The “Destination Lithuanian America” interactive map of Lithuanian heritage in the USA has been created to commemorate the centenary of the Republic of Lithuania by the team of the “Global True Lithuania” website, with a tremendous help from Lithuanian Americans, Lithuanian institutions, and others.
Hereunder is the list of the participants of the 2017 expedition to the East Coast (who then created the map) and the volunteers / sponsors who helped them. 2018 Mid-West list is here.
||Augustinas is the owner of “Global True Lithuania” website about the Lithuanian heritage and sites beyond Lithuania. His research on the Lithuanian heritage abroad has been published in “Vytis” and “Draugas Lithuanian-American newspapers as well as the top Lithuanian media. He also has the True Lithuania website which is a massive introduction to Lithuania in the English language. He is an avid traveller who visited 100 countries. He is interested in cultures and has authored a Lithuanian book on the Writing systems of the world, also owns a Lithuanian website on national anthems and many other websites.
He is the leader in “Destination America” project. He contacted the local Lithuanians, took pictures, wrote the site descriptions, filmed, controlled the social media of the project and created this interactive map.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org .
||Aistė is an attorney who works with the cases of Lithuanian citizenship restoration.
“Destination – America” volunteer, she drove the car for nearly 5000 km and kept contact with Lithuanians in Philadelphia, Boston, and New York. She did the legal support for the project and kept contact with the media.
E-mail: email@example.com .
According to the program of Lithuanian centenery celebrations, the Government Chancery of Lithuania funded “Destination – America 2017” by giving money for the expenses in the USA (accomodation, transport, etc.), as well as for the plane tickets there and back.
“Knights of Lithuania” is a Lithuanian-American organization established in the early 20th century. It helped lots to find people who were both able and willing to show the Lithuanian heritage in the USA and talk about it. Most of the people whom “Destination – America 2017” agreed to meet were “Knights of Lithuania”.
“Menų turas” is a Lithuanian travel agency that helped “Destination – America” to order services necessary for the project.
“Destination America 2017” volunteer have met some 200 people who helped in one way or another. Below is the list of people who helped us organize the visits to various “Lithuanian” US cities, who led us or helped us to find the Lithuanian sites there, opened particular closed sites, told us the stories of such sites. In addition to them, we have met many other people some of whom are also mentioned. We are sorry if someone is left unmentioned. We also apologize for the quality of some pictures, as we concentrated on imaging the Lithuanian sites.
If you are one of these people and you would like to get your picture changed or additional Lithuania-related details to be mentioned, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
In the whole area
|Regina Juškaitė Švobienė
Without Regina Juškaitė-Švobienė, Destination America would have never learned so much about the Lithuanian locations in America nor been able to visit them. She is the leader of the „Knights of Lithuania“ organization, established in 1913, and it was the members of that organization who were the prime helpers of Destination America, especially in the sites where the Lithuanian immigration took place long ago. Regina was born in Detroit to a family of Lithuanians displaced by the Soviet occupation.
The volunteers of “Destination – America” met Regina Juškaitė-Švobienė the first time in St. Anthony parish in Detroit on 2012.
New York City (New York)
|Dr. Algirdas Lukoševičius
Born into a Lithuanian DP family, with perestroika in 1989, he became one of the Lithuania‘s first businessmen as he imported pharmaceuticals from the USA. He lived in Lithuania 1991-1997 until he sold his business as the pharmaceutical companies were establishing their own bureaus in Lithuania. Lukoševičius remained well connected to Lithuania, however, supporting not only his native Brooklyn‘s Lithuanian parish, but also the Lithuanian parish of his familiar hometown in Pajevonys, Lithuania and participating in „Invest Lithuania“. He continues his business in the pharmaceutical industry, visiting Lithuania every couple of months for business reasons.
Algirdas Lukoševičius met Destination America on 2017 10 05, driving around and explaining the Lithuanian sites of Brooklyn and Queens.
He is a restoration architect who immigrated to the USA for love reasons in 1987. Since 2016, he has been especially attracted to the old Lithuanian Alliance in America building in New York, which he helps to restore and to create an order within its massive basement archives. He sees the Lithuanian Alliance as a dying organization, which is nevertheless important to safeguard as it has collected much information and has earned a place in New York and Lithuanian history.
Darius Glinskis has shown Destination America around the Lithuanian Alliance of America building in New York.
