Anti-Soviet guerilla hideout is open to visitors

  • 2010-12-01
  • By Rokas M. Tracevskis

HIDEOUT INVITES VISITORS: President Dalia Grybauskaite visited the anti-Soviet guerilla hideout of 1949, in Minaiciai village, Radviliskis district.

VILNIUS - On Nov. 22, President Dalia Grybauskaite and Defense Minister Rasa Jukneviciene went to the northern Lithuanian town of Radviliskis on a patriotic history-related tour. This high-ranking visit of the non-stop smiling Grybauskaite was a good promotion for Radviliskis and its district among history fans.

In Radviliskis, Grybauskaite visited the Radviliskis culture center, visiting an exhibition of the arms of Lithuanian freedom fighters of the 20th century. Radviliskis is famous for the Lithuanian volunteer army’s victorious battle of Nov. 21, 1919, against the army of Germans and White Russians, led by Pavel Bermont-Avalov. After proclaiming re-establishment of independence in 1918, Lithuania was forced to fight its independence wars in 1918-1920 against Soviet Russia, Poland and the Bermont-Avalov army, because all those three forces did not want to agree to the independence of Lithuania.

On the same Nov. 22, Grybauskaite went to Minaiciai village to open a museum established in the anti-Soviet guerilla hideout which, in 1949, was based under a farmstead’s barn, and a nearby monument to those guerilla movement leaders who announced the declaration of Feb. 16, 1949, in that hideout. “The Council of the Movement of the Struggle for Freedom of Lithuania shall be the supreme political body of the nation during the occupation period. The governing of Lithuania shall be exercised by the parliament elected through free, democratic, general, and equal elections by secret ballot,” reads the declaration of Feb. 16, 1949. According to the declaration, the Communist Party should be proclaimed criminal and illegal while Soviet and Nazi collaborators should be tried for their atrocities.

According to researchers, some four percent of the Lithuanian population was directly (as guerillas) or indirectly (as their supporters) engaged in the armed anti-Soviet resistance movement from 1944-1953. That is twice the percentage of people engaged in Vietnam’s guerilla war. The source for such exceptional figures was as follows: Lithuania was the one and only Nazi Germany-occupied European country which successfully boycotted the Nazi-organized creation of SS troops from the local population – no Lithuanian SS troops were created by Lithuanians, despite Nazi repressions and sending Lithuanian intellectuals, calling for such a boycott, to German concentration camps and therefore, the Lithuanians saved a large number of men ready to fight against another totalitarian invader.

“It is symbolic that eight leaders of the guerilla movement announced their declaration one-and-a-half months before the establishment of NATO. The ideals of both acts were the same,” Jukneviciene said during the opening ceremony, which was also attended by people from Latvia, which is not far from the Radviliskis district – Lithuanian and Latvian flags were waving in the crowd of a couple of hundred people.