For five decades, Lithuanians were not allowed to talk about deportations and imprisonment in labor camps, says Lithuania's Parliamentary Speaker Viktoras Pranckietis.
© DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

"Just imagine, for half a century we were banned to know about this and to talk about this. The invaders wanted to make us deaf and blind, not hearing our nation's sighs and strife to be free..." Pranckietis said at a solemn parliamentary meeting on Wednesday, dedicated to the first mass deportations.

He recalled how the July 1988 issue of the literature magazine Pergale went from hand to hand, as it had published the first testimony about deportations of Lithuanian residents – memories of deportee Dalia Grinkeviciute.

"How inhumane was the Decree No. 00122 of the Moscow NKVD dated Oct. 11 of 1939: 'On Elimination of the Anti-Soviet Element in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia' – it sounds just as the Nazi final decision. The decree enabled the invaders to start mass arrests in July of 1940 and mass deportations on June 14 of 1941," said the parliamentary speaker.

In his words, Soviet repressive structures jammed 17,500 men, women, elderly people, children and infants on 15 echelons on June 14 of 1941 headed to Siberia. Many of them did not return.

"Teachers, lawyers, public servants, farmers, priests, businessmen, officers, diplomats, doctors and their families – wives, parents and children at the moment of their arrest became prisoners and deportees without any rights and property. Without a homeland. Without a home. Separated from their families," said Pranckietis.

"Some 156,000 prisoners. 131,600 deportees. 50,000 shot to death, killed or dead from hunger. However, can these numbers reveal everyone's sore, suffering, losses and pain? The nation's wound is testified by the deportees who are with us now," he said at the solemn meeting.

On June 14 of 1941, the Soviet administration started mass deportations of Lithuanian residents to USSR labor camps and prisons. Since regaining independence in 1990, Lithuania has been marking June 14 as the Day of Mourning and Hope.

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