He is a Lithuanian artist, born in 1969. He moved to New York in 1993 for post-graduate studies on a Fulbright grant and remained there. In addition to his rather abstract paintings, he, together with Laura Zaveckaitė, also constructed a small memorial for Darius and Girėnas in front of the New York airfield where the Lithuanian transatlantic pilots took off from in 2013.
Julius Ludavičius helped Destination America find the memorial and met us at the Lithuanian Alliance of America in New York.
She is a volunteer at the Lithuanian Alliance of America, where she attempts to find a new use for the building by creating a gallery „SLA 306“ on the first floor. The gallery includes both Lithuanian-American and American artists and seeks to earn its place among the New York galleries, that way also attracting the American attention to the Lithuanian and Lithuanian-American art. Laura immigrated to the USA in 2003 and, at the time, found Lithuanian activities in New York less accessible to the modern generation, which she aims to change.
Destination America met Laura on her visit to Lithuania, learning more about the Lithuanian Alliance of America.
Born in 1977, appointed a Lithuanian consul to New York in 2015 after previously serving the European Union institutions.
Destination America met Julius Pranevičius on 2017 10 04 at the General Consulate of Lithuania in New York to talk about the Lithuanian heritage in the USA.
|Barbara Vilčinskaitė Schmidt
Both sets of her grandparents came from Lithuania and immigrated to America through the port of Boston between 1908 – 1912, they were from Raseiniai, Rokiškis and Joniškis regions in Lithuania. As sending money from the US for one to buy a trip to the US was common, this can be illustrated here – brothers of her grandmother arrived to Boston before and sent her money to arrive whereas the other grandmother arrived only at the age of 18 as her future husband, Barbara’s grandfather, sent her money to do so as well.
Barbara’s first visit to Lithuania was back in 1983 and she was refused to visit her family homes in the villages due to Soviet politicians. Her second visit in 1994 left better memories.
Barbara Vilčinskaitė – Schmidt organized a massive welcome for Destination America in Bridgeport, showing us around the church.
|We are also grateful to…||The church is now shared between Lithuanian and Argentinians, therefore “Destination – America” volunteers were also met by two Argentinian priests as well as siblings – Rev. Elio Sosa, IVE (pastor) and Rev. Pedro Sosa, IVE (assistant), Sister Queen, SSVM, Sister Deconetta, SSVM. The Lithuanians attended were Patricia Ross Silk, Helen Simanis, Jonas Balčius, Edita Orlinytė, Alfred Baran, Lois Popp as well as Gintarė Ivaškienė, a granddaughter of Saliamonas Banaitis, one of the twenty signatories of the Act of Independence of Lithuania in 1918.|
As he told himself, he lives in a city where he is the only Lithuanian, yet he continues to be very patriotic, with even getting a tattoo of Vytis for himself and having visited Lithuania for more than 15 times already! A grandson of Lithuanian immigrants, he has spent his life collecting Lithuanian books and other mementos, which he later has donated to the Lithuanian museum in Chicago. His grandparents (from Balbieriškis and Varėna) came to the US as grandfather’s brother was conscripted into Russian Army and was sent to fight in Russo-Jap war, he was shot in war and sent home he told his younger brother, Joe’s grandfather, to leave Lithuania because it was bad situation and things can only get worse, so he left and came to the US, soon after this brother came also with his wife and child.
Joe Barlow together with his wife Judy organized Destination America a meeting in Waterbury and led us there.
Linas Balsys is a 2nd/3rd generation Lithuanian-American. His father arrived at the USA as part of the 2nd wave of Soviet-era refugees and married his mother who was already born in the USA as a daughter of prie-WW1 economic migrants. Linas speaks good Lithuanian and is a member of the Vyčiai Lithuanian-Catholic organization, which has its third-largest chapter in Waterbury.
Linas Balsys explained us the story of Waterbury Lithuanian community and led us around Waterbury.
In Waterbury “Destination America” was also helped by Leon Farr (President of Waterbury Lithuanian Club).
It was his grandparents who chose to leave Russian empire and come for the US. Peter has created a massive Lithuanian cross with Lithuanian inscriptions and wants to bring it to the Hill of Crosses in Šiauliai.
