Sigitas Staniunas Art House

Sigitas Staniunas is one of the most notable and exclusive interdisciplinary Lithuanian artists, known for combining social and historical aspects of intercultural communication with the ideas of cultural inheritance, development and progress. Multi-layered oil painting created with the techniques of old European masters yet inspired by elements from Asian culture and art make his oeuvre unique. His artwork links spiritual, idealistic and symbolic elements of images and colors with historical and psychological context. During the course of a carrier spanning more than 20 years, Sigitas Staniunas has participated in a number of national and international projects. He has worked in Switzerland, Finland, USA, Brazil, Indonesia, Russia,Taiwan and other countries. While his primary medium is painting the artist also creates performances and site specific installations. Video documentation and live music performances enhance exhibitions of the artist’s work.

Soldier Bear Wojtek

The legend of Wojtek begins in 1942, when he was found in Iran by a local boy and traded for a few tins of food to soldiers of the Polish Army stationed nearby. The soldiers cared for the Syrian brown bear cub and fed him milk from empty vodka bottles, fruits, honey and marmalade. Over time though, he began imitating his caretakers, consuming beer and cigarettes. Of course, he ended up mostly chewing the cigarettes instead of smoking them. Soon, the endearing bear became an unofficial mascot of all the Polish units stationed in the area. He moved with the company to various countries. When the bear traveled with the Polish army to Europe to fight alongside the British in the Italian Campaign, they soon figured out that having animals as mascots was banned. This was when the bear came to be enlisted as Private Wojtek (smiling warrior) among the soldiers of the 22nd Artillery Supply Company of the Polish II Corps. It was in the Battle of Monte Cassino that Wojtek achieved the status of a war hero. Several accounts have been provided of his services in transporting numerous crates of ammunition, without dropping a single one. When the war ended in 1945, the bear was sent to Berwickshire in Scotland, along with a few of his fellow soldiers. Wojtek spent his last days at Edinburg Zoo, visited by former Polish soldiers and several journalists. He died in December 1963, at the age of 22. Today, Wojtek is not only considered a war hero, but also a symbol of the part played by the Polish in WW2.

Jewish partisans – Bielski Brothers

The True Story of Three Men Who Defied the Nazis, Built a Village in the Forest, and Saved 1,200 Jews. Forest became a Jerusalem for hundreds of Jews who lived in the area of Novogrodek.  Tuvia, Zusya, Asael & Aharon lived in the village Stankiewicze located between the towns Lida and Nowogródek. It had been the home of the Bielski family for three generations. They were the only Jewish family in a village that was populated by six families. In June, 1941 German troops invaded the Soviet Union. They were followed by Einsatzgruppen, killing squads, which rounded up the Jews, murdered them in mass graves and forced the remaining Jewish population into ghettos. After their parents and other relatives were murdered in a massacre of around 5,000 Jews on December 8, 1941, the Bielski brothers fled to the Belarusian forest and set up a partisan unit with Tuvia Bielski as the commander. However, unlike other partisan groups, fighting the enemy was not their highest goal. Their primary objective was to rescue Jews and to offer them shelter and protection in the forest.

A night with the wolfs

Have you ever dreamt about an exlusive night in the forest hotel surounded by the wolfs? Are you scared? Scientists proved that the wolf therapy takes of your stress. The price is affordable for everybody only 1.5€ per night. Would you like to spend a night? We can book  it for you :)

Kanopenai – lost jewish village

Kanopenai is a village 6 kilometres from Vidukle. My guest idea was to come there and too look around for something authentic from the past. Practically the village doesn’t exit only a few farmers houses left & no more authentic but we knew that Kanopene village is  a birth place of famous lithuanian writer Simonas Stanevicius. He was born 1799 in Kanopenai in a family of petty nobles. His old house is a museum. We explored that area, ate the apples from the apple trees older than 100 years. It is a magic place we felt something amazing in our souls it is something that you can not describe, you can be the richest person in the world but you can not buy these feelings that you can feel only here in a little paradise in Kanopenai.

A lady with a luggage

Bydgoscz is a lovely city in Poland only 5o kilometres away  from Torun. Was walking down the old streets when i accidentaly met a women with a luggage. It was a tall elegant skinny mid age women, wearing a sun glasses and high heels shoes. At the beginning i thought she was hurry to get on the train or a plane.  She asked me excuse me do you have a ticket? Can you give me 2  Zloty? I asked her where is she going and she dissapeared in the mass of the people. Later i found out that  she comes to Bydgoscz every day carrying the same luggage but dressed different. 15 years ago her 2 children died in the accident  since that time she behaves like that. Anyway she is a very popular person in the city. She has a facebook fan page where people can tell the stories & add photos with her in a different places in Bydgoscz.

Vidukle – famous jewish bakery

I walked the old Jewish streets of Vidukle with my friend and guide Antanas Pocius. He was born here and know every street like the back of his hand. He still remembers where jewish people used to live, he remembers their names and occupations. Antanas is a known person in Vidukle, amongst other publications, he is an author of a book about this town. Antanas remembers his childhood days, when he was attending the first wooden school in Vidukle, which was located in front of a famous old bakery. The bakery belonged to Itsikovich family. After many years, Antanas still cannot forget the taste of their cakes, so fresh and tasty – they just melted in your mouth… Today, after many years, we are standing in front of Itsikovich bakery with Antanas and one of the owners relatives, trying to imagine the smells that filled the streets years ago… Now Vidukle is a famous place in Lithuania known for great dumplings that you can get only here. A “Dumplings festival” is held here every summer, that thousands of people attend each year.

Novyj dvor – a treasure was found

There is  an old jewish synagogue located in the Hrodna street. We tried to get inside to make some pictures but unfortunately it was closed. There is a food store but it works only until 3 p.m. After a last year visit to Novy dvor we tried to find a last survived jewish lady but she was not at home. Her neighbour sent us to another lady Helena. It was a biggest our finding a real treasure during our trip in Belarus! She was age 92 an amazing personality speaking fluently  polish, her beutiful  voice sounded like she is a super actress. It was a great pleasure to listen the story about her life about jewish people and relations between different nationalities.

Ostryna – jewish open air museum

It was a second visit to Ostryna(Astrina, Astrin, Ostrino, Astryna). After one year  3 important jewish buildings were demolished by the goverment according to unsafe condition. This year i was standing in front of the building that was built in 1899 and together with my guest we tried to make a nice pictures when the man opened the door and said hello! His name was Albert, he bought that building in 2004 the building was an emergency condition. Albert made a most important work to stop the fall of the house now he produces here a gravestones. He wants to earn some money and equip it fully.  Albert told us that the following 3 houses were ruined down last year after first my visit to Astryna – jewish open air museum. I have never seen such a unique historical place, abandoned jewish houses, carble stone street, rabbi house,  2 synagogues, sauna in  one place Ostryna.

Skidel a sweet place

Skidel a town in Grodno oblast, Belarus, in Poland-Lithuania until 1785, and from 1807 incorporated into Russia. Jews settled in Skidel in the mid-18th century and later became the majority in the town. Jews earned their livelihood by trading in grain and timber, in the retail trade, crafts, and tanning, especially from the end of the 19th century.  The community came to an end in the Holocaust. After World War II Skidel became a part of Russia again, and all traces of its past as a Jewish shtetl rapidly disappeared. The town center, which had featured yeshivas, synagogues, factories, hospitals, and homes, was never rebuilt. The remaining towns people dismantled the Jewish cemetery and used the stones to build their homes. Nowdays you can not smell a Jewish town atmosphere only a bad smell that comes from the sugar factory..