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Kovok! Pastangos gelbėti Lietuvą

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1940 m. liepos mėn. Į talką naujosios Lietuvos kurti!!

Now Available Online:

Kazys Škirpa's Memoir From 1943

110 Accompanying Documents &

His Correspondence with Lithuania's Ambassadors

Lozoraitis, Klimas and Raštikis

Supported Škirpa's Plans for Ethnic Cleansing

The Lithuanian Central State Archives have made available digital copies of Kazys Škirpa's (1895-1979) original memoir, "Fight! Efforts to Rescue Lithuania" (Kovok! Pastangos gelbėti Lietuvą), along with 110 documents which he references. These works detail his efforts from June 1940 to July 1942 to free Lithuania from Soviet-occupation and establish its independence as a New Lithuania within the context of Hitler's New Europe. They make clear that ethnic cleansing of Jews from Lithuania was a high priority for Škirpa from July 1940 (when he submitted his first proposals to Nazi strategist Peter Kleist) to May 1941 (when he honored requests from Lithuania not to send any more literature). Škirpa's correspondence with Lithuania's diplomats shows that Stasys Lozoraitis and Petras Klimas supported his plans for ethnic cleansing.


I found these works by simply searching for "Škirp" in titles of files (bylų paieška - pavadinimas) at the database of the Lithuanian Central State Archives. There I also found correspondence from 1940-1941 between Lithuania's diplomats. I purchased digital copies for 320 euros and assembled them into PDF files. As permitted by the Archives, I have uploaded them:

The 269-page memoir is in Lithuanian. (LCVA f.648, a.2, b.581) It references 110 documents which are mostly in Lithuanian, with others in German and one in Russian. (LCVA f.648, a.2, b.582) The original high resolution pages are 2480 x 3508 pixels and my resized low resolution pages are 707 x 1000 pixels.

Curiously, Škirpa writes about himself in the third person.

The memoir includes caustic, handwritten notes in the margins, apparently penciled in by Lithuania's Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Bronius Kazys Balutis (1880-1967). The United Kingdom never recognized the Soviet annexation of Lithuania and so the embassy of the Republic of Lithuania continued to operate. In 1993, after Lithuania regained independence, the embassy's archive was moved to the Central State Archives in Vilnius.

At the end of my article I write about other copies of all or parts of these memoirs and documents that are scattered throughout Lithuania's archives and have been known to a few dozen scholars. Kazys Škirpa relied on his own personal copy in Washington D.C. when he wrote his 1973 memoir Sukilimas Lietuvos suverenumui atstatyti (Uprising for the Restoration of Lithuania's Sovereignty). He inserted lengthy excerpts from the documents into his text.

In 1991 and 1992, the magazine Akiračiai published a three-part interview with Saulius Sužiedėlis where he related how Kazys Škirpa, Juozas Ambrazevičius-Brazaitis and other Lithuanian patriots had removed pro-Nazi and anti-semitic references from the historical documents they had published. See: 1991 Nr.9 (233) pg.6, 1991 Nr.9 (233) pg.7, 1991 Nr.10 (234) pg.8, 1991 Nr.10 (234) pg.9, 1992 Nr.1 (235) pg.8, 1992 Nr.1 (235) pg.9, 1992 Nr.1 (235) pg.10

In particular, he pointed out that he had found among the Edvardas Turauskas papers at the Hoover Institution archive in Stanford an original copy of Škirpa's "Instructions for Liberating Lithuania" with the following instruction:

For the conceptual maturity of the Lithuanian nation it is necessary to strengthen anti-Communist and anti-Jewish action and to spread the unconditional idea that Russian-German armed conflict will truly happen, that the Russian Red Army will quickly be driven out of Lithuania, and that Lithuania will once again become a free and independent nation. It is very important at this time to also get rid of the Jews. Therefore we must create in the land such a muggy climate against the Jews that not a single Jew would dare even to suppose the thought that in the new Lithuania they might have even minimal rights or any kind of way to make a living. The goal is to force all Jews to flee Lithuania along with the Red Russians. The more of them abandon Lithuania at this time, the easier it will be later to finish getting rid of them. The hospitality which Vytautas the Great granted Jews in Lithuania in his time is now revoked for all times because of their persistently recurring betrayal of the Lithuanian nation to its oppressors.

Saulius Sužiedėlis was highly criticized for his revelations. Nevertheless, he and other Lithuanian historians persisted in assuming that Lithuanians were, at most, collaborators, and that the crimes against Lithuania's Jews were organized exclusively by the Third Reich.

Škirpa's memoir and documents help us take a fresh look, as I did last year with my article, How Did Lithuanians Wrong Litvaks? which I recommend for background reading, along with The History of Lithuania, published by Lithuania's Foreign Ministry.

Document 55: Revoking Hospitality Towards the Jews

I will start at the middle with Document 55 (Roman numeral LV), "Revoking Hospitality Towards the Jews" ("Svetingumo atšaukimas žydams"), in which the Leadership of the Lithuanian Activist Front explains to Lithuania's Jews why they should flee with the retreating Red Army.

It is remarkable that ethnic cleansing of Jews from Lithuania is an important theme in almost all of the documents which Škirpa produced in his Lithuanian Activist Front activity in 1940-1941, and yet he makes practically no mention of Jews in his 1943 memoir, except for the following surprising revelation.

The plan for Lithuania's liberation (see Document XLIV) had foreseen apart from preparing the uprising itself to also develop a wider secret propaganda in occupied Lithuania to spiritually foster the nation for this fateful campaign. But work in preparing the uprising soon showed that this was completely unnecessary: our nation was made ready for the said fateful campaign by the Soviet system itself and the inhuman terror of the occupier and its Jewish helpers. Contrarily, LAF Leadership on occasion received requests from Lithuania not to send any secret literature to the country. Therefore we refrained from this. The LAF Leadership distributed in the country only the bulletin "From Bolshevik Slavery to New Lithuania" made up of the protests of Lithuania's emissaries. Aside from that, a few weeks before the start of the Russian-German war there was released a proclamation directed specifically to the Jews. This was done to warn them in advance that they will have no life in the New Lithuania. In this way it was desired to warn the Jews that it would be best for the sake of saving their own lives to withdraw from Lithuania in advance or at least along with the Russian Red Army. About 500 copies of this proclamation were released and it was distributed only in the border region. A copy of it is appended here (See Document LXIV). [Actually: Document LV] (page 136)

Škirpa wrote this dreadful paragraph after Lithuania's Jews had been annihilated in 1941. His words give credence to a memoir by Catholic student Pilypas Žukauskas-Narutis, the second-in-command of LAF in Kaunas, which shows how differently they operated, avoiding any papers the Soviets might catch them with, and how loose their connection was with LAF in Berlin. It also suggests that they did not care for the anti-semitism.

However, we were afraid of the writings that he was sending us (the written "Instructions for the underground LAF in Lithuania"). Are underground proclamations useful? (Narutis, 112)

We were also not very pleased with the proclamations coming from LAF in Berlin, which we didn't want at all. Bronius Stasiukaitis was always saying, "It's so strange, our friends in Berlin think that we're illiterate!" (Narutis, 170)

Škirpa refers to the anti-semitic Document 64, but from the context it is clear that he means Document 55. This LAF leaflet to the Jews is despicable.

Here is the end of the letter.

Currying favor with the occupier, you inundated the public institutions and seized the secret police network into your own hands. Thus supporting yourselves with naked Russian bayonets, you attacked from behind, sinking your nails into our nation's body. You with unusual zeal persecuted the best sons of the Lithuanian nation, betrayed them to the occupier, put them in jails, tortured them and murdured them, forcing them to betray to the enemy Lithuanian state secrets and their brothers. This your crime, committed at the time when the Lithuanian nation was disarmed and helpless to resist the occupier's terror, was the most audacious betrayal of the Lithuanian nation and state.

Jews of Lithuania!

The Lithuanian nation long suffered your ungratefulness and audacity, although by your own behavior you yourselves fostered in the Lithuanian nation a deep disdain for Jews. However, the Lithuanian nation cannot forgive how you bear yourself in this recent period because it cannot and never will forget the fact that you betrayed Lithuania in its most difficult and unfortunate time in its historical life.

Therefore the Lithuanian Activist Front, restoring a new Free and Independent Lithuania, in the name of the entire Lithuanian nation ceremoniously and irrevocably declares that:

  • 1. The old right of refuge which Vytautas the Great granted to Jews in Lithuania is revoked completely and for all times;
  • 2. It is demanded that Jews abandon the land of Lithuania as soon as possible. Whosoever of Jewish nationality at this time does not take off along with the Soviet army will be:
    • 1. Arrested and handed over to a military field trial if they have distinguished themselves by their especially wicked actions directed against Lithuania, the Lithuanian nation or an individual Lithuanian;
    • 2. Removed from Lithuania by force, and their property seized for the general purposes of the Lithuanian nation and state;
    • 3. Whosoever of the Jews should try to destroy or damage their property will be severely punished on the spot.

Lithuanian Activist Front's SENIOR LEADERSHIP

Škirpa's position is reflective of a distinction that he consistently made between driving Jews out of Lithuania (which today we would call "ethnic cleansing") and killing off the Jews (which is "genocide"). The latter option was championed and ultimately realized by the Voldemarists such as Jonas Pyragius, Klemensas Brunius and Stasys Puodžius on whom Škirpa depended. The focus on the border region also brings to mind the murders which SS Major Hans-Joachim Boehme led there in the first days of the invasion. It's not clear if Škirpa knew of these upcoming killings or if he simply thought that Jews along the border would need more time to flee. But it is clear that he understood that all Jews who stayed in Lithuania would be killed. This is in contrast to Jewish expectations as documented by Avraham Tory at the start of the war. Let us recall that the worst of the Holocaust - the killing off of the Jews - had not yet started, not even in Nazi-occupied Poland.

We feared for the fate of the men if they fell into the hands of the Germans, but we never imagined that they would murder women, children and the elderly; and as far as the men were concerned, we never expected mass murder. The worst thing that we could possibly conceive of was that the men would be drafted as slave laborers. Most elderly persons and women therefore stayed at home, while most of the men fled. (Tory, pg. 5)

Kazys Škirpa imagined that the Nazi German air force could drop this and other leaflets at the start of the war and thus incite Lithuanians to rebel. He first proposed this on July 13, 1940 to Nazi party strategist Peter Kleist of Dienststelle von Ribbentrop. Škirpa includes "Raus die Juden aus Litauen" (Jews, get the hell out of Lithuania) as one of the proposed leaflets in his strategic plan which he submitted to Kurt Graebe of the Military High Command (OKW) on January 25, 1941. Bronys Raila wrote between 11 and 19 ("keliolika") leaflets for Kazys Škirpa and this might well have been one of them. Kazys Škirpa submitted the completed leaflet on April 28 to OKW, on May 10 to Dienststelle von Ribbentrop, and on May 12 to Kurt Graebe. He also shared it with his fellow Lithuanian diplomats along with his letter to Stasys Lozoraitis (Rome, Italy) dated April 7, 1941, with a copy to Edvardas Turauskas (Bern, Switzerland), and a request that the latter acquaint Petras Klimas (Vichy, France), Jurgis Šaulys (Lugano, Switzerland) and Albertas Gerutis (Bern, Switzerland). Škirpa also shared their correspondence and documents in Berlin with Ernestas Galvanauskas, who the ambassadors settled on as the chairman of their Lithuanian National Committee.

Stasys Lozoraitis in Rome, Italy, approved the proclamation in his letter on May 10, 1941 to Edvardas Turauskas in Bern, Switzerland, who may have raised some doubts.

4. As regards the Jewish proclamation, let it proceed. If, after locking up 3 million Lithuanians in prison, some innocent Jews will also suffer, there isn't going to be any earthquake, the world won't collapse. And it will be naplevat as to that world's odium! And how, naplevat, will, for example, You, who has lost your diplomatic immunity, inquire upon your Hungarian colleague, who has not lost it.

Naplevat is Russian for I spit on it, that is, I don't give a damn. Lozoraitis is arguing that whether the world disapproves of Lithuania's actions is much less important than whether Lithuania's statehood is restored. (In confirming that this letter from the Lozoraitis archive was indeed written by Lozoraitis, note his habitual mistake "Turauski" (should be Turauskai), the particular way he numbers his points, and his reference to his sixteen year old son Stasys Jr., nicknamed Pupa (Bean).)

Petras Klimas in Vichy, France, argued in his letter on May 12, 1941 to Lozoraitis, Turauskas, Šaulys and Škirpa that ethnic cleansing was not harsh enough.

3) The drafts of the proclamations are all good, except that the language should be corrected and smoothed out, because it's awkward to appeal to the nation with lame expressions. I'm not even shocked by the warning to the Jews, because those parasites showed what they ever were even in such a country as Lithuania, where nobody hindered them from living nor organized pogroms. If amongst Jews there are good citizens, then all the same even these good citizens gave birth to russophiles and dreamed about the Russian empire. Jews could live amongst us out of the way, but they took to want to butt into our life, so let them know that they have become our enemies and pests. There is no antisemitism in this, but just a defence mechanism against an element which uses a foreign power to do its parasitic selfish bacchanal deeds. That is the ugliest form of abuse of the rights of asylum. However, we need to delete the phrase that Vytautas i n v i t e d them, for he did not invite them, but merely let those who were driven out of Germany settle amongst us under certain conditions. Today they are not meeting those conditions and too bad for them! In that for this may suffer many who are completely innocent, there is nothing you can do: can those innocents guarantee that they won't give birth to Russian brats and all kinds of Communist scoundrels? As they have once mistreated us so, it needs be that there not be such a seed in Lithuania at all. Half measures here will only let there arise amongst them liars and hypocrites who will just weasel there way out. After this experiment, the Jews must be thrown out of Lithuania's life because they declared their war on us rather than stay out of the way during this time of our misfortune. The Jews did not show such despicable behavior in Germany nor in any other country. Thus in Lithuania they merited much more severe sanctions than elsewhere. And that should not be hidden. Has it ever been seen anywhere in Germany that a Jew would sit on an arrested priest and thus make fun of the entire Lithuanian nation? Was it ever in Germany that Jews would act as Commissars and spread their Russianness as they do amongst us? Is that how they understand our asylum? From this I conclude that the tone and theses of the proclamation are too gentle. But that does not mean that such a proclamation is actually necessary. It would be better not to publish it, but when the hour comes to carry everything out one hundred times more severely. I prefer actions.

