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Ambassador V.Usackas in the US Congress Opened the Exhibit, Honoring Lithuanian Freedom Fighters..
On March 3, 2005, Ambassador of Lithuania to the United States of America (USA) Vygaudas Usackas in the UC Congress Rayburn Building Opened the Exhibit “War after War: the Armed anti-Soviet Resistance in Lithuania in 1944-1953”. The Exhibit honors Lithuanian Freedom Fighters (Partisans) who fought for freedom and liberty for more than a decade against the Soviet Army.
Ambassador V.Usackas: “For many May 9th of 1945 means the end of the Second World War, but not for Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians. While each of us will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II and the victory over Nazism in our own way, we need to remember and remind others that as a consequence of the infamous and criminal Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of 1939 between Soviet Russia and Nazi Germany, the War in Lithuania did not end until 1953 when the last large Lithuanian partisan detachments were liquidated by the Soviets, and the real occupation did not end until 1993 when the last Russian troops left independent Lithuania.”
“In fact, it is not widely known that the last Lithuanian partisans Antanas Kraujelis from Utena region and Pranas Končius from Kretinga were killed during the skirmishes with soviets in 1965 and the very last partisan Pranas Guiga did not surrender to the occupants but died in 1986 while hiding in the forests of Švencioniai region,”- said Lithuanian diplomat.
Ambassador Usackas described the exhibit as “exposing the real stories of life and fight for freedom and independence of Lithuania. It’s not an easy exhibit to attend and go through. It tells about those who fought and sacrificed their lives to free the nation from the oppression.”
In 1940-1958, the Soviets imprisoned over 200,000 Lithuanian residents. Many of them became disabled or died in place of imprisonment due to starvation, exhaustion and diseases. Over 132,000 Lithuanian people were deported, more than 20,000 were killed in the post-war resistance fights and over 440,000 were forced to emigrate to the West. Almost every person in Lithuania has someone among their family members or close relatives who were deported, killed or injured during the soviet oppression, said V.Usackas.
The Embassy of Lithuania in Washington DC and Joint Baltic American National Committee (JBANC) organized the event. To display the real stories of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters in Washington DC was made possible by Genocide and resistance research centre of Lithuania in Vilnius which owns the exhibit.
Actually they did resisted. But a bit later. Lithuania was freed not by German Army (who actually occupied it), but by National Uprising in June of 1941. Then 4000 of Freedom Fighters felt and 8000 wounded. German troops entered in free Lithuania with it's own Government and all other components of free state, including armed forces.
"Yet their bodies were not allowed to rest in peace, one could not suitably escort them to eternity, to bury them in the way they deserved to be buried. Stribai [local collaborators of Soviet army /"Lithuanisation" from Russian "Istrebiteli" - "The Destroyers" - Lit./], like angry predators, snatched their victims with an outburst of beastly sentiment and vented their failure and rage by kicking and desecrating their corpses. They would take off dead partisans' shoes and clothes and drive their dead bodies around, taking them into towns and villages, seeking this way to provoke people's contempt towards the partisans, to prove that the partisans' strength was on the wane. Their greatest pleasure consisted in each of them mocking the dead partisans and insulting them. It was distressing to see one's compatriots taking pleasure in driving their carriages over partisans' bodies and beating their corpses with rifle-butts. However, this does not demean the sons of Lithuania, but only proves the Communists' bestiality, their barbarity and stupidity..."
The first killings were carried out by members of the Lithuanian anti-Soviet resistance, primarily of the Lietuviu Aktivystu Frontas (LAF), which rose in revolt in Kaunas as soon as the Red Army and Soviet administration began its withdrawal on 21 June. The revolt was assisted by the mutiny of a major portion of the Lithuanian component of the Red forces, the 297th Territorial Corps.
By the evening of 23 June, the LAF insurgents had captured most of Kaunas, and instituted a massacre of Jewish collaborators with the Soviet regime which lasted until June 28. According to the Stahlecker Report, during that period the Lithuanian partisans killed 3,800 Jews in Kaunas and 1,200 in the smaller towns. Most probably the Jews killed were mostly male collaborators, although innocent bystanders might have fallen victim as well.
At the beginning, the number of Lithuanian anti-Soviet partisans was very large, up to 100,000 my remark - this number is nonsensical men according to the memorandum by Prapuolenis to von Renteln in the name of the LAF dated 23 September 1941. No doubt that included the soldiers who had deserted from the 297th Territorial Corps.
With such a large number of men, the entire Jewish population of Lithuanian could quickly have been liquidated. If each of the 100,000 men had killed just two Jews, the task would have been accomplished.
However, the German occupiers did not want a large Lithuanian armed force acting independently which could have formed the basis of a future claim to Lithuanian independence. Instead, the German administration began disarming the Lithuanian partisans, and recruiting a smaller number of them into new auxiliary police and army units, called "Battalions for the National Preservation of Work". By 28 June, the independent massacres carried out by the LAF had been halted by the Germans.
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