Experts have confirmed: the remains of partisan commander J.Vitkaus-Kazimieraitis were discovered in Leipalingi

15min at the end of October visited the place where a group of archaeologists, led by Linas Kvizikevicius, discovered the remains of several people, most likely partisans.

In one pit, the remains of two people were found, above which a grenade was also discovered.

Nearby, in the same yard, more remains were discovered, or rather half of them. A plate with a carved Vyčius was also discovered next to the remains.

Photo of the Cultural Values ​​Protection Service/Plaque with Vyčius

Shortly after the discovery, the remains were taken to Vilnius University for anthropological research, and later DNA research was started.

These searches in Leipalingi aim to discover the remains of legendary Dzūkija partisans J.Vitkaus-Kazimieraitis and Lionginis Baliukevičiaus-Dzūkas.

The fact is confirmed

The fact that the remains of the legendary partisan J.Vitkaus-Kazimieraitis were discovered was announced by the Minister of National Defense Arvydas Anušauskas during Army Day last week.

Žygimanto Gedvilas/BNS photo/Arvydas Anušauskas

Žygimanto Gedvilas/BNS photo/Arvydas Anušauskas

However, Genocide Center experts could not yet confirm the minister’s words and said that not all investigations have been completed.

However, now experts confirm – DNA tests have revealed that the remains of J.Vitkaus-Kazimieraitis were discovered in Leipalingi, in the courtyard of the former NKVD building.

“I want to share the happy and important news that among the remains found in Leipalingi are the remains of the famous South Lithuanian partisan leader Juoz Vitkaus-Kazimieraitis, today we can confirm this 100%,” Arūnas, head of the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of the Lithuanian Population, told journalists at a press conference held on Monday. Drum.

He presented the conclusion of the investigation to the grandson of J.Vitkaus-Kazimieraitis, Vilnius University chaplain Gintaras Vitkas.

“The time of uncertainty is over,” emphasized A. Bubnys.

Žygimantas Gedvilas/BNS photo/Press conference about the remains of Lithuanian partisans found in Leipalingi

Žygimantas Gedvilas/BNS photo/Press conference about the remains of Lithuanian partisans found in Leipalingi

According to experts, the remains were discovered by evaluating the collected historical material and people’s testimonies.

According to forensic medicine expert Jūratė Jankauskienė, the DNA test confirmed the identity after the fourth attempt and last week the tests did not yet show the final answer.

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However, experts can now confirm that the DNA of the remains matches the DNA of the sons of J.Vitkaus-Kazimieraitis.

“Happy to the Clouds”

The confirmed fact was greeted with smiles by the relatives of J.Vitkaus-Kazimieraitis – grandchildren G.Vitkus and Vilija Vitkutė-Pranckienė.

“We are endlessly excited, endlessly waiting, hopefully waiting. My father and my brothers really worked hard in 1991, but at one point we had already lost that hope. It’s just that now we are overjoyed, because that identification obliges us to carry on, to spread the grandfather’s name to the public so that it knows much more, because he was previously forgotten”, the granddaughter of the legendary partisan told reporters.

“The prevailing feeling is joy, pride and gratitude that finally, thanks to the efforts of state institutions, family and private people, a result has been achieved. We recognized and discovered the remains of one of the important warriors for Lithuania”, added Chaplain G. Vitkus.

Žygimantas Gedvilas/BNS photo/Press conference about the remains of Lithuanian partisans found in Leipalingi

Žygimantas Gedvilas/BNS photo/Press conference about the remains of Lithuanian partisans found in Leipalingi

According to him, the family had already started considering where the legendary partisan could lay to rest.

“We are actually in the family when the investigations started when 15min the daily published those data, we have already started to consider what will happen when it is discovered”, said the grandson of J.Vitkaus-Kazimieraitis.

One of the considered places is in Kaunas, where the partisan’s wife is buried, but the grandchildren say that they agree with a state funeral, and they are unsure about the place and time of the burial.

“If his influence and contribution as a statesman is recognized, we will discuss with the state institutions when and how he could be buried,” said G. Vitkus.

