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2019.10.25 15:00

Lithuania gives proper burial to last anti-Soviet resistance leader

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LRT TV, LRT.lt2019.10.25 15:00

Lithuania is reburying Antanas Kraujelis, the last post-war partisan leader who was killed in 1965 but whose remains were not located until last June.

Janina Šyvokienė, Kraujelis' sister, says she and her family were trying for years to find out what happened to her brother, known in the anti-Soviet resistance by his nom-de-guerre Siaubūnas (Beast), even approaching a local KGB chief.

The family believed his body could have been buried in a sand quarry or at the bottom of a lake. But last summer, a group of archaeologists unearthed the remains in the Orphans' Cemetery in Vilnius, very close to the burial site of another partisan leader, Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas, who was given a state burial last year.

Kraujelis joined the anti-Soviet resistance movement in 1948 in Samogitia, the western part of Lithuania. He remained in hiding until 1965.

“He was really a beast for the Soviet repression structures. They couldn't catch him for a long time and were clearly nervous,” says Ramona Staveckaitė-Notari, a historian working for the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre. “There'd be letters from Moscow telling to deal with the matter finally, to catch him once and for all.”

Antanas Kraujelis, the last partisan of Samogitia, will be buried in the Antakalnis Cemetery in Vilnius on Saturday.

The anti-Soviet resistance in Lithuania, also known as Forest Brothers, lasted between 1944 and 1953. It is estimated that some 30,000 partisans and their supporters were killed by the Soviet authorities.