Kazys Škirpa-Lithuanian Diplomat; Russian Teacher and War Criminal

By Dirk de Klein of dirkdeklein.net

Kazys Škirpa

There are several things that amaze me in the story of this man. Firstly even though I have read a lot about the Holocaust I had never heard of him, his name was pointed out to me by an acquaintance.

Secondly he actually lived in Ireland for three years after the war, from 1946 to 1949. Although initially I only had seen a mention of this on Wikipedia which wasn’t enough for me to take as gospel truth, but I came across an article posted by the Lithuanian Embassy in Ireland dated the 16th of September 2011, where he was mentioned.
“Lithuanians also felt the helping hand of the Irish during this tragic period of our history when independence was lost. The last Prime Minister of independent Lithuania Kazys Škirpa was cordially received in Ireland, and Dublin was home to the famous Lithuanian statesman from 1946 to 1949.”

Thirdly ,after Dublin he emigrated 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, where he died on August 18 1979,unpunished for his crimes.



Kazys Škirpa

Kazys Škirpa (born February 18, 1895, Namajūnai, Kovno Governorate, Lithuania – August 18, 1979, Washington DC) was a Lithuanian military officer and diplomat. He is best known as the founder of the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF) and his involvement in the attempt to establish Lithuanian independence in June 1941. His legacy is controversial due to LAF’s anti-Semitic policies and later collaboration in the Holocaust.

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, as a member of the Lithuanian Peasant Popular Union, he was elected to the Constituent Assembly of Lithuania. After that he decided to pursue military education in Institute of Technology in Zurich, Higher Military School in Kaunas, and Royal Military Academy (Belgium). 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.

Later he served as a Lithuanian representative to Germany (1927–1930), League of Nations (1937), Poland (1938), and again Germany (1938–1941). After Soviet Union occupied Lithuania in 1940, Škirpa fled to Germany and formed the anti-Semitic and anti-Polish Lithuanian Activist Front, a short-lived resistance organization whose goal was to liberate Lithuania and re-establish its independence by working with the Nazis.

(Skirpa in the middle of the picture)Kazys Škirpa
When Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in June 1941, LAF cooperated with the Nazis and killed many Lithuanian Jews .Kazys Škirpa

Kazys ŠkirpaHe was named Prime Minister in the Provisional Government of Lithuania, however Germans placed him under house arrest and did not allow him to leave for Lithuania.Kazys Škirpa

From Berlin he moved to southern Germany and was allowed a short visit to Kaunas only in October 1943.In June 1944, he was arrested for sending a memorandum to the Nazi officials asking to replace German authorities in Lithuania with a Lithuanian government. He was first imprisoned in a concentration camp in Bad Godesberg and in February 1945 moved to Jezeří Castle.Kazys Škirpa



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.

Below are some English translations of the memoirs:

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.



Kazys Škirpa

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.

After the war, he went to Paris and from there to Dublin where he taught Russian language at a University. It is unclear which one but it’s more then likely Trinity College because that is the only University in Dublin with a Russian department.

In 1949, he emigrated 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 June 1995, where he was reburied in Petrašiūnai Cemetery.Kazys Škirpa



References

http://defendinghistory.com/documents-which-argue-for-ethnic-cleansing-by-kazys-skirpa-stasys-rastikis-stasys-lozoraitis-and-petras-klimas-in-1940-1941-and-by-birute-terese-burauskaite-in-2015/78459

http://www.selflearners.net/wiki/Holocaust/Kazys%C5%A0kirpa

http://urm.lt/ie/en/news/address-by-his-excellency-vidmantas-purlys-at-the-commemoration-of-the-20th-anniversary-of-the-establishment-of-the-diplomatic-relations-between-ireland-and-lithuania-15-september-griffith-college-dublin

For More Great Articles By Dirk de Klein See: dirkdeklein.net

For Further Reading Check Out:

A Reluctant Citizen: Making a life in German-occupied Memel and Lithuania 1932-1940




For Related Articles See:

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