Skirpa's history of the circumstances around Document 55, the text of the document itself, and the very personal, authoritative responses of Lithuania's leading diplomats provide an opportunity to study and learn from this moral calamity. Note that on June 2, 1940, Foreign Minister Juozas Urbšys had appointed Stasys Lozoraitis as the Chief of the Lithuanian Legation, to speak on behalf of Lithuania should it ever be occupied, and also appointed Petras Klimas as second to Lozoraitis. President Antanas Smetona, after fleeing Lithuania, signed the postdated Kybartai Acts by which he appointed Lozoraitis as prime minister, to be made public whenever the time should come for that. Lozoraitis served as the senior representative of the Republic of Lithuania until his death in 1983.

In terms of content, the letters are morally dreadful. As regards style, Albertas Gerutis recounts in his biography of Klimas that he was ever reviling Russians as "stinkers" and such:

...the experienced diplomat Klimas could be unusually biting and unrestrained when his sore points were touched. And this point was in every case the independence of the state of Lithuania! He was one of the most active founders of that state, and so we can imagine, he was overtaken by a deep vexation that the "Burlak boot" trampled the very state which the Lithuanian nation had restored with bloody sacrifices and hard work.

I want to contrast Klimas's murderous words above with a more characteristic vision of his of Vilnius as the Jerusalem of Lithuania which he presented to Lithuania's Foreign Ministry on April 12, 1940.

On October 28, 1939, the Soviet Union, after invading Poland, returned to Lithuania its historic capital Vilnius, which Poland had occupied. However, the Soviet Union did not return all the surrounding areas as specified by its 1920 border treaty with Lithuania. Petras Klimas happened to be a leading expert on the ethnographic boundaries of Lithuania on which the treaty was based. But he now argued that Lithuania should be content with a smaller territory and focus on making it truly Lithuanian. He envisaged relocating across the border, voluntarily or not, Lithuanians into Lithuania and Poles out of Lithuania. He also envisaged winning over Vilnius's Jews.

The second, purely internal political tool to win the battle for Vilnius should be our attitude towards the Jews because the Jews make up the majority of residents in Vilnius (without the vicinities). In wanting to make Vilnius Lithuanian, we should first of all incline the Jews onto the side of the state of Lithuania, not in the sense, that they become Lithuanians, but that they could stand or vote for Lithuania. The Lithuanian nation cannot have an interest in turning Jews into Lithuanians because such a nationalization of Jews always degenerates into antisemitism, as happened in Germany, where the Jews had become more German than the Germans. We need to learn "out of patriotism" to sacrifice much for the Jews that they not be opposed to the state of Lithuania or indifferent to it in Vilnius. Later, when the storms of war blow by and we remain with Vilnius for a longer time, we will always find a modus vivendi with the Jews, without injury to our national rebirth.

In the meanwhile we need to retain Vilnius with that human material which there is. There will be no danger to Lithuania if Vilnius for a while is Lithuania's Jerusalem, yet a Jerusalem going with Lithuania. We in Vilnius need not take up the Polish principle which denied the Jews the role of decision making since that was useful for the Poles. It is useful and necessary for us to make Jews in Vilnius citizens of Lithuania, who must decide the current Lithuanian fate of Vilnius. Therefore it would be not astute in the Vilnius city council to not give the Jews more rights than the Poles. The state is established not by petty ambitions but by understanding one's task in the concrete situation. We need to evoke in Vilnius as soon as possible the Jewish self-interest in Lithuania because this, upon settling matters with the Russians, must play the determining role in the eventual battles with Polish claims. In the eyes of the world, Lithuania will never lose if the majority of Vilnius's residents, that is, the Lithuanians and the Jews, there defend as one their parentland on the basis of equality. The fight with Poles without the participation of Jews on our side can have for us very damaging consequences. I would like that these few ideas be discussed amongst our politicians without delay.

Here Petras Klimas is writing in the spirit of his days at the Paris peace conference after World War I. It was a time when Lithuania had a Minister of Jewish Affairs, Maksas Soloveičikas, and when Simonas Rozenbaumas was Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Nachmanas Rachmilevičius was Vice Minister of Trade and Industry Affairs. Unfortunately, Petras Klimas did not maintain that spirit in the face of world events, the Soviet-occupation of Lithuania, the deportation of dozens of loved ones, friends and colleagues. The only hope in his lifetime for an alternative was Nazi Germany, with its wars and racial caste system. As Lozoraitis, Šaulys and others suspected, it was a false hope. Petras Klimas was held in Nazi prisons from 1943 to 1944 and in a Soviet concentration camp from 1945 to 1954.

An Overview of Škirpa's Memoir and Documents

Kazys Škirpa wrote his memoir with references to the accompanying documents. I overview them in groups to highlight what for me are key topics that they bring to light. My own interest is in morality, especially how to behave in a moral quagmire, and thus for me, Kazys Škirpa is a noteworthy case study to learn from. I take the opportunity to point to other sources which provide additional perspectives and relevant context. I limit myself to short citations and present some of the most noteworthy pages, with parts translated into English, at the end of my article.

I don't know German or Russian. I encourage those of us who do to help us understand the documents in these languages.

Škirpa's memoir consists of three parts:

  • I) K.Škirpa's Battle with Doom, pages 1-54, describes his protest, as Lithuania's ambassador to Nazi Germany, of the Soviet occupation of Lithuania. He refers to documents 1-28. Škirpa's posthumous 1996 memoir Lietuvos nepriklausomybės sutemos (The Twilight of Lithuanian Independence) is based on this material.
  • II) Preparations for Lithuania's Resurrection, pages 55-177, describes his leadership of the Lithuanian Activist Front in Berlin. He refers to documents 29-77. Škirpa based his 1973 memoir Sukilimas (Uprising) on this material.
  • III) Freedom or Prison, pages 178-269, describes his actions in Nazi Germany in the aftermath of the uprising.

Page 1: In his Foreword, Kazys Škirpa wonders who is more to blame for the loss of Lithuania's independence: we ourselves, or solely external circumstances, which did not depend on us? Which is to say, Jews were not to blame, despite his many leaflets which suggested otherwise. Indeed, throughout his memoir, Kazys Škirpa finds blame with Antanas Smetona, his regime and foreign politics, and most especially his policy of neutrality, but also all of Lithuania's political parties and their infighting, Lithuania's army and its officers, Lithuania's security police, the lack of consciousness among Lithuanians, including the refugees, and Lithuania's pampered embassy staffs, including his own. But in his memoir, he never blames the Jews.

He also wonders where the rebellion went wrong? The war had yet to end and Škirpa hoped that Lithuania would yet have a chance. See Memoir section II.8, "Who duped whom?", page 177: ...who duped whom more: the Germans K.Škirpa, in pursuing their expansionary goals in the East, or K.Škirpa the Germans, in pursuing the restoration of Lithuania's independence.

Blaming Neutrality Memoir pgs.2-3. Document 1.

Kazys Škirpa was obsessed with the idea that Smetona's policy of neutrality was disastrous. He felt this should have been clear after the Munich agreement showed that nobody stood up for Czechoslovakia. In September 1939, when Nazi Germany invaded Poland, Lithuania had the chance to regain Vilnius by force, but Smetona declined. (Which is arguably why Poland has been quite supportive of Lithuania ever since.) Škirpa wants recognition that he was right and Smetona was wrong. If Lithuania had seized Vilnius itself, as the Nazis encouraged, then it would not have had to receive it from the Soviets, along with their troops, and could have avoided Soviet occupation and annexation. It is noteworthy that Škirpa's introductory Document 1 is his lecture "Neutrality - a fatal mistake", which he gave on December 22, 1940, with 12 documents appended.

Read also:

  • Lithuania's Secret Police reports on the fascist Voldemarininkai, who, as usual, spent 1939-1940 organizing a coup against Smetona. Their goal was an alliance or even a union with Nazi Germany.

Soviet-occupation Memoir pgs.3-5, 8-12, 85-96. Documents 2-5, 8.

The Soviet-occupation in June, 1940 and annexation of Lithuania in July, 1940 is covered in accounts by President Smetona, General Musteikis, Karvelis, Škirpa and Galvanauskas. The memoir adds Škirpa's personal discussions with Krėvė-Mickevičius, Merkys, Galvanauskas and Smetona.

Read also:

  • Kazys Škirpa in his memoir "Lietuvos nepriklausomybės sutemos: 1938-1940" notes that President Smetona fled to the country's surprise. He quotes the Catholic newspapers which wished him good riddance and the nationalist Tautininkai newspapers which withheld judgement.
  • Liudas Truska in his history "Lietuvių ir žydų santykiai" details the broad support which Lithuanian leaders, organizations and ordinary people initially showed for the pro-Soviet government led by Justas Paleckis. He refers to Lietuvos aidas on June 19-21, 1940 for articles on greetings offered by the Seimas Presidium, the army, the Šauliai (riflemen), Savanoriai (volunteer soldiers), Kūrėjai (veterans of the Wars of Independence), a delegation of cooperatives such as Lietūkis, the leadership of the Christian Democrats and the Social Democrats, the Catholic Youth Federation "Pavasaris" (see Lietuvos žinios, June 25, 1940), and the Lithuanian trade association (see Verslas, June 21, 1940). Truska notes that not a single Jewish organization was among those which greeted Paleckis. Truska argues that this broad based embrace by Lithuanians became a source of great shame for which the blame was left on the Jews.
  • Algimantas Garliauskas in "Inteligentija 1940-1941 metais" notes the broad support among Lithuanian intellectuals for the pro-Soviet regime, and contrasts that with those who were later deported.

Škirpa in Kaunas Memoir pgs.6-14. Document 6.

Škirpa was invited to Kaunas by the new Foreign Minister, Vincas Krėve-Mickevičius. Document 6 is the report which Škirpa gave on the perspective from Nazi Germany regarding war with Great Britain, the potential for invasion of the Soviet Union, and the status of the Baltic States. Škirpa also shared news of his secret meeting with Nazi analyst Georg Leibbrandt on June 20, 1940 that truly a Nazi German invasion of the Soviet Union was to be expected. Škirpa was the only Ambassador who risked the trip at this uncertain time. He left early to avoid arrest. His trip gave him a first hand appraisal of the Soviet-occupation and contact with politicians, generals and students in the emerging anti-Soviet underground.

Read also:

Empathy towards Jews Memoir pg.13. Document 7.

Document 7 is a long letter which Škirpa wrote on July 1, 1940 to his fellow ambassadors about how the Soviet-occupation of Lithuania was proceeding. He describes Pozniakov as the "governor" of Lithuania. Patriotic ministers Krėvė-Mickevičius, Galvanauskas and Vitkauskas are trying to slow the process down. It is sad to attest that there arise among Lithuanians not only individuals of Communist beliefs but also many impostors who rush to fit in with the new circumstances and thus contribute to the strengthening of the new regime. The security police, which once helped Smetona stay in power, now served the Soviets. The security police is being sifted from its foundations and quite a number of Jews are being accepted into it. Škirpa displays a chilling empathy towards the Jews. The only ones who still feel not too bad are the Jews. That amongst them there were and have now arisen very many Communists is understandable enough. But aside from that, being in fear of the Reich, many Jews who essentially might not be of a Communist point of view choose better to side with Soviet Russia and give in to Communism. His long discussion of the Jews shows his mindset a few days before he first proposed ethnic cleansing. See the Excerpts.

Škirpa would very soon be blaming the Jewish people in general. Only later would the Lithuanian Activist Front specifically blame them for Soviet NKVD atrocities, which at this point had not yet even happened. Being recently in Kaunas, I happened to hear from various knowledgeable sources that the Ministry of Internal Affairs is preparing lists of individuals who are to be arrested and charged, but everyone is asking themselves when and for what. Practically, however, up to the present time there have yet to be made any more numerous detainments or arrests.

Read also:

  • Škirpa's behavior with Jews personally is reflected in his episode with his embassy's press attache H.Flašenbergas. Supposedly he had stood up for him against the Nazis and also helped him find work in Kaunas. See Memoir pages 26-27 and the longer account in "Lietuvos nepriklausomybės sutemos". See the Excerpts.
  • As regards Lithuania's anti-Nazi stance, read about the Neumann-Sass trials, where Lithuania convicted 87 Nazis in 1935 for their roles in trying to take over the Klaipėda region and unite it with Nazi Germany. Jokūbas Robinzonas represented Lithuania at the World Court in the Hague. Read about the pressure from Great Britain and France that Lithuania back down, which led to Hitler taking over the Klaipėda region by ultimatum on March 23, 1939.
  • Smetona's speech at the Cleveland Jewish Center on February 26, 1943 reveals his conspiracy with the leading Jews to keep Jewish capital from leaving Lithuania to Palestine by encouraging emigration of the poorer Jews and retaining the more successful type. See the Excerpts. (Courtesy of the VMU Lithuanian Emigration Institute.)
  • Holocaust survivor Riva Lozansky's memoir If I Forget Thee... (Illustrated PDF version) contrasts the friendship in Butrimonys before the war, when Lithuanians stood up for Jews to prevent a pogrom, with the wickedness and heartlessness of many Lithuanians against Jews during the Nazi-occupation, so that her chance of surviving was less than 2%. She also describes the poor Jews of Butrimonys emigrating to Palestine, and how one died there of sunstroke.
  • The biography of Jurgis Bobelis by Jonas Aničas explains how, before the war, as Military Commandant of Kaunas, he was a leader in a network of informants and such that kept a lid on political parties, strikers, Communists, drunks, and also antisemites.
  • LCVA f.378 a.10 b.158 is a 104-page file of police reports of antisemitic incidents in 1939-1940, which shows that Jews weren't shy to stand up for themselves and that the police and courts were sympathetic. At the Konrad Cafe in Kaunas, an antisemite Petras Spetyla mouthed off, and when he would not leave at the request of manager Sofija Remienė, the orchestra violinist Grigorijus Stupelis pushed him and called him an "idiot", which led to a commotion but no fighting. This was written up by a high-level officer, Jonas Dainauskas. (l.83) In Kaunas, young Lithuanian thieves picked on a Jewish man, who then pulled out his revolver, and fired a warning shot in the air (l.26,27). In Panevėžys, two Lithuanian drunks started a fight with Jews, one of whom pulled out his revolver and fired three warning shots.(l.57) Anonymous leaflets urged Lithuanian children not to sit next to Jews, and Lithuanian shoppers not to frequent Jewish stores, which shows that the opposite was normal. Lithuanian physics and chemistry students demanded a quota be placed on the number of Jews. (l.95) In the most serious incident, on June 18, 1939, Catholics after Mass sought shelter in Jewish stores when it started to rain; a Jewish owner and his son tried to push one disobedient Lithuanian out, but the window of the door broke and he injured his hand; he raised his bleeding hand and cried, "Look, the Jews cut it!"; in 20 minutes, some 38 suspects from the Feast day crowd of 5,000 smashed the windows of almost all of the Jewish homes, causing 3,084 litas of damage; police fired 31 shots in the air and subdued the crowd; the courts fined the 2 Jews and 18 Lithuanians from 50 to 1,000 litas. All of the town's stores had been Jewish up until 1938, when a Lithuanian cooperative opened. (l.28-29, 30-31, 33-37, 39-49) Overall, antisemitism was increasing, in part because of the influx of Jewish refugees from Klaipėda and Poland and the aid they were receiving. (l.89)
  • Jewish dominance in trade, industry and the professions went down gradually from about 90% in 1919 to about 50% in 1939, in part due to the rise of Lithuanian cooperatives, such as in the flax trade. As Lithuanian entrepreneurs made gains, they grew more boldly nationalistic and antisemitic. The weekly Verslas, published by the Lithuanian Trade Association, and Apžvalga, published by the Jewish Veterans of the War of Independence, were on opposite sides of this rather civil tension.
  • Lithuania's security police informant reported that Voldemarists were furious at Smetona's tautininkai party to learn that some officials had teamed up with Jewish investors to start a new business in the flax trade to compete with the government backed cooperative.
  • In Lithuania, even some of the most devoted perpetrators of the Holocaust had cordial relationships with Jews before the war. Voldemarist Jonas Pyragius was an antisemite, judging by his memoir, and yet he recounts that after he was imprisoned for his role in the unsuccessful 1934 coup against Smetona, the only people who visited him were two Jews, the engineer Ožinskis and I.Veisas came by to say goodbye and express condolences, for I had had official business with them as the Commandant of the airport and a board member of the Lithuanian Air Club. (Kovosiu kol gyvas, pg.72) Jonas Pyragius and other Voldemarist air force pilot enthusiasts were active in the Lithuanian Air Club magazine Lietuvos sparnai (Lithuania's wings), where Jewish businesses advertised up until the Soviets shut it down.

