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Benedict Zemaitis - Immigrant Stories

Benedict Zemaitis was born in Vilkauiskis, Lithuania in 1933. Following the Soviet invasion of Lithuania in 1940, his family fled Lithuania and moved to Wurtzberg, Germany, where they stayed until the town was destroyed by an allied bombing raid in 1945 near the end of the war. Following the raid, his family lived in a Bavarian displaced person's camp until 1949. They immigrated to Chicago the next year, where Benedict married another Lithuanian immigrant, Vita Zubkus, in 1956.

Interview Links

Abstract

Interview Session 01 (Audio)

Benedict discusses his childhood in Lithuania and war years in Germany

Interview Session 02 (Audio)

Benedict

Transcript

Photos

Caption

Joseph Zubkus, Vita’s father, in Lithuanian Army uniform-1920’s.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Circa 1920's

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Joseph

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Vita

Where:

Lithuania

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Vita Zemaitis and family members: Agota Zubkus, Ignas Zubkus, Vita and Sigitas (1938-1939).

Where:

Unknown

When:

1938-1939

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Vita’s aunt and uncle lived in this structure in Siberia - Jonas Zubkus, Koste Zubkus, and an unknown man.

Where:

Siberia

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Picture of the Zubkus home (Vita’s parents) in Siberia before the war.

Where:

Siberia

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Joseph Zubkus’ High school picture in 1910.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1910

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Vita Zubkus as a baby in 1936.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1936

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Vita and her brother Sigitas Zubkus, circa 1942.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Circa 1942

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

A favorite picture of the family’s American 1938 Buick. Vita rode often with her father in this car all over Lithuania as he traveled as a physician.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Vita’s Zabkus’ home in Kaunas, Lithuania in the years before the ravages of war came to Lithuania in 1941.

Where:

Kaunas, Lithuania

When:

years before WW II

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Picture of Vita’s father Joseph Zubkus decorated for his medical achievements in Lithuania, Date unknown.

Where:

Lithuania

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Pijus Zemaitis’ Foreigners German Pass in 1944.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1944

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain

Caption

Pijus Zemaitis’ Foreigners German Pass in 1944.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1944

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain

Caption

Janina Zemaitis’ Foreigners German Pass, 1944.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1944

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain

Caption

Janina Zemaitis’ Foreigners German Pass, 1944.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1944

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain

Caption

Benedict Zemaitis’ Certificate of Graduation from grade school, in Lithuania.

Where:

Lithuania

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain

Caption

Janina Zemaitis’ Certificate for safe passage was issued by the allies, circa 1945.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Circa 1945

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain

Caption

Janina Zemaitis’ International Refugee Organization Certificate of Professional Status, validating that she had been a certified practicing dentist in Lithuania.

Where:

Lithuania

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain

Caption

Janina Zemaitis’ Green Card, 1949-50.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1949-50

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain

Caption

Benjamin Zemaitis’ Declaration of Intention to become a citizen of the United States, in 1952.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1952

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain

Caption

Benedict Zemaitis shines his boots while he was stationed at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky in March of 1957.

Where:

Ft. Campbell, Kentucky

When:

March, 1957

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Private Benedict Zemaitis strikes a pose while training at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky in 1957.

Where:

Ft. Campbell, Kentucky

When:

1957

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Zemaitis, a proud member of the famed 101st Airborne Division, is ready for his first parachute jump in 1957, at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.

Where:

Ft. Campbell, Kentucky

When:

1957

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

A C-119 “Flying Boxcar” awaits Zemaitis and fellow paratroopers for their upcoming jump in 1957.

Where:

Ft. Campbell, Kentucky

When:

1957

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Zemaitis and fellow paratroopers are finally ‘airborne,’ drifting to the ground during their jump at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky.

Where:

Ft. Campbell, Kentucky

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Specialist Zemaitis, serving as crew chief, with a H-13 Sioux helicopter in 1957.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1957

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Vita Zemaitis meets with the new President of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus in 1998. The article appeared in either the Springfield Journal Register or Chicago Tribune (he does not recall). Benedict took the picture himself.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1998

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator.)

Caption

Vita Zemaitis meets with the new President of Lithuania, Valdas Adamkus in 1998.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1998

Ownership:

May be restricted. Patrons desiring to use this photograph should contact the ALPL Audio-Visual Curator

Caption

Vita Zemaitis in the early 2000s.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Early 2000s

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Collage of Vita Zemaitis’ life, distributed during the memorial service following her death in 2009.

Where:

Unknown

When:

2009

Ownership:

Narrator’s photo

Caption

Benedict Zemaitis at the time of his interview in July of 2010.

Where:

Unknown

When:

July of 2010

Ownership:

Unknown

Caption

Benjamin Zemaitis was awarded the National Award for his “qualified and timely help to establish a Performance Audit program in Lithuania,” by the Auditor General. Benjamin noted that only four people received this national award that year.

Where:

Vilnius, Lithuania

When:

January 16th, 2004

Ownership:

Narrator’s plaque

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