“The death sentence to Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas was executed in an unusual way: the executioner stood in front of the victim and shot him in his lower left jaw,” it said in a press release.
Experts have examined the remains of more than 20 executed people buried in Vilnius’ Našlaičių (Orphans) Cemetery and found that none of them were executed in the same way as Ramanauskas-Vanagas. Most of the victims were shot in the back of the head by executioners standing behind them and several were shot in their temples.
The investigation revealed injuries to both the lower and upper left jaws of Ramanauskas-Vanagas, probably resulting from a single gunshot to the lower left jaw, the center said.
“It can be assumed that Ramanauskas-Vanagas did not die immediately after such an atypical shot was fired, but in a few minutes,” it added.
The partisan commander sustained injuries to his frontal bone after the death sentence was pronounced, around three to four weeks before the execution.
The experts found stab injuries to Ramanauskas-Vanagas’ right eye socket made by a sharp instrument, which apparently left him blind in the right eye. The injuries were apparently inflicted while he was tortured on the day of his detention in 1956.
Ramanauskas-Vanagas, the commander of the Dzukija region in southern Lithuania, was among the partisan leaders who signed the Union of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters’ Declaration in 1949.
Partisan groups began to form in Lithuania in 1944 in response to Soviet repressions and deportations and forced conscription to the Red Army. The organized armed resistance against the Soviet occupation ended in 1953.
Ramanauskas-Vanagas was arrested by the Soviets in 1956 and was executed a year later.
His remains, which were discovered and identified earlier this year, will be laid in state at the Church of St. Johns in Vilnius on Friday and will be buried in a state funeral in the Antakalnis Cemetery on Saturday.