This article takes a micro-analytical approach to examining a war crimes trial in Klaipėda in 1964, when seven defendants were sentenced for their contribution to the extermination of 3,000 people, mostly Jews, in the summer of 1941, in Skuodas, northwest Lithuania, and its area. The article is a case study that attempts to shed a light on the role of the wives of war criminals during similar wartime events. In order to achieve this aim, it presents the historical context of the Holocaust in and around Skuodas, and discusses the war crimes trial that took place in the city of Klaipėda in 1964, before presenting socio-psychological portraits of the wives of the defendants, insofar as this can be done based on the case material. In addition, the article reveals their attitudes towards the war crimes committed by their husbands, and discusses their role in the region during the Holocaust. The paper also seeks to locate these female trial testimonies within the broader context of the case, by revealing how in general the Soviet interrogators (re)presented images of women in the course of this war crimes trial.
In 1944, as the Eastern Front was approaching Lithuania, which was then still occupied by Nazi Germany, and the Red Army retook the country, a substantial number of civilians and former members of paramilitary organisations joined the armed resistance to sovietisation. For a long time, the history of the anti-Soviet armed resistance, or guerrilla war, in Lithuania has been told as a story of men, dominated by descriptions of their combat action and stories of the dead. The memories of women, mainly helpers and messengers, have been treated as a supplement to this image, but not as a formative factor. Insufficient attention has also been paid to the role of women who fought with weapons in their hands, and the narratives of those who acted simultaneously as partisans and wives and mothers. The aim of this article is to take a multifaceted look at the experiences of women who contributed to the armed anti-Soviet resistance in Lithuania. It aims to discuss the changing attitudes of the partisan leadership towards women’s participation in action, to show the diversity of female activity in the partisan war, and to reveal how their involvement in the war contributed to changes in their family roles.
The missions of the Republic of Lithuania to the United States of America (the Embassy in Washington, the Consulate-General in New York, and the Consulate in Chicago, as well as two honorary consuls in Los Angeles and Boston) did not cease their activities after the Soviet Union’s aggression against Lithuania in the summer of 1940. In 1937–1971, Petras Povilas Daužvardis worked as consul (later consul-general) in Chicago, in one of the largest Lithuanian communities in the United States. After his death, his widow Juzefa Rauktytė-Daužvardienė took over his diplomatic functions. Her appointment was hardly unexpected: even before she took over the responsibilities of honorary consul-general, local Lithuanians called her an unofficial consular attaché. The article delves into the origins of Rauktytė-Daužvardienė’s accumulation of social capital during the Second World War. This is done by researching her social activities: first of all with the American Red Cross, and in other associations that promoted blood donor activities, relief and civilian charity. Based on the American-Lithuanian press, this biographical sketch aims to show the burden of war assumed by a Lithuanian woman in the USA.
The article analyses the everyday life of civilians in East Prussia during the Second World War, with a special focus on the Klaipėda (Memel) region, a former territory of Lithuania, which was annexed by the German Reich in March 1939. Since the Wehrmacht recruited a large number of men in 1941 in the former Memel region, a great shortage of labour also arose in this northern part of East Prussia. At the same time, numerous labour camps were set up in the region, for both foreign and forced labourers, and prisoners of war. Foreign workers were employed in most agricultural enterprises, which were run by women, thus creating many sources of tension. The women were dependent on close cooperation with the workers, but had to keep a safe distance and report to the Nazi authorities, as well as to their men who were on the front line. The paper focuses on the situation of women who lived and worked in familiar surroundings during the war, but whose lives were nevertheless greatly influenced by the war.
Unlike the war veterans or disabled soldiers’ associations that were active in Lithuania in the period between the two world wars, which have already been extensively studied, less is known about associations that provided public relief to the army. One of them supported the notion of women’s involvement in national defence, which was widespread in European society in the 19th century and the first half of the 20th century. Named in 1935 after the mother of Lithuania’s greatest Medieval ruler, it was called the Duchess Birutė Association of Women from Officers’ Families. Based on research into existing sources and literature, the article sets out to analyse the establishment of this association, which was active for 15 years (1925–1940), and to reveal its aims and structure. The author examines the statutes which defined the directions of its activities and financial possibilities, identifies sponsors, and assesses their impact on the operation of the association, before focusing on the activities of the association relating to cooperation with the army, the dissemination of national ideas, and the concepts of family and the role of women.
As the First World War drew to an end, a number of political actors in the east Baltic Sea region declared the independence of new states. This independence had to be defended by their governments in armed conflicts. The army loyal to the Lithuanian government was engaged in active hostilities until the end of 1920. So far, the historiography on these military actions has concentrated on the tactical-operational actions of the armies, and biographical studies of their military leaders. The participation of women in the Lithuanian war of independence and violence by combatants against civilians, including women, have been studied in a rather fragmentary way. This article fills this research gap, by analysing the collective initiatives of women that emerged in Lithuanian society between 1918 and 1920 to provide public relief to the Lithuanian armed forces that were engaged in military operations. By perceiving these initiatives as a response to a military threat, the article seeks to identify the internal and external factors that underpinned the determination of women to provide material assistance to the Lithuanian army. By taking a sociological theoretical approach of stimulus-induced social interaction, it provides an analysis of the reasons for the formation and the development of 13 women’s associations, and the nature and the extent of their activities.