Imagine that one day you pack your suitcase and utterly alone fly out for a month to an unfamiliar country located on the other side of the world. Sounds crazy, but catchy, doesn’t it?
Anna Wollenzien-Kamin checking Lithuanian map
Anna Wollenzien-Kamin checking Lithuanian map

Who would not like to discover and explore other cultures, customs, cuisine and establish a friendship with its members?

However, the story of Anna Wollenzien-Kamin is more than just a desire to discover a new country and its culture.

A thirty-four-year old elementary school teacher from Las Vegas was led off to Lithuania, as she says, by God himself, who has bestowed her the highest value – the family.

Namely, Lithuanian family ties impelled Anna to visit our country since her husband is a Lithuanian-American whose ancestors more than a hundred years ago left Vištytis for a country across the Atlantic ocean.

So, she left her spouse with their three and a four-year-old daughters and exchanged the bustling world's entertainment capital, Las Vegas, for three weeks to a tranquil, mysterious, and bountiful Lithuania full of interesting discoveries and promises.

Husband isn't interested in Lithuania

While listening to the stories of Anna, some immediately raise the question, “Why is she, being an American, feel such a great attraction and affection for Lithuania and what makes her determined to find out as more as possible about her husband's ancestors who lived in Lithuania?”

According to Anna, her interest in her husband's genealogy is mostly stimulated by a feeling of gratitude and respect for her father-in-law who is Lithuanian.

“I spent many countless hours and late nights discussing his family history. I found it quite entertaining and interesting. I kept a small journal of his stories and tried to understand the family relationships,” recalls Anna.

Meanwhile, neither Anna’s husband nor his siblings exude such an enthusiasm. Being of Lithuanian origin, they strangely seem not very interested in Lithuania. However, it appears that, they have their own reasons.

“My father-in-law has three children, all of whom have abandoned him in his old age. They have rejected him for different reasons, all of which would make a fantastic soap opera or dramatic novel.

He has another son from a previous marriage that keeps his distance, calls once a year, perhaps, but doesn’t seek out his heritage.

I knew that his children would not take an interest in the family heritage. They know many of the family stories, and even appear bored of hearing them. Even if he had asked them to participate, they might refuse just out of spite. I know in my heart that it comes down to me,” says Anna.

The tragic family history

During the long evenings Anna used to listen to her father-in-law’s stories with great interest. One of the stories told by her father-in-law William and his younger brother Thomas vividly replays in her mind.

Circa 1900 or decades earlier in the fields of Vištytis working farmers were suddenly attacked by the Russian Cossacks riding horses. They slayed several working farmers.

Among the victims was Anna’s father-in-law’s great-grandfather Jonas Vieraitis. This is the story often told to Anna’s father-in-law by his grandmother with tears in her eyes who as a young woman witnessed the massacre.

Unfortunately, neither Anna nor the people near the history of the region could find more precise details of this cruel event.

The trip planned for several years

Having collected plenty of valuable information from her father-in-law and an accumulation through electronic archives, Anna’s trip to Lithuania became a quick reality.

Through social networks, she got acquainted with a genealogist from Lithuania, who also helped her establish communication with the living descendants of her husbands family tree.

|Populiariausi straipsniai ir video

Famous Lithuanian poet Navakas dies

Famous Lithuanian poet Kestutis Navakas died on Sunday at the age of 55.

Another original copy of Feb 16, 1949 declaration found (1)

Staff members of the Lithuanian Special Archives have found another original copy of the Declaration...

Linguists: Lithuania needs to accept life with English language and change law (1)

Lithuania's Law on State Language needs to be amended and adapted to the existing reality, linguists...

February in Kaunas: theatre and dance

The January blues is over, and Kaunas is ready to rumble. Our cultural institutions are busy...

Zebriunas’ film “The Girl and the Echo” to be screened in France

Arūnas Žebriūnas ’ film The Girl and the Echo (1964) was acquired for distribution in France ....

Top news

Vietnamese student feels happy living in Vilnius: back home I wear mask every day

Vietnamese student Tri Huynh Viet Minh from Saigon is full of curiosity. Having won a scholarship...

President proposes nine legislative initiatives for Seimas spring session

Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda has proposed including nine legislative initiatives into the...

Experience Lithuanian culture: Užgavėnės in Kaunas

In Lithuania, we call the holiday Užgavėnės, which can be loosely translated into ‘Before fasting...

Leader in gaming and VR platforms to undergo major expansion in Lithuania

Unity Technologies , creator of the world’s most widely used real-time development platform for...

German polymer specialist establishing microduct systems production unit in Klaipeda

REHAU , a family-owned polymer specialist with annual sales of around EUR 3.5 billion, is...

|Maža didelių žinių kaina