Peter Verseckas gave “Destination America” a tour around Waterbury and around.
|We are also grateful to…||In Waterbury, “Destination America” was also helped by Leon Farr (President of Waterbury Lithuanian Club).|
Hartford and New Britain (Connecticut)
She immigrated to the USA in the 1920s, therefore, is one of the few pre-WW2 migrants “Destination America” was still able to meet in 2017. However, she was still in her mother’s womb as her parents arrived at the Ellis Island.
At 92 years old, Kathryn Urban still drives a car and showed Destination America the Lithuanian sites in two cities: Hartford and New Britain, Connecticut.
||She helped us enter the New Britain Lithuanian chruch and showed us inside.|
A daughter of World War 2 era refugees, she received a religious vocation to join the Lithuanian nuns in Putnam, becoming one of the most important and active ones. During the Soviet occupation, she helped to organize anti-Soviet activities in Putnam. After Lithuanian independence, she helped to re-launch the Lithuanian chapter of their convent and is regularly in Lithuania helping to run that. Her secular name is Gražina, although she barely uses it now, after she spent a life dedicated to her religious vocation.
Ignė Marijošius was an especially good host for Destination America in Putnam, where she effectively runs the Putnam monastery now after many older nuns have left or died. Ignė has also arranged our visit to the Lithuanian camp “Neringa” (in Vermont) which the Putnam nuns help to run.
Although Mirga and her husband Ramūnas are from Boston, they regularly drive a couple of hours to Putnam, where they care for ALKA, the largest Lithuanian cultural archive in the eastern USA. There, they arrange books, they sort the donated artworks and literature they receive (often from descendants of recently-deceased Lithuanians who don’t speak Lithuanian), they ship out what they don’t need to Lithuanian libraries and Lithuanians who ask for that.
Mirga Girniuvienė offered us an excursion inside the ALKA museum, telling about the Lithuanian-American artworks collected there and its history.
|We are also grateful to…||
Although the Masses held not each day, the day “Destination – America” visited there was Lithuanian Masses held by the priest from Punsk Izidorius Sadauskas. The volunteers were also helped by other nuns – Margarita Bareikaitė, Eugenija Lukošiūtė, Ona Mikailaitė.
The husband of Mirga Girniuvienė Ramūnas Girnius also met us at the ALKA.
His family moved to America as refugees after World War 2, however, his grandmother was killed in Germany during a bombing of a train station (only her torso remained in the ruins). The last time Vito visited Lithuania was in 1970s, as his wife prefers not to fly airplanes. He went to the St. Casimir Lithuanian school and used to live in that district of Worcester, but, like most white Americans, his family has moved to the suburbs later.
Vito Zenkus showed Destination America around the Lithuanian sites in Worcester. He was able to meet us even though his daughter gave birth that day.
He is the leader of Maironis Park, the massive Lithuanian club in Worcester which is also the last surviving Lithuanian institution in Worcester. According to him, he became the Maironis Park’s leader in order to safeguard this club from folding. He speaks good Lithuanian even though he was born in the USA and visited Lithuania the last time in 1989 – the year, he presumed laughing, volunteers of “Destination – America” were not even born.
Arvydas Klimas allowed Destination America into the Maironis Park, showing us around there. He invited Destination America to his home, where he has a Lithuanian museum. Time constraints did not allow us to visit, but he showed us a video of the entire house of Lithuania-related things he has collected.
||He is a Vietnamese pastor who has been assigned the Our Lady of Vilna parish in Worcester, previously Lithuanian and now Vietnamese. Despite getting an offer for a name change, he retained the Our Lady of Vilna name and is on good terms with his now-minority Lithuanian parishioners. He did also let us inside the church when it was closed just after we told we were Lithuanians (even before we explained our project). After having failed to enter some (even still nominally Lithuanian) parishes outside of mass times despite many attempts, it is indeed very nice that a pastor who is not of Lithuanian descent was so helpful to the project!|
In terms of keeping the Lithuanity abroad, Marytė Bizinkauskaitė’s family are among the champions. Her grandparents immigrated to the USA as babies and she has nobody in her family who immigrated after the 19th century. Yet she speaks great Lithuanian, and her home where she lives with her mother reminds of a Lithuanian countryside home. She taught her daughter Lithuanian as well. Having grown up in Brockton’s “Lithuanian village” neighborhood where “everybody spoke Lithuanian” even in the 1960s likely helped that. Marytė is an opera singer, often performing at various Lithuanian events abroad and also working in Lithuania in the 1990s. Her home also serves as a meeting place for the Lithuanian Vyčiai club as the church has been closed.