Protests by the embassies Memoir pgs.13-54. Documents 9-25, 28

Kazys Škirpa took the lead amongst Lithuania's ambassadors in protesting the Soviet-occupation and delaying Soviet take-over of his embassy. The Soviets sent Lithuanians to deal with Škirpa, but he engaged their shared patriotism, as in the case of Juozas Jurginis, whom he described as not a bad kid and patriotic-minded. Coincidentally, Jurginis became the Director of the Library of Lithuania's Academy of Sciences where portions of Škirpa's memoir ended up.

Read also:

  • The archive of Povilas Žadeikis, ambassador to Washington, includes file LCVA f.656 a.2 b.1239, with protest telegrams from the ambassadors as well as the interviews which pro-Soviet representative Andrius Bulota conducted with Lithuanian embassy personnel in Berlin.
  • That file includes two telegrams from Lithuanian diplomat Henrikas Rabinavičius, an adviser to Lithuania's embassy in London. In the first telegram, he informs the pro-Soviet prime minister Justinas Paleckis of his difficulties getting around Ambassador Bronius Kazys Balutis. Asked by Pranas Sveikauskas I suggest you review his appointment to viceconsul in Manchester held up by police intervention STOP I hold my duty to alert your and Kreve's attention Balutis remains a Smetona man hinders properly informing the government's positions his deportment could hurt our relationship with the Soviets STOP For understandable reasons I request you telegraph your response to my apartment Rabinavicius 33 Kensington Court London = Rabinavicius (l.48) In the second telegram, he states his loyalty to the Republic of Lithuania: Your 414 I am an opponent of the Smetonininkai Voldemarininkai clique STOP When Paleckis Kreve Galvanauskas took power I was sincerely loyal spread propaganda for them in England STOP I regret that they failed to maintain independence I send them condolences STOP I always was for honest good Lithuanian relations with the Soviets but as a sovereign state STOP I studied Stalin's system five years in Moscow I hold it tyrannical unsuitable and disastrous for Lithuania therefore I regret I cannot take over the embassy = Rabinavicius (l.49)
  • Nachmanas Rachmilevičius continued to serve the Republic of Lithuania as Consul in Tel Aviv, Palestine until his death in 1942. He was succeeded by Secretary Geršonas Valkauskas until Palestine revoked recognition of Lithuanian diplomats in February 1947.

Declaring Independence along with Ethnic Cleansing Memoir pgs. 55-61, 72-84 Documents 34, 46.

The very next day after he wrote to the ambassadors, on July 2, 1940, Kazys Škirpa invited Nazi strategist Peter Kleist to lunch. Kleist asked Škirpa how Lithuania might participate in the event of a Nazi-Soviet war. They met seven times that month to work on this. On July 13, Škirpa showed Kleist Document 34, a draft of a Lithuanian declaration of the establishment of a new government, appointed by Smetona and led by Škirpa, to save Lithuania from becoming part of the Soviet Union. It included a call for ethnic cleansing of Jews from Lithuania because of their "abuse of hospitality", a concept developed in later documents.

Besides, the Lithuanian nation will be cleaned of the foreign race which for centuries selfishly sucked a Lithuanian's sweat and the fruit of the labor of his callused hands, and now as always in past times of oppression ever and ever betrayed Lithuania. The way in which Jews paid the Lithuanian nation back for its hospitality and humanity, each and every one could sufficiently see for themselves during the most recent occupation by the Russian Red Army. That which these leeches of Christian nations tore out of from the Lithuanian nation in past times must, for the general welfare of the Lithuanian nation, be returned by way of legislation to the Lithuanian nation, especially its most impoverished strata, those most abused by Judah.

This is followed by a call for volunteers to rise up and take action: Let us clean our Parentland from degenerates and Jews, who together with the occupier have strangled our country!

Peter Kleist and his colleague Georg Leibbrandt were creators of plans to remove millions of Slavs to make way for Aryans. In 1942, they participated in the Wansee conference on the Final Solution to kill off Europe's Jews. However, at the time their focus was on the upcoming war. It seems that Škirpa took the initiative in suggesting ethnic cleansing.

We kept to the tactic of not waiting for the Germans to ask for something but rather to take initiative on our own so as to establish the matter of Lithuania in the way that suited ourselves, leaving to our partner the role of suggesting amendments from their behalf... (Memoir pg.79)

Škirpa doesn't write explicitly why he proposed ethnic cleansing, but his train of thought can be inferred by extending his reasoning on pgs.55-61. He wanted to fit into Hitler's New Europe with a New Lithuania. He evidently realized that the Jews could have no future in this arrangement. The most convenient way to get rid of Lithuania's Jews would be to have them flee with the retreating Soviet army. Furthermore, Jews could be blamed as a concrete enemy against which the dormant Lithuanians could be incited to rise up and fight.

Document 46 is a later version of Document 34, submitted on April 18, 1941 to Foreign Minister Ribbentrop's office (Dienststelle von Ribbentrop) and on April 19, 1941 to the German Military High Command (OKW) which also mentions the need for ethnic cleansing.

Read also:

  • Leonas Prapuolenis of LAF declared Lithuania's independence on June 23, 1941 at 9:28 AM over the radio in Kaunas. See Excerpts.
  • The inaugural issue of Į Laisvę (Towards Freedom) on June 24, 1941 includes the text of this declaration, entitled "Atstatoma Laisva Lietuva", as well as Prapuolenis's proclamation "Viskas Lietuvai" (Everything for Lithuania).
  • Radio technician Balys Gražulis recorded a phonograph that preserved the original broadcast. The transcript was published in the February, 1994 issue of Akiraciai.
  • Simonas Alperavičius claimed in 2012 that the broadcast of the restoration of independence was followed by the LAF proclamation "Lithuanian brothers and sisters!!! The fateful hour has come for the final reckoning with the Jews." However, he did not provide any references nor name any witnesses, and his particular claim is evidently incorrect. The text he provides appears in the Soviet collection of documents, Masinės žudynės Lietuvoje (1941-1944) (Mass killings in Lithuania), Volume I, 1965, pgs.50-51. The editors cite the file CVA f.1398, a.1, b.1, l.102-104, which now consists of Part III of Škirpa's memoir and 17 documents, but currently does not include the cited text. Indeed, that text is not a self-standing document, but rather the tail end of Document 64, "Amžiams išvaduokim Lietuvą - nuo žydijos jungo" (Let us Liberate Lithuania for the Ages from the Jewish Yoke), from which we see that the Soviets cited only parts of it. Thus Alperavičius's ultimate source was this book, as we see in that it is missing point Nr.4 about the distribution of Jewish property. The book makes no mention of any radio broadcast. See Excerpts.
  • Aleksandras Slavinas, former NKVD Counterintelligence Chief in Lithuania, described Škirpa's meetings with Kleist and Leibbrandt in his June 25, 1993 article for Die Zeit, Der inszenierte Aufstand (The staged uprising). He claimed that Leonas Prapuolenis announced on that morning, "Lithuania must clean itself of Jews. From this minute the life of a Jew has no value."
  • On March 3, 1941, in his letter to Edvardas Turauskas, Petras Klimas offered to write the Declaration of Independence and the LAF program.
  • The inaugural issue of Į Laisvę includes an incendiary editorial Priespaudą Numetant. It urges compassion for Lithuanian hirelings who served Russian bolshevism. They are subhumans worthy of pity, who were fooled and disappointed. Whereas Bolshevism and Jews are one and the same inseparable thing. Unfortunately, this issue was distributed in Vilijampolė during the pogrom. The editorial is of a very general nature, with a mention of independence only at the very end, and thus seems to have been written before the war and outside of Lithuania. It was signed K.P. Could this be Petras Klimas? Vilma Bukaitė, an expert on Klimas, asserts that his style is not recognizable.
  • Juozas Ambrazevičius, Zenonas Ivinskis and Juozas Girnius are credited with editing the inaugural, uncensored issue of Į Laisvę. For the history of the original Į Laisvę, read the June, 1955 (Zenonas Ivinskis), July, 1955 (Pilypas Narutis), August 1955 (Antanas Mažiulis), July, 1961 (Kazys As.) issues of the post-war Į Laisvę, and especially, the September 26, 1981 issue of Draugas by the pseudonymic N.Būtautas (page 1, page 2, page 3, page 4).
  • The next issue of Į Laisvę on June 25, 1941 has a declaration from the Provisional Government. There is an appreciation for Hitler's mission of destroying the barbaric, anticultural, antihuman deluge, which has drowned 200 million people in poverty. As Sužiedėlis noted in 1991, Brazaitis-Ambrazevicius kept that particular paragraph out of his memoir Vienų Vieni. However, the declaration makes no mention of Jews, directly nor otherwise.
  • Škirpa's 1973 memoir Sukilimas recalls his meetings with Kleist and Leibbrandt.
  • After the war Peter Kleist was active in the neo-Nazi press. He published "Zwischen Hitler und Stalin 1939-1945" (Between Hitler and Stalin) in 1950.

Activists Memoir pg.44, 79, 83, 96-97, 113-114 Documents 26-27, 35, 47.

On July 22, 1940, in his seventh and last meeting with Kleist for some time, Škirpa presented Kleist with Documennt 35, the draft of a proclamation to Lithuanian activists that they support a new Lithuanian government led by Škirpa. In his memoir, Škirpa gives the reason for organizing the Lithuanian Activist Front:

The New Government would have based itself not on any one party or coalition of parties, but on all of the active powers of the Lithuanian nation, which even then K.Škirpa had foreseen to gather together into a common Lithuanian Activist Front, led by a unified will. That was required not only for the swift political consolidation of our nation, but also to form and maintain relations with National Socialist Germany, as all of our former political parties, having blown the horn of neutrality along with our country's previous regime and thus accompanied Lithuania's state to its catastrophe, did not suit the said purpose and having remained would have but needleesly poked sticks in the spokes of Lithuania's restoration. (page 79)

The proclamation is signed by the Activist Front Senior Leadership. It includes the first mention of the Lithuanian Activist Front, which, however, to our society known not as of today. It appeared every time that past rulers of Lithuania made evident their inability to manage the affairs of nation and state, thus placing Lithuania's independence in internal or external danger. Past mistakes will not be repeated. The so-called national regime and the indolent democracy had disappointed Lithuania. The New Lithuania will be built on the foundations of National Socialism. Lithuanian are urged to organize into secret cells of assailants ("smogikai"). We do not wait for instructions from above. In the current circumstances, when activist leaders are extensively kept under surveillance, arrested and even held in prisons by their enemies, instructions from above may not come. Thus each must independently take initiative. The senior leadership will appoint leaders of groups larger than battalions and provide general instructions. There is no mention of Jews or ethnic cleansing. The proclamation introduces:

  • Our oath - the unceasing battle against Communism and the Russian occupiers, loyalty unto death to the Lithuanian Activist Front, and everything to restore our Parentland's freedom and independence.
  • Our symbol - an enameled national tricolor triangle, pushed out, with membership number on the reverse.
  • Our greeting - raising the right hand and saying the word "Fight!" (Kovok!).

These flourishes were never taken up in Lithuania although they were dear to Škirpa and define his particular fascist sensitivities. He named his memoir "Fight! Efforts to Rescue Lithuania" (Kovok! Pastangos gelbėti Lietuvą). The greeting appears in a few letters amongst the ambassadors.

On August 14, 1940, in his farewell address at the Berlin embassy, Škirpa looked forward to his staff fighting united under the battle flag of a New Lithuania, and concluded with the greeting "Kovok!!!"

  • Škirpa:
    • Meaning of "Activists".
    • Distinction between volunteers (savanoriai) and army vetted by party.

Read also:

  • Kazys Škirpa championed a grassroots approach to rebellion that was in sharp contrast to the strict way the Voldemarists vetted their members.

Škirpa and Smetona

  • Kleist urged Škirpa not to show the Declaration to Smetona. (page 81) Smetona's comments...

Read also:

  • Smetona's notes including on Skirpa.

German web

  • Kleist and Graefe connection regarding Smetona 84 (already known)
  • Kleist also discouraged from meeting with Gerulis. Although Pyragius notes a meeting with Gerulis which led to the contact with OKW.
  • Who duped whom...

Funding and Ambassadors Memoir pgs.61-72 Documents 29-32,65

Škirpa's efforts to get funding. His independence from the Germans.

  • Letter to Žadeikis
  • Ambassadors' letters
  • Rabinavičius and the ambassadors

71) Letter to Šimutis

  • Ambassadors' letters, especially Turauskas

Lack of Democracy, Unity

66-69, 89-93) Dealing with traitors

In his memoir, Škirpa argues that political parties by their nature foster disunity and weaken the authority of the government. (page 109) He saw his own role as bringing together

  • Škirpa:
    • 123 ryžosi naudoti Graebe pasiūlymu tiktai po to kai subūrė LAF
  • Compare with: Yla's letter, Raštikis, Dirmeikis
  • Compare with: "Geležinis vilkas" proposed list of ministers. From: LKP 3377-55-38.
  • Brunius's account
  • Prapuolenis on the coup, parts I and II
  • Ivinskis on Kurmies
  • Blynas

36, 72) Lietuvos Tautinis Komitetas

  • Protocols in Turauskas

33) Lozoraitis and Škirpa's statement to the German Foreign Ministry.

