Ethnic Women of Cleveland

Grace Kudukis Recording & Transcript

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  • INTERVIEWEE: Grace Kudukis
  • INTERVIEWER: Jeanette Tuve
  • DATE: May 1, 1986
  • PROGRAM LENGTH: 51:02 min.

JT: Mrs. Kudukis, what was your maiden name?

GK: Grace Knistautas.

JT: Where were you born?

GK: I was born in Lithuania in 1941 in January.

JT: Where were your parents born?

GK: In Lithuania. Both of my parents were born there.

JT: What was your father's occupation?

GK: My father was in the Air Force, as was my mother. They met in the Air Force; both were pilots.

JT: How did your mother happen to be a pilot?

GK: I think that there is a streak of adventure in our family, obviously. She was one of the first women pilots. She met my father who was superior to her in age and in degree. They met at school and continued their courtship. Then the war broke out.

JT: Did your mother start as an air force pilot or did she start as a private pilot?

GK: Her interest in aviation and the beginning of the war happened at the same time. She did not realize that it was the beginning of the war, but as it turned out she went to learn how to fly and was immediately in the [Air Force] school as a cadet.

JT: Was your mother interested in community and civic affairs?

GK: My mother was 19 at the time. So, at that point I think she was finishing school. Her activities were curtailed because of the war, as were everybody's. Then when everybody was placed in the camps they ran to Germany, which was the nearest neighbor border, and lived in camps. Of course, that was a life

GK: unto itself - five years of camp living.

JT: She was very young then?

GK: She was 19 when she got married.

JT: Was she interested in religious activities as a young woman?

GK: My mother was extremely religious. And she's carried that on through her life and into her children's.

JT: That's Roman Catholic?

GK: Yes. Ninety-five percent of Lithuanians are Catholic.

JT: Can you tell us the occasion when you left Lithuania? Why did you leave?

GK: We left because of the war and especially because my parents, my mother was in the Air Force. We were one of the initial targets as a family to be annihilated. Of course, eventually a lot of the Lithuanians were annihilated. But we were one of the first targets. I was two years old at the time and my mother left with me and went to Germany. My father stayed on as an air pilot for the time Lithuania was at war, and then joined us in Germany.

JT: Do you think that without the war your parents would ever have left Lithuania?

GK: No, I do not believe that they would have left.

JT: Who made the decision to leave?

GK: I think it's a decision of no choice. In war the military people are usually the first target. You have little choice. Young people, people in the military and people in the diplomatic service are always the first targets. It's the decision of no decision. You do what is necessary for the moment.

JT: I understand. Did your parents hope to go back to Lithuania?

GK: I would say that because Lithuania has historically been a war torn country, and because we have always gotten back our country after a portion of time, people thought that they would leave and come back when the war was over.

GK: I would say that 99% of the people who left at that time said good bye to their families thinking that they would come back after the war had ended, not realizing the outcome of the war which was, of course, the closing of their countries. That not only applies to Lithuania, it applies to Estonia, Latvia, and Poland.

JT: How would you classify your family background? Were you middle-class?

GK: Yes.

JT: What did your grandparents do?

GK: Mostly farming. A lot of the country at that time was of a farming structure. They did a lot of import and export in produce.

JT: Dairy products?

GK: Dairy, yes.

JT: Your family went first to Germany, then to Australia?

GK: We lived In Germany for five years during the war. My brother was born at that time, in the camps in Germany. At the end of the war the choices for all the ethnics living in Germany was Australia, America, New Zealand, Guinea, a few other countries. My parents had relatives in Australia, as we had some relatives in America. But the waiting period for America was longer and the times were so unsettled that we opted for Australia. But my parents had always wanted to cone to America. This was their primary goal. So, after living in Australia for eleven years, we got our immigration papers to America and we decided in 1959 that that's what we should do. We left in 1960 for Cleveland.

JT: Why did you decide on Cleveland?

GK: People who left from Germany always opted for industrial cities. The first choices were New York, Cleveland, Pittsburgh. They were the first choices because they were industrial cities, the factories were there. And people, notwithstanding the professions they had prior to the war, knew that they could get factory jobs.

JT: You must have had part of your education in Australia.

GK: Most of my education was in Australia. I finished school in Australia. When I was 19 my parents started talking about the prospect of coming to America, and that's what we did: my parents, my brother, and I.

JT: As you moved around the world, what aspects of being Lithuanian stayed with you and your family? How did you know that you were Lithuanian?

