Jewish Women of Kaunas

Before the second World War, about one quarter of the population of Kaunas LIthuania was Jewish – about 30,000 people. Known in Yiddish as Kovno, it was a city As part of the City Telling Festival (Istoriju Festivalis) in 2020 a couple of large murals were painted in memory of a few of these people. This festival was one of the events leading up to 2022 where Kaunas was one of the “European Capitals of Culture”

below: Leja (or Leah) Goldberg, b. 1911, poet. It was painted by Lithuanian artist Linas Kaziulionis and it measures 15 by 10 meters. The text is one of her poems “Oren” (Pine) written in Hebrew and Lithuanian.

large mural on the side of a building, painted by Linas Kaziulionis, portrait of a woman, Leja Goldberg, a poet born in Lithuania.  Text of one of her poems is included in the mural, written in Hebrew on one side and in Lithuanian on the other

Goldberg was the daughter of Abraham and Cilia Goldberg. Her father was an economist at an insurance company before WW1. During the Great War (i.e. WW1), most of the Jews were “evacuated” from Lithuania and sent to the interior of Russia. Lea was three years old when the family was forcibly deported from Kaunas. When they returned after the war and the defeat of Germany, Lea’s father was tortured by Lithuanian soldiers who accused him of being a Communist. He died before Lea emigrated to Palestine in 1935; her mother followed her the next year.

One translation of the poem:

PINE

Here I will not hear the voice of the cuckoo.
Here the tree will not wear a cape of snow.
But it is here in the shade of these pines
my whole childhood reawakens.

The chime of the needles: Once upon a time –
I called the snow-space homeland,
and the green ice at the river’s edge –
was the poem’s grammar in a foreign place.

Perhaps only migrating birds know –
suspended between earth and sky –
the heartache of two homelands.

With you I was transplanted twice,
with you, pine trees, I grew –
roots in two disparate landscapes.

large mural on the side of a building, painted by Linas Kaziulionis, portrait of a woman, Leja Goldberg, a poet born in Lithuania.  Text of one of her poems is included in the mural, written in Hebrew on one side and in Lithuanian on the other

below: Another mural with a poem that was also part of the same festival. It was painted by Tadas Vincaitis-Plūgas. The is mural dedicated to another Jewish family that lived in Kaunas before WW2.

large mural of a mother and daughter, Rosian Bagriansky and her mother, painted by Tadas Vincaitis, on the side of a building in Kaunas Lithuania

The words are those of Hirsh Ošerovičius (1908-1994) written in 1964. The text is in Lithuanian but one English translation is:

Ah, do you really believe,
Oblivion has the final say in what is to be forgotten?
For it is often only an image from the ashes rising
And stand in flesh, in full reality
Forever framed for every day to come.

large mural of a mother and daughter, Rosian Bagriansky and her mother, painted by Tadas Vincaitis, on the side of a building in Kaunas Lithuania

The mural depicts a mother, Greta, and her daughter Rosian Bagriansky. Rosian was born in 1935 in Kaunas. Her father, Paul (or Polis) Bagriansky, was a textile merchant and her mother was a concert pianist and music teacher. Rosian survived the Holocaust after her parents dug a hole next to the fence of Kaunas Ghetto and pushed Rosian through it and into the hands of one of their former employees, Bronė Budreikaitė. Rosian became Irena Budreikaitė

Kiemo Galerija – Yard Gallery

Back in 2014, Vytenis Jakas decided to turn a residential courtyard into an art gallery.

below: Charlie Chaplin oversees the entrance to the yard.  The black plaque above Chaplin’s head is in memory of Juda Zupavicius (1914-1944) who was a lieutenant in the Lithuanian military and a chief on the Kaunas ghetto police force. In 1941 the Jewish residents of this area were forced out and had to relocate to the Kaunas ghetto. Zupavicius was also one of the leaders of the underground resistance during WW2.

