One of Lithuania's most prominent guerrilla leaders, Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, would have turned 100 on Tuesday, and Kęstutis Girnius, philosopher who wrote a book on Guerrilla Fighting in Lithuania, says that the attention given to the personality on the occasion shows an increasingly open approach of the nation towards the country's history.
Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas
Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas

"In part, there was a conscious ethnic amnesia, as this was an important but, at the same time, a controversial period of time. I believe that the attention to Ramanauskas is an attempt to take a more open stance on our past and admit that there were heroic episodes and that there were people determined to sacrifice themselves and fight for Lithuania's independence," Girnius told BNS on Tuesday.

In his opinion, discussions about guerrilla became more open in Lithuania during the past five years after decades of silence, which was a result of the communists' unwillingness to admit that there had been a different path during the 50 years of occupation.

"It was a sensitive topic. The main reason – the unwillingness of willing parties to acknowledge that there had been a different path than working for Lithuania by the instructions from Moscow. This is where we are different from France who immediately created an image of a fighting France, although there was less fighting. The topic is also sensitive because of civilian casualties," the philosopher added.

In an effort to emphasize the importance of guerrilla resistance in the struggle against the Soviet occupation, the parliament announced 2018 as the year of Ramanauskas-Vanagas.

"Vanagas was one of the persons who decided to fight for Lithuania's freedom even amid slim chances of success and the high probability of being killed in the unequal fight. There are the moments where people have to choose," said Girnius.

As a teacher at the Alytus school of teachers, Ramanauskas-Vanagas was captured by the Soviet security and had to choose between secret collaboration or becoming a guerrilla, so he chose the latter path.

In Girnius' words, at the start of the guerrilla movement in 1944, Lithuanians were a mature nation that did not want to live in slavery, therefore, the support to guerrillas was strong.

Many guerrillas went to the forests in hopes of participating in the resistance efforts until a Western intervention, which will prevent the Soviet Union from seizing the territories that the West had fought with the Nazis over. However, it was clear in 1948-1949 that there would be no intervention.

Nevertheless, in Girnius' words, many guerrillas continued their efforts and attempted to keep the idea of independence alive.

"The partisans hit the forests in hopes of sending any signal to the Western world about Lithuania wanting to be independent and being ready to fight for it. In other words, they wanted to send a signal for the West to come and help them," he added.

Ramanauskas-Vanagas commanded the guerrillas of the Dzūkija region and signed a declaration of the Lithuanian Freedom Fight Movement together with other partisan leaders in 1949.
Armed struggles for restoration of Lithuania's independence lasted from 1944 until 1953.

Ramanauskas-Vanagas was arrested 1956, tortured by Soviet officials and executed a year later. He was posthumously honored with top state awards after Lithuania regained independence in 1990.

It is prohibited to copy and republish the text of this publication without a written permission from UAB „BNS“.
|Populiariausi straipsniai ir video

New buzz word in education around the world

GRIT is something that needs to be understood by both parents and students and should be conveyed by...

5 businessmen and companies get patron names from Vilnius municipality

The Council of Vilnius for the first time officially gave patron names to five businessmen and...

Separated by distance, united in celebrations: story of Lithuania and India (1)

This week, two big celebrations will take place: India is celebrating Holi (also known as Festival of...

First solo exhibition by Julijonas Urbonas opened at Collective Edinburgh

Planet of people, the most recent project by Julijonas Urbonas , was launched, at Collective’s City...

Lithuanian author long-listed for prestigious UK literary award

Noir Press announced that Lithuanian author Grigory Kanovich has just been long-listed for the...

Top news

Coronavirus pandemic: 533 cases in Lithuania

On Tuesday, 30th March, 42 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed in Lithuania. In total there were 533 in...

27 severe coronavirus cases in country

Lithuania currently has 27 severe COVID-19 cases and the coronavirus outbreak has not yet peaked,...

GetJet Airlines set to lay off 370 employees

Lithuania's wet-lease and charter services provider GetJet Airlines has given lay-off notices to 370...

COVID-19 spread curve shows signs of flattening in Lithuania

There are signs that the coronavirus spread curve in Lithuania is flattening, Health Minister...

Everyone with symptoms will be tested for coronavirus

Everyone who develops symptoms of an acute respiratory infection will be tested for the new...

|Maža didelių žinių kaina