About Gina

It is very interesting to know how we all got here.  We already know why we all got here.  Thanks to IL Volo our world got smaller and warmer.   We are all here holding hands.
Just before Christmas, Gina shared some Lithuanian Christmas traditions with us.  In the comments I asked her to tell us why and how she left her home in Lithuania.  ~Marie





I never mentioned why my family and thousand others fled Lithuania and the other two Baltic Sates because I knew that there might be some Russian readers of our blog.

Common citizens are not at fault of many of the terrible things done Nation to Nation and I know there are many Russian fans of Il VOLO.

My dad and many others were involved in politics and in resistance organizations and had to flee to avoid being arrested and sent to Siberia. We left in the middle of the night in a “cattle” train and wound up in Opel, Germany. We lived in a big gymnasium with the rest of the people that fled till people were able to buy their way out of this camp. Until then the men had to work for the Germans. After my dad got us out of there we went to Salzburg, Austria till WWII ended and the American Army came in with chewing gum and silk stockings.

Many  more things transpired and eventually all displaced persons were scooped up and placed in “Displaced Persons” camps. From there we eventually got to emigrate to the States.

The Displaced Persons Act of 1948 established a quota of several hundred thousand who qualified as a “DP” to get Visas to the States.

After we went thru a screening Camp (No one with TB got to go) and eventually came on a troop ship to the US.

There were many in between events but it would make a long story.

I was young and looking back all the kids and young teenagers adjusted to all the changes but the adults and especially the men had a rough time.

Different organizations sponsored people in their cities and other DP’s that left before would guarantee that you had a place to go to. We wound up in Cleveland, OH in l950.


20 thoughts on “About Gina”

  1. Now you live in nice warm Waco, Texas. You have had an exciting and different life than most of us. I am so glad you are here now to share this wonderful IL Volo experience with us. Thank you, Gina for your story.

  2. Thanks for posting my journey to the US. Christmas always brings out memories and this article is more a trip back to my past and the memories of my parents.
    This year I made a box of all the papers I have kept for my children. Their finger paintings and “Mother’s Day” cards they made thru the years. I packed those memories in each box and gave them as an extra Christmas present.
    My children keep telling me “Mother you are getting old. Three cats and trips down the memory lane”.
    I hope our members would share a small part of their trip thru their memories.

  3. Thank you for story Gina Im glad you made it through safely. I remember that era but it was different me for in Canada I did not go through what you had to I was working in an office & going to dances.
    I am glad you are here safely with us now on this blog enjoying the love & voices of Il Volo

  4. Gina your story is fascinating, but sad. What I saw of those Baltic states was beauty, friendly people, good food. Bit I know it wasn’t like that when you fled. And as you said, the adults had such a hard time adjusting. But now you are American, loving IL Volo and passing your culture and memories to your children.

  5. Gina, thanks so much for sharing your experience. I was a small child during WE 11 AND have since learned so much about it! I am excited to know that you are in Texas….we are not that far away! I am I. Gonzales, a couple of hours south of you! Maybe we can visit one of these days! (spellcheck has struck again…WW 2)! I consider it another IlVolo miracle that you and I might get to meet! Till then, love from Dot!

    1. If you are ever in Waco be sure to call me. At my age I do not drive on highways for the safety of the people on it.
      Your town has some interesting history.

  6. gina, Your story brings back memories of my neighbor’s story of escaping a German concentration camp. My family got to California from boston because of the Pearl Harbor attack. They thought the Japanese would invade our west coasrt so we were sent out with 300 other families to start the ship yard in San Pedro. The injured ships had to be fixed after that attack. We were billeted in temporary navy housing. We had barrage balloons over us and fox holes along the beach with guns. I met my Ron when he flew with his crew from Florida to Long Beach. When we moved here to Upland, my neighbors were one jewish guy out of Aushwitz (Sic) , next was a parachute jumper with ther 101st and was captured by the Germans. It was a terrible time. Thanks for sharing your story Gina.Joanie G

    1. I love to hear and get to know our group by sharing. No matter what people are destined to go through one thing that binds our human soul is MUSIC. I believe that we love the boys so much is because they seem to represent the idea that with music we can all be friends.

  7. Thanks for sharing your story, Gina. I imagine if all of us on the blog told our stories we could publish a book about immigrant experiences in the 20th century!

    1. I hope everyone shares some experience or story. Gives us a chance to learn more about each other. We all are here for one purpose to “ADORE” the boys and their music and share what they mean in our lives.

  8. Fortunately I was born when these facts were already finished, but I heard about it from my parents and my grandmother. Christmas brings with it many memories and these are to serve because so many things do not happen again.
    But what is beautiful at Christmas, listen to songs of our beloved boys, in the embrace of family, in a peaceful world, and surrounded by so many friends from all over the world? Priceless.
    Thanks Gina for this reflection.

  9. I was born iin the USA n 1939 at the beginning of WWII. There is no comparison to what you went through Gina. But, I remember having siren drills and blackouts – when we had to turn off all of the lights in the house and cover our windows with black curtains in case of an enemy air attack. We had ration books with red stamps to buy food that was limited like sugar, coffee which was really chicory, margarine meat. Looking back it was a scary time for a child but thank goodness that was the worst of it.

    1. I am 5 years younger than you Rose Marie, but even I had a ration card as an infant. I came across my ration card, and my sister’s ration card fairly recently and I don’t know why my mother kept them but she did. I remember everyone having “victory gardens” growing vegetables well past the end of the war (I would have been too little to remember them otherwise!). My aunt had a much bigger back yard and she grew tomatoes and peppers and zucchinis among other things.
      My husband, his sisters and mother were hidden in France in different places and
      were reunited afterwards. His father perished in Auschwitz. He wears a poppy in his beret all year to commemorate the allied soldiers who liberated France.

    2. I was a child and teenager so it seemed like a strange adventure.
      The adults gave up their homes, family and livelihood. We also had rations in Austria. One thing I learned is that you can made do with little and still be OK. My favorite dress came from a collection sent by a New Jersey organization. I still remember it to this day.

  10. Thank you Gina for sharing these experiences with us. I think it is important to learn about the hardships so many people had to endure in various ways.

  11. Gina your story is finally happy and cheerful because your parents made a very timely wise decision.I know what is means Siberia and the Stalinist gulags – these horrors described for example Russian writer Solzhenitsyn.
    Lithuania and Czech fates hove much in common and close to each other only 850 km.Both countries have experienced in the last century 2x occupation.
    LITHUANIA – 1940 – 1941 Russian
    1941 – 1944 – German
    1944 – 1990 part of USSR
    1990 was proclaimed the independence,is a member of EU and NATO.
    CZECH REP – 1939 – 1945 German
    1968 – 1989 Russian
    Lithuania has the second term of President WOMAN – wery personable lady !
    The economic condition of the country is ardous and life is difficult for many people (like us too).L.ranks first in the number of suicides in the world.
    Maybe you read about the fate of the Czech village LIDICE,which Germans burned June 16,1942 and savage fates of children.Whenever I look the sculpture of murdered children,which is localed in places where formerly stood burned – out houses,I know that even htough life is not easy,everyone has to find something beautiful (this always told me my dear mom).The lovelist is for me IL VOLO.
    Gina I am very glad that I met you.I wish you all my heart pleasant and happy moments with the boys i 2017 ( in particular with the you love the MOST) !
    Sincerely Z.

    1. Thanks for sharing. No matter where we happen to be born the World events touch all of us. I have spent most of my life in the United States but my heart never forgot the place of my birth.

Leave a Reply