street art on a concrete wall, three older women sitting on a bright red bench.  Women are wearing grey winter coats, head scarves, and sun glasses.  the woman in the middle is knitting

below: The words under the photo of the couple: „Čia 1939 m. – 1941 m. gyveno Dita ir Juda Zupavičiai. Juda buvo vienas iš Kauno geto pogrindžio vadovų, žiauriai nacistų kankintas neišdavė geto vaikų slėptuvių. Dita buvo kovos bendražygė“ (English translation: “Here in 1939 – 1941 lived Dita and Juda Zupavičiai. Juda was one of the underground leaders of the Kaunas ghetto, he was brutally tortured by the Nazis and did not reveal the hiding places of the ghetto children. Dita was a comrade in the struggle”)

street art, three black and white photos of people who used to live in the courtyard.  A large artwork of Marcel Marceau in white clown mime clothes, a red tear painted on his face, standing beside a vintage box camera on a tripod
bright yellow shutters on a window, pot of geraniums, red geraniums, beside, an empty flower box below, a painting of a fat brown cat half out the window and half inside

below: Venus probably never had to do the grocery shopping

street art stencil or pasteup of the statue of venus, woth arms broken off.  behind her is a woman in modern clothes carrying bags of shopping

on exterior wall, black and white photo of man, below part of a larger colour photo

a picture of the plaque describing the yard gallery that is seen in the gallery itself, Kiemo Gallery

Yard Gallery

Upon noticing that the neighbours living in the yard had become alienated and had forgotten the common past of the yard, the artist Vytenis Jakas started creating a “Yard Gallery” – a courtyard surrounded by apartment buildings built in the inter-war period. In the past, the yard inhabitants knew each other well, communicated warmly, celebrated holidays together, and supported each other in troublesome times. The yard had a large table, a fountain and a sculpture, the Dapkevicius sisters grew flowers, and lilacs grew near the windows of the neighbour Regina. Over time, the population and the social environment changes, the number of cars increased, and the yard space became too small.

Seeing this situation, Vytenis Jakas, with the help of other artists and neighbours, turned the derelict yard into a centre of attraction, the open air “Yard Gallery”. Various artistic projects are implemented here: Portraits of the Jews who lived in this house before the Holocaust, along with the current residents, characters of various works are painted on the facades of the apartment buildings; mirror mosaics and stained glass windows are created, and community events are organised, with community festivals celebrated together. “

mosaic on a wall, outdoors, made of broken pieces of mirror.  reflective
painting of a stork, street art

Annie and her cow

… and rooster … and tractor.. paintings in Napanee Ontario.

L & A Mutual insurance building in Napanee, once the County Depot with silos for storage. silos have been painted with farm scene

Once used for storage, these silos were painted by Shane Goudreau as part of the redevelopment of the site – from County Depot to insurance company.  An excellent way to preserve some of the history of the area. 

painted silos, farm scene with old tractor, cow, rooster and female farmer called Annie working with a hoe

painted silos, farm scene with old tractor, cow, rooster and female farmer working with a hoe

painted silos, farm scene with old tractor, cow, rooster and female farmer working with a hoe

a yellow tractor on the roof of L &  A Mutual insurance in Napanee, beside old storage silos that have been painted with a farm scene

Nikola Jorga’s portrait

a large mural in Tirana Albania on a concrete wall, a portrait of Nikola Jorga, a Romanian historian who died in 1940, along with some text in Romanian

He was born Nicu N. Iorga in Romania on 17 Jan 1871. He was a prolific writer and cultural historian. His biography is long and it gets complicated when discussing his scholarly works and opinions so I will leave that for you to read on Wikipedia (or similar) if you are interested. I haven’t figured out why he is featured on a mural in Albania. He was murdered in 1940 by the Iron Guard, a Romanian militant revolutionary fascist movement and political party.

top part of mural, head and portrait of Nikola Jorga

The text is written in Albanian (or Romanian, google translate had trouble with this) but the first few words translate as “When two quarrel, the third wins”

long text in Romanian from a mural

This mural was painted by Irlo Doidoi for MurAL Fest 2019.

La Fresque des Québécois

La Fresque des Québécois is the title of a 420 m2 mural found on the side of Maison Soumande on rue Notre-Dame in Old Quebec City. It depicts figures from 400 years of Quebec City history. Twelve painters from France and Quebec contributed to the mural.

New France was the name of the French colony in North America beginning in 1593 with the arrival of Jacques Cartier. The French relinquished the colony to the British and the Spanish in 1763, at the end of the Seven Years War

a small group of people with their backs to the camera are looking at a large mural in Quebec City that depicts people from all parts of their 400 year history
Looking out of the upper windows are (on the left) Jean Talon (1626-1694) who was steward of New France; in this position he was in control of the civil administration of the colony. The other man is Louis de Baude Comte de Frontenac et de Palluau (1622-1698) was Governor General of New France for many years.
part of the Fresque de Quebecois showing buildings in the old part of Quebec City with two men standing on a balcony

In 1763 what is now Quebec became the Province of Quebec, a British colony. In 1791 this colony was divided into two, Upper Canada along the upper parts of the St. Lawrence River, and Lower Canada, along the lower section of the river. Upper Canada is approximately what is now Ontario while Quebec has grown from Lower Canada. Quebec City was in Lower Canada.

