Thursday, 27 September 2012

Names, names and more names

There are several sets of index cards in the collection with details of Lithuanian families in Adelaide.  I am not sure of the reason they were created but are a great and fascinating asset to the collection.  Both sets were part of the St Casmir Church Archives and I can only presume were created by the priest of the time.

South Australian families
Each card is hand written and may contain surname, followed by first name, or head of the household.  In most cases they contain the persons address, and changes of address.  It may contain place of work, birth date, children’s name and dates of birth, if the house they were living in was their own.  It may contain maiden names of spouses, sometimes place of birth, occupation, arrival date, some names of extended families.

The top right hand corner has a number which I believe indicates the number of people in the household.

It is believed they were compiled by in the 1950’s.  In Lithuanian.
Several hundred cards.

South Australian families 2

The cards have a printed template in Lithuanian. 
Pavardė vardas  Name
Adresas  Address
Šeimos nariai   amžius Pastabos  (Family member, Age,Comments).

The details are then hand written, very few are typed.  The latest date is 1962.  Birth dates are usually just the year.  The comments may contain information such as whether they are Catholic, and marital details.

Contains 331 cards.

Copies of the cards will be placed in the Lithuanian Museum for people to access.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Migration Museum Hostel stories

Can you help support this project.  Many Lithuanian's coming to Australia were first housed interstate but some were placed in the Woodside Migrant camp.  The details are below.
In SA History Week 2010 the Migration Museum launched an exciting new project called ‘Hostel Stories’. The aim of the project is to collect records of migrant hostel life, which will contribute to an exhibition in 2013.
The University of Adelaide are undertaking research into the Migrant hostels which will continue after the exhibition. Museum staff and volunteers are very excited about this partnership which will contribute to much greater resources for people wanting to find out about migrant lives in the hostels.
Thousands of migrants passed through South Australia’s migrant hostels, reception centres and camps – including Elder Park, Gepps Cross, Glenelg, Rosewater, Pennington/Finsbury, Smithfield, Willaston and Woodside – from the 1940s to the 1980s. The hostels were temporary homes to a wide range of migrants, from Displaced Persons and refugees, through to Ten Pound Poms.
The opportunity to gather first-hand accounts of day to day life in the hostels is diminishing as the years pass by. This project will help ensure that the memories are captured for future generations.
The Museum is keen to hear from people who are willing to complete our questionnaire and loan, donate or have relevant material scanned. 
Please complete the registration of interest form, or for further information please ring 08 8207 7570.

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Why the Baltic University was unique

I have written briefly on the Baltic University that existed for a short time in Germany, just after WWII. I have come across a booklet on the University published in English and Lithuanian printed in the 50th year after the University was formed.

The University, or Study Centre as it was officially known was unable to confer any academic degrees, but the course of study was in line with other universities.  The University was one of the cheapest at the time.  The teachers received no salaries, no funding was received.  The students and professors shared the same overcrowded barracks, the same food and shared the same common pursuit of knowledge and ideal of freedom and justice.  It was founded by scholars of three different speaking nationalities.  It was important for the three Baltic countries to preserve and further develop their national cultures.   The University symbolised the countries fierce stance against the occupation of their countries.  
Baltic University staff and students, 1946 Hamburg

Monday, 10 September 2012

Lithuanian DP periodicals

The end of the war for many of the Lithuanians became a waiting and hoping game.  Hoping that their country would be free again and they could return home.  While they hoped, they waited. 
Some 70,000 Lithuanians made their way west, mainly ending up in Germany.  A large percentage of these Lithuanians were professionals: physicians, engineers, jurists, teachers, artists, public officials, and others who would have been targeted by the Soviet occupational regime had they stayed in or returned to Soviet-occupied Lithuania.  While in DP camps, members tried to resume their former occupations, or worked at other jobs, and tried establish a sense of normalcy in what were abnormal conditions.

With time on their hands, many camps began printing their own newspapers.  These camp publications come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some contain news simply typed up and mimeographed on low-quality paper. Others were professionally type-set and contain artwork and photographs.   173 are known to exist, produced in Germany, Austria, Denmark, Italy, Sweden and Switzerland.  The names given to the publication show that the DP’s retained hope,  Kelyje Tėvynėn  (The path to homeland),that the newsletters were practical Lietuvių Žinios (Lithuanian news), or echoed their current predicament Tremtinio Žodis (Word of an Exile).

Stories, poems and articles were scattered throughout, mixed with day to day news of the camp. Various regulations and schedules of all types are published in these newsletters. The DPs had to contend with not only the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA), but also with national governments as well as they formulated policies regarding the stay and the immigration of Displaced Persons. 

The newspapers do contain names, names of deceased, people being saught, even wives to go to other countries were advertised for. Sports scores of competitions between the athletes of the various DP camps also featured.

Aušros Belaukiant (Waiting for the dawn) first published 11 October 1945 in the Montgomery camp, Dorverden Kreis Verden.  Edited by Albinas Pocius, the cover drawn by V. Vaitekunas.   It was a monthly publication, that initially cost 1 Reich mark and later 2.  The eighth publication printed on 15 June 1946 was done in Seedorf with the added subtitle of Literature and Cultural information.  Not sure when the publication ceased, the last we have is August 1946.

Albinas Pocius was born on December 13th 1918, not far from Sėda in northern Zemaitija, Albinas finished high school in Klaipeda and then began a course in journalism.  In August 1944 he fled the Russian front and fled to the west.  He found himself in the Montomery camp in Dorverdene camp and later Seedorf, the British zone. He later moved to Rotenburg camp.  At Rotenburg he assisted in the publication of a daily newspaper, Mūsų Žinios (Our news).   In 1949, Albinas and his new wife Ruta boarded the boat for Australia.  They settled in Melbourne until their retirement in the 1980’s when they moved to Adelaide to be closer to Ruta’s family.  They were both actively involved in the Lithuanian community, Albinas with the newspaper and scouts.  He wrote many articles and even a small booklet on what was obviously a passionate topic of his, ‘Mažosios Lietuva’ (Lithuania Minor). 
Several camps also issued books on various Lithuanian topics. 

The Adelaide Archives have varied copies of books and journals.  One such journal is ‘Gintaras’ Neperiodinis literaturos Žurnalas  (Amber, a occasional literature journal).  This was edited by J. Kruminas from Haffkrug,Germany first printed on October 1945.  The first issue was 56 A4 pages with sketches by A. M Šimkunas and later A. Džukas and S. Krutulis.  'Gintaras' was printed at Baltija.  Baltija appears to be a communal printer, located in Neustadt Holst DP camp IV Block.  Issue 10 was in September 1946.

Baltija had also released ‘Baltija’ literature almanac of 60 pages, ‘Tevų Nameliai’ Vytautas Nemunelis poems for children, 44 pages, ‘Sugrižimo Laivas’ a book by Juozas Kruminas, ‘Išpirktoji mirtis’ by Bronius Daubaris. 

The publications never lasted for more than a few years.  A refugee’s life was one of upheaval and frequent changes in where you lived were common.  USA accepted refugees much earlier than Australia, and so it wasn’t long before the workers migrated.  It’s amazing that copies still exist, firstly because of the poor quality of the works and secondly the fact that someone thought to bring with them copies as they migrated to a new country.