Marytė Bizinkauskaitė shown us around Brockton, the town where she both grew up and lives and sang her most favorite Lithuanian song for “Destination America”/”Gabalėliai Lietuvos” Facebook followers.
She is the director of the Boston Lithuanian Saturday school. She believes in the special importance of the Lithuanian schools in safeguarding Lituanity, asking us to add the Boston Lithuanian school to the “Destination – America” map as one of the oldes such schools (despite it not having its own premises).
She showed “Destination – America” around the school.
||He is a genetic researcher in Boston. An active member of the Boston Lithuanian community, he shown “Destination America” team around the Boston Lithuanian church, which could have been impossible as it was a work day and others were busy. In his job, he often has to contact Lithuanian hospitals and he expressed his gladness that Lithuania is no longer lagging behind technologically in medicine.|
Member of the Lithuanian-American community and the president of New England area. The secretary of the XXI Council presidium.
“Destination America 2017” met her at the Boston Lithuanian restaurnat and heard her story of the Lithuanian club in Boston.
|Estera Šunelaitė and Jūratė Narkevičienė
||The third wave immigrants to the USA who now work at the Boston Lithuanian credit union “Taupa”. They have explained us about the inner workings and the uniqueness of the credit union which works in the historic Lithuanian club.|
Merimako slėnis (Masačusetsas)
Lithuanian-Americans often asked the „Destination America“ members who else do we plan to meet. Some of these „others“ they would know, some they wouldn‘t – yet nearly everybody knew Jonas Stundžia. A historian who spent much time in researching the history of both Lithuanian-Americans and his hometown of Lawrence (Massachusetts), Stundžia also helped construct a memorial for the victims of a 1912 years strike there (one of them a Lithuanian, Jonas Smolskas) and donated books to the Lithuanian libraries. In 1990, he successfully lobbied for the Lawrence municipality to officially recognize the independence of Lithuania. He may be the most known for his relentless Lithuanian activism, for which his friends built him a gravestone with lots of good words.
Stundžia follows the traditional Baltic religion.
Jonas Stundžia led us to the Lithuanian sites in Lowell, Lawrence, and Haverhill towns.
|Mary Ann Kaslow
Her grandparents came to the US to work in the factories – her grandfather was a comb fixer. They have their Lithuanian surname “Kazlauskas” Americanised and changed to “Kaslow”.
Mary is very interested in the areas in Lithuania her grandparents came from and dreams about coming to Lithuania one day.
She has spent time with “Destination – America” in Lawrence, Lowell, Haverhill area.
||In Lawrence, Lowell and Haverhill city tours “Destination – America” was also led by an Irish descendant David Meehan. David’s ancestors came to the US from Ireland due to potato famine. David was an art teacher in a school of Lawrence prior to retirement, after that he spends his life as a professional tour guide. David Meehan, together with Jonas Stundžia, also helped construct a memorial for the victims of a 1912 years strike in Lawrence (one of them a Lithuanian, Jonas Smolskas).|
Having arrived at the USA as a child, he felt a religious vocation and was glad to learn that the Lithuanian Franciscan brothers have also established themselves in America after the monastic institutions were banned by the Soviet occupational regime. At the time, the Kennebunkport monastery was still small (consisting of 4 priests) yet it grew then and the role of Jonas Bacevičius became more important in both a religious and national sense as he supported the independence of Lithuania.
Jonas Bacevičius told us the history of the monastery at Kennebunkport throughout the Soviet occupation and these days.
“Destination America” met Tomas incidentaly at the mass in Kennebunkport. Tomas recognized the volunteers of “Destination – America” because he read about the project being launched in the newspaper “Draugas” and came to say “hello”. Born in the US, he speaks Lithuanian fluently and is an active member of scouts.
Having moved to Maine from Washington, he explained us about the Lithuanian locations in Washington DC, which we then visited later.
Having immigrated into the US in 2006, she found out about Lithuanian Franciscan monastery in Kennebunkport (the one she met „Destination – America“) accidentaly, as she practiced in another hotel just across the street.
