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State funeral of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas in Vilnius on October 5-6th

The state funeral of Brigadier General Adolfas Ramanauskas (codename Vanagas) (March 6, 1918 – November 29, 1957) – one of the prominent leaders of the Lithuanian Freedom Fighters (partisans) and a symbol of Lithuania’s resistance against Soviet occupation – will be held in Vilnius, Lithuania, on October 5-6th, 2018.

Brigadier General Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas – 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, First Deputy Chairman of the Presidium of the Council of the Union of the Lithuanian Freedom Fighters, the Highest-ranking Official of the Union of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters and Lithuania’s Fighting for Independence from 1953 – was betrayed in 1956, arrested, severely tortured and one year later executed by the KGB.

His remains were found earlier this year in Našlaičiai Cemetery in Antakalnis. Authenticity of the remains was confirmed by anthropological forensic analysis, skull and face photographic comparison, and DNA test.

The Freedom Fighters Movement resisted the soviet occupation for 10 years. For few years BG Ramanauskas-Vanagas remained the only surviving leader of Freedom Fighters, as well as a symbol of the underground resistance for Lithuanian people.

After Lithuania regained independence in 1990, BG Ramanauskas-Vanagas was posthumously awarded the Order of the Cross of Vytis (award conferred for heroic defence of Lithuania’s freedom and independence). Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania had declared 2018 the year of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas.

The ceremony of state funeral of A. Ramanauskas-Vanagas will take place in Vilnius on October 5-6, 2018.

Society is invited to pay the final respects to Brigadier General Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas from 1000hrs to 2000hrs on October 5 at Vilnius University Church of St. Johns, holy mass will be celebrated at 1800hrs.

On October 6 the public will be able to visit from 100hrs to 1200hrs. At noon the coffin will be carried from the church and the funeral procession will transfer to the Cathedral Basilica of St Stanislaus and St Ladislaus of Vilnius where the holy mass will be celebrated at 1300hrs by HE Archbishop Metropolitan Gintaras . After the mass, at 1400hrs, the funeral process will depart for Antakalnis Cemetery.

Programme of State funeral in Antakalnis Cemetery, October 5-6, 2018, Vilnius

October 5, Friday

1000hrs – 2000hrs Public farewell at Vilnius University Church of St. Johns

1800hrs Holy Mass at Vilnius University Church of St. Johns

October 6, Saturday

1000hrs – 1200hrs Public farewell at Vilnius University Church of St. Johns

1200hrs Coffin carried out of Vilnius University Church of St. Johns

Farewell ceremony with the Lithuanian Armed Forces in the yard of Vilnius University Church of St. Johns

Funeral procession to the Archcathedral Basilica

1300hrs Holy Mass at the Cathedral Basilica of St Stanislaus and St Ladislaus of Vilnius celebrated by HE Archbishop Metropolitan Gintaras

1400hrs Arrival of the funeral procession at Antakalnis Cemetery

1500hrs Burial at Antakalnis Cemetery

Adolfas Ramanauskas – Vanagas

Adolfas Ramanauskas (codename Vanagas) (March 6, 1918 – November 29, 1957) –

one of the prominent leaders of the Lithuanian Freedom Fighters (partisans) and

a symbol of Lithuania’s resistance against Soviet occupation

 Lithuania’s resistance movement (1944-1953)

 During and after World War II Lithuania underwent three occupations, the soviet (1940-1941), the Nazi (1941-1944) and then again the Soviet (1944-1990). Brutal Lithuania’s occupation encouraged the rise of the societal resistance and the will to restore the country’s independence. Underground started their activities during the first soviet occupation, joined anti-Nazi resistance and proceeded after 1944.

 Gradually partisan troops, led by the independent Lithuania’s Armed Forces’ officers, started acting in all regions of Lithuania. Over time, these groups became more organized and centralized, eventually establishing the Union of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters in February 1949. More than 100 000 people participated in the Freedom Fighters movement.

The key motive behind Lithuania’s resistance against soviet occupation was the goal to restore an independent and democratic Republic of Lithuania.

During the most brutal period of Soviet and Nazi occupations 1940-1953 Lithuania lost more than 16 % of its population:

20 200 Freedom Fighters and their supporters killed

120 000 Lithuanians deported to Siberia and Far North

140 000 Lithuanians imprisoned in GULAG

200 000 Lithuanian Jews killed.

Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas

Ramanauskas-Vanagas, born in New Britain, USA, moved back to homeland Lithuania as a child. In the end of thirties, he graduated Teachers institute and Military School with the rank of second lieutenant. His class was the last graduating Military School before the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania in June 1940. Ramanauskas-Vanagas joined anti-Soviet resistance in June 1941 as a leader of self-defense unit in Druskininkai town. His unit protected local population and storages from soviet marauders who seceded Soviet Army after the invasion of Nazi Germany. Ramanauskas-Vanagas left the self-defense unit on 15 July 1941 after German soldiers disarmed it, plundered local food storages and deployed German garrison in Druskininkai town. German commandant issued an order to establish the Jewish ghetto, which was set up on 16 July, 1941. Ramanauskas-Vanagas moved to Alytus town and worked as a teacher until 1944. He concealed his military qualification in his teachers’ dossier in order not to be mobilized into German military forces.     

 In 1945 after the Soviet Union reconquered Lithuania from Nazi Germany and imposed a regime of permanent occupation Ramanauskas-Vanagas joined anti-Soviet resistance again. He advanced from a platoon commander to the top leadership of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters.

 Ramanauskas-Vanagas envisioned Lithuania as a democratic Republic, having free and secret elections to the Parliament and equal rights for all citizens. On February 16, 1949, along with 7 other partisan leaders, he co-signed the Declaration of the Union of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters. This document stated the illegitimacy of the soviet rule and has since been recognized as Legal act of the Republic of Lithuania.

The Freedom Fighters Movement resisted the soviet occupation for 10 years. It was a long and draining struggle, with soviets having employed intelligence and security units, Red Army, Interior Armed Forces, local collaborators, communist activists to persecute and defeat the partisans. Within a few years Ramanauskas-Vanagas remained the only surviving leader of Freedom Fighters, as well as a symbol of the underground resistance for Lithuanian people. Betrayed in 1956, he was arrested, severely tortured and one year later executed by the KGB.

Aftermath

 After Lithuania regained independence in 1990, Ramanauskas-Vanagas was posthumously awarded the Order of the Cross of Vytis [award conferred for heroic defense of Lithuania’s freedom and independence].

Ramanauskas-Vanagas’ burial site was discovered only in 2018 in Vilnius.

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