François-Xavier Garneau (1809-1866), national historian of French Canada stands on a balcony with (on the right) Louis-Joseph Papineau (1786-1871), Member of Parliament in Lower Canada.
Playing his guitar is Félix Leclerc (1914-1988). Just behind him is Frederick Temple Blackwood, Marquis de Dufferin and d’Ava (1826-1902), Governor General of Canada from 1872-1878; He’s probably best remembered as Lord Dufferin. During his time as Governor General, Quebec City officials began the demolition of the old city walls. Blackwood persuaded them to stop and rebuild the parts that they had damaged. In 1985 Old Quebec was recognized as an UNESCO World Heritage Site.
a woman and three young kids looking at Fresque des Quebecois in Quebec City, figures from history, Leclerc the guitar player and musician, Lord Dufferin, Samuel Champlain, also kids playing road hockey in the mural
Samuel Champlain (1570-1635) poses in his green jacket while holding onto his hat with the large white feather. He founded Quebec in 1608. Just behind him is Alphonse Desjardins (1854-1920) founder of the Desjardins Cooperative Movement.
people posing for pictures in front of the Fresque des Quebecois, with Samuel Champlain and Aphonse Desjardins, also a girl holding balloons,
Coming down the stairs is Louis Jolliet (1645 -1700), along with Jesuit priest Father Jacques Marquette, was the first non-Native to explore the upper parts of the Mississippi River. Jolliet was born near Quebec City.

historic scenes, Midland

Midland ontario symbol in bronze with blue water, bronze pine trees and yellow sun

Scattered around downtown Midland Ontario are quite a few murals with scenes of bygone days.  Many of these were originally painted by Fred Lenz in 1996 & 1997 and then repainted ten or eleven years later by Terri Milley and Ruth Hurdle.

below: Midland train station and railway yard.

downtown midland ontario, street with reddish brick building, 2 storeys, with a large mural painted on the side

In 1871 the area was the village of Mundy’s Bay.  That year, the Midland Railway chose Mundy’s Bay to be the terminus of a new railway line – the railway already ran between Port Hope and Beaverton and they wanted to extend it to Georgian Bay.  The small community of Mundy’s Bay was renamed Midland City.   By 1879 the railway was completed.

railway mural in Midland Ontario, five panels, train station, two large engines, people,

scene in a mural from Midland train station many years ago, women in long dresses and men in suits

vintage scene, men at railway yard, boy watching

below: Midland is on the shore of Georgian Bay which is part of Lake Huron.  Lumber and grain passed through this harbour and the town prospered.

mural of an historic scene in Midland Ontario, people in fashion of the time, standing on dock looking at a boat in the water and a grain elevator

below: Sewing in the window, with a view of the woolen mill across the street. small mural behind a tree on the upper storey above a store, a woman in a long blue dress is sewing at on old fashioned sewing machine

below: European explorers and their First Nations guides canoeing on the lake.

mural in bad shape (peeling paint) of a European explorer standing beside a lake scene, First Nations people and Europeans in canoes

below: A red and white lighthouse with a brilliant blue sky

along the whole side of a building, painted bright sky blue with some puffy white clouds. A large painting of a red and white lighthouse

below: Maybe when the first car came to town?

mural depicting a farm scene from a porch, with old fashioned car driving through. Barn with horse and child, also horse drawn wagon

below: Above an Italian restaurant is this small picture of horses bringing logs to the saw mill to be cut into lumber.

small mural above an Italian restaurant, horses bring a load of logs to the saw mill to be cut

below: HMS Bee, a schooner

a man with a beard stands with his arms crossed looking at a picture of a schooner with 3 sails, the HMS Bee

below: A portrait of James Playfair.  A the bottom of the pillar on the left: “A successful Midland lumberman turned to shipping in 1896.  In 1901 he formed the Midland Navigation Co.  In 1910 he established the Midland Dry Dock Co. renaming it in 1915 the Midland Shipbuilding Co to build ocean ships”.  At the bottom of the pillar on the right: “James Playfair’s Company completed in 1917 a large new shipyard on the Midland Waterfront to build Government contracted ocean cargo steamers.  The first one launched was the ‘War Fiend’ (1918-1920).”

a portrait of James Playfair in a mural, long with images of some of the boats that his shipyard built

below: Playfair Mills

a car is parked in front of a mural of a man balancing on logs in the water, playfair mills, midland history series murals.

below: Midland’s first post office opened in 1872

picture of man with grey hair, beard & mustache standing outside the post office,

below: A tribute to Canadian Girl Guides

vintage Girl Guides in blue hats tending to a wounded dog, with a sore paw, tent in the background.

below: The cleaners, delivering clean clothes.

car parked in front of a mural showing the interior of an old cleaners with a man working inside hanging up a dress

The murals were funded by Midland BIA & The Ontario Trillium Foundation

Old First Ward murals, Buffalo

The First Ward in Buffalo NY includes the docks along the Buffalo River and was once a thriving industrial area.  Old grain elevators still dominate the area.   The first residents were Irish who came to help dig the Erie Canal (completed in 1825) and who stayed.   A second wave of Irish immigrants arrived in the 1840’s as refugees from the famine.  They settled here and found work in the port.

Two large murals have been painted on Republic Street, both facing the railway tracks.   The first is ‘The Worker’ on the old Brock’s building/warehouse between Tennessee and Kentucky streets.   It was completed just over a year ago.

a long horizontal mural called The Worker, with the words Thw WOrker written in large capital letters and filled in with pictures of working people. Along the side of a wall beside a train track - view of whole mural with tracks in the foreground

The project was headed by ELAB (Emerging Leaders in the Arts Buffalo).

below: Molten metal and flying sparks by Nicole Cherry

a tub of molten metal and sparks flying, as part of a large mural that pays tribute the workers and labourers who lived and worked in Buffalo's First Ward back when it was an industrial powerhouse

below: Nick Miller’s painting, “Brakemen” a tribute to those who worked on the railways fills the word THE.

part of a larger mural called The Worker, with the words Thw WOrker written in large capital letters and filled in with pictures of working people. Along the side of a wall beside a train track

below: W O R K E R with its images

the word worker is written in large capital letters and each letter contains an image of people working, a large mural in Buffalo New York

below: A harbour scene.

part of a larger mural, a dock scene, harbour, ship in the water, lift bridge open in the background, kegs and barrels on the dock, a man working on the dock

below: Honouring the police and firemen.  The boat is  the “Edward M. Cotter”.  This fireboat was built in 1900 as the “William S. Grattan” – named after the first paid fire commissioner in Buffalo.   After a 1953 rebuild she was given her present name in honour of a recently deceased Buffalo firefighter and leader of the local firefighters union.  She is the oldest active fireboat in the world and is a National Historic landmark.  She also acts as an ice breaker during the winter months.

part of a large mural celebrating the workers of Buffalo, this panel is for the police and firemen and includes a red fire boat.

below: Scoopers with grain in the hold of a lake freighter.

part of a larger mural, men hauling a rope and filling a shovel with wheat

The second mural was painted by Vinnie Alejandro and a team of artists.  It is a 5000 square foot painting contrasting the past and present of the Old First Ward.

railway tracks run past the community steel corp building on Republic St., Buffalo. There is a mural on the side of the building.

It is just up the street from ‘The Workers’ mural – on the side of the Community Steel building at Alabama and Republic.

mural about the Old FIrst Ward, Buffalo. involves two large panels, one is an image from the past with grain and grain elevators and the other is a scene from the present with the area as a residential parkland with old grain elevators in the background. Railway tracks run in front of the mural.

The area has many railway lines. The ones that run parallel to Republic Street were in 1903 the City of Buffalo granted private railroad rights to the Quaker City Cooperage Company (they made barrels). These tracks connected to the Erie Railroad.

mural about the Old FIrst Ward, Buffalo. involves two large panels, one is an image from the past with grain and grain elevators and the other is a scene from the present with the area as a residential parkland with old grain elevators in the background. Railway tracks run in front of the mural.

From what I could find, other artists include Tom O’Brien, Amanda Gala Roney, Suzie Molnar Goad, Ed ‘Sparky’ Lawton, Jake Wiles, and Chris Kameck.   Like all community mural projects, many people and organizations were involved. For a short history of the mural, and a list of groups who gave supplies and/or time, see an article in ‘Buffalo Rising‘ (an excellent resource if you’re interested in the city of Buffalo).

mural about the Old FIrst Ward, Buffalo. involves two large panels, one is an image from the past with grain and grain elevators and the other is a scene from the present with the area as a residential parkland with old grain elevators in the background. Railway tracks run in front of the mural.

Photos were taken January 3, 2017