  • Note Lozoraitis visit, involvement by ambassadors

Ethnic Cleansing Leafets

38-64) LAF documents

  • 38-42) Platform, program, by-laws, foundation
  • 44, 58, 62) Instructions for Liberation
  • 46-56) Leaflets
  • 45, 57) Foreign ministry, Occupation plans
  • 53, 64, 70) Brochures - anti-semitic or not
  • 59, 60, 61) Lithuanian Legion, TDA
  • 63) Oath
  • Show posters (Naujokaitis) and leaflets he carried.
  • Garbačiauskas's letters

Read also:

  • Skirpa's letters to Lozoraitis - uprising conditional on agreement to declare independence 1941.02.25, also rabbi letter

LAF Program

Kazys Škirpa's handwriting.


37) Voldemarininkai letter - emphasize Graefe Compare with Germantas pogroms, Yla, Povilaitis, Narutis, Bronius Ausrotas, Zenonas Blynas, Petraitis?

  • Gerulis not being included 78
  • Aušrotas

Putting in context. 4 conspiracies

  • Meskauskas-Germantas
  • Voldemarininkai, LNP
    • Narutis and the proposal for a pogrom
    • Distinguishing between LAF Berlin, LAF Kaunas, LAF Vilnius

73, 76) German treaties, interviews,

74, 75, 77-79, 83-88, 94-95, 98) Škirpa to German leadership. As far as I can tell, there is no mention of Jews!

80-82) Declaration of Government

  • Compare lists of governments from Škirpa, Kaunas and Nacionalistai

96-97, 99-101) Letters to Ambrazevicius. Review of the situation in Lithuania (in German as well). Practically no mention of Jews!

102-107) Pages 254-262. Efforts on behalf of Leonas Prapuolenis.

108-110) Pages 262-266. Pages Škirpa's return to politics (June 1942) and to Berlin (July 1942).

  • Turauskas in his letter to Skirpa on 1943, asks him to stop talking to the Nazi Germans, as they are just using him to figure out how best to manipulate Lithuanians.

Conclusion. Pages 267-269.

Škirpa first urges ethnic cleansing in his "Proclamation to the Lithuanian Nation" (Atsišaukimas į Lietuvių Tautą) which he presented to Nazi party analyst Peter Kleist. It is a declaration of the establishment of a government led by Škirpa and appointed by Smetona, which was to restore the Lithuanian state on the basis of National Socialism within the New Europe led by Germany. Here is the final version of July 15, 1940, which reflects Kleist's recommendations that Škirpa tone down the Nazi language and stress Lithuania's economic and cultural orientation to Germany and the New Europe.

[Three page proclamation]

Besides, the Lithuanian nation will be cleaned of the foreign race which for centuries selfishly sucked a Lithuanian's sweat and the fruit of the labor of his callused hands, and now as always in past times of oppression ever and ever betrayed Lithuania. The way in which Jews paid the Lithuanian nation back for its hospitality and humanity, each and every one could sufficiently see for themselves during the most recent occupation by the Russian Red Army. That which these leeches of Christian nations tore out of from the Lithuanian nation in past times must, for the general welfare of the Lithuanian nation, be returned by way of legislation to the Lithuanian nation, especially its most impoverished strata, those most abused by Judah.

[page 79]

At a meeting with Kleist on July 9 or 13, 1940, Škirpa proposed that, at the start of the war, German planes drop leaflets directed to Lithuanian activists, youth, farmers and workers that they rise up against the Soviet occupier. Škirpa developed this idea further and it became a key part of his "Proposal for the Liberation of Lithuania" (Vorschlag zur Befreiung Litauens) which he submitted on January 25, 1941 by way of Abwehr intelligence officer Kurt Graebe to the highest levels of the OKW, the Germany army high command.

The anti-semitic sections:

III. b) The preparation of public opinion

Purpose: Taking advantage of the current difficult situation of the population in Lithuania and the hostile attitude of the Lithuanian people to the Russian occupiers, Communism and Jews, to maintain and strengthen their hope for recovery of freedom and national independence, and to make them mentally mature for the taking up of arms.

Executive body: A special commission consisting of the most reliable, gifted Lithuanian journalists.

Means: Secret papers, calls to action, posters etc for distribution in Lithuania; propaganda brochures; incitement by illegal radio transmitters; dissemination of provocative rumors against the current Soviet regime by means of secret agents in the Lithuanian population; sabotage, damage and other acts of disorganization in the country.

IV. b) The uprising

Date: The moment for an uprising is chosen so that the beginning of the revolt coincides with the border crossing of the German troops.

Inciting of the uprising:

  • 1. By secret agents who, shortly before the German advance, deliver the signal to revolt to the main leaders of the uprising in Lithuania in the form of a secret password;
  • 2. By sending parachuters with the latest instructions at the moment that the German troops cross the border;
  • 3. Through proclamations, namely:

a) through the dropping from aircraft of the proclamation from the newly formed Lithuanian government to the entire Lithuanian population, with the imprint of the original signatures of all of the members of the government b) the en masse distribution by airplanes in the whole country of special appeals from the Supreme Command of the Lithuanian Activists movement to all levels and organizations of the people, and against the Communists, Jews, and the Russian army. The list of audiences is here at (see Annex II).

Škirpa's proposal lets the OKW know that Lithuania intends to have its own government, but doesn't make explicit that the government's signed proclamation will call for the ethnic cleansing of all Jews from Lithuania.

[page 161 - Annex II]

Škirpa did indeed organize a commission of gifted journalists led by Bronys Raila with help from Tomas Bronius Dirmeikis, Vytautas Alantas and Antanas Valiukėnas, who had worked as editors or journalists for newspapers (Lietuvos Aidas) and magazines (Vairas) aligned with Smetona's ruling party, the Tautininkai. They ended up writing 10 of the 17 targeted leaflets proposed in Annex II. Of these,

  • 4 explicitly urge ethnic cleansing (leaflets for activists, workers, Communists and Jews),
  • 5 are simply anti-semitic (leaflets for freedom fighters, cultural creatives, farmers, mothers, Red Army),
  • and only 1 does not mention Jews at all (leaflet for the youth).

[pages 128-129]

As for the numerous proclamations envisaged in the plan, they were prepared over time and submitted to the interested German institutions (in Lithuanian and German). The following draft proclamations were actually produced and submitted... [Submission dates range from April 18, 1941 to May 12, 1941.]

The above mentioned proclamations were not run-of-the-mill incendiary leaflets. They had programmatic significance and quite a bit of energy and deeper thought was put into their preparation. They supplement and clarify the LAF program and are worthy of greater attention. Regrettably, it was not possible to use them during the uprising in Lithuania, that is, to publish them then. That could not be done because they were prepared for that turn of events whereby the Lithuanian government would have been formed in Berlin, as had been planned and expected.

Three of the leaflets are

Į lietuvių tautą (ministrai) - EC

Į lietuvius aktyvistus (Škirpa) - EC

Į Lietuvos laisvės kovotojus (Škirpa pirmas savanoris) - anti-semitic - directed against Red Army

Žodis jaunajai Lietuvai - no mention - chase out the occupier

Žodis kultūros kūrėjams - anti-semitic

Atsišaukimas į Lietuvos maitintojus - anti-semitic - removal of Jews from government and enterprises

Žodis į Lietuvos gerbūvio kūrėjus (darbininkus) - EC

Moterų šaukimas į tautą - anti-semitic

Raginimas tautos paklydėliams susiprasti - EC

Svetingumo atšaukimas žydams - EC - most explicit

Vozzvanije k krasnoj armii v litvie - anti-semitic

[page 168 - personal]

[page 96-97]

Škirpa got help from Kleist to get in contact with President Smetona. On August 19, 1940, Škirpa had the first of many meetings with Smetona.

Škirpa's chilling empathy for Lithuania's Jews is apparent in the report which he wrote to his fellow ambassadors on July 1, 1940. He had just risked a two-day journey to Kaunas as requested by Soviet-occupied Lithuania's foreign minister Vincas Krėvė-Mickevičius.

The only ones who still feel not too bad are the Jews. That amongst them there were and have now arisen very many Communists is understandable enough. But aside from that, being in fear of the Reich, many Jews who essentially might not be of a Communist point of view choose better to side with Soviet Russia and give in to Communism.

The very next day Škirpa invited over for lunch the Nazi party "clockspring" Peter Kleist. Kleist happened to be writing an analysis of scenarios should Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union go to war. That same evening Škirpa phoned Lozoraitis, Lithuania's senior ambassador, who flew from Switzerland to Berlin on July 4. They worked out the following letter to Germany's Foreign Ministry which Škirpa submitted to Kleist. In the name of Lithuania, the ambassadors 1) protested the Soviet Union's aggression, 2) declared that Lithuania no longer considers itself bound by the October 10, 1939 treaty with the Soviet Union on mutual assistance, and 3) requested that Germany help free Lithuania from Russian occupation and restore Lithuania's independence.


Škirpa met with Kleist for a seventh time that month on July 22. Škirpa shared the following proclamation on behalf of the leadership of the Lithuanian Activist Front, "ever present throughout history". It does not mention Jews at all. But it does spell out a New Lithuania based on National Socialism and invites volunteers to form a network of "strikers" (smogikai). It introduces the LAF righthanded salute "Fight!" (Kovok!), the LAF triangular tricolor emblem with membership number and the LAF oath:

neverending fight against Communism and Russian occupiers, loyalty unto death to the Lithuanian Activist Front and everything to regain our Parentland's freedom and independence

None of this symbolism was ever used in Lithuania. However, it was most prominent in Škirpa's farewell address on August 14, 1940 at the closing of Lithuania's embassy in Berlin.

I would be even happier if very soon I might see you united under the battle flag upon which will be written "New Lithuania". ... Our motto is Fight!!! Long live New Lithuania and the free Lithuanian Nation! (Doc.26, pg.104)

Škirpa's embassy team agreed that he distribute the embassy's funds to them in the form of advances, and they in turn would contribute 30%-50% to the Lithuanian Restoration Fund. This raised 23,405 marks.

By refusing to take money from the Germans, K.Škirpa preserved his freedom of action: he could strive for the ideal of Lithuanian Independence, and categorically resist when, after the nation's uprising occurred and succeeded, he was pressured to give up said ideal. (pg.72)

[Page 139]

However, his embassy team disappointed him. They refused to do work for Škirpa on the rebellion in return for their advances. At a meeting on November 3, 1940, they explained that the embassy no longer existed. They considered Škirpa "first among equals" but they felt that a broader, democratic committee should be formed which included emigre leaders in Berlin, making decisions collectively, by majority vote. Škirpa felt this would degrade his standing as a legimitate representative of the Republic of Lithuania.

The LAF Articles of Association show the role that Škirpa wished to play. (Doc.42, pg.144-145)

§ 3. At the forefront of the entire Lithuanian Activist Movement stands the Supreme Leader of the Lithuanian Activist Front. Aiming to implement the ideals and tasks of the Lithuanian Activist Movement, he leads and makes use of all of the forces of the Lithuanian Activist Front at his sole discretion. His commands and instructions are obligatory to all Lithuanian Activist Front members and must be executed strictly.

§ 4. The First Supreme Leader of the Lithuanian Activist Front is to be held that son of our nation who by his work and personal sacrifice has fatefully affected Lithuania's resurrection for a new life of independent statehood. The manifestation of such an individual is to be decided by the first Great Congress of the Lithuanian Activist Front. If no such individual should appear, then the Supreme Leader of the Lithuanian Activist Front is chosen by the Great Congress of the Lithuanian Activist Front by majority vote.


blame: 92 - Škirpa disappointed - political parties - president Smetona - armies

Škirpa's 1942 memoir provides the backstory for each of his documents including details which he left out of his 1973 memoir. He explains of the document above:

It clearly shows in what direction it was desired to turn. The political movement being newly created was not, in the mind of its creator, in any way a continuation of the "Activist Movement" which had existed in Klaipėda. The latter was an ordinary grouping of opposition parties for shared activity against the ruling regime of our country at that time, without any ideological platform of its own. The "Activist Front" which was being newly created was of a general nature: it based itself not on parties but on all of the more active elements of our nation led by a unified will. In its essence it was directed not only to restore Lithuania but also against political parties. (pg.107)

[Document page 114]

Škirpa explains why he shared his intentions with the Nazi Germans to organize the LAF inaugural meeting on November 17, 1940.

Because the embryo of this movement was fated to arise in Berlin, then like it or not, one had to get approval from the German institutions. Without that it would be risky to organize anything, and all the more so impossible to establish ties with occupied Lithuania. Thus the initiative to go into contact with the German institutions came not from the Germans, but from K.Škirpa, as the creator of LAF and its prime mover. (Pg.114)

In Kaunas, the same name "Lithuanian Activist Front" arose independently. Leonardas Prapuolenis claimed that the first meeting of LAF took place in Kaunas on October 9, 1940. Pilypas Narutis led the first underground meeting of student fraternities in Kaunas in late August, 1940. He explains:

Although there was not a direct connection between the organizations LAS [the Anti-Smetona Lithuanian Activist Movement] and LAF, however in Lithuania the label "activist" was already known and the psychological mood in society became suitable to accept the name LAF, because that name was not foreign to it, but at least the two words "Lithuanian Activist..." reminded it of the previously existing organization. ... To Lithuania, this name, one of resistance to dictatorship, was known to society. ... We spoke with Bronius Stasiukaitis and had some doubts as to whether [Smetona's party] the Tautininkai would join LAF because of these "activist" connotations. Bronius said that he had talked it through with Jurgis Valiulis, who had said, that the added word "Front" fixed the taste of it. But it can be believed that when the Lithuanian Activist Front introduced the Provisional Government, it could have reminded Smetona of the [Anti-Smetona Lithuanian party] "Axis", made him react with a contrary attitude, so that he remarked: "The uprising, it seems, was inspired by Germany." (Narutis, pg.150)

The word "activist" was, I think, originally introduced by the Lithuanian fascist Voldemarininkai to distinguish the "active" Voldemaras from the "passive" Smetona. In late 1938, the Axis alliance of the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats had been expanded to include the Voldemarininkai and create the underground Lithuanian Activist Movement (Lietuvos aktyvistų sąjūdis). The movement was based in Klaipėda because the port city had, paradoxically, become a bastion of freedom for the anti-Smetona movement, as well as an incubator of anti-semitism. In 1935, in the Neumann-Sass trial, Lithuania had sentenced 87 individuals to prison for crimes related to attempting to take over Klaipėda on behalf of Nazi Germany. Jewish leader Jokūbas Robinzonas had led the prosecution. Sadly, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Japan sided with Nazi Germany to pressure Lithuania to back down. Lithuania gradually lost control of Klaipėda to the local Nazis and lost it entirely after Hitler's ultimatum on March 23, 1939.