She eventually founded herself among the ones establishing a Lithuanian-American community in Maine/New Hampshire while being only 29 years old at the time. This is rather unique, as many Lithuanian-American organizations tend to have a rather high average age.
We have talked to her about the Lithuanian situation in Maine and Kennebunkport in particular.
|We are also grateful to…||During the stay at Kennebunkport volunteers also became acquainted with bishop Paulius Baltakis, monks Carlo Bertagnin OFM who speaks Lithuanian well, and Paulius D. Vaineikis.|
Nashua (New Hampshire)
|Margaret and Roberta Woitkowski
Mother (Margaret) and daughter (Roberta) Woitkowski are among the more Lithuanian-minded people of Nashua. Despite having been born in the USA, they still like to listen to music from modern-day Lithuania, such as “El Fuego,” “Vairas”, and classical baritone Deividas Staponkus, and are especially happy and are especially happy when these musicians come to visit Nashua. They have also helped to ensure that a Lithuanian sculptor would be able to create a sculpture in Nashua and have been interested in the local history.
They have driven us around Nashua, helping also to find some sites we did not know about previously and to get inside the closed St. Casimir church.
Athol and Gardner (Massachusetts)
|Vilimas and Bronė Vyšniauskas
||Even though they are in their 90s, they are still active in the Gardner‘s Lithuanian Outing Association. As is common, they are unsure if the club would survive their departure. They have spent their entire lifes supporting Lithuania, sending money there.|
|Athol Lithuanian club
||Even though Irish, he is a member of the Athol Lithuanian club, as it became common for the historically ethnic clubs to become interethnic. Nevertheless, he shown us around the club and also uncovered a picture of Gediminas hanging there, also asking us who that person was, which we have explained.|
|Athol Lithuanian church
||Athol Lithuanian church was closed at the time, but an Irish woman who was tidying up the location at its entrance helped us to a Lithuanian woman and they opened the church. In such way, having only some 20 minutes with it already being twilight, we managed to see the Athol church. In such way, even where it proved to be impossible to find contacts in advance “Destination – America” was still often able to see the Lithuanian locations from the inside as well as the outside.|
Mohawk valley (New York)
||Half-Lithuanian and half-German, she is nevertheless considering herself to be a Lithuanian, which is usually rare among mixed family kids in America. She even drives a car with Lithuanian symbols on it and she spends much time to further the Knights of Lithuania, a Lithuanian fraternal organization. It was her grandparents who immigrated in the US first – her grandfather, Julius Aviža, wanted to escape czarist army. Berenice got involved with her Lithuanian heritage after her grandmother died – she had 14 grandchildren and not one was involved in their Lithuanian heritage, so Berenice became upset about that and made a change. She also cares for a 99-year old Lithuanian Edvardas Žiaušys (Eddie Žiaušys) at his home in Amsterdam. We also visited him.|
||He helped us enter the St. Anne chapel at the Amsterdam Lithuanian cemetery.|
||He showed us around the former St. George Lithuanian church in Albany (currently a soup kitchen for the poor).|
Northern Coal Region (Pennsylvania)
||She feels a pity that Lithuanian heritage is disappearing the northern Coal Region where she lives. Because of this, she attempts to collect much information about it, becoming a treasure-trove for the “Destination America” project. She is also currently creating a new Lithuanian site in the northern Coal Region, namely the Kosciuška Healing Garden. While there are many locations named after the famous war hero in the USA, most use his Polish version of the name “Kosciuszko”, whereas Carol deliberately used the Lithuanian name to accentuate his Lithuanian origins.|
Dennis’ and Janet’s grandparents came to the US in the early 1900’s. Two families lived almost next door to each other, no strange Dennis and Janet were acquainted long before their marriage. Now, Dennis as the president of Knights of Lithuania council of Pittston and Janet as their treasure holder, do everything they can to make the Lithuanian traditions last – Knights of Lithuania Council 143 keeps the Lithuanian tradition by having the Kūčios dinner every December, the Lithuanian flag raising at Pittston City Hall every year in February, and holding the St. Casimir’s Mass at St. John the Evangelist church the first Sunday in March.
Dennis and Janet led Destination America in Pittston and surrounding areas.