GK: Absolutely from my parents, at first. Then it changed. There comes a degree of awakening within yourself, not just from what your parents have told you, but a deepening of affection for your home, for your roots, especially, I think, since it is a homeland that is no longer free, or not free at the moment. We like to think of it as borrowed by an entity that will eventually have to give it back because it does not belong to it. I think that in itself projects you into a different look on the country. I think that if I were Italian I would have a different feeling for my roots which would be then Italian as opposed to my roots which are Lithuanian. I have a different concern for the country of my birth, although the country of my choice is now America, because I'm an American citizen. Because the country of my birth is not free, I feel I have a duty to make sure that if I cannot free it, I want my children to free it. Everything I do in the education of my children is directed to their realizing this is their responsibility. Whether they go back or not is not important in the large sense of the word. It is very, very important to make sure that they feel it is their destiny to free that country of their heritage.

JT: That's very interesting. It's a very emotional attachment.

GK: No, I don't think of it as emotional at all. I don't see it as emotion. I feel it is an absolute duty of my children to love the country of their birth, they were both born in Cleveland and they will always be Americans. They are Americans, but they have a double duty: to make sure that one way or another they will participate in freeing of their mother's and father's homeland and their heritage which is Lithuanian. It's very, very important. I don't see it as emotional.

JT: It's a matter of justice, then?

GK: It's justice. It belongs to Lithuania and it should be free to those who choose to live in Lithuania. The ones who are there now are suffering because they have no freedom of any sort. Every country has the right of self determination no matter how small it is.

JT: Did you work before you were married?

GK: I was a receptionist in an engineering company for about a year. Then I got married and had my children. I think from the time I came to America, I became involved in volunteerism. It was very, very important for me to participate in the activities of this country on every level. And from that volunteerism I became involved in professional aspects of broadening myself. But now I have a good balance of volunteerism and my professional career.

JT: How did you meet your husband? [Raymond Kudukis.]

GK: I met him through friends. He was an engineer. He owns an engineering company and I met him through mutual friends. He happened to be Lithuanian, but to tell you the truth at that point it was not ultimately the most important thing. As I look back I think it has broadened my outlook having the two of us of the same nationality. I think there is a purpose: a dual purpose of intent here and it proved to be an additional bonus for us. Ann Landers, a writer, columnist for the Plain Dealer, once said that ultimately it is very important to marry as close to your own person and your own roots as possible. I think as I look back at my years as an adult— I'm 45 now, the marriages that are successful are those that have some basic point, whether they are both Catholic, whether they are both Jewish, they have basically something in common. There is a point of truth in that.

JT: You have answered my next question, which was did you ever think seriously of marrying someone who wasn't Lithuanian? Apparently not.

GK: I think what happens is that you do many things subconsciously that you thought were honest decisions, but as you look back you realize that subliminally perhaps they were not. Perhaps the way your parents brought you up is more important than you thought. And you choose your mate knowing very well that it is the right thing to marry someone who is very close in origin to you.

JT: Are your parents in Cleveland?

GK: Yes, they're both living in Cleveland.

JT: Are your husband's parents living in Cleveland?

GK: Just his father. His mother is still in Lithuania and they were separated by the war.

JT: Where did you live after you were first married?

GK: In Euclid, Ohio and then we lived in Cleveland when my husband was Utilities Director and we chose to move into Cleveland.

JT: Did you ever live in a Lithuanian community?

GK: Yes, we did. When we lived in Cleveland, that was part of the Lithuanian colony. We lived there for about seven years.

JT: But then when your husband finished his political appointment you moved to Pepper Pike?

GK: Yes. It provided us a little more space for our children. We wanted more land. My parents still live in the Lithuanian community. We take our children to Lithuanian school on Saturday. They attend Catholic school, which is Lithuanian ethnic Catholic school. It takes a half an hour to drive there and back. We choose to do that because we want them to believe in the same philosophies that we believe in and that are very strong and very important for us.

JT: Do you and your husband speak Lithuanian at home together?

GK: Yes. We do that for two reasons. One is that we don't want to forget it ourselves and we want to continue to endow our children with the same love of the language. For a long time I did not realize the importance of speaking the language, but I now see that it is intrically woven with the full knowledge of the country. Without the knowledge of the language you really don't understand the depth of the enormity of country.

JT: I think that you're absolutely right. Do your children speak Lithuanian?