Smetona responded by coopting the Christian Democrats and Social Democrats into a unity government which persisted in his politics of neutrality, refusing the opportunity (offered by Kleist to Škirpa!) to take back Polish-occupied Vilnius when Nazi Germany invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, and instead accepting thousands of refugees, Polish and Jewish. The Voldemarininkai saw Škirpa as their opportunity, as can be seen by their letter to him from the Gleisgarben refugee camp on August 23, 1940.

This letter marks a key moment in the history of the Holocaust in Lithuania. In his 1973 memoir, Škirpa notes his disapproval of its resolve to completely serve Hitler's will in the "fight against bolshevism" with no regard for the restoration of Lithuania's sovereignty. In my research, working backwards from the Voldemarininkai's leadership in organizing the Holocaust in Lithuania, I was certain that the original text of the letter would state explicitly that it was a fight against "Jewish bolshevism". In fact, the letter contains no references to Jews at all. However, it makes clear that the Voldemarininkai worked as a faction.

...Knowing your stand and your campaigns of recent years as well as your efforts to rescue the Lithuanian nation with corresponding political activity, we, the so-called Voldemarininkai, hold you to be the only person who can take on these duties. ... With one ear we have heard about some people's attempts to show activity in leading the Lithuanian emigre. We will always be against the likes of Smetona, Karvelis, Turauskas or whoever they may be. ... Most of the "security police" are happy to have escaped with their hides and are competing with each other in demeaning the former regime. ... The most active among the emigre will no doubt be the Christians. Their efforts even now direct themselves towards America's Lithuanians. Knowing that amongst them are valuable and able people, we will have to work together with them, eliminating them from leadership wherever possible. ... Upon arrival at Eitkūnai and encouraged by a couple of acquaintances, I took initiative to write a few thoughts about organizing Lithuanian refugees and about the role of Lithuanian Americans in the upcoming battle with Bolshevism. These writings went to Tilžė to the Regierungsrat Dr.Graefe. I send you copies for your information. ...

Every Lithuanian admired the statements of the statesmen of the great democracies that, having won the war, all states will be reestablished, and so Lithuania will be reestablished as well, having in its time become a victim of the enemy of democracy. But on the other hand, it was obvious to everybody that the ultimate hour of liberation is yet far away and therefore the Lithuanian nation is threatened by a great danger to forego much and to lose much before that hour of liberation arrives. It was that much harder to submit to a tactic of waiting when the Lithuanian nation was not only being torn down to its foundations, but there was an effort to completely destroy it, that is, it was threatened with complete destruction. Thus it was impossible to wait for that brighter life which both England and the United States of America had promised to the enslaved nations of Europe. The basic sense of self-preservation forced the Lithuanian nation to take such means of salvation which did not seem popular in the eyes of the great democracies. But the Lithuanian nation was forced to take these means simply because they were at hand and their application to the future of the Lithuanian nation was not a question of tomorrow, but of today. ... Therefore it was completely natural that the hopes of all Lithuanians turned to the nearest neighbor, Germany. These hopes were not strenghtened by any kind of sympathy to the German National Socialist regime or to Germany itself. It was rather the conclusion of desperation, a desperation into which the Russian red terror had pushed aside the entire Lithuanian nation. (Document 100)

The red police was disarmed and the Communist party was liquidated, which, incidentally, had been able to recruit only 2,500 members in the entire country, of whom 80% were not of Lithuanian nationality. (Document 100)

In several places in Lithuania the retreating Russian army without any justification murdered hundreds and thousands of Lithuanian residents, especially political prisoners. (Document 100)

Having in mind that the Lithuanian nation, in suffering the unimaginable Bolshevik terror, was forced to place its best hopes firstmost towards Germany, and on the other hand, having in mind, that there took place a general uprising of the nation, which cast aside the Bolshevik system and declared the restoration of independent Lithuania, making use of the Germans' military crusade against Russia, the Reich had extraordinarily good conditions in Lithuania to integrate Lithuania into its so-called New Europe, which Germany was creating, with the free assent of the entire nation and to use the solution of Lithuania's problem for the purposes of its own political propaganda. However, the imperialist endeavors of the National Socialist regime, evidently, overwhelmed common sense and elementary logic. In disregarding the fact of the restoration of Lithuania's state, the Reich has once more shown to the whole world that not only in Europe's West, but also in the space of the East it is not able to create anything constructive, but merely attempts to annihilate and suppress everything. Lithuania in this regard is its freshest victim. After Lithuania it is doubtful that any nation of Europe will be able to believe in the New Europe which Germany is promoting. (Document 100)

Noone in Lithuania regrets the uprising which took place, for thus was reestablished Lithuania's historical honor, was demonstrated the Lithuanian nation's inexhaustible energy and was restored confidence in ourselves and our power. The more severe the new occupation will be, the more that power and that energy will mature for a new resolve for freedom and the ideal of an independent Lithuania, for which the Lithuanian nation will not cease to fight until it becomes a reality of life. (Document 100)

The author of the letter (Škirpa presumed it was Pyragius) also

They do not appear in his first document to Kleist, nor in the description of the LAF.Ōshima

And yet in document after document to a wide variety of audiences he includes the same messages - that this was the time to get rid of the Jews - that it would be beneficial - although they should stop short of killing them.

  • Speech to LAF
  • LAF program
  • Šimutis
  • Strategy to Graebe
  • Instructions to liberate Lithuania - secret from the Germans

He had clearly made this strategic decision. Why? It was not that he needed somebody to blame. He lays blame on the Smetona regime, the army, political parties, the politics of neutrality, the many individuals who disappointed him, and Lithuanians as a whole. Here is his account of the Lithuanians who came to Germany as part of the repatriation of Lithuania's Germans:

I see the following thread in his thinking. Škirpa was convinced that the Lithuanian people could not survive without an independent state. (History proved him wrong!) The politics of neutrality was pointless after the Munich agreement in 1938. Britain, France and the US were too distant to assure Lithuania's independence. (History proved him right on that.) Lithuania had to ally itself with a major power. The choice was between Catholic Poland, the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany. The only real hope for independence was with Nazi Germany. (Poland was no more, and the Soviet Union had annexed Lithuania). He thus took very seriously the prospect of a New Lithuania within Hitler's New Europe. At the time, it was not clear what this meant, except that Lithuania would have to find its place among the nations. Well, the unspoken link in this logic is that the Jews were not going to have any place among the nations. It was going to be a united Europe without Jews. (Much as we have today.) Lithuanians thus needed to "grow spiritually" so they would fit in the New Europe. This would explain why Škirpa's very first draft proclamation includes a Minister of Ethnically National Upbringing and Propaganda.

People around Škirpa - including Kleist, Leibbrandt, Graefe

Škirpa's use of "New Lithuania" in the embassy closing.

Contrast with this episode from Narutis...

President Smetona's autocratic regime had fostered various undergrounds, among them the Communists, the fascist Voldemarists, who he had regularly imprisoned for their coup attempts, and the Catholic youth "Futurists" (Ateitininkai), who he had persecuted rather more gently. In Kaunas, LAF centered around students such as Pilypas Žukauskas, who led the Ateitininkai Student Union and also the Student Coalition, which included the Jewish fraternity. The Student Coalition made use of the academic freedom at Vytautas Magnus University to informally unite all fraternities not affiliated with President Smetona's ruling party, the Tautininkai.

To meto universitetuose veikė studentų korporacijos, jų buvo 15 ar 16, o gal net 17. Mes visas korporacijas suvienijome į koaliciją. Dar sovietai nebuvo įžengę į Lietuvą, bet vietiniai žydeliai jau mus įspėjo apie gresiantį pavojų. Toks žydelis Ušakovas sako: „Ui, jus gali areštuoti“. Jau kitą dieną pasiėmęs portfelį išeinu iš buto ir pamatau ateinančius aštuonis ginkluotus vyrus. Jiems vadovavęs politrukas manęs paklausė, ar čia gyvena Žukauskas. Patvirtinau, kad tikrai taip, gyvena, antai jo bute šviesos įjungtos. Tas šviesas tyčia buvau palikęs įjungtas. Politrukas aštuonis kareivius sustatė aplink namą, o pats su keliais civiliais žengė į namo vidų. Aš išėjau, bet toli eiti nesiryžau, baimindamasis, kad kareiviai gali suprasti, kad buvo apgauti, ir puls vytis. Miškelyje augo didelis krūmas su tankiomis šakomis. Įlindau į tą krūmą ir stebėjau, kas vyko toliau. Taip tame krūme pratūnojau ištisą parą ir mačiau, kad neprašyti svečiai laukia manęs mano paties bute. Father Juozas? Although LAF Kaunas was guilty of Kaunas VII.

Škirpa thought that the uprising would be an opportunity to motivate Lithuanians by equate bolshevism with Jews and to incite the Lithuanians. This is the heart of the plan that he offered to Graebe.

However, Vilnius envoy Naujokaitis pushed back. It is clear that pushback from those in Lithuania. Afterwards he makes no more reference to Jews. There is none, for example, in his letters to Ambrazevičius on ...

However, the memoir shows that just as Škirpa was abandoning his strategy of ethnic cleansing, the Voldemarininkai were secretly working around him. There were several reasons for the split:

  • Škirpa - independence
  • ethnic cleansing vs. genocide
  • volunteers vs. selected
  • Catholics




Škirpa on who duped whom.

The History of the Documents

Aside from ambassador Balutis's copy, which I share, there is another complete copy of Škirpa's memoir and documents at the Albertas Gerutis archive at Vilnius University. Gerutis was First Secretary at Lithuania's embassy in Switzerland. Both of these copies came to Lithuania only after we regained our independence. However, the Soviets also had parts of one or more copies, and copies of those copies, which are scattered about the Lithuanian Central State Archive, the Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences, and the Lithuanian Communist Party reading room of the Lithuanian Special Archives.

Kazys Škirpa certainly relied on his own copy when he wrote his 1973 memoirs. But where is it now? His papers may well include additional correspondence from that time, which could shed light on the origins of the Holocaust in Lithuania. In his 1943 memoir, he includes an excerpt from his letter to Klemensas Brunius. The letter which he shares from the Voldemarininkai, presumably written by Pyragius, mentions that it was accompanied by copies of two letters to Graefe.

Alfred Erich Senn cites the Gerutis copy at Vilnius University (VUB f.155-310) in his book "Lithuania 1940: Revolution from Above", 2007. The file includes a galley proof of Skirpa's brochure „Iš bolševikinės vergijos į naują Lietuvą“ with corrections presumably made by Gerutis. The reader sign-in sheet was signed by historians Sigitas Jegelevičius, Aldona Vasiliauskienė and Mečislovas Treinys, all in the year 2000. Mečislovas Treinys cites documents 43 and 49 in his biography of Škirpa's personal secretary Antanas Valiukėnas, „Gyvenimas – meteoro skrydis“.

Where is Škirpa's copy? The American Lithuanian Cultural Archives (ALKA) in Putnam, Connecticut, USA, includes a Kazys Škirpa archive in 23 boxes.

too busy to check... until maybe December or January

[Kulturos Barai photograph of Skirpa's boxes]

Vidmantas Valiušaitis spent a month and a half at the archive. He writes in the September, 2015 issue of Kultūros barai:

I was the first person from Lithuania to be interested in the content of Škirpa's archive. I was honestly surprised: his name is tossed about, controversies are raised, the individual is judged based on secondary sources, but there is no rush to take a look at his very own testimony. […]

I did not happen to read any anti-semitic pronouncements of his, neither in his public writings, nor in his private letters.

It seems that Škirpa's copy of his 1943 memoirs is not to be found at ALKA. I have spoken with ALKA director Mirga Girniuviene to ask if she might check at ALKA and consider where else they might be.

Mažvydas National Library has a few items available in its Rare Books and Manuscripts reading room, notably his memoirs from Lithuania's War of Independence. The Library also has the „temporary“ archive F-187, a collection of 8 boxes of photocopies of Škirpa's papers, which had not been touched since they arrived from the US in 1995. Jolita Steponaitienė, Director of the Information Resources Development Center, kindly allowed me to examine the contents. She also helped me get in touch with Juozas Tumelis, who as the Head of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department had arranged for the copies to be made and sent.

Juozas Tumelis, now retired in Vilnius, explained that in 1995 he had traveled to New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, but not to Putnam. He met with friends of his father-in-law, Petras Juodelis, who had been a gifted literary figure, first neoromantic, then left-wing, and tormented by the Nazis for several months in Lukiškiai prison, and by the Soviets for ten years in a concentration camp in Vorkuta. Indeed, Juodelis had known Škirpa before the war. (See this article on Petras Juodelis at Aidai). A friend of both collected and sent the copies. Tumelis notes that at the time he heard from Lithuanian Americans that more than one person from the newly independent Lithuania had come looking for Škirpa's original papers, purportedly to bring them back to Lithuania, but also, it was said, to destroy those which might endanger their reputations. Tumelis encouraged me that it was very good that Škirpa's memoir and documents would now be available.

On the whole, these papers seem to be from the Putnam archive, although Tumelis noted that they may also be from other sources. They include copies of Škirpa's old passports and visas, a rare photo of Lithuania's Provisional Government, and a memoir, The Fate of My Family (Mano šeimos likimas), which describes how his wife Bronė made snacks for LAF activists who holed up at their apartment, how their subsequent Berlin apartment was obliterated in a bombing raid in 1943, and how Bronė helped her husband when he was interned by the Germans in 1944. There is also Škirpa's draft of Sukiliminės vyriausybės genezė (Genesis of the Revolutionary Government), which appeared as a series of articles in the Lithuanian-Canadian weekly Nepriklausoma Lietuva, starting in July 26, 1951. In 1956, editor Jonas Kardelis sent the draft back to Škirpa. It includes the LAF program. The 16th article is struck out - "The Lithuanian Activist Front revokes hospitality to the Jewish ethnic minority in Lithuania." - and the subsequent articles are all renumbered. The letters LAF are in Škirpa's handwriting. Visually, we see the creation of that discrepancy which Sužiedėlis discovered three decades later.

[Nepriklausoma Lietuva]

Among a thick folder of newspaper articles, there is an interview with Škirpa in the April 27, 1965 issue (Nr.17, page 3) of Tėviškės žiburiai in Toronto, „Lietuvaitės pagalba ministeriui“.

What brought you to Toronto [from Washington D.C.]?

