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Oral history interview with Ada Ustjanauskas

Oral History | Accession Number: 2008.276 | RG Number: RG-50.030.0527

Some video files begin with 10-60 seconds of color bars.

Ada Gens Ustjanauskas, daughter of Jacob Gens, born in 1926 in Smalininkai, Lithuania, discusses her childhood; the difficulties of growing up in a mixed Roman Catholic and Jewish family; moving with her family to Kaunas, Lithuania; her father’s experiences as a volunteer soldier during World War I; how her father was initially protected and given a job in the Lithuanian Health Department by Colonel Usas; her father’s work for a paramilitary organization; seeing Soviet soldiers march into Kaunas and deport many of her school friends; her family’s escape from early deportations because no one could find their house; moving to Vilnius, where she and her mother lived in a house immediately outside of its ghetto while her father lived inside the ghetto; having to sneak food into the Vilnius ghetto; her father becoming the chief of ghetto police and managing to keep the rest of the family outside of the ghetto; trying to escape on a train but running into a couple who sent them to an estate in Siauliai, where they hid for two years; coming out of hiding once the Soviets had broken through and pushed the Germans out from Leningrad and Riga; getting to Kaunas with her aunt and mother and beginning university while her aunt went back to work; staying with a German nurse and her husband for two months as they tried to organize themselves to go to Palestine; beginning her education in music at the Munich conservatory; immigrating to Australia in 1948; and tracing down her aunts and uncles after the war.

Interviewee
Ms. Ada Ustjanauskas
Interviewer
Ina Navazelskis
Date
2008 November 17  (interview)
Language
English
Genre/Form
Oral histories.
Extent
6 videocasettes (Betacam SP) : sound, color ; 1/2 in..
Credit Line
Interview funded by a grant from the Lerner Family Foundation.
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Record last modified: 2018-01-22 11:18:59
This page: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn36962