In 1998 the Lithuanian Military Academy was awarded the name of Jonas Žemaitis, who was one of the most famous Lithuanian partisans and their long-term leader, as well as the founder of the Lithuanian Freedom Movement.
Jonas Žemaitis, a child of the first generation who had already been able to attend Lithuanian schools and gymnasiums, saw the growth of the independent Lithuanian state. Through the efforts of Jonas Žemaitis, a graduate of the War School of Kaunas, the Lithuanian partisan movement was finally united in 1949, and same year in February he was elected Chairman of the Presidium of the Council of the Movement of the Struggle for Freedom of Lithuania (according to the Declaration of 16 February 1949 of the Council of the Movement of the Struggle for Freedom of Lithuania, after the restoration of Lithuania's independence, the Chairman of the Presidium was deemed to hold the office of the President of the Republic).
In 1949 Jonas Žemaitis was awarded the rank of general of freedom fighters-partisans. He led the partisan movement under the pseudonym Vytautas until his betrayal on 30 May 1953, when was concussed by a sleep gas grenade in his bunker and arrested. In June 1954, Jonas Žemaitis was sentenced to death in a closed court session. He was executed by shooting same year on 26 November in Butyrka Prison in Moscow. His body was burned, and the ashes were buried in the common grave of the victims of the Soviet regime. Today we are witnesses that the words of Jonas Žemaitis spoken after the sentence was pronounced have come true:
“Just like my fellow partners, I think that the Soviet Union invaded our country with its armed forces… I regard this step of the Soviet government illegal. I consider all the underground anti-Soviet activities, a participant of which I have been, to be righteous and non-criminal. I just want to emphasise that as long as I was leading the Lithuanian struggle for freedom, I made every effort to adhere to the principles of humanity… I never allowed any brutal activities... I am well aware of the sentence to be pronounced. Still, I believe that the fight I was leading for nine years will