Supreme Committee for the Liberation of Lithuania
The Supreme Committee for the Liberation of Lithuania or VLIK was an organization seeking independence of Lithuania
Lithuania , officially the Republic of Lithuania is a country in Northern Europe, the biggest of the three Baltic states. It is situated along the southeastern shore of the Baltic Sea, whereby to the west lie Sweden and Denmark...

. It was established on October 25, 1943 during the Nazi occupation
Occupation of Lithuania by Nazi Germany
The occupation of Lithuania by Nazi Germany refers to the occupation of Lithuania by Nazi Germany from the start of the German invasion of Soviet Union to the end of the Battle of Memel . At first the Germans were welcomed as "liberators" from the repressive Soviet regime which occupied Lithuania...

. After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 it moved abroad and continued its operations in Germany and the United States. VLIK claimed to be the legal representative of the Lithuanian parliament and government, but did not enjoy international recognition. It was dissolved in 1990 when Lithuania declared its independence
Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania
The Act of the Re-Establishment of the State of Lithuania or Act of March 11 was an independence declaration by the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic adopted on March 11, 1990...


In Lithuania

When Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

Operation Barbarossa
Operation Barbarossa was the code name for Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union during World War II that began on 22 June 1941. Over 4.5 million troops of the Axis powers invaded the USSR along a front., the largest invasion in the history of warfare...

 the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 in June 1941, Lithuanians
Lithuanians are the Baltic ethnic group native to Lithuania, where they number around 2,765,600 people. Another million or more make up the Lithuanian diaspora, largely found in countries such as the United States, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Russia, United Kingdom and Ireland. Their native language...

 greeted Germans as "liberators" from the oppressive Soviet regime. However, soon the attitude changed and various resistance movements began to form at the end of 1941 – beginning of 1942. During 1942 and 1943 these movements began consolidating into the pro-Catholic Nation's Council and Supreme Committee of the Lithuanians . After a five-month discussion, these two organizations decided to established one unified organization – VLIK, representing a wide range of political views. The first meeting of VLIK was held on October 25, 1943 in Kaunas
Kaunas is the second-largest city in Lithuania and has historically been a leading centre of Lithuanian economic, academic, and cultural life. Kaunas was the biggest city and the center of a powiat in Trakai Voivodeship of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania since 1413. During Russian Empire occupation...

 and Steponas Kairys
Steponas Kairys
Steponas Kairys was a Lithuanian engineer, nationalist, and social democrat. He was among the 20 men to sign the Act of Independence of Lithuania on February 16, 1918.-Engineering career:...

 was elected the first chairman. VLIK's mission was to act as an underground government until restoration of the Lithuanian independence. VLIK sent its envoys to Sweden and Finland, maintained contacts with Lithuanian diplomats in Switzerland, and attempted to inform the western powers about the crimes perpetrated by the Nazis. VLIK published underground newspapers and agitated for passive resistance against the Nazis. They thought that their biggest enemy was still the Soviet Union and that resources should be conserved for the upcoming armed resistance
Lithuanian partisans (1944–1953)
The Lithuanian partisans were partisans who waged uniformed guerrilla warfare against Soviet rule during the Soviet invasion and occupation of Lithuania during and after World War II...

 against the Russians.

In early 1944 VLIK sent colonel Kazimieras Amraziejus on a mission to Stockholm
Stockholm is the capital and the largest city of Sweden and constitutes the most populated urban area in Scandinavia. Stockholm is the most populous city in Sweden, with a population of 851,155 in the municipality , 1.37 million in the urban area , and around 2.1 million in the metropolitan area...

, but he was captured and interrogated by the Gestapo
The Gestapo was the official secret police of Nazi Germany. Beginning on 20 April 1934, it was under the administration of the SS leader Heinrich Himmler in his position as Chief of German Police...

 in Estonia. This led to arrests of eight VLIK members on April 29–30, 1944. In 1944, when the Soviets pushed the Germans from the Baltic states
Baltic states
The term Baltic states refers to the Baltic territories which gained independence from the Russian Empire in the wake of World War I: primarily the contiguous trio of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania ; Finland also fell within the scope of the term after initially gaining independence in the 1920s.The...

 during the Baltic Offensive, most of VLIK members retreated to Germany and VLIK ceased its functions in Lithuania. VLIK originally designed three of its members to remain in Lithuania, but only one did. It was a strategic loss as communication with Lithuania was severed and there was very little contact with remaining resistance groups.

In exile

Functions of VLIK were resumed in October 1944 in Würzburg
Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia which lies in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. Located at the Main River, it is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Lower Franconia. The regional dialect is Franconian....

, but soon moved to Reutlingen
Reutlingen is a city in Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is the capital of the eponymous district of Reutlingen. As of April 2008, it has a population of 109,828....

 ahead of the approaching Red Army
Red Army
The Workers' and Peasants' Red Army started out as the Soviet Union's revolutionary communist combat groups during the Russian Civil War of 1918-1922. It grew into the national army of the Soviet Union. By the 1930s the Red Army was among the largest armies in history.The "Red Army" name refers to...

. VLIK remained in Reutlingen until 1955. Mykolas Krupavičius
Mykolas Krupavičius
Mykolas Krupavičius was a Lithuanian priest and politician. He is best remembered for his involvement with the land reform in the interwar Lithuania....

 became the new chairman. VLIK united 15 different political orgazinations, whose members held a variety of political views and that hindered decision making. In July 1945, before the Potsdam Conference
Potsdam Conference
The Potsdam Conference was held at Cecilienhof, the home of Crown Prince Wilhelm Hohenzollern, in Potsdam, occupied Germany, from 16 July to 2 August 1945. Participants were the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States...