Don and Sylvia Waxmonsky were also among Lithuanians met that day in the area.
||One of the executives at the St. Mary Villa, the former Lithuanian orphanage and widow-home. Even though he doesn’t have Lithuanian roots, he is interested in the building’s history and he was glad to show us around.|
||A member of Inkerman Lithuanian Club, he allowed us to get inside, as the access is through members-only keycards. He told us about the location and its history, how it was built up and how it used to be called “Bucket of blood” because lots of fights.|
Southern Coal Region (Pennsylvania)
||We wouldn’t have been able to find numerous sites in the Shenandoah area if not Elaine Luschas, who spent a good part of the day with us and shown us some sites we did not know about previously. She has three daughters, one of whom, Carol, is also especially interested in Lithuanian traditions. All that is despite the fact that the most recent ancestor of Elaine Luschas immigrated to the USA in the 19th century! Elaine is also among the oranizers of the „Lithuanian days”, the longest continuous ethnic festival in the USA, going on for 104 years.|
|A pair of 75-year-old retired Lithuanian teachers live next to the Shenandoah Lithuanian cemeteries and were happy to guide “Destination America” there and to the surrounding locations. They were among the major and sacrificed fighters for the survival of St. George Lithuanian parish, among the oldest in the America’s. Unfortunately, the diocese have destroyed the church, leaving a very bitter taste among the area’s Lithuanian community. The destruction took 8 months, cost a lot and even one of the workers was killed during that process.|
|Anne Chaikowski La Voie
Anne’s ancestors came from Trakai in Lithuania to the area in the US of which she is very interested herself. She is now working on a book of photographs of Lithuanians in Schuylkill County.
Anne helped “Destination – America” team to visit Lithuanian museum in Frackville.
|We are also grateful to…||Among the ones who helped that day were also Peg Grigalonis (although her surname is Lithuanian, she herself is not, she is married to a Lithuanian guy), Diane Derr, Elaine Millet (both of them showed us the Lithuanian church and cemetery in Tamaqua) and Jake Betz, director of Marija Kaupas centre, who was very welcoming and showed us around the Marija Kaupas center. Also, there was Margaret Valinsky who, living in New Philadelphia (a 20% Lithuanian town) is organizing trips from there to Lithuania and many more.|
A chemistry specialist from Pittsburgh, he is a son of Lithuanian post-WW2 immigrants. He has married a woman from Lithuania Jūratė, and he speaks Lithuanian in his family. He is a major participant in the Pittsburgh Lithuanian society. He is originally from DuBois, where he met the “Destination America” team, driving together all the way to Pittsburgh where he invited us at his home. Thanks to him, we were able to visit all the planned locations the next day as he offered to start early, at the 7 AM, and took a day off work for the project.
His wife Jūratė Vaičėnaitė has made “Destination America” volunteers feel really welcome at her home.
||A Pittsburgh historian and journalist, as well as an active member of the Lithuanian community. He has met “Destination America” at the Lithuanian cemetery and later went together with the volunteers to the former monastery and another cemetery.|
|Thomas More Sikora O.S.B.
||He is a priest in a formerly Lithuanian church at East Vandergrift. Even though he is not of Lithuanian origins, he is greatly interested in Lithuanian history and showed us around the church. He promised to, if there would be a need, search for more information and documents for “Destination America”.|
|Maxine Bruhns ir Janet Carlisle
||At the Pittsburg Cathedral of Learning the volunteers were met by E. Maxine Bruhns, Director of Nationality rooms, and Janet Carlisle, a woman of Lithuanian descent, also a President of Lithuanian Nationality room who came to meet people from Lithuania putting their Lithuanian Nationality room on map.|
||She met us at the Bentleyville church.|
||It was Lyra Puišytė-Bostroem who effectively created the idea of „Destination: America“, by contacting Augustinas Žemaitis of „True Lithuania“ in 2015 and suggesting an interactive map of the Lithuanian America. It took two years for the idea to bear fruit and „Destination America“ met Lyra in the Lithuanian embasssy in Washington, where she is a diplomat. On 2017 09 30, she showed the historic premises of the embassy.|
|Philip and Aldona Shapiro
Philip Shapiro is of Litvak origins (his ancestors immigrated to the USA from Rokiškis, Kamajai, Celkiai, Pandėlys, Kupiškis, Panevėžys and Raguva prior to WWI), while Aldona Shapiro is a recent Lithuanian immigrant who became his wife several years ago. Aldona was among the ones who suffered her family being deported from Lithuania under Soviet oppression, so together they give huge efforts to make the victims of the Soviets as well as Litvak Jews, especially of Rokiškis area, remembered.