I came to the funeral of my wife's cousin, Vanda Neniškytė-Balsienė, R.I.P. On that occasion I gave a talk at the cemetery and I want to say the same to the wider community that the deceased was of great merit in the service of Lithuanian history. This is how it was. When I was Lithuania's emissary to Berlin, in 1942 Vanda Neniškytė came to me and asked me and my wife to be her parents. See, her entire family in Lithuania had been torn apart by the Soviet-occupation: the parents were deported to Siberia, and their 6 children went their separate ways. At the time, Vanda was a young 19 year old girl, full of energy, a scout leader. We took her in as our own daughter and cared for her. She worked in Berlin at the Lithuanian association and also she assisted me as a secretary. Thanks to her my documentary memoir was typed up, which came to more than 1,000 pages. It included all of the documentary material related to my activity in Berlin, the matters of Vilnius and Klaipėda, the preparation of the uprising in Lithuania, and so on. A few copies of these memoirs were sent to Lithuanian leaders and diplomatic representatives - Ministers J.Šaulys in Switzerland and A.Gylys in Sweden. Because of the bombing in Germany, only Minister Gylys in Stockholm received his package. After the war I retrieved this package through the Lithuanian embassy in Bern, where several copies were made. Material was thus saved which is valuable for the history of Lithuania. I am extraordinarily grateful to the deceased, V.Balsienė, that it was written up in the first place. Without her I could not have done it. I came to her funeral to show her gratefulness and respect. On this occasion I wish to emphasize that the youth of Lithuania can do so much.

What do you intend to do with the documentary material which you mentioned?

''I will use it for my memoirs which I started to write not long ago. A part of them I have already published in Lithuanian periodicals. I have planned three parts: I) up to the demise of the independent state of Lithuania in 1940, II) efforts to reestablish Lithuania (the uprising), III) activity under the sword of Damocles (in Germany). There were more witnesses to these events. I will try to include their testimonies as well.

Are you still working at the US Library of Congress?

I worked there for 15 years, and now at 70 years I am retired and I devote all of my remaining energy to writing memoirs.

The Lithuanian Museum Archives of Canada contains the archive of Vanda Neniškytės husband Leopoldas Balsys, which includes:

documents relating to Kazys Škirpa (b. 1895-2-18, d. 1979-8-18) including correspondence with and on behalf of Balsys, copies of letters written by Škirpa to Nazi officials including Friedrich Olbricht, Werner von Grundherr, Otto Bräutigam and Hans Heinrich Lammers, typewritten copy of memorandum written to Nazi authorities by Škirpa 1944-2-5 arguing the case for Lithuanian independence, for which Škirpa was later imprisoned by the Nazis;

[Excerpt from letter]

Lithuania's London embassy's archive includes a 14 page letter from Škirpa in Paris dated May 30, 1945. (LCVA f.648 a.2 b.480 l.1-17) The letter is accompanied by 10 documents in German. Škirpa sent the same letter and documents to Lithuania's embassy in Washington. (LCVA f.656 a.2 b.1239 l.112-140)

In the letter, Škirpa notes that he had written a 260 page overview with 110 appendices about the purposes and circumstances of the June 23, 1941 uprising in Soviet-occupied Lithuania. "I did this for history and to acquaint responsible people of our society." Lithuania's ambassador to Sweden, Vytautas Jonas Gylys, received one copy, along with Škirpa's request that he make the material known to all of Lithuania's overseas diplomatic posts. Škirpa sent another copy to Gerutis, but notes that it may have been destroyed in a bombing raid.

In his letter to Ambassador Povilas Žadeikis on September 27, 1945, Škirpa explains that in September 1943 he sent a copy of his memoir and documents to Ambassador Gylys, who did receive it, but did not fulfill Škirpa's request that he share knowledge with his colleagues overseas, that is, in the Americas.

I feel that the abovementioned crooked explanations and acts of bad will have not gone without some real consequences. They rebound even to this day, not merely harming me personally, but also the mutual understanding needed for further efforts as regards the future of Lithuania. I am therefore interested that you familiarize yourself as soon as possible with the documentation which I sent to colleague Gylys and also that you lend yourself, as much as necessary, to orient leading Lithuanian activists in North America, those who should be informed and who are worthy of your trust. This is important that they, in judging my stance and the political acts of the past, would not rely on incorrect information and foreign insinuations.

On the other hand I would be grateful to you if you might deign to enlighten me concretely, how did Lithuanian Americans judge my more important actions, such as my position on the question of Vilnius, my opposition in 1940 to Russian violence, my role in organizing the June 1941 uprising, the declaration of the restoration of Lithuania's independence at the start of the Russian-German war, the forming of the provisional Government of Lithuania, my own conflict, as the head of that government, with the Government of the Reich and my arrest and how did they judge my politics of resistance during the German occupation, which ended with my second arrest in 1944 and internment. (LCVA f.656 a.2 b.1239 l.162)

On November 9, 1945, Gylys sent the following explanation to Žadeikis:

Upon receipt of an analogous inquiry from Dr.J.Šaulys apie Škirpa's documents, I instantly recalled that in 1943, just before Christmas, I received from one individual a thick file (with neither envelope nor cover letter), which colonel Škirpa had asked to leave with me for safekeeping. I placed the file in a safe corner in a cabinet and had even forgotten about it. Now Dr.Šaulys requests that I reproduce 6 copies of this file and, aside from that, send him one copy by mail in smaller portions. Since I don't have anyone to copy these writings, I decided to send the entire manuscript to Dr.Šaulys who may find a suitable person to complete this large and sensitive work. The material is interesting, but it can receive all manner of comments, so I did not mention it to anyone, but especially, considering it as the author's private property. I suppose that the individual gave it to me only after a few months, evidently, perusing its contents. (LCVA f.656 a.2 b.1239 l.171)

Jurgis Šaulys was Lithuania's Plenipotentiary Minister in Bern, Switzerland. This explains how Škirpa's memoir arrived in Bern and then copies ended up with Balutis and Gerutis.

It would seem from the above that this material was all that Škirpa was left with in writing his subsequent memoirs. However, that is not the case. He was able to retrieve documents that he had taken from Lithuania's embassy in Berlin. This material was the basis for his posthumous memoir, The Twilight of Lithuania's Independence: 1938-1940 (Lietuvos nepriklausomybės sutemos), which historian Tomas Remeikis edited and published in 1996.

The boxes in Mažvydas library include Škirpa's manuscript for Part I of this book and one chapter from Part II. They were written in 1966. They include footnotes that refer to documents in Pastangos, a rather cryptic abbreviation of the name of his memoir, Kovok! Pastangos gelbėti Lietuvą. This same abbreviation appears in the completed book. Thus it is possible that Tomas Remeikis never saw Škirpa's original 1943 memoir and documents. Tomas Remeikis explains in the introduction:

The author wrote his memoir relying on documents saved after the expulsion from Lithuania's embassy in Berlin, which he transported and hid. Some of the hidden documents suffered damage from weather conditions and are only partly legible. [...] The publication of this work was greatly supported by the Academic Scouts Publishing Enterprise (Akademinė skautijos leidykla (ASL)) to which colonel Škirpa entrusted his manuscript. For this we express to ASL our sincere thanks. We express our gratitude also to a number of people; Bronius Kviklys, the chief publisher of Akademinė skautijos leidykla, is expecially to be remembered, having given the first impetus to the appearance of this work.

This material is perhaps contained in Boxes 23 and 24 at ALKA, „Lietuvos pasiuntinybės Berlyne dokumentai I-VI“. Box 3 contains „K. Škirpos veikalas apie 1941m. Lietuvos

 Vyriausybės kelią. Diplomatijos pasipriešinimas
 agresijai“. Box 2 includes his memoirs „ Mano statusas ir taktika“
 (My status and tactics) and „Sugrįžimas į pareigas“ (Returning to duties).

The boxes in Mažvydas library also contain a copy of Škirpa's letter to the Hoover Institution dated December 23, 1953.

Dear Mr. Sworokowski, I was informed by Hon. P.Žadeikis, Minister of Lithuania to Washington, about his exchange of letters with you concerning collection of documents of the former Lithuanian Legation in Berlin, including a manuscript written by myself, which were turned over to Hoover Library by Mr.V.Kaupas, a former newspaperman in Berlin.

Sworokowski replied on January 25, 1954

As you know, Mr.Victor Kaupas spent more than a year in our Library, first as a Slavic fellow, and later few months on his own. […] It is really too bad that your files, which you were able to save from the Germans, were later hidden under such miserable conditions and are at present practically unusable.

Subsequently, Škirpa writes to claim ownership of his manuscript, and also of political manuscripts which he had paid Antanas Valiukėnas to write for him.

These manuscripts thus arrived at the Hoover Institution prior to the Edvardas Turauskas archive, which was acquired in 1975. Edvardas Turauskas was Lithuania's ambassador to the League of Nations and also Škirpa's boss as the Director of the Political Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Turauskas archives are 13 boxes, each consisting of about 1,000 microfilmed pages. Digital images are now available as „Fondas MK-9“ at the Lithuanian Central State Archive. They do not seem to include Škirpa's memoir, but they do include quite a few of his LAF documents, which apparently Turauskas got directly from Škirpa. Boxes 6 and 11 include LAF documents, and Boxes 4 and 13 include correspondence with Škirpa, which is of special interest.

  • Box 8

[See also: page 248-249] Some of the documents Škirpa had already collected and sent out previously.

The Wroblewski Library of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences includes three files which have portions of Škirpa's memoir and related documents. Library Director Sigitas Narbutas has kindly granted me permission to publish them online. LMAB-f29-vn1287/1 contains a photocopy of a cover letter dated December 1, 1942 from Kazys Škirpa in Berlin to Juozas Ambrazevičius in Kaunas. Ambrazevičius (Brazaitis) had served as Acting Prime Minister of Lithuania's Provisional Government while Prime Minister Škirpa was detained in Berlin and held there under house arrest. The Provisional Government was never recognized by Nazi Germany and disbanded itself on August 5, 1941. A year later, Škirpa takes the opportunity to inform Ambrazevičius of his activity in Berlin leading up to the uprising.

Esteemed professor,

Last year, when fate had laded us with the heavy burden of standing at the forefront of Lithuania's Provisional Government - you in our Parentland, and I cut off beyond its borders - I did not have the opportunity to share information with you or my other colleagues in the Council of Ministers about how our nation's uprising came to be nor to personally discuss that marked period in our political activity, even though it was extremely important for the government's work at that time.

Now that all is part of the past, albeit quite recent. But from the past we draw experience for the future, most especially our nation's newly maturing generations draw spiritual powers. From here there arises the practical duty for agents of the past to promptly record their deeds and ordeals while memories have not yet faded, so that the objective investigator of the past as well as the historian in their work might not for lack of material miss or misunderstand that which may be important for the nation's future or the science of history in general.

For this reason and having now some free time, while we are waiting anew, I have designed to make at least a cursory review of that which I came to do in Berlin on behalf of that ideal goal shared by all of us Lithuanians.

This work, entitled "Efforts to rescue Lithuania", I have now half completed, but quite a bit of time will pass before I do finish writing it. Understanding that you may be interested to examine some parts before my work ends, and having the opportunity, I send you a collection of copies of documents, listed out, which will later be numbered and will make up appendices to the work I am writing.

I believe that I do not need to explain to you that for now the material I am sending may not yet be made public anywhere or used for any sort of propaganda.

With the very best regards,

Kazys Škirpa

The library's files include perhaps twenty of these documents. There are handwritten sentences at the end of some documents, apparently from Škirpa to Ambrazevičius, on how they were received by the Nazi Germans. Handwritten roman numerals appear on the front of the documents to show their place in the sequence. The library also has a photocopy of sections 6, 7 and 8 of part II in file MAB f.9-3105, and what appears to be the original carbon copy of these pages in file MAB f.222-1747, which is part of the ELTA news agency subarchive. The text is laid out as in Balutis's version but typed out slightly differently, and the page numbers differ by a few pages. The carbon copy file was written into the library's inventory book on April 3, 1947. It may perhaps have been among the 25 folders (2,000 pages) which library director Juozas Jurginis archived on March 27, 1946 as a member of the Committee to Investigate Evildoings Done by the Germans in the Lithuanian SSR.

File f.9-3105 consists of a carbon copy of documents 59-60, 65-76 and sections 6, 7, 8 of part II of his memoir (pages 116-170 with pages 124 and 131 missing).

File f.29-1287/I consists of photocopies, and includes the letter from Škirpa to Ambrazevičius, and Documents 1-11, 22-23, 25-27, 34-36, 38. Note that Document 1 includes 12 appended documents. Thus this would count as 33 documents, roughly the number indicated by Gudaitis. Judging from the file number (1287), it seems to have been acquired in 1989. Some of the documents include Škirpa's comments as to how they were received by the Germans.

File f.222-1747 from the ELTA archive amongst other files related to the 1941 rebellion and the Nazi-occupation, was typed on yellowish paper, and was "tvarkyta" in 1982.

The file sign-in sheets show that in the last two decades only twelve readers have seen these files. The carbon copy version was seen by only three people: historians Arūnas Bubnys on September 9, 1988, Valentinas Brandišauskas on January 30, 1990, and Liudas Truska on June 23, 1994. Liudas Truska cites file MAB f.9-1287/1 on page 237 of his book "Lietuvių ir žydų santykiai". Žana Vaščova used the three files in her article "Vienas prieš daugumą: Kazio Škirpos kurta saugios Lietuvos koncepcija", Darbai ir Dienos, 2002.30.

The Lithuanian Special Archives reading room for the Communist Party of Lithuania has a copy made in 1979 of 23 pages from part II (LYA f.3377, a.48, b.1289), and also has a copy of part III of Škirpa's memoir (LYA f.3377, a.48, b.770) which includes a complete list of the documents. It has a copy from 1961 of some of the documents (LYA f.3377, a.48, b.712) and refers to an original copy at LCVA f.641, a.1, b.1, which does not match up with what is currently there. However, that led me to the LCVA where I found Balutis's version.

The original version of part III is LCVA f.1398, a.1, b.1, which was catalogued on February 9, 1956. The archive has not been able to determine when and how it was acquired. It is listed in the databases of Yad Vashem and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. Indeed, this work was cited by Simonas Jazavita in his Master's thesis "Kazio Škirpos įtaka Lietuvos užsienio politikai 1927-1940". The file includes 17 of the documents: 85, 87, 93, 95-99, 101, 103-110. It also includes a report by Ričardas Čepas who was the head of the Central Archives from 1997 to 2001. He notes the copies at the Mažvydas library (temporarily assigned to F187) and the copy sent to Ambrazevičius, which he claims was kept by general Stasys Zaskevičius (1892-1971), then lawyer Juozas Toliušis (1922-1987) and then Leonas Gudaitis (1935-). The latter published several of these documents in his 1990 book, Lietuvos aneksija (Kazio Škirpos ir Mato Krygerio archyvinė medžiaga spaudai): 1940 metų dokumentai. Vilnius: Periodika. Čepas also mentions that there is another copy in LCVA F383 (foreign affairs).

