Signatories of The Act of Independence of Lithuania - Activities After The Act of Independence

Activities After The Act of Independence

Most of the signatories of the Act remained active in the cultural and political life of independent Lithuania. Jonas Vileišis served in the Lithuanian Parliament and as mayor of Kaunas; Saliamonas Banaitis was involved in finance, opening several banks. Among the signatories were two future Presidents of Lithuania, Antanas Smetona and Aleksandras Stulginskis. Jonas Basanavičius returned to an academic life, pursuing his researches in Lithuanian culture and folklore. Five signatories died before World War II began; three died during the Nazi occupation of Lithuania. Those who did not emigrate to Western countries were arrested as political prisoners after Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union during World War II.

Aleksandras Stulginskis and Petras Klimas were sent to prison in Siberia by Soviet authorities, but survived and returned to Lithuania; Pranas Dovydaitis and Vladas Mironas were also sent to Siberia but died there. Kazys Bizauskas was shot along with a number of other prisoners on June 26, 1941 while being transported to a Soviet prison in Minsk. Donatas Malinauskas, along with many other civilians, was deported to Siberia and died there on November 30, 1942; his body was returned from Siberia in 1993 and reburied in Lithuania. Six of the surviving signatories went into exile. Brothers Jurgis Šaulys and Kazimieras Steponas Šaulys died in Switzerland; Jonas Vailokaitis died in Germany; Antanas Smetona, Mykolas Biržiška and Steponas Kairys died in the United States.

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