GK: Yes, they speak and write it very well.

JT: Do they enjoy it?

GK: They enjoy it, yes.

JT: Some parents find that their children reject the language.

GK: That's a problem across the board. We don't make it a very serious thing. We keep it light and keeping it light makes them enjoy it more and realize that we're darned serious about It. So, you can do both. You cannot make it too heavy in concept. But, you should make it so that they see the importance of what they're doing for themselves.

JT: Good. Who speaks the language better? You or your husband? You're both equally fluent, I presume.

GK: Yes, my husband speaks better and writes better than I do.

JT: And how about your daughter and son?

GK: My daughter speaks better than my son. My husband speaks better because the Lithuanian community in America is so much stronger than the Lithuanian community in Australia was. We didn't have the Lithuanian schools as they do here and again, that's the importance of learning it at an younger age. I learned more when I was here from age 19. So I will never have the vocabulary and the perfect pronunciation my husband has although he's only a year older than I am. I don't know why my daughter speaks better, although my children both speak very well. My daughter, if I had to judge, would speak better.

JT: What is your husband's occupation?

GK: He owns an engineering company. He's an engineer.

JT: And he was at one time Utilities Director in Cleveland during the Perk Administration.

GK: Ralph Perk, yes.

JT: In your home do you cook or serve any Lithuanian specialties?

GK: Yes, we try to preserve the Lithuanian food as much as possible. But I do that more for our guests than I do for my family. Lithuanian cooking tends to get a little heavy with a lot of potatoes and so forth. Of all the elements of being either Lithuanian or Polish or whatever, I personally feel that food is the least. I think language is number one. There is no number two. Language is everything. Reading of the history is probably second. Food is important, but it's not nearly as important as sometimes we believe it is. It's fine to say this is a Lithuanian torte but that's not where it's at. It's the language, the language, the language, the language.

JT: I agree, but many people continue the cooking longer than they do the language. The grandchildren will have forgotten the language but they will remember the cooking.

GK: But you will feel more Lithuanian, Polish, or Slovenian by knowing the language than you will if you just do the torte. You will not have the essence. I would judge that the people who will free Lithuania ultimately will be those who retain the language rather than those who will be able to do the cooking, although I am not putting down the cooking. I think that's fine too, and when we have guests I always make a point of serving something or having a torte or something to say it's a Lithuanian torte. If the conversation comes up, it's a Lithuanian torte.

JT: Do you celebrate any Lithuanian holidays?

GK: The most important one we celebrate is February 16, which was our Independence Day in 1918, because it's a reminder that we were free; that the country was free and will one day again be free. It's a very, very important day for us.

JT: Do you have a national costume?

GK: Yes. Lithuanian national costume.

JT: Where did you get it?

GK: My grandparents from Lithuania sent it to me after the war. Those who were left behind don't know to what extent the Lithuanian people have kept up their heritage, so they have sent us things hoping that that will keep us aware of our Lithuanian heritage. They would be exuberant if they knew that the Lithuanians and other nationalities have kept their traditions as much as they have. I think they would be very, very surprised. They know by word of mouth when people have gone back to Lithuania and to other countries, but they would have to see it for themselves. My mother's sister, my aunt, came to visit us a couple of years ago, and she was flabbergasted when my children who were born in this country speak perfect Lithuanian. She was just thrilled. When they go back they have a renewed excitement of the possibility of freedom for Lithuania, because they know, as people in other countries know, that it's going to be a combination of their doing something, but we're doing something over here too through legal procedures. I think it's going to be done legally.

JT: Do you teach your children Lithuanian songs, and stories and so on?

GK: Yes. Yes. That's why we try to involve them in activities through the larger community, their main community, but through activities with the Lithuanian community and the Girl Scouts, the Lithuanian Girl Scouts, where they speak Lithuanian, and the Grandile Dancing Group which teaches them not only dances but a renewed culture on a weekly basis.

JT: Do you keep the religious affiliation?

GK: Oh, yes.

JT: Do you belong to a church that has a Lithuanian membership?

GK: Yes. Yes. I think by doing that they are continually aware of their roots. And I really believe that that takes nothing away from the larger community but it strengthens the belief that they have a heritage, but it also makes them better American citizens, American born citizens.

JT: Do you or your husband belong to the Lithuanian American Citizens Club?

