Lithuania remembers Soviet deportations on Day of Mourning and Hope

DELFI / Valdas Kopūstas

On 14 June 1941, the Soviet Union began its deportation of Lithuanian, Latvian and Estonian citizens to Siberia. This year’s Day of Mourning and Hope will be the 75th anniversary.

The Genocide and Resistance Research Centre‘s data indicates that more than 300,000 people were imprisoned and deported to Siberia over more than a decade of repression. According to the centre, between 1940 and 1958, every third Lithuanian became a victim of the Soviet occupation.

In an effort to destroy the Lithuanian identity, included Lithuanian intellectuals in the first lists of deportees. The deportees, who suffered cold and hunger, laid railways, chopped down forests, fished and performed other forms of hard labour.

The commemoration of the first deportations will be held in the Seimas, where deportee Seimas members will transfer the Lithuanian state flag to members of the Lemtis association and to participants of Misija Sibiras 2016.

Right before mid-day, victims of the occupation will be honoured with a moment of silence and a State flag-raising ceremony will be held in Independence Square.

Ceremonies to honour the victims of occupation, genocide and Soviet repressions will also be held near monuments to political prisoners and deportees.

During the action in Aukų g. square organised by Misija Sibiras, the first and last names and fates of 22,000 deportees will be read out loud from 13:30 into the night.

In the evening, Jamala, this year’s Eurovision winner from Ukraine, will hold a concert in Vilnius Cathedral square. Jamala, who is a Crimean Tatar, won Eurovision with a song called “1944,” which was about Stalin’s deportation of Crimean Tatars. Former Ukrainian and Belarusian presidents Leonidas Kravčiukas and Stanislavas Šuškevičius will also speak at the event.

Day of Mourning and Hope events will be held all day in all municipalities throughout the country.

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