Šakotis - Lithuanian Tree Cake


My grandfather, Joe Jankevicius, was born in a small village in Lithuania in 1943.  His father owned a farm, like most people in Lithuania did then and still do to this day.  Unfortunately, my grandfather only lived on this land for a year until they fled.  In 1944, the Soviet Union was occupying Lithuania and my great grandfather knew that his family would be taken and sent to either a labor camp or Siberia.  When he was just one year old, his father took his family and left their house and walked across Lithuania and Poland and into Germany.  They then lived in Germany for a couple years.  In 1950, when my grandfather was just 7 years old, he and his family immigrated from Germany to the United States at Ellis Island.  From Ellis Island, they moved to Baltimore and that is where my grandfather spent the rest of his life. 

I chose this tree cake because it is one of the main traditional Lithuanian foods and personally my favorite.  My grandfather is involved in a Lithuanian community and we would join him at events.  I would have this cake at these events my whole childhood and my grandpa would always bring home extras for us.  This cake reminds me of my heritage and the troubles my grandfather’s family went through and all the sacrifices they made to have a better life.  

Place(s): Lithuania
Year: 1950

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Relationship:  Grandchild of im/migrant Grandchild of im/migrant