On March 11, I visited a unique place in Vilnius called Memorial Complex of Tuskulėnai Peace Park where a lot of Lithuanians were executed at the end of the World War II by the NKGB (the Soviet State Security).
In early 1994, the Lithuanian State Security Department confirmed that prisoners killed in the NKGB prison in Vilnius from 1944 – 1947 were buried on the ground of Tuskulėnai Manor. Archeological research of the grounds was initiated soon afterwards. The Memorial Complex of Tuskulėnai Peace Park was established in June 2002.
In the course of archeological research on the grounds of the former Tuskulėnai Manor on 1994 – 1996 and in 2003 there were discovered forty-five graves with the remains of 724 people. The victims include participants of the underground anti-Soviet movement executed in Vilnius. After each execution the bodies were stripped, loaded onto a truck and taken at night to be buried within the grounds of the Tuskulėnai Manor House. The bodies were thrown into an already prepared trench. Many trenches were used several times. When the trench was filled up with bodies, it was covered with soil and stones.
Vasily Dolgirev (NKGB lieutenant-colonel)
Between 1944 and 1947 he participated in 41 mass executions and personally executed 650 people. He carried out the greatest number of executions in Vilnius NKGB internal prison.
In order to commemorate the victims, following the decree of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania dated 2002, the Memorial Complex of Tuskulėnai Peace Park was established. The most important subject is the chapel-columbarium. The building with its exceptional architecture was intended to memorialize and honor the memory of the victims of the Soviet terror. In the chapel-columbarium you can find a dome-shaped hall surrounded by a gallery of crypts with coffins bearing the remains of the victims.
„This is my last letter. I shall die, and you shall live. Please, raise our precious daughter Rūtelė-Regina, and when she grows up please tell her I loved her. […] I lay wounded in the right leg. But it‘s not the pain that bothers me most; it‘s the sorrow for you, […] Please, find out when I was shot or hanged and where they bury me. Dig me up and take me to the Šėta cemetery.“
How it happened
When Soviet and Nazi Germany signed a secret agreement (the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact), during first Soviet occupation in 1940, 23,000 Lithuanian citizens were arrested, executed or exiled. From the end of June 1941, when the country was occupied by military forces of Nazi Germany until 1944, nearly 30,000 Lithuanian citizens were arrested and deported to concentration camps, another 60,000 were taken for forced labor in Germany, and 240,000 were killed, approximately 200,000 of them were Jews. Between 1944 and 1953, around 186,000 people were arrested and imprisoned, of which 143,000 were imprisoned in GULAG camps, 118,000 – exiled, and nearly 21,000 members of the armies anti-Soviet resistance and their supporters perished. The Soviets were hiding that they were executing people by shooting them to their heads. Also they have hidden the information where do the executions happened.
Tuskulėnai is the only known location where the bodies of those executed in Vilnius NKGB internal prison were buried, and therefore it has become one of the symbols commemorating the victims of the Soviet terror.