The woman on the 100 litas banknote of 1928

Most likely many have seen, and might even have, a 100 litas banknote issued in 1928. It features the buildings of the Bank of Lithuania in Kaunas, the construction of which had just been completed, while on the front of the banknote — a woman in national costume, holding a cornucopia. This woman is an allegory of Lithuania as a modern country, with growing industry and developed agriculture.

It is interesting that this woman is not the fruit of the fantasy of the artist Adomas Galdikas, but a real person!

She is Elena Turauskienė — wife of Edvardas Turauskas, a Lithuanian diplomat, public figure, press employee. She posed for the artist Adomas Galdikas in 1927. Elena Turauskienė was born on 15 March 1906 in Paris; she was the elder daughter of Jurgis and Elena (Jurgelionytė) Jankauskas. Elena met Edvardas when he arrived in Paris to study law at the Sorbonne. They got engaged, Edvardas returned to Lithuania and organised their wedding ceremony, while Elena alone returned to Telšiai, where her family was waiting for her. The couple got married on 8 August 1926.

Edvardas Jankauskas worked as a senior editor with the Rytas daily newspaper, director of ELTA, was an Envoy Extraordinary and Diplomatic Agent to Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Romania, and resided in Prague. During the war the couple retreated to the West.

This romantic story about her aunt was told and family pictures were kindly shared by Karolina Masiulytė-Paliulienė — a Paris-born actress, granddaughter of the book smuggler Juozas Masiulis. Elena Turauskienė was her mother’s sister. Currently Karolina and Arūnas Paliulis live in Vilnius.