Vilnius Archives – June 26

First, let me say what a pleasure it is, always, to be working in the Vilnius archives.  There is air conditioning, working with the directors in the reading rooms is not difficult, and although there are rules which must be followed, there are no impediments placed before a researcher.  There are separate reading rooms for original material and for material on microfilm or on the archives’ server.  Our whole day was spent researching client records and meeting with some of our on-site researchers.

It’s so exciting when records can be found that help to expand or clarify what we already know.  Lina certainly has her work cut out for her when she returns from vacation – she will have hundreds of pages of records to review and translate.

The weather was supposed to have turned rainy and chilly, but the best we have seen is some breeze. Can’t even call it a wind.  It’s so hot, and of course this is out of season for this part of the world and the air conditioning, in those places that have air conditioning isn’t always adequate.  Most of the restaurants have none. In spite of being ravenous when we get to a restaurant, often the heat inside makes our appetites disappear quickly.  Ice cream rules here!

I found (not that it was actually lost) the most charming felting shop with such incredibly cute things – I know that when I’m back in Vilnius for a few days at the beginning of July, I will have to do some shopping.

Today, although we were in the archives for hours and hours, was an emotional break for me — no memorial plaques, no places filled with signs of a lost community. Of course archives have records of people long gone, but when we are locating records and getting copies for analysis and review later, it’s a different feel – we aren’t getting pulled into the records and the families to whom they belong.

I wish I could figure out the conversations around me. The people are so animated, but they speak so fast, I don’t think I can actually hear that fast!  I can make out some words that are similar to those in English, and so, when I know what the conversation is about, I can, combining the words I know with body language, sometimes figure out what’s going on. I don’t dare to offer my understanding of what I think was said, though. I’m probably way off base, and I know that my contributions would probably just cause much laughter!

Tomorrow morning, we’ll be off to pick up a rental car and drive to Kaunas.



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