Kazys Škirpa

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Kazys Škirpa

Kazys Škirpa (born February 18, 1895 in Nemajūnai, Biržai district, Lithuania – August 18, 1979 in Washington DC) was a Lithuanian military officer and diplomat involved in attempts to establish Lithuanian independence in 1941.

Army career[edit]

During World War I he was mobilized into the Russian army and attempted to form Lithuanian detachments in Petrograd. After Lithuania declared independence in 1918, he returned and volunteered during the Lithuanian Wars of Independence. In 1920 he as a member of the Lithuanian Peasant Popular Union was elected to the Constituent Assembly of Lithuania. After that he decided to pursue military education in Kaunas and Brussels. Upon graduation in 1925 he worked as chief of the General Staff, but was forced to resign after the 1926 Lithuanian coup d'état, because he was actively refusing it and was trying to gather military force to protect the Government.

Political career[edit]

Later he served as a Lithuanian representative in Germany (1927–1930), League of Nations (1937), Poland (1938), and again Germany (1938–1941). After the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania in 1940, Škirpa formed the Lithuanian Activist Front, a short-lived resistance organisation whose goal was to liberate Lithuania and re-establish its independence, and which remains controversial due to anti-Semitic and anti-Polish views. After Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, he was named as Prime Minister in the Provisional Government of Lithuania. However, Germans placed him under house arrest and did not allow him to leave for Lithuania. In 1944 he was sent to a concentration camp in Bad Godesberg.

Later life[edit]

After liberation from KZ he went to Paris, Dublin, and in 1949 to the United States. He worked at the Library of Congress. In 1975 his memoir book about the 1941 independence movement was published. Originally interred in Washington, D.C., his remains were returned to Kaunas in 1995, where he was reburied in Petrašiūnai Cemetery.

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