GK: Yes. My husband was one of the founding members of the Citizens Club, and he is Vice President of the World Lithuanian community. The majority of the people who belong on the Committee are from Chicago because that's our largest community and he is the vice president.

JT: Do you often go to the Lithuanian Village on East 185th Street?

GK: Yes. We go quite often.

JT: Do you go shopping? Do you go for entertainment? To eat? For what purpose?

GK: I like to take non Lithuanian friends there to show them what we have. It's a community house. We also go there to eat. And we use it for meetings. We use it continually. It's a meeting place for us.

JT: I read that you wear amber jewelry frequently. Does that have any significance?

GK: Yes. I like to wear it almost always. It's a reminder, not only for myself, but that someone will ask me what it is and it's my way of partaking of my heritage which is Lithuanian.

JT: I remember reading in the paper that on your 16th wedding anniversary your husband shot a boar and you served it to guests. Was that Lithuanian?

GK: Absolutely not!

JT: In 1981, according to the Plain Dealer, you were mentioned in William Sapphire's column on language in the New York Times.

GK: Probably for misusing it. I think he was questioning my use of a word.

JT: I see. I thought perhaps it had something to do with Lithuania.

GK: No. That's the other part, the second equally important part of my life. And I'm positive proof that you can have both and enjoy both and do justice to both, because I feel I took nothing away from my life in the larger community, which is the American community, but rather I perhaps even enhance it because I have knowledge of another way of living and another life.

JT: You certainly have been very active in the Cleveland community. You have participated in the Great Lakes Shakespeare Festival. Did you do something special for them?

GK: I was secretary. I took notes and minutes, which was very good for me because it taught me discipline. I've gone through the gamut in this community and learned a little bit from every organization that I belonged to. I was the President of the League of Women Voters of Cleveland for two years.

JT: What years were those?

GK: Last year and in 1984 and in 1983.

JT: I know you've been active in the League of Women Voters for years, what other jobs did you have with the League?

GK: Preparations Officer for almost all of the years that I belonged to the League and as that I lobbied for the debates in Cleveland.

JT: This is the debate between Reagan and Carter?

GK: Yes.

JT: 1980?

GK: Yes.

JT: Very interesting. What else. As President of the League of Women Voters what was your policy? Your goal or goals?

GK: If I would look back at what I thought was the most important part of the League of Women Voters in general it was to interest people in voting. With every program that I worked I put that as the primary goal. To interest people in voting and I made sure that we would have booths set up everywhere we could, in malls, whoever would give us space. Not enough people in this country participate in voting and that's very, very important. It's a voice that we have that not everyone enjoys. And it's very crucial.

JT: How did you get involved in the League?

GK: I think from the first year that I went out to get my citizenship. Five years. A mandatory five-year wait. I believe I joined the League that very year. It was very important to me that when you have that citizenship it is a right and a privilege that you always have to vote. You really can't fully participate in the government in this country until you have that vote. It's very important to vote.

JT: You've also been active with the Nationalities Center. What did you do for them?

GK: I was on the Board for six years. The reason that the Nationalities Services Center is so very important to this community is that unlike other cities it's the only house that services and helps the ethnic people. I think that other cities are more privileged in that they have several houses that help the immigrants or the ethnics coming in. In Cleveland we only have this one house. It is very, very important to maintain it and make sure that we have it, and that it is financially healthy. So those six years I served I was very pleased to do so.

JT: And you've been involved with the Grievance Court of the Cleveland Metropolitan Housing Authority?

GK: I was their community representative. On the Court they have several people who are from the housing, several who are from the management and they always have one from the community that can look at both sides and sort of see a middle of the way. I learned a lot there too; that people who live in the housing authority sometimes do not have a voice and they need someone from the community that can see their side, perhaps, if that's the side that's right. In any case they needed assistance and we were very pleased to give that through the League.

JT: Oh, that was through the League?

GK: Yes. Through the League.

JT: You've been on the Women's Committee of the Orchestra, too?

GK: Yes. I've gone through many organizations. I think of one thing that I am very pleased I was able to do. The year after the Carter debates, the Mayor put in a request for the All American City award and we formed a small committee that applied to have Cleveland named as one of the All American City winners. And we won that first year. We went out again the second year and won it the second time and now this year we won it again for the third time. It was a lot of work and each year we brought together a group of Clevelanders to participate at the city site, which last year was in Cincinnati. We took a bus of Clevelanders to show the judges the Cleveland support and we were very pleased that we won this year again.

