“Brigadier General Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas is one of the most celebrated military commanders of Lithuania, he fought for the freedom and independence of the country until his execution even while Lithuania was overcome by total occupation. General Vanagas is a role model for the new generation of Lithuania’s officers and soldiers that inspires to defend the homeland selflessly,” Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis said on October 6 in the unveiling of a tombstone monument for Commander-in-Chief of the Defence Forces of the Union of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters, Signatory of Declaration of 16 February 1949 of the Council of the Union of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters, and the highest-ranking official of Lithuania in the period of resistance against the Soviet occupation, Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas (Hawk) in the Heads of State Pantheon at Antakalnis Cemetery.
Remains of A. Ramanauskas-Vanagas were discovered at Našlaičiai Cemetery in Antakalinis and were reburied at a state funeral to the Heads of State Pantheon at Antakalnis Cemetery on October 6 of the same year.
The second anniversary of the reburial of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas was commemorated with a holy mass celebrated by the Apostolic Administrator of the Military Ordinariate of Lithuania, HE Archbishop Metropolitan Gintaras Grušas at the Church of St. Peter and St. Paul in Vilnius. The event was attended by top leadership of the state, representatives of the Lithuanian Armed Forces, Honour Guard Company.
Brig Gen. Adolfas Ramanauskas was born on 6 March 1918 in the United States of America, he repatriated in 1921 with his parents. He chose to join the armed fight for the freedom of Lithuania in April 1945 when the Second Soviet occupation began. A. Ramanauskas-Vanagas and seven other partisan leaders signed the Declaration of 16 February 1949 of the Council of the Union of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters. The Seimas recognised by law the Declaration as a piece of legislation of particular significance to the continuity of the statehood of Lithuania. The document was a claim of the Union of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters to take the responsibility for leading the restoration of an independent and democratic state of Lithuania.
Brig Gen A. Ramanauskas-Vanagas was detained in 1956 and executed on 29 November 1957. His wife, partisan B. Mažeikaitė- Ramanauskienė was sentenced to 8 years in prison camps by the occupant court.
Remains of Brig Gen A. Ramanauskas-Vanagas were found in 2018 at Našlaičiai Cemetery in Antakalnis. Authenticity of the remains was confirmed by anthropological forensic analysis, skull and face photographic comparison, and DNA test.
After Lithuania regained independence in 1990, Brig Gen Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas was posthumously recognised. The status of a volunteer soldier was conferred on him on 22 December 1997. He was given the rank of a reserve brigadier general by Decree of the President of the Republic of Lithuania on January 26, 1998, and awarded the 2nd Order of the Cross of Vytis (award conferred for heroic defence of Lithuania’s freedom and independence) and the 1st Order of the Cross of Vytis by Presidential Decrees.
Photo credits: Alfredas Pliadis (MoD)