“Godparents” of the town twinning with Trakai honored

Nijolé Miskinyté und Jonas Kriauciunas wurden voin Reiner Wellmann (m.) geehrt.

Nijolé Miskinyté and Jonas Kriauciunas from Lithuania said goodbye in a ceremony in the Bentlage monastery.

Rheine/Trakai. “We have come together today for an extraordinary occasion. Our guests from Lithuania were, so to speak, godparents at the start of the town twinning with Trakai.” Reiner Wellmann, chairman of the twinning association, found these appreciative words today in the dormitory of Bentlage Monastery.

Jonas Kriauciunas, former mayor Trakais, and interpreter Nijolé Miskinyté were honored for their services to the partnership of the two cities in a festive setting. Olga Kachan and Rustem Sakhabiev (both flute) and Andreas Merk (piano) from the Municipal Music School provided excellent background music for the ceremony.

The board of directors had discussed whether a 30-year-long, partly very intensive cooperation should simply come to an end. Because Nijolé Miskinyté and Jonas Kriauciunas would step for some time clearly shorter in the partnership. In Trakai, he said, a new era had dawned in the relationship with Rheine.

“We decided to invite Nijolé and Jonas to Rheine for a weekend and give them a proper send-off.”

Over the course of three decades, he said, not only did personal contacts develop, resulting in long-standing intimate relationships and, in some cases, lifelong friendships.

When the contacts were established at the beginning of the 1990s, it was during a very interesting period in contemporary history, Wellmann recalled, at the beginning of the town twinning between Rheine and Trakai. The Iron Curtain had fallen, many countries of the former Soviet Union were striving for independence. “From a historical perspective, we followed very closely how the Baltic States decoupled and how the countries built up their independence with pride and great energy.”

Today, he said, we are back in a special era. There is a war raging in Europe and the friends from Lithuania are only a few hundred kilometers away from the war in Ukraine, he said. “Therefore, of course, we are still following world events in and around Lithuania from a completely different perspective. And we feel with you in this and stand by your side.”

The deputy mayor, Fabian Lenz conveyed the thanks of the city, before the former city press spokesman Bernd Weber in a detailed ceremonial address on the special relationship between Rheine and Trakai and on the great merits of the two honored.

(The detailed review of the partnership with Trakai and the merits of the honorees we bring tomorrow).