- December 21, 2012
Historic heritage of Vilnius
Today, on December, 8th many citizens of Vilnius—who tune in to their favourite radio programmes from the very morning—are probably well aware of the fact that 85 years ago, on this exact date, the radio run their first broadcast.
An article published in 1927 described the creation of a new radio station as follows: “Establishment of the radio station in Vilnius begs for the question about its future programme; about, colloquially speaking, the character of the auditions (…). I dare to draw the reader’s attention to the tasks the station will need to fulfil in their local broadcast coverage. The main question is: who will receive the coverage? And the answer is very simple: the Eastern Borderlands— the territory shaped differently in the past from the Western parts of Poland that is inhabited by people who need to be addressed in an understandable simple language by the educated city of Vilnius. Every word, slogan from the field of the economy or social sciences harmonically uttered on the air deepens the bond of the people, who were born and grew up around here, to the common good, namely Poland.”
This point in history of the capital city has not fallen into oblivion. The members of the Zwierzyniec community—the district where the former building of the radio station stands—decided to commemorate the date. They organized a cameral meeting in a well-known coffee shop “Weranda” in which they, and the journalists representing the Lithuanian National Radio and Television (LRT) and “News Radio Station” („Żiniu radijas”) sat down with a glass of wine.
The organizers stressed repeatedly that on December, 8th 1927 Vilnius gained a new profession—a radio presenter. Liudvikas Ragauskis, the citizen of Zwierzyniec and one of the event organizers, said: “Today, we celebrate the 85th anniversary of the establishment of radio station that, as a result of historic changes, turned into LRT in the course of time. LRT is in a way an heir to the Vilnius radio.” The radio was owned by the Polish Radio in the 1920’s; than it was overtaken by the Germans and the Soviets during the times of their rule. Finally, the ownership was passed to the Lithuanian Radio in the 1990’s. “I am astonished that LRT tracks its beginnings to Kaunas and consequently ages itself”, Ragauskis said. Moreover, he addressed the journalists present at the meeting and insisted that they should keep this date in mind as Vilnius citizens.
Commemoration of the broadcast journalists
Three years ago, at the Vytauto Street in Zwierzyniec district, the memory plaque was placed on the wall of the building in which the radio had its headquarters during the interwar period. Currently one utility room in a building is used by the Centre for Child Development. However, it functions mainly as a museum. Film director, Vytautas Damaševičius, was one of the project originators.
The museum founders and project originators decided to commemorate the broadcast journalists who worked in a radio at that time by putting the boards devoted to the outstanding personalities. The persons that elevated the radio to the position of one of the best stations in Poland include for instance: Witold Hulewicz, Czesław Miłosz, Konstanty Ildefons Gałczyński, Teodor Bujnicki and Hanka Ordonówna. The technical workers were not forgotten and included in one of the boards. Sergiusz Kontera, the pianist and dancer, was also commemorated due to the fact that he used to play in the radio sessions and lived near the quarters, namely at the Vytauto Street.
Uncertain future of the radio
The great part of the museum’s collection was displayed thanks to Sigitasow Žilionisow, a collector and one of the enthusiasts of the radio commemoration idea. He furnished the museum with old-time radio sets and headphones.
The enthusiasts—another name one could use for describing the community of Zwierzyniec—lament that the former building of the radio, and other buildings used by the Centre for Child Development, is subject to privatization. Therefore, the future of the museum remains uncertain.
Tłumaczenie Karolina Jasińska w ramach praktyk w Europejskiej Fundacji Praw Człowieka, www.efhr.eu. Translated by Karolina Jasińska the framework of a traineeship programme of the European Foundation of Human Rights, www.efhr.eu.