A monument under construction in Kryžkalnis, central Lithuania, will commemorate the country’s 20,000 anti-Soviet partisan fighters. The sword-shaped obelisk with a memorial plaque featuring names of all the fighters will take a year to complete.
In a ceremony marking the start of the construction, former anti-Soviet partisans Juozas Mocius-Šviedrys, Jonas Kadžionis-Bėda and Juozas Jakavonis-Tigras helped lay a symbolic capsule at the site where the future obelisk will rise.
The monument in Kryžkalnis will be clearly visible when driving along Lithuania’s main motorway artery connecting Vilnius and Kaunas with the Baltic coast.
“The last names are from the Lithuanian [military] district, I lived with them – there are 2,500 friends and brothers in arms that were killed,” said Juozas Jakavonis-Tigras.
Vytautas Landsbergis, Lithuania’s first state leader following independence in 1990, said it’s important to have a “central memorial to Lithuanian resistance [against] the Soviet occupation, which was so difficult, long, multilayered, and manifesting itself in multiple forms which finally led [...] to freedom”.
The memorial will be built in several parts – a sword-shaped obelisk will cut iinto the ground, where a grave to an unknown soldier will also be located. A memorial plaque with the names of individuals and their units, and a chapel dedicated to Kęstutis military district, will also be built.
“Lithuanian Freedom Fight Movement (LLKS) has plans to build a museum [...] so that every person, after pressing a button, could see all the information about the relative, friend or buddy immortalised here,” said Angelė Jakavonytė, chairwoman of LLKS.
“I think it’s very important so that everyone here will have a small grave, a symbolic grave,” she added, including “those who do not know where their close one is burried”.
The memorial will be built from funds provided by the Lithuanian government and the LLKS.