2021 m. January 18
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MSFL organizational structure in 1949-1950
On June 15, 1940, after the Red Army (the army of the USSR) invaded Lithuania; the USSR occupied and annexed Lithuania. The almost 50-year long Soviet occupation period began. During mass repression, thousands of Lithuanian citizens were killed or imprisoned, or deported to Siberia and other remote areas of the USSR. The resistance to the Soviet occupational regime that started in the fall of 1940 turned into the uprising on June 22, 1941. Meanwhile, the tragedy of the Lithuania’s Jewish population – the Holocaust – began due to the invasion of Nazi Germany. In July 1944, the second Soviet occupation of Lithuania started. Thousands of patriots of Lithuania continued the fight to the death for the re-establishment of the Lithuania’s statehood. The large-scale anti-Soviet partisan war got started.

The Lithuanian nation, without any support from the West, managed to fight its guerilla war against the brutal Soviet occupational policy for a decade. The partisan movement’s military structure covering the whole of Lithuania was formed from spontaneously formed partisan squads. In 1944–1949, the following partisan military districts were created: Algimantas, Dainava, Didžioji Kova, Kęstutis, Prisikėlimas, Tauras, Vytis, Vytautas, and Žemaičiai. They constituted the three larger partisan military regions: the regions of Jūra, Nemunas and Kalnai. On Feb. 10–20, 1949, the gathering of all the main leaders of the armed anti-Soviet resistance movement of Lithuania established the Movement of the Struggle for Freedom of Lithuania (commonly referred to by its Lithuanian acronym, LLKS).

This guerilla movement, under the leadership of Gen. Jonas Žemaitis (partisan code name Vytautas), adopted military and political documents, proclaiming the LLKS as the movement, guiding the political and military liberation struggle and representing the ideals of independent Lithuania in the USSR-occupied country.

During the conference – on Feb. 16 – a political declaration was adopted, where the restoration of the independent parliamentary Republic of Lithuania was declared as the final goal of the partisan movement’s struggle. The military abilities of partisans and their selfless struggle for independence became expressed in thousands of fights and confrontations with the Soviet occupational military forces.

The most famous partisan movement’s leaders were Gen. Žemaitis, Col. Adolfas Ramanauskas (chief commander of the LLKS armed forces), Lt. Col. Juozas Vitkus (commander of the partisans of southern Lithuania), and Maj. Juozas Lukša (he managed to cross the Iron Curtain, twice visiting the West and coming back to Lithuania).

The Soviets used the most brutal methods of fight against the guerillas: persecuted their families’ members and destroyed farmsteads of their supporters by setting them on fire. The Soviets used their agents to infiltrate the partisan movement. Partisans who became victims of treachery or were killed in action could not rest in peace: the Soviets would brutally disfigure the bodies of the guerrillas and dump them in public squares in towns and villages as a way to intimidate people. Over 20,000 Lithuanian partisans were killed holding weapons in their hands or were tortured to death by the Soviet invaders. In 1953, the partisan war was over. Žemaitis-Vytautas was arrested, the headquarters of the partisans’ military areas were destroyed, and the partisans’ abilities to communicate among their various squads became impossible.

After the Soviets managed to suppress the guerilla movement, the Lithuanian nation continued to yearn for the country’s independence. Finally, on March 11, 1990, the democratically-elected Supreme Council of Lithuania (now officially known as the Re-constituent Seimas) proclaimed the Act on the Re-establishment of the State of Lithuania stating that “the execution of the sovereign powers of the State of Lithuania, which were abolished by foreign forces in 1940, is re-established, and henceforth Lithuania again is an independent state.” On Jan, 12, 1999, the Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania passed the Law “On the Declaration of 16 February 1949 of the Council of the Movement of the Struggle for Freedom of Lithuania” stating that the declaration is a legal act of the Republic of Lithuania. The year 1999 was proclaimed as the Year of Commemoration of the Fights for Freedom.
© Lietuvos gyventojų genocido ir rezistencijos tyrimo centras.
Created by: „Teratekas”