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House of Vanda and Justinas Tumėnai

Kaunas, Lithuania
1 of 6

Professor Vanda Mingailaitė-Tumėnienė was a pioneer of paediatrics in Lithuania, an educator and a public figure who dedicated her life to medicine and made significant progress in the treatment of children in Lithuania. She married the writer and poet Justin Tumėnas, and the family lived abroad for some time, as the Tsarist authorities had forbidden Tumėnas to return to Lithuania. She worked in Switzerland and Russia and returned to Lithuania with her husband in 1918, when the Bolshevik Revolution lifted the Tsar's prohibitions, and a few years later, the family moved to Kaunas.

It was in Kaunas that V. Tumėnienė began to build the foundations of paediatrics, which had not been developed in Lithuania until then, and started a private medical practice. At the same time, the active woman was Deputy Director of the Health Department and Head of the Kaunas Red Cross Children's Dispensary. In 1924, she established a state children's hospital/clinic, which was later moved to Žaliakalnis from V. Putvinskio Street (it was located in the premises of the unestablished Vatican Nunciature (now the Kaunas Artists' House)). The hospital was equipped according to the latest requirements of the time, and a research laboratory was located in the building. In 1934, on the initiative of V. Tumėnienė, the first children's sanatorium in Lithuania opened its doors, named "Prof. Tumėnienė Children's Sanatorium".

The Tumėns lived in a large three-storey house built in 1934 on a picturesque slope of Parodos Street. The house was designed by Vytautas Landsbergis-Žemkalnis, a modern architect of the time. The house, which is built into the hillside, has a majestic appearance. It has an asymmetrical façade; however, there is a harmony of proportions and forms. It is decorated with a large staircase window that extends over three floors of the building. Furthermore, it also has a balcony on its front façade on the first floor. The Tumėnai family lived in this house for ten years but were forced to flee to the West in 1944 because of the Soviet occupation.

Memorial plaques commemorating the famous professor and doctor can now be seen in Kaunas on the building of the sanatorium built by Tumėnienė and on her house on Parodos Street.

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