, VLIK sent memorandums to Winston Churchill
Winston Churchill
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer-Churchill, was a predominantly Conservative British politician and statesman known for his leadership of the United Kingdom during the Second World War. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest wartime leaders of the century and served as Prime Minister twice...

 and Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

 asking not to recognize Lithuania's occupation by the Soviet Union and asking for help reestablishing independent Lithuania. Numerous further notes were sent to the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

, various diplomats, academics, journalists promoting their cause and reporting human right violations
Human rights in the Soviet Union
Human rights in the Soviet Union have been viewed differently, one view by the communist ideology adopted by the Soviet Union and another by its critics. The Soviet Union was established after a revolution that ended centuries of Tsarist monarchy...

 in Lithuania. VLIK also reestablished ELTA
ELTA is a Lithuanian news agency based in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius.ELTA was founded in 1920 in Kaunas, the second largest city in Lithuania, by Juozas Eretas, the first director of the agency, a literature professor, publicist, and public figure of Swiss descent who sought to make the ELTA...

 news service, including radio broadcasts. VLIK attempted to establish contacts with the armed resistance in Lithuania
Lithuanian partisans (1944–1953)
The Lithuanian partisans were partisans who waged uniformed guerrilla warfare against Soviet rule during the Soviet invasion and occupation of Lithuania during and after World War II...

, but had only limited communication with Juozas Lukša
Juozas Lukša
Juozas Lukša also known by the pseudonym Daumantas or Skirmantas was one of the most prominent post-World War II leaders of the Lithuanian partisans, the anti-Soviet armed resistance...


VLIK positioned itself as the Lithuanian Seimas
The Seimas is the unicameral Lithuanian parliament. It has 141 members that are elected for a four-year term. About half of the members of this legislative body are elected in individual constituencies , and the other half are elected by nationwide vote according to proportional representation...

 (the parliament) and claimed that its executives were equivalent of a cabinet
Cabinet (government)
A Cabinet is a body of high ranking government officials, typically representing the executive branch. It can also sometimes be referred to as the Council of Ministers, an Executive Council, or an Executive Committee.- Overview :...

. Despite its claims, VLIK was not recognized by any foreign country as a representative of Lithuania. It further claimed that Lithuanian diplomats, still active in pre-war embassies of independent Lithuania, were subordinates to VLIK. This caused decade-long disagreements with Stasys Lozoraitis
Stasys Lozoraitis
Stasys Lozoraitis was a prominent Lithuanian diplomat. He served as the Foreign Minister of Lithuania from 1934 until 1938. After Lithuania lost its independence, Lozoraitis headed the Lithuanian diplomatic service from 1940 to his death in 1983...

, who was in charge of the diplomatic service and had a back-dated appointment as Prime Minister by the last President of Lithuania Antanas Smetona
Antanas Smetona
Antanas Smetona was one of the most important Lithuanian political figures between World War I and World War II. He served as the first President of Lithuania from April 4, 1919 to June 19, 1920. He again served as the last President of the country from December 19, 1926 to June 15, 1940, before...

. This tension was one of the reasons why the Lithuanians were unable to form a recognized government-in-exile. Several attempts were made to ease the tension between VILK (representing the nation) and the diplomatic service (representing the state). The first was a conference in Berne
The city of Bern or Berne is the Bundesstadt of Switzerland, and, with a population of , the fourth most populous city in Switzerland. The Bern agglomeration, which includes 43 municipalities, has a population of 349,000. The metropolitan area had a population of 660,000 in 2000...

 in July 1946. It was decided to form an Executive Council, but it never took off. The second conference was held in Paris
Paris is the capital and largest city in France, situated on the river Seine, in northern France, at the heart of the Île-de-France region...

 in August 1947.

As war refugees moved out of the displaced persons camp
Displaced persons camp
A displaced persons camp or DP camp is a temporary facility for displaced persons coerced into forced migration. The term is mainly used for camps established after World War II in West Germany and in Austria, as well as in the United Kingdom, primarily for refugees from Eastern Europe and for the...

s to the United States, VLIK also moved its headquarters to New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 in 1955. After the move, VLIK's political agenda became less prominent. The activists realized that there will be no quick solution to the Cold War
Cold War
The Cold War was the continuing state from roughly 1946 to 1991 of political conflict, military tension, proxy wars, and economic competition between the Communist World—primarily the Soviet Union and its satellite states and allies—and the powers of the Western world, primarily the United States...

. VLIK's main goal was to maintain non-recognition of Lithuania’s occupation and dissemination of information from behind the iron curtain
Iron Curtain
The concept of the Iron Curtain symbolized the ideological fighting and physical boundary dividing Europe into two separate areas from the end of World War II in 1945 until the end of the Cold War in 1989...

. VLIK established the Lithuanian World Community
Lithuanian World Community
The Lithuanian World Community is a non-governmental and non-profit organization established in 1949 that unifies Lithuanian communities abroad. The Constitution of the Lithuanian World Community declares that it consists of all Lithuanians living abroad...

with a mission to promote Lithuanian language and culture among Lithuanians living abroad. eventually VLIK ceased to exist after Lithuania declared independence in 1990.
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