Žygimantas Gedvilas/BNS photo/Press conference about the remains of Lithuanian partisans found in Leipalingi

Žygimantas Gedvilas/BNS photo/Press conference about the remains of Lithuanian partisans found in Leipalingi

The remains are fragmentary

Shortly after the discovery of the remains in Leipalingi, they were transferred to Vilnius University (VU) for primary – anthropological – research.

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His researcher Justina Kozakaitė says that the remains were fragmentary.

“The remains were really very fragmentary: only the spine of the right side of the body remained. Unfortunately, we only have the lower jaw and a fragment of the occipital bone preserved in the skull,” J. Kozakaitė told reporters.

Photo by Žygimantas Gedvilas/BNS/Justina Kozakaitė

Photo by Žygimantas Gedvilas/BNS/Justina Kozakaitė

According to her, the identity of J.Vitkaus-Kazimieraitis was partly confirmed by anthropological research.

“For example, the condition and treatment of the teeth or certain changes found in the waist area, which we can associate with his health, where he complained of numbness in his legs or pain in his legs,” said the VU researcher.

She emphasized that scientists are still studying the remains of J.Vitkaus-Kazimieraitis.

“There are two important reasons for this. First of all, the fact that the remains are fragmentary (…) L. Kvizikevičius recently presented bones that may belong to J. Vitkas. At the moment, that investigation is ongoing, we are trying to trace which other bones could belong to the remains of J.Vitkaus. Another important aspect is the question of the circumstances of death. Witnesses’ accounts claim that J. Vitkus was injured in the chest, pelvis and thigh area,” said J. Kazokaitė.

Legendary personalities

The discovery of the remains of both J.Vitkaus-Kazimieraitis and L.Baliukevičiaus-Dzūkas would be a great achievement in the search for Lithuanian partisans whose bodies were hidden by the Soviets.

They both led the Dainava district and died near Leipalingi.

J.Vitkus-Kazimieraitis was killed on July 2, 1946, when he encountered Soviet troops, and L.Baliukevičius-Dzūkas – on June 24, 1950 in a bunker in Žaliamišky.

The diary of L. Baliukevičiaus-Dzūkas, written on a typewriter in 1948-1949, is one of the most unique testimonies of partisan resistance.

At that time, J.Vitkus-Kazimieraitis, the commander of the South Lithuanian partisan area, was perhaps the only high-ranking officer – he had obtained the rank of lieutenant colonel during the interwar period.

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According to the Genocide and Resistance Research Center of the Lithuanian Population, J. Vitkus was born in 1901, in 1920 he entered the Kaunas Military School. After graduating, he was assigned to the infantry regiment of King Mindaugas.

Later, he graduated from Kaunas advanced military technical courses and studied at the Brussels military command engineering school. After returning from his studies abroad, he served in Kaunas as the technical chief of the engineering battalion. In 1938, after receiving the rank of lieutenant colonel, he started teaching engineering at the Military School.

Rūta Averkienė's photo/J.Vitkaus-Kazimieraitis memorial signs

Rūta Averkienė’s photo/J.Vitkaus-Kazimieraitis memorial signs

In 1941, when the war started, he retired from the army, during the Nazi occupation he worked as an engineer.

During the second occupation of the Soviet Union, the officer devoted all his efforts to the organization of partisan activities.

According to the Genocide Center, being almost the only such high-ranking officer in the resistance movement, he well understood the political and military significance of the organization.

In 1945, J.Vitkus established the partisan headquarters of the Dzūki group, prepared its first directive documents, later formed the Merkis national team (named after Kazimieraitis after his death). He founded “A” district, and in the spring of 1946, after meeting with Tauros district officials, he formed the South Lithuanian partisan area and was elected its commander.

After becoming the commander of the first partisan area, he took care of the further coordination of partisan activities. In 1946, he signed the declaration of Lithuanian partisans.

On July 2, 1946, in a clash with the Soviet army in Žaliamiški, near Liškiava, in the Varėna district, J.Vitkus was seriously wounded and died a few hours later.

J.Vitkus-Kazimieraitis and L.Baliukevičius-Dzūkas were friends of the legendary partisan leader Adolfos Ramanauskas-Vanagas. Vanagas considered Kazimieraitis his teacher and described him in his diary as “the ideal of partisans”, and Dzūkas as “the most zealous and honest colleague”.

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