search the database at Centennial Park we can also learn where he lived, died and age.
Domas Kalikas from CHRISTIES BEACH
Date of Death: 03/06/2001
Age: 75 Years
Interment Details: Cremation

Monday, 30 March 2009

February 16, 1949

Lithuania’s Independence day on February 16th 1949 was celebrated in the Indian Ocean. A group of Lithuanians onboard the Nea Hellas organized themselves into preparing a festival for the occasion. On the morning of February 16th mass was held in the hall, near a prepared Lithuanian flag, crosses and a picture of Aušros Vartai (Gates of Dawn). Mass was conducted by a Ukrainian priest from the Greek Orthodox faith. Throughout the service Lithuanian hymns were sung. 

The main commemoration was held on the Sunday. On that day at 9pm by a decorate flag, gathered the leaders of the ethnic groups, soldiers, sailors and the ships crew. The opening words in Lithuanian, German and English were spoken by Aleksandras Stulpinas. The Lithuanian and Greek national anthem was sung ,after which salutations were heard from the Latvian, Estonian, Polish, Ukrainian, Yugoslavian, and Hungarian delegates. The Latvians in particular gave a very moving greeting and an octet sang a Latvian song about Lithuania. Mr Mickevičius lead the men’s choir and Mrs Ivoškienė and Mrs Milaknienė led the children’s national dancing group. Genovaitė Vasiliauskienė sang four solo Lithuanian songs. 

 The captain who had attended the celebrations was presented with a Lithuanian flag and spoke in English. The ships newsletter had printed in English a memorable write-up of the day which all passengers received. On the Monday 21st an extra edition of the News Bulletin was printed in Greek and Lithuanian. Albinas Pocius wrote the Lithuanian version. The transport had 174 Lithuanians who arrived in Bonegilla from Melbourne on the 24 February.

Sunday, 22 March 2009

Adelaide Lithuanian Dancing group

Brone Lapsys was leader of the National Dancing group in Adelaide for many years. The group formed in 1953 from students attending the Saturday Lithuanian school. The group would perform at Lithuanian concerts, Australian festivals and occasionally on t.v.

In 1964 for the Australian Lithuanian festival in Melbourne there were 30 dancers, with the groups accordion players, Julija and Rima Germanis.

Female dancers
V Brazauskas
L Daugalis
M Danisevičius
M Keršyte
Emilija Matiukas
V Mikeliūnas
R Pacevičius
I Pečiulis
Elzbieta Pocius
Rūta Pimpė
L Radzevičius
M Šiukšteris
V Vasilauskas

Male dancers
E Brazauskas
A Jonavičius
Rimas Daugalis
Jonas Morkūnas
P Kanas
V Maželis
Jonas Mikužis
Eugene Pocius
Gintaras Pimpė
A Radzevičius
A Stepanas
G Šimkus
Vytas Staukas
A Vasiliauskas
Algis Zamoiskis

Saturday, 7 March 2009

Lithuanian Catholic Church

Sventadienio Balsas (Sunday Voice) the newsletter of the Adelaide Lithuanian Catholic community first edition was released 29 March 1953. It was written by Father P Jatulis who resided at the Archbishops House West Terrace.

The two page newspaper contained articles on the Catholic faith on the first page followed by news about the community life, sports, events.

The paper contains information on baptisms, marriages and deaths. The deaths would usually give information on how they died, the next of kin, children, where buried.

Before a church was purchased for the community, Father Jatulis would give mass in numerous places, Royal park, Albert Park, Woodville Gardens, Lobethal. Every few months Father Jatulis would travel to Mt Gambier.

By 1953 there had been in the Adelaide Lithuanian Catholic community
26 christenings (12 boys, 14 girls)
11 marriages (6 with other nationalities)
3 deaths all men SB 1/54

In May 1954 it was announced that the community had a Lithuanian hymn book featuring 60 hymns in 160 pages. Churches were Lithuanian mass was held would have a certain number of reserved hymn books but you were able to purchase you own copy from Father Jatulis.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

National Flower Day

1968, the Lithuanian community won a prize for their exhibit of flowers. The SA Government Tourist Bureau initiated the day and for a time it was not sure whether this event would go ahead due to the dry winter and summer. Flower day gave joy to thousands of people and visitors.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

First Australian Lithuanian Newspaper

Further to the blog below on newspapers, the Australian Lithuanian was published fortnightly and initiated by Jurgis Glusauskas. It contained articles, poems, general news in Australia and from overseas. As with any foreign publication of the time it was required to publish a certain percentage in English. It was a significant publication of around 36 pages.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Table Tennis champion

I recently found this write up of Aldona Snarskis in the Railway Institute Magazine August -Sept 1957.

We must congratulate Aldona Snarksis of the Railways Institute on wining the women's open singles championship of South Australia this month. Aldona's win against previously undefeated player this season "Arline Jennings" was a wonderful effort in so mush as Aldona had been out of the game for three seasons. Miss Snarskis had to drop out of table tennis owing to the ill-health ans subsequent death of her mother, and it was most pleasing after such a severe set back to see this very popular player on the top of the ladder of fame. Aldona will take no end of beating in the Australian Women's singles championship to be held at the Australian Table Tennis Championship's in September at the Freemasons Hall North Terrace.
Harold Merritt

Aldona arrived in Australia on 15 January 1949 with her brother and parents aboard the Svalbard.