They have helped „Destination America“ in ensuing the communications and internet, as well as arranging the visit of Vilna Congregation synagogue in Philadelphia and being a great moral support.
|We are also grateful to…||We were also helped in the embassy by Neringa Miliauskaitė and Kristina Kovalevska. Marija Dambriunas Schmidt helped us to find the graves in the Cypress Hill cemetery.|
Born during World War 2 and taken as a child to the USA by his parents who fled the Soviet occupation of Lithuania, he nevertheless spent the whole life promoting the Lithuanian ideas. As a hobby, he re-enacts the Lithuanian anti-Soviet partisan movement that unsuccessfully sought to liberate Lithuania in 1940s-1960s. As the Baltimore Lithuanian church now lacks a Lithuanian priest, he compensates for that by saying as many parts of the Mass in Lithuanian himself into a microphone as it is possible for a non-priest to do.
Aleksandras Radžius shown us around the Baltimore Lithuanian locations, such as the Frank Zappa statue and the Lloyd Street Synagogue, where he had dubbed the Lithuanian priest in an introductory film.
||He is a key person in the Lithuanian Museum of Baltimore, and knows lots about each thing that is on display there. He told us many interesting stories.|
||The director ot Lithuanian National library in Baltimore. She arrived just to let the volunteers into the library.|
||He takes care the Lithuanian bar in Baltimore always has good Lithuanian beer and is the head of Lithuanian dance group “Malūnas”.|
||They are among those who left Lithuania after the independence was restored. However, their children decided to go back to Lithuania and so far they both keep on Lithuanian traditions going in Baltimore.|
A Lithuanian priest from Philadelphia, he has served a single St. George Lithuanian parish for 33 years, before being relocated due to parish mergers. He still feels that his home is at St. George and, speaking fluent Lithuanian, he seeks to serve the Lithuanian community in America. He is in the USA due to the fact his grandfather did not want to be conscripted into the Russian army and chose the US instead.
Destination America met Joseph Anderlonis on 2017 10 02, as he explained about the three Lithuanian churches of Philadelphia, showing us around all three.
Petras Burkauskas is a Lithuanian priest from Philadelphia who serves two Lithuanian churches. His love for Lithuania is easily visible from his church interiors, where, over his decades-spanning tenure, countless Lithuanian details have been built in, ranging from folk art designs to historical memorials of the events such as January 13th massacre of 1991.
Destination America met Petras Burkauskas on 2017 10 02 as he explained us about his two churches and offered us a dinner of kūgelis (a Lithuanian meal) at his Lithuanian-themed rectory.
||He met us at the Philadelphia’s Lithuanian Music Hall, telling about its history.|
||He met us at the Philadelphia’s Lithuanian Music Hall, telling about its history.|
|Rabinas Zev Baram
He is a Chabad rabbi. While not a rabbi of Vilna Congregation, he was able to show us it and explain its history as the main rabbi Schmidt had to leave for New York. Chabad has taken over the responsibility for the synagogue after the original membership dwindled. While the current rabbis don’t have a direct relation to Lithuania, they still help the synagogue to survive with its name and the memorial plaques inside that remind the original “Anshei Vilner” (people of Vilnius) that has established the congregation.
Chana Colin was the one who arranged our meeting with Rabbi Zev.
|Together with her husband, she shown us to the Bensalem Lithuanian cemetery and told their story.|
She has immigrated to the USA in 2003. Although initially she was unable to have much free time due to work every new immigrant has to do lots of in order to earn her place in the American society, she is increasingly committed to the Lithuanian cause, being a Vice-president for information, LAC Inc., the Chairwoman of the Organizing Committee, XVI National Dance Festival of North America, and the Chairwoman of the North NJ Chapter, Lithuanian-American Community. Laima has expressed a great interest in „Destination America“, hoping that she could use it to show her children the Lithuanian sites of the USA.
Laima Liutikienė met „Destination America“ in Elizabeth, New Jersey, on 2017 10 03, showing us around the Lithuanian church there. She was also accompanied by Danguolė Didžbalienė.
|We are also grateful to…||Danguolė Didžbalienė, who met us in Elizabeth and told us the history of Newark Lithuanian church.|
Route of the 2017 expedition: