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24 November 2017
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No LT leaders called
to say they love me


Rimgaudas P. Vidziunas aka "Rim", at Scorpion Bay Marina,
Lake Pleasant, Arizona.

Rimgaudas "Rim" Vidziunas
Owner of Photography by Rimgaudas, Mesa, Arizona
Creator of "Images and Imagination"

This is Rimgaudas' brief autobiography and photo album, from his birth in a German camp for displaced Lithuanians in 1947, fleeing westward with his family until he ended up in Arizona, USA. His story is similar to those of many other Lithuanian-American children who were born while their parents fled Stalin's Red Army. Rim has been back in his parents' homeland and do much to keep the memory alive. Still it is with a certain soreness he answers NO when I ask if he ever heard from the Lithuanian authorities. Not a single letter, no phone call from the home country's leaders. No one from home has told Rim and many other refugee children that they are loved by the ancestral homeland, that they are welcome back now that the communism yoke is lifted off. It seems, unfortunately, that today’s Lithuanian leadership has not done much to restore contact with this most valuable of all resources, namely its own people around the globe.

Here is his story...

My father Juozas Vidziunas escaped Pramedziava, Lithuania during the Soviet invasion of 1941. He went to Germany and there he studied Medicine at the University of Heidelberg. Juozas met Salomeja while he was a student. My mother, Salomeja worked as a hostess at a US Army USO club after the war in Germany. They were given a visa to go to the United States in 1949.

Parents did not talk about their escape from Lithuania to Germany.

I was born in 1947, and when I was two were allowed to come to the U.S. We came here with the ship USS General Sturgis, a US Army troop carrier. After dropping off troops in Germany it would carry refugees back to the United States. We left Bremen Germany, arriving Port of New Orleans 13 March 1949.

The Army Red Cross gave us each $5.00 US dollars and boarded us on a train bound to Los Angeles, California. We were met by my father's brother Juonas Vidziunas and cousin Daiva. We lived with them till 1952 and departed for Chicago, Illinois. Several years later we moved to a small farming community Lexington, Illinois about 120 miles southwest of Chicago. I graduated high school from Lexington, was Senior Class President and graduated University of Miami, Florida, BA History, January 1970.

I returned to the Midwestern United States upon graduation. My love of photography began. On a trip to Arizona in 1974, I fell in love with the desert and moved to Arizona in 1978. I continue my art of photography to this day.

My parents never talked much about Lithuania other than my grandfather Petras was a land owner and was deported to Siberia. Father did stay in contact with a younger brother and four sisters that remained in Lithuania.  I vacationed in Lithuania 1999 and 2002 and was told I "speak Lithuanian with an American accent"

My love for photography

I was eleven years old when I snapped my first pictures of my German Sheppard with a Kodak Brownie box camera. In the darkroom, magically, images appeared, literally right before my eyes—my passion for photography was born. I had captured a special moment in time and preserved its images, as I had perceived them.

Perhaps it's my ancestral calling, as my family's history is rooted in Lithuania where my name, Vidziunas, has the Latin root “is-vysti” which means "to see more clearly with perception."  My Lithuanian tribal ancestors worshipped nature, believed in fairies, wood nymphs and devils; and always obeying the god of thunder, Perkunas.

As a resident of Arizona for over thirty-three years, I've immersed myself in capturing its diverse landscape and natural wonders. By combining my unique perception, images and imagination with the basic principles of abstraction, composition, subject matter, and texture, my photography has developed a distinct style all its own. Browse some of my recent images of Historic Route 66 on Arizona Highway’s Blog.

Whatever my subject or inspiration is, thank you for enjoying Images and Imagination Photography by Rimgaudas. As a member of the Professional Photographers of America, AZ HDR Photography Group, AZ Photographers Group and an ever-developing fine art photographer/photojournalist, I encourage feedback and questions regarding my creative work. Please feel free to join me on LinkedIn, http://www.flickr.com/photos/rimgaudas/, or http://Facebook.com/PhotographybyRimgaudas.

Email rvidziunas@yahoo.com.

Thank you for enjoying my “images and imagination”.


My Parents, Salomeja and Juozas Vidziunas
on their Wedding Day in Lithuania


I was born Rimgaudas Daumantas Petras Vidziunas, in a Lithuanian displaced person’s camp,
Stetten im Remstal, Germany, 9 April 1947


On the ship USS General Sturgis heading for America, Rimgaudas, Salomeja Vidziunas, Rim being fed orange by an unidentified passenger.  We were given oranges to eat to prevent scurvy.


Center Salomeja Vidziunas, right Rimgaudas Vidziunas, topside USS General Sturgis


Rimgaudas and cousin Daiva Vidziunas. My first home, Santa Monica, California, 1950


My first portrait, Rimgaudas Vidziunas, Santa Monica, California, 1951


Rimgaudas P. Vidziunas, Photographer


Rimgaudas, Superstition Mountains, Arizona 

Category : Featured black / Lithuania in the world

  • […] http://vilnews.com/?p=13633 […]

    June 01 2013
    CommentsLike

    • […] http://vilnews.com/?p=13633 […]

      June 01 2013
      CommentsLike
      • H.Besonis

        My Father came over from Germany (Lithuanian) on the General Sturgess to Boston, MA. He arrived June5, 1950. The websites I have found seem to end passenger lists in 1943…although I'm fairly new at this. I found his Father and Mother in the Social security Death index-but I'm trying to find his Dad's relatives here in the U.S. Unfortunately we do not know what name they chose to have here in the U.S. If anyone out there has any ideas how I could track this information-I'd be grateful. My Father is 82 and he desperately wants to find out what he can…My email address is hbesonis@yahoo.com. Thank you again!

        July 30 2012
        CommentsLike

        • Your Dad was my doctor in Lexington, he delivered me and my brother. Class of '75 here. There's a multi-year class reunion July 14 in Lexington, not sure if you stay in touch with anyone from there or not.

          May 30 2012
          CommentsLike

          • […] Rim’s story HERE and see also the below comments ______________________ Rim, “We love you!” Jenifer C. Dilis […]

            May 15 2012
            CommentsLike
            • Rimgaudas Vidziunas

              Yes we have been neglected. Because of the same last name, I wrote Arvydas Vidziunas, Landsburgis right hand man in the Seimas when Lithuania declared it's Independence, on several ocassions. I shared with him the meaing of our surname, asked him if we might be related. When I was in Lithuania in 1999, I wrote to every Vidziunas in the Lithuanian phone book seeking genealogy information. Upon returning to Lithuania in 2002, I invited over 100 Vidziunai to lunch. Over 45 showed up. Arvydas Vidziunas sister, Grazina Vidziunaite, was one of them. I have a picture of her with me. And that will be another story for VilNews about the Vidziunas Reunion 2002 Vilnius . ;) Arvydas Vidziunas did not have the courtesy to respond to any of my correspondence.

              May 09 2012
              CommentsLike

              • Rim,
                "We love you!"
                It may be from this complete stranger, but it is still genuinely sent…:)
                Keep going back to Lietuva…Nothing is stopping you and "the others" from visiting.
                I know NOTHING of politics, government policies, grudges held from one to another…
                I DO know that we are all human beings who seek to belong, to fit in, to feel welcome.
                IS there truly an unspoken disregard for "Displaced Lits" among those who stayed behind for whatever the reason?!?
                I am confused…I am in love with MY Lietuva because it is the homeland of all four of my grandparents. I know they all were HERE in the US by 1930, when my parents were born. Does that mean that I should love MY Lietuva any less, if my grandparents were not there much past their own teenage years? And worse, does My Lietuva love ME less for this limited immediate linkage to it?!?!
                I am suddenly saddened…
                Sorry I went off track…I do that quite often…oops…:)
                Rim, I love you….GO VISIT YOUR LIETUVA!!! :)

                May 09 2012
                CommentsLike
                • Boris Bakunas

                  DPs Rule! Thanks for starting this great thread of comments. You've helped create a real sense of unity among us. I can identify with everyone one of the comments posted, and I wish all of you well.

                  "My mom stepped off the ship in Boston with a suitcase in one hand and me in the other. Grandfather washed dishes at the Waldorf Hotel Cafeteria. When we moved to Chicago, we lived in a basement — not a basement apartment, but a basement with a concrete floor, an iron-cast sink, and bed sheets hung on ropes to separate the sleeping area from where we ate."

                  So many of us have similar childhood memories.

                  So many of us worked hard, saved money, sent money to Lithuania just as soon as it was allowed, and bought our own homes. So many or us graduated college and earned higher degrees, or our children have.

                  So many of us finally got to reunited with those of our relatives who survived the Soviet occupation.

                  Good Wishes to All!

                  Boris Vytautas Bakunas

                  May 08 2012
                  CommentsLike
                  • Lietuvis

                    I was also born in 1947 in a small Bavarian wine village before we moved to a DP camp. We came to the US in 1949 on the Mariner Jumper. My parents and relatives talked a lot about their war experiences, how my parents escaped to Germany in 1941 because they saw the handwriting on the wall…to be deported to Siberia. They spent 3 months in a German detention camp where my sister was almost born. They went back to LT in 1942 and left again in 1944 as the Russians were advancing. One of the most notable things my mother said was that she was not afraid of the Germans. If they wanted to get rid of you, they just shot you. But if the Russians (she used the term bolseviks) caught you it was a fate worse than death. I have an apartment in Vilnius and never felt the LT government should contact me or assist me. I first visited in 1968, then 1975, 1987,,, and have lived there on and off since 1993. I don't feel us "lucky" ones who got to live a full life in the free West should burden LT with the need for some sort of special recognition or attention.

                    May 08 2012
                    CommentsLike
                    • Vitas Kiausas

                      I also was born in a DP camp in Memmingen on 23/05/46.I was raised in Brisbane,Australia.The ship that took my family to Newcastle,Australia was the "General Grely"on 12/10/49.
                      Vitas Kiausas.

                      I also was born in a DP camp in Memmingen on 23/05/46.I was raised in Brisbane,Australia.The US ship "General Grely"took my family to Newcastle on 12/10/49.

                      May 07 2012
                      CommentsLike



                      

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