Several institutions in Lithuania are considering to set up a depository of DNA samples from relatives of post-war partisans, which would help identify their remains in unmarked burial sites.
Under Moscow's 1946 orders, participants in Lithuania's post-war anti-Soviet resistance were buried secretly.
The institutions behind the initiative include the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania, the State Forensic Medicine Service and the Lithuanian Police's Forensic Science Centre.
“We are now deciding on where the [DNA] bank should be,” Eugenijus Peikštenis, a senior adviser at the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre, told BNS.
The centre's researchers have already collected biological samples of several partisan relatives, he said, and are storing them at the State Forensic Medicine Service. These samples would be the basis of the DNA bank.
According to Peikštenis, some 20,000 partisans were killed during the post-war resistance, which lasted until 1953, and the search for their remains might take decades. Meanwhile, many of their surviving family members are of advanced age.
Anti-Soviet partisan resistance in Lithuania lasted from 1944-1953 and involved over 50,000 people. Including members of underground organisations and their supporters, the movement involved some 100,000 people. Over 20,000 partisans and their supporters were killed by the Soviet security.