The Soviet compilation, Masinės žudynės Lietuvoje (1941-1944). Dokumentų rinkinys. I dalis., 1965 m., p. 50-51, cites "Broliai ir seserys lietuviai!!!" as LCVA f.1398, a.1, b.1, l.102-104. This is an incorrectly cited excerpt of Document 64, "Amžiams Išvaduokim Lietuvą - Nuo Žydijos Jungo" (Let Us Liberate Lithuania for the Ages from the Jewish Yoke), which is not to be found among the current documents in that file.

Mečislovas Treinys cited this copy in describing how Valiukėnas and Škirpa heard by radio from Kaunas the announcement of Lithuania's independence.

Fondo 9 bylos gautos 1940 m. iš valstybinės Vrublevskių vardo bibliotekos, fondas 29 suformuotas 1945 m. iš pavienių literatūrinių rankraščių, fondas 222 – 1950 m. uždarius Kauno Vytauto didžiojo universitetą, jo bibliotekos dalis pateko pas mus.

Gaigalaitė, Dobrovolskis

The Communist Party reading room is where I first found some pages from Škirpa's memoir, namely a retyped copy of section 6 of part II among material which KGB officer Boleslavas Baranauskas assembled for his 1961 book "Hitlerininkų penktoji kolona". (LYA... Apparently, he chose not to include any excerpts from the memoir. His note there led me to the Academy of Sciences Library.

[Sutemos citations]

Tomas Remeikis used Kazys Škirpa's copy extensively in editing Škirpa's posthumous memoir "Lietuvos nepriklausomybės sutemos (1938-1940)" about his work as Lithuania's ambassador and plenipotentiary minister in Berlin. Remeikis referred to it cryptically as "Efforts" (Pastangos).

My grandfather Bronius Kviklys was instrumental...

Likely that the Škirpa family has additional correspondence, including Pyragius's letters to Graefe, and Brunius's correspondence with Škirpa.

Mažvydas F187 – 13 files in 4 boxes, documents from 1939-1960.

Mažvydas library also has Kazys Škirpa's memoir „Pirmos pastangos“ (1917-1919) PR-1241

Hoover archive – can look at the Turauskas files. Turauskas files are at LCVA available, all 13 boxes. son Kazys Kestutis Skirpa, died May 14, 2012, his son Alexander Skirpa and daughter Victoria Ruta Skirpa

Tomas Remeikis used Škirpa's copy in preparing Škirpa's posthumous 1996 memoir "Lietuvos nepriklausomybės sutemos (1938-1940)" about Škirpa's tenure as Lithuania's ambasador to Nazi Germany.


Sadness that Klimas's vision could not come true - proactive support of Lithuania's Jews - and that it is not even considered today.


  • half sentence
  • Lithuanians will be brought to justice
  • missed opportunity meeting

Look for more documents.

  • LCVA: Lozoraitis fondas, look for two reports from Škirpa's messengers in Lithuania about the Provisional Government
  • Škirpa's family - Pyragius's correspondence; his own correspondence with Brunius and others
  • Reivytis
  • Matulionis

President could make a statement.


  • Ethnic cleansing and Kazys Škirpa
  • Relation to other conspiracies against Lithuania's Jews
  • More information about the documents Key passages:

  • Gleisgarben
  • Brunius and Puodžius
  • Voldemarininkai coup


The only ones who still feel not too bad are the Jews. That amongst them there were and have now arisen very many Communists is understandable enough. But aside from that, being in fear of the Reich, many Jews who essentially might not be of a Communist point of view choose better to side with Soviet Russia and give in to Communism. Therefore in various street parades Jews are first to participate and express feelings for Soviet Russia, completely forgetting that just yesterday they licked the soles of Lithuanians, expressing loyalty to Lithuania for its liberality towards Jews. Lithuanian society, understandably enough, is repulsed by Jewish subservience and day to day is ever more infected by anti-semitism, all the more so in that Jews, emphasizing their loyalty to the Soviets often publicly affront and even take part in denouncements of Lithuanians, especially officials of the previous government. In leisure hours it is almost entirely the Jews who flit about the sidewalks of Kaunas's main streets, whereas Lithuanians try to humbly stay put in their homes. The Russian language has become for Jews an expression of Russian patriotism, as it was in the days of the czar. The increasing anti-semitic feeling among Lithuanians has already found practical expression. Not too long ago in Marijampolė a Jew, having gotten into an argument with one of our soldiers, hurt the latter by kicking him. This got the attention of several Lithuanian workers who worked near the place where the said incident occurred. The workers stood up for the soldier, quite beating up the Jew. When other Jews came to help their fellow, the said incident devolved into a pogrom against Jews in all of Marijampolė which ended with the breaking of windows in all of the Jewish stores and homes.

As for the meetings organized by the Communists, also it is only the Jews who attend them willingly, whereas the Lithuanian workers, with the exception of the Communist portion, mostly attend only as ordered and feel plainly unhappy that they must attend such meetings. Sadly, they attend, fearing that they will be dismissed from their jobs should they not obey the order to attend meetings. Although many facts show that national self-awareness in our wide masses had not yet taken sufficiently deep root, but the overly quick imposition of Communism and worship of the Soviets from the part of the leaders of the Communist movement has provoked even so a feeling of national self-respect among the poorly educated and nationally clueless Lithuanian workers. Lithuanians, it seems, are beginning to understand that behind the veil of Communism and the spreading of slogans of equality for workers and international solidarity there hides nothing other than the purest Russian imperialism, which seeks to newly capture the Lithuanian nation as in the days of the czar. Therefore there can be heard amongst Lithuanian workers voices that they by no means want to go to meetings led by Jews and if they absolutely must participate in them, then they demand that they would be truly Lithuanian and at them would be spoken about Lithuania's freedom, the welfare of Lithuanian workers, but not groveling on one's knees before the Soviets and the Red Army as do the Jews.

I happened to hear that the current government is likewise unhappy and ashamed that Jews let themselves to speak too much in the name of the wide masses of Lithuania and worship Moscow too much, forgetting that they eat the bread of not Russians but Lithuania and are citizens of Lithuania.

In the morning I came upon the first "red swallow" from Kaunas. That was H.Flašenbergas, a Jew, who until then had served or simply assisted the embassy for many years. He was a journalist. My predecessors, Dr.J.Šaulys and V.Sidzikauskas, recommended Flašenbergas as a valuable and able member of the press. I, too, when I took over the embassy at Berlin in December, 1938, left Flašenbergas to work there and several times even stood up for him, a Jew, against the Nazis, even though he was not a citizen of Lithuania. I had let him go from the embassy a few months earlier as I felt that if he were to remain in the embassy it could end grievously for his family, because a grave danger was arising from the Nazi side, and I would no longer be able to defend him. Letting him go from the embasy, I made efforts on his behalf to get him a job at [the news agency] ELTA in Kaunas. Thus I had parted with him in a humane and friendly way. Alas, he disappointed me. Arriving on July 27 from Kaunas, he brought a packet from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He did not want to give it to me, explaining, that I was no longer the head of the embassy and that he, Flašenbergas, had been explicitly instructed to give the said packet to one of the workers [M.Nastopka] in the consular division, who I had sent back to the Foreign Ministry center just the previous day. Emphasizing that Flašenbergas was gravely mistaken in not regarding me for who I yet was, I demanded that he give me the packet at once. Ripping open the packet, I found two illegal documents among the correspondence. First, an order to J.Kajeckas to take over the embassy and notify Ausw.Amt of the revoking of the certification of my duties as an emissary and second, a Lithuanian diplomatic passport for foreign travel issued to Flašenbergas by P.Glovackis himself with instructions to provide him with the necessary visas to travel, I think, to Brazil. Since, as I had mentioned, Flašenbergas was not a citizen of Lithuania, in front of his very eyes, I ripped up the passport issued to him and tossed it in the trash bin. I said that by his behavior he had been criminally disloyal to me, Lithuania's legal emissary and authorized minister in Berlin, and thus to the state of Lithuania as well, and I added that I could no longer stand up for him against the Nazis. Because of the sympathy which had previously bound us, I advised Flašenburgas to promptly disappear from Berlin. However, after this talk Flašenbergas stayed in Berlin for some while. It seems that he no longer needed my protection because he, apparently, made use of the Soviet embassy's protection. (Sutemos, pg.438)

Just to round out this picture of Flašenbergas and Lithuanian-Jewish relations, consider the following episode during the takeover of Klaipėda (Memel) by Lithuanians in 1923. It takes place in Berlin.

On the evening of January 15 a large protest meeting was held in the Herrenhause. The chairman reported in an angry voice that all the protests had helped not one bit because already today Lithuanians had taken over Klaipeda and the French army had done nothing to restrain Lithuania. He read a stern letter of protest and asked that it be approved by standing up. After that the chairman said that the protest had been accepted unanimously except for three gentlemen who had not stood up because they had been sent by the Lithuanian embassy as spies. Frightened by these words, the embassy's press attache Flašenbergas, of Jewish nationality, took to run from the meeting hall. Some of the enraged demonstrators stormed from the benches to catch him and get back at him. The chairman had much trouble in calming them down so that they would not do any thoughtless deeds which might add difficulty to Germany's political situation, which was difficult enough. (Kultūros barai, February, 2014)

There is a Flešinbergas who was murdered in Kaunas in the Holocaust.

Susidariusi Laikinoji ir naujai atgimstančios Lietuvos vyriausybė šiuo skelbia atstatanti laisvą ir nepriklausomą Lietuvos valstybę.

Prieš viso pasaulio tyrąją sąžinę jaunoji Lietuvos valstybė entuziastingai pasižada prisidėti prie Europos organizavimo naujais pagrindais.

Žiauraus bolševikų teroro iškankinta lietuvių tauta ryžtasi kurti savo ateitį tautinės vienybės ir socialinio teisingumo pagrindais.

Vilnius, Kaunas 1941 m. birželio 23 d.

(Pasirašo Lietuvos laikinosios vyriausybės ministrai.)

Broliai ir seserys lietuviai!

Atėjo lemiama galutinio su žydais atsiskaitymo valanda. Lietuva turi būti išvaduota ne tik nuo azijatų bolševikų vergijos, bet ir nuo ilgamečio žydijos jungo.

Lietuvių aktyvistų frontas visos lietuvių tautos vardu kuo iškilmingiausiai pareiškia:

  • 1. Senoji Vytauto didžiojo laikais suteikta Lietuvoje prieglaudos teisė žydams yra visiškai ir galutinai atšaukiama.
  • 2. Kiekvienas be išimties Lietuvos žydas šiuo yra įsakmiai įspėjamas nieko nedelsiant apleisti Lietuvos žemę.
  • 3. Visi tie žydai, kurie išskirtinai pasižymėjo Lietuvos valstybės išdavimo ir lietuvių tautiečių persekiojimo, kankinimo ar skriaudimo veiksmais, atskirai bus traukiami atsakomybėn ir užpelno tinkama bausmę. Jei paaiškėtų, kad lemiamą atsiskaitymo ir Lietuvos atgimimo valandą ypatingai nusikaltusieji žydai randa galimumų slaptomis kur pasprukti, visų dorųjų lietuvių bus pareiga imtis nuosavų priemonių tokiems žydams sulaikyti ir, svarbiam atvejui esant, bausmei įvykdyti.

Naujoji Lietuvos valstybė bus atstatyta pačios lietuvių tautos narių jėgomis, darbu, širdimi ir išmintimi. Žydai iš jos pašalinami visiškai ir visiems laikams. Jei kuris nors iš jų išdrįstų tikėti naujojoje Lietuvoje vis dėlto susirasti šiokią tokią užuovėją, tegu jis jau šiandien sužino neatšaukiamą sprendimą žydams: naujai atsistačiusioje Lietuvoje nė vienas žydas neturės nei pilietinių teisių, nei pragyvenimo galimumų. Tuo būdu bus atitaisytos praeities klaidos ir žydų niekšybės. Tuo būdu bus padėti stiprūs pagrindai mūsų arijų tautos laimingai ateičiai ir kūrybai.

Tad visi ruoškimės į kovą ir pergalę – už lietuvių tautos laisvę, už lietuvių tautos apsivalymą, už nepriklausomą Lietuvos valstybę, už skaidrią ir laimingą ateitį.

Lietuvių aktyvistų frontas

(Masinės žudynės Lietuvoje (1941-1944). Dokumentų rinkinys. I dalis., 1965 m., p. 50-51)

1941.05.01 Raštikis version of instructions, in German

Verstaerkung der antikommuistischen und antijuedischen Aktion in Litauen. Verbreitung von Geruechten, dass ein bewaffneter deutsch-russischer Konflikt wirklich zu erwarten ist dass die rote russische Armee von den Deutschen sehr leicht besiegt und vernichtet werden und aus Litauen fliehen muessen wird.

Ermahnung der Litauer, im Falle eines deutsch-russischen Krieges nicht aus Litauen zu fliehen, sondern an Ort und Stelle zu verbleiben. Falls die Einwohner unmittelbar vor dem Konflikt mit Gewalt aus Litauen fortgeschafft werden sollten, haetten sie sich dem zu widersetzen und sich in Litauen zu verstacken.

Es ist sehr wichtig, dass Litauen bei Gelegenheit des kuenftigen Krieges und seiner Befreiung das Judentum los wird. Daher ist gegen die Juden schon fruehzeitig eine so gedruckte Stimmung zu verbreiten, dass nicht ein Jude wagen kann, daran zu denken, dass es im neuen Litauen noch nur die geringsten Rechte und die geringste Moeglichkeit der Existenz haben werde. Zweck dieser Aktion - Zwang der Juden, zusammen mit den Russen oder sogar frueher aus Litauen zu fliehen.

Ausserdem ist vorgesehen, im Namen der Litauischen Aktivistenfront in ganz Litauen Aufrufe an die litauischen Aktivisten, an die derzeitigen Kaempfer (Freiwilliger), an die litauischen Kulturtraeger, an die Jugend, an die Bauern, die Arbeiter, an die Frauen, die litauischen Komunisten, an die rote russische Armee und gegen die Juden zu verbreiten.

Kenntnis und Verfolgung der Kommissare, Kommunisten und der in der Politik aktiven Juden, damit beim Aufstand sie bekannt sind und damit schnell gegen sie vorgegangen werden kann.

Die Juden sind zu zwingen, Litauen zu verlassen.

Strengthening of anti-Jewish and antikommuistischen Action in Lithuania. Spreading rumors that an armed German-Russian conflict is really to be expected that the red Russian army easily defeated by the Germans and destroyed and will have to flee from Lithuania.