JT: It was a very worthy effort.

GK: Yes. It was a lot of work.

JT: It was something that could very easily slip by if someone like you didn't take the initiative.

GK: Well, the Mayor has a lot to do with that.

JT: I suppose so. Any other community activities?

GK: I'm on the Board for American Civil Liberties. The reason that I accepted when they asked is that they believe in the constitution and they believe in freedom of speech, and while it is perhaps a controversial group in that sometimes it might go to one extreme or another. It always goes back to the purity of their aim, which is the right to freedom of speech and the right of the individual to have that freedom of speech. And I appreciate that organization for the purity of their aim and that's why I'm very pleased to be on their Board.

JT: Are you active in politics?

GK: Yes. I'm on the Executive Committee for the Republican party here in Cleveland, and we've participated in many activities and many campaigns. When I was the President of the League of Women Voters for those two years I had to abstain from that because the League is non-partisan and I didn't want it to be seen as if I was participating in one party's election; so I had to be a little careful those two years, but now I'm going gung ho.

JT: Good. Have you ever extended your political interests beyond Cleveland?

GK: For the state.

JT: You've been on the state Republican Committee?

GK: No. But I've been involved in campaigns for different politicians who've run on different levels of government for the state of Ohio. It's a broadening of one's self. It's very important, also, to see government at work, to see good government at work and you can do that by participating in local elections and statewide elections.

JT: Too many of us don't do that. Do you belong to any ethnic women's organizations?

GK: Yes. I'm on the Board of Directors for the Grandile Dancing Group and we went with them on one of their dancing expositions to South America a couple of years ago. And I'm a scout leader in the Lithuanian Community and I'm on the Lithuanian Catholic Women's Organization.

JT: How long have you been a Lithuanian scout leader?

GK: I have always been a girl scout, and as such as I grew up I became a scout leader and when my children came along I continued it. I was first a girl scout in Germany. My mother was a scout and a scout leader in Germany.

JT: In Germany was it a group of Lithuanians?

GK: Yes. When I first remember my scouting days they were Lithuanian oriented, it just stayed that way. My Mother was involved and she still is.

JT: What do the Lithuanian scouts do that is especially ethnic?

GK: They have what we call MUGE, which is a once a year exposition of their wares, and through that they raise their fund and with the funds they go to scout camp, which my children participate in, and sometimes help to send the less financially fortunate children to camp. You asked the question what would separate them or distinguish them from the larger community only that their meetings are Lithuanian spoken. The function is the same, the purpose is the same.

JT: Do you sing Lithuanian songs and do Lithuanian art work?

GK: Yes. But the art work through the scouts is more tying of knots, perhaps. But my children belong to a Lithuanian Catholic Youth Association and through that they do more of the art work. Through the scout group they do more of the scouting kind of thing. So their Lithuanianism and their Lithuanianism through their art is so interwoven it is difficult to separate one from the other. I don't even know if you have to separate that interrelationship: in yourself you are a mosaic.

JT: When we spoke on the phone you said that you felt there was some different relationship to ethnicity between the older immigration of people who came around the turn of the century than the younger immigration, those who came in the middle of the century as you did. Would you like to explain that?

GK: I said that and then we also said something else too. Two things. I said that as you speak to women who are of different age groups you will find it very difficult to find a woman who will give you a 50% involvement in one community and the exact 50% to her ethnic community. It's going to be tipped, perhaps, one way or another. And as the woman is older, you will find that the tipping is toward ethnicity and lessening of the American community involvement. For the younger woman you will notice that her ethnicity will take form in a different fashion. The older women will come through in such areas as cooking or expose her talents as a chef or cook at fairs and exhibits and so on. The younger woman will display her talents from her ethnic roots through, perhaps, her profession. Maybe she will be wearing a certain blouse that might have a little of ethnic about it or just so that she will have something to show. Or possibly a ring, or the fact that she can speak the language. There will be a difference in the way she will show her roots and I think that's natural. I don't know what's more meaningful. That's not a value judgment, but that's how I see it.

JT: Thank you. Do you work full time?

GK: Yes. I am President of Belkin Kudukis Film Production Services, and the purpose of this company is to interest the film makers in Hollywood in Cleveland as a site for movie making.

JT: Were you involved in "The Christmas Story?"

GK: No. That was prior to my time. We came into being about a year ago and "The Christmas Story" was a movie that was made about three years ago, four years ago.

JT: Have you had any success?

GK: We've had success in that we know now what they're looking for as a site. They told us that they want filming facilities, which we don't have in Cleveland. So we set out last year to look for a film facility and we came to an agreement with someone in Cleveland and we're going to be building a film facility. Through this filming facility we will be able to film many things other than just movies that will come in. We will be able to film commercial shots. At this point a lot of our advertising companies have gone to other cities, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Detroit even, to do their TV commercials. With this facility we will be able to keep our talent in Cleveland. Production people, executives will not have to leave the city and they can do their filming in Cleveland for the TV commercials.

JT: I wish you good luck.

JT: You have two children?

GK: Yes. My daughter is 12 and Raymond, Jr. is 9.

JT: They speak Lithuanian very well, I know, and are familiar with much of the culture. Do you tell them the history of Lithuania? Do you read to them from history books?

GK: We do it through newspapers on a continual basis. We try to make it kind of fun as an enhancement to the knowledge. We don't make it like school-work. When we're watching the news on television we will say, "Oh, look
GK: at this. This is close to Lithuania." Or, "Look how far this was." And, "Isn't it a shame that Lithuania is not free?" But we don't make it appear to be a lesson for them. So they get all that knowledge sort of in a subliminal way so that it doesn't seem like a lesson. Yet the end result is that they do know the very important things; that Lithuania is not free, that we certainly hope that if we can't do it as parents in our generation, that we want them to pursue it. And it's very, very important for us that no matter what their status in life or what profession they choose that underneath all that is this importance of freedom for Lithuania, the homeland of their parents and the heritage for them.

JT: Do you have Lithuanian books and magazines in your home?

GK: Yes.

JT: Do you subscribe to Lithuanian magazines?

GK: Journals, yes.

JT: They're published in this country?

GK: And newspapers. We get several newspapers and several journals in our home, and our children get children's magazines on a monthly basis. It's an enhancement for them. They know that they not only get Junior Miss, but they get the Lithuanian magazines too. They are taking it very well. In fact they have never really complained about going to a Lithuanian school. They think that it's a norm. We almost like to think that they think it is a treat, an addition in their lives. It's not a burden for them to go to Saturday school.

JT: Who runs the Lithuanian school?

GK: The Lithuanian Community. Funded by the Lithuanian community. And it's always been a priority for Lithuanian people, those who came after the war, to set up schools to teach the children a continuance of not only the language but the way of life and the heritage. Very important.

JT: Who teaches the children?

GK: We have eight teachers and they are men and women from the community who have taken it upon themselves. They are reimbursed very little. In fact, they do it on a yearly basis because they believe in the importance of it.

JT: They are not necessarily teachers per se?

GK: No. They're just people who are very interested in doing this.

JT: Have you been to Lithuania?

GK: No. I would love to go back. After I left and since I've grown up I would love to, but for me it is not a reality. It is not possible. I have been too politically active in this country and, especially since the presidential debates in 1983, it's not suitable for me to go.

JT: Your husband hasn't been back either?

GK: No, it's not possible for him because he, too, has been politically active.

JT: But perhaps some day your children will go.

GK: I don't know. You know it's one of these risks that one would take. It's a chance and you have to weigh that chance when you decide to go. We have family there and we would dearly love to. You talked about emotion before. You have to weigh the emotion with the possibility and the danger that might pertain. You just don't know.

JT: Do you hear from your family there?

GK: Yes. Every so often. Not too much. Not all the letters are exposed. Some of them are crossed out so you know they've been opened. But we did have an aunt who came once, but has not ever been granted permission to come back again. But we're hoping that she can.

JT: Have you ever telephoned Lithuania?

GK: No.

JT: What do you think of American policy toward Lithuania.

GK: Well, they say that officially the American government has always maintained that Lithuania has been illegally taken. So that is the official position of the government and we are very grateful for that official stand. As long as that stand is taken by the American government we still have a chance for having not just a statement in the books once a year but an opportunity for us to do something.

JT: Is there a Lithuanian Embassy in Washington?

GK: Yes there is.

JT: Have you visited that?

GK: Many times. And our children have gone to see it. So they see the fact that there is an embassy and there definitely is a Lithuania. This is a fact and this is a wonderful thing.

JT: Are there Lithuanian delegates in the United Nations?

GK: No.

JT: I think that finishes all my questions. Is there anything you'd like to add?

GK: Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this program. Thank you very much.

JT: Thank you very much.