Admonition of the Lithuanians, not to escape in the event of a Russo-German war from Lithuania, but to remain in place. If the people were to be taken away immediately before the conflict by force from Lithuania, they would have to oppose and to verstacken in Lithuania.

It is very important that Lithuania Judaism is on the occasion of future war and its liberation going on. Therefore, to spread such a printed mood early on against the Jews, that not one Jew can dare to remember that it will not have the slightest rights and the slightest possibility of existence in the new Lithuania. The purpose of this action - forced the Jews to flee along with the Russians or even earlier from Lithuania.

In addition, it is provided on behalf of the Lithuanian Activist Front throughout Lithuania appeals to the Lithuanian activists, to the current Kaempfer (volunteers), to the Lithuanian Kulturtraeger, to the youth, to the peasants, the workers, the women, the Lithuanian communists, spread to the red Russian army and against the Jews.

Knowledge and pursuit of Commissioners, Communists and active in politics Jews, so that they are known in the uprising and thus can be quickly taken against them.

The Jews are to be forced to leave Lithuania.

Die Fuehrung

Allgemeine Anweisungen Fuer Die Befreiung Litauens

Auf dem Gebiet der Propaganda

Verstaerkung der antikommunistischen und antijuedischen Aktion in Litauen. Verbreitung von Geruechten, dass ein bewaffneter deutsch-russischer Konflikt wirklich zu erwarten ist dass die rote russische Armee von den Deutschen sehr leicht besiegt und vernichtet werden und aus Litauen fliehen muessen wird.

Es ist sehr wichtig, dass Litauen bei Gelegenheit des kuenftigen Krieges und seiner Befreiung das Judentum los wird. Daher ist gegen die Juden schon fruehzeitig eine so gedruckte Stimmung zu verbreiten, dass nicht ein Jude wagen kann, daran zu denken, dass es im neuen Litauen noch nur die geringsten Rechte und die geringste Moeglichkeit der Existenz haben werde. Zweck dieser Aktion - Zwang der Juden, zusammen mit den Russen oder sogar frueher aus Litauen zu fliehen.

Kenntnis und Verfolgung der Kommissare, Kommunisten und der in den Politik aktiven Juden, damit beim Aufstand sie bekannt sind und damit schnell gegen sie vorgegangen werden kann.

Die Juden sind zu zwingen, Litauen zu verlassen.

The leadership

General Instructions for the Liberation of Lithuania

In the field of propaganda

Strengthening of anti-Jewish and anti-communist action in Lithuania. Spreading rumors that an armed German-Russian conflict is really to be expected that the red Russian army easily defeated by the Germans and destroyed and will have to flee from Lithuania.

It is very important that Lithuania Judaism is on the occasion of future war and its liberation going on. Therefore, to spread such a printed mood early on against the Jews, that not one Jew can dare to remember that it will not have the slightest rights and the slightest possibility of existence in the new Lithuania. The purpose of this action - forced the Jews to flee along with the Russians or even earlier from Lithuania.

Knowledge and pursuit of the commissioners, and the Communists active in the politics Jews, so that they are known in the uprising and thus can be quickly taken against them.

The Jews are to be forced to leave Lithuania.

Tuo tikslu pakviečiau liepos 2 d. P. Kleistą, artimą von Ribbentropui žmogų, pietų Pasiuntinybėje ir turėjau ta proga su juo ilgesnį išsikalbėjimą apie padėtį ir eventualias perspektyvas Lietuvai. Dr. Kleistas nebuvo joks vok. Užs. Rkl. Min-jos pareigūnas, o tik šiaip neoficialus vokiečių politikas, partijos narys ir ekspertas rytų politikos klausimais. Su juo jau buvau arčiau susipažinęs iš seniau, ypač kai 1939 metais teko zonduoti per jį Vilniaus klausimu.

Nors, apskritai imant, dr. Kleistas savo išsireiškimuose politiniais klausimais visados laikydavosi prideramo santūrumo bei atsargumo, šį kartą jis nesivaržė mintimis ir pasisakymais apie ano meto padėtį. Jis ją įvertino kaip kritišką ir kalbėjo apie Sov. Rusijos elgimąsi su neslepiamu pasipiktinimu. Iš to galėjau spręsti, jog politinė temperatūra prieš Sovietus dėl šių pastarųjų akiplėšiškumų Reicho atžvilgiu bei nesiskaitymo su jo interesais buvo pakilusi vokiečiuose tikrai iki aukšto laipsnio. Bet dr. Kleistas buvo korektiškas. Jis nebandė kurstyti bei suvedžioti manęs bent kokiais pigiais pažadais. Priešingai, jis atvirai pasakė, jog paskutinis Reicho politinės vadovybės žodis dar nebuvo tartas. Dr. Kleistas atskleidė man, jog jam tepavesta paruošti kai kuriuos preliminarinius projektus, kurie tuo tarpu laikytini teoretinio pobūdžio. Jų tikslas paanalizuoti problemas, kurios galėtų iškilti, jei karo įvykiai staigiai persimestų į Europos rytus. Dar daugiau, jis prasitarė, kad tiems projektams paruošti jam duota vos pora savaičių laiko, ir sugestavo man, kad ir mes, iš savo pusės, pagalvotume apie karo į Rytus persimetimo eventualumą ir kaip Lietuva tokiu atveju turėtų laikytis. Jis prašė, kad palaikyčiau su juo glaudų kontaktą, paaiškindamas, kad, jei sprendimas vis tik būtų kitoks, negu tada atrodė, t. y. jei karas į Rytus dar nepersimestų, tai paruoštieji projektai, esą, atkristų arba galėtų būti padėti į slaptas spintas kitai progai. Visa tai buvo labai įdomu ir reikšminga.

Todėl, kad visi tie pasikalbėjimai neliktų vien tik gražiais žodžiais, kuriuos vėliau lengva būtų pamiršti, aš suformulavau visą planą Lietuvai atstatyti ir pats jį įteikiau pulk. ltn. Graebei 1941 m. sausio 25 d. raštu pasiūlymo forma, kaip jis ir pavadintas.


Der Vorbereitung der öffentlich Meinung. Zweck: Unter Ausnutzung der jetzigen schweren Lage der Bevölkerung in LItauen und der feindlichen Einstellung des Litauischen volkes zu dem russischen Okkupanten, Kommunismus und Juden, die Hoffnung zur Wiedergewinnung der Freiheit und der staatlichen Unabhängigkeit ständig zu erhalten bzw. die zu stärken und das litauischen Volk zum Ergreifen der Waffen geistig reif zu machen. Eine Sonderkommission, bestehend aus den zuverlaessigen, begabten litauischen Journalisten.

Mittel: Die geheimen Zeitungen, Aufrufe, Plakate u.s.w. zur Verbreitung in Litauen; Propagandabroshueren; Aufhetzung durch den Schwarz-Sender; Verbreitung der aufreizenden Geruechte mittels der Geheimagenten in der litauischen Bevoelkerung gegen das jetzige sowjetische Regime; Sabotage, Schaedigungs-und andere Desorganisationsakten in Lande.

The preparation of public opinion. Purpose: Taking advantage of the current difficult situation of the population in Lithuania and the hostile attitude of the Lithuanian people to the Russian occupiers, communism and Jews who hope for recovery of freedom and national independence to maintain constantly or to strengthen and the Lithuanian folk to make mentally mature for gripping the arms.

durch die massenweise Verbreitung aus den Flugzeugen in ganzem Lande der Sonderaufrufe der Obersten Führung der litauischen Aktivistenbewegung an allen Schichten und Organisationen des Volkes, und gegen die Kommunisten, Juden, sowie die russische Armee. Das Verzeichnis der gedachten Aufrufe liegt hier bei (Siehe Anlage II).

by the en masse distribution of the airplanes in the whole country the special appeals from the Supreme Command of the Lithuanian Activists movement at all levels and organizations of the people, and against the Communists, Jews, and the Russian army. The list of imaginary views is here at (see Annex II).

Es ist eine sichere Sache zu betrachten, dass: - in Betracht der im Lande schon jetzt herrschenden antikommunistischen, antirussischen und antijüdischen Stimmung - in Betracht der von der litauischen Aktivistenbewegung geleisteter Vorarbeit fuer den Aufstand, un - in ganzem Lande sich eine solche für die rote Armee und den örtlichen Kommunisten unerträgliche Lage bilden wird, die zweifellos einen Widerstand der feindlichen Kräften entscheidend beeinträchtigen wird.

It is to be considered a safe bet that:

  • In consideration of the country already prevailing anti-communist, anti-Russian and anti-Jewish sentiment
  • In the whole country, such a red for the army and the local communists will form intolerable situation that will undoubtedly affect a resistance of enemy forces decisively.

Ethnic cleansing seems to have been a strategic decision by Škirpa that he thought to make on behalf of Lithuania. Personally, he worked with Jews and could empathize with them. Note that the following episode with Flašenbergas occured two weeks after Škirpa proposed ethnic cleansing. It shows Škirpa's sensitivity to the predicament of Jews in Germany.

Extra Excerpts

Der Aufstand

Hervorrufung des Aufstandes

Durch die offenen Aufforderungen, und zwar

durch den Abwurf aus den Flugzeugen der Aufrufsplakaten seitens der neugebildeten litauischen Regierung an die gesamte litauische Bevoelkerung, mit dem Abdruck der Originalunterschriften der allen Mitglieder der Regierung

Stichtag: Das Moment zum Aufstand wird so gewaehlt, dass der Anfang des Aufstandes mit dem Grenzuebertritt der deutschen Truppen zusammenfällt.

Durch die Geheimagenten, die das Signal zum Afstand kurz vor dem deutschen Vormarsch an die Hauptfuehrern des Aufstandes nach Litauen in Form der Geheimparole ueberbringen;

Durch das Absetzen der Fallschirmmaenner mit den letzten Instruktionen im Moment des Uberschreitens der Grenzen durch die deutschen Truppen;

Durch die offenen Aufforderungen, und zwar:

Other Notes

Speculating on Škirpa's Reasons for Ethnic Cleansing

In what follows, I point out those of Škirpa's documents which demonstrate his insistence in proposing ethnic cleansing of Jews from Lithuania. I also speculate on his reasons. I argue that Škirpa was not personally against Jews but made the strategic decision that if Lithuania was going to have a place in Hitler's New Europe then it needed to part ways with its Jews and have them be gone. Tactically, he felt that Lithuanians needed to be educated with propaganda to wake up to anti-semitism as the best motivator to rise up against Communism. Morally, I think he believed that ethnic cleansing was an alternative to genocide which was compatible with "Christian morality" (ie., "Thou shalt not kill"). Ultimately, Škirpa relented from his plan of ethnic cleansing as he found it unrewarded by the Nazi Germans, undesired by the LAF underground in Kaunas and thus overall, unhelpful in his quest for Lithuania's independence. Unfortunately, Škirpa's anti-semitic concepts did help incite the arrest of Jews by LAF at the start of the war which led to the execution of 3,000 Jews at Kaunas VII fort on July 4-6, 1941. They also persist in the LAF program and the Kaunas LAF proclamations. I contrast Škirpa with those Lithuanians he tried to unify, some of whom were more sympathetic to Jews (LAF in Kaunas as well as President Smetona) and others of whom were more genocidal (the Voldemarininkai and Pranas Meškauskas-Germantas).

LAF memorandumas

Gerutis apie Kybartų aktus

Conspiracy of silence.

Kazys Škirpa had already informed them of his plans for ethnic cleansing. Here is the New Year's greeting which he received from Edvardas Turauskas.

First of all, most lovely greetings for the New Year: may all of our bright hopes be fulfilled and may the sword of justice fall with all its might on the heads of our oppressors-kacaps [Russians] and sweep out from our Parentland not only the newcomers but also our own traitors and especially the Jewish trash, which now harrows and oppresses Lithuanians. And may Your firm faith in the future, which strengthens us all, show itself real in fire and sword...

(Turauskas also mentions "p.Onte", which is code for President Antanas Smetona, who had fled Lithuania, and Smetona's "testament" is his postdated appointment of Stasys Lozoraitis as prime minister, to be made public should the need arise. Kazys Škirpa was most unhappy with Smetona's choice, as the Nazis held Škirpa to be a "persona gratissima" and Lozoraitis to be a "persona non grata".)

3. There but arises the principal question of whether to give the signal that all in our parentland take action in such an event that I have not succeeded in advance to sniff each other out as to the forming of the rabbi get-together, or, conversely, in such an event whether to not give the said signal. At first I held the opinion not to give the signal in such an event. But analyzing the matter more deeply I yet did come to the conclusion that such a signal needs to be given in every event, namely for the following reasons: First - the factual situation has arisen such that upon my buddies making their move and crossing the barbed wire line, my relatives not only in the cities but also in the counties will regardless grab pickets or whatever they can and strike the enemy; second - it already really has become clear that not only my buddies would allow but they themselves desire that we place our own people in the institutions and enterprises, clearing them of Soviet and Jewish trash. This means that showing more bravery we could take over the entire administrative apparatus; third - it would be by all considerations useful to declare the forming of the rabbi get-together in the parentland, presenting our buddies with this after the fact, which they would have to reckon with, if for whatever circumstances we should not be able to sniff each other out with them as to this get-together ahead of time. Be so good as to inform me of your opinion on this matter. Also Mr.Turauskas is requested to inform of his opinion, and if he is in communication with Mr.Klimas, then the latter as well. Mr.Galvanauskas is of the same opinion as I, i.e., that in every event we should try to form the rabbi get-together, if not here, then in the parentland during the interregnum, which would take place as my buddies are marching forward and the soviets are fleeing our country.

Kazys Škirpa wrote this letter the day after he finished his Instructions for Liberating Lithuania. I think it should not be read literally. The "rabbi get-together" is code for "Lithuanian government (its ministers)" and "giving the signal" means "declaring independence". The "buddies" are the Nazi Germans and the "relatives" are Lithuanian rebels. As his memoir makes explicit, the principal question is whether to declare independence and announce a government even if the Nazi Germans are opposed. Ultimately, this was no puppet government, which is why Nazi Germany never approved it and never recognized it. Aside from that, we see that he is making vivid to Lithuania's enlightened statesmen the brutal, incendiary, grass roots rebellion that he envisages.

Timothy Snyder "Bloodlands" cites: MacQueen, „White Terror“, 97; Angrick, Riga, 59.

Michael MacQueen, “Nazi Policy Toward the Jews in the Reichskommissariat Ostland, June-December 1941: From White Terror to Holocaust in Lithuania,” in Zvi Gitelman, ed., Bitter Legacy: Confronting the Holocaust in the USSR, Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1997, 91-103.

Andrej Angrick and Peter Klein,The “Final Solution” in Riga: Exploitation and Annihilation, 1941-1944, New York: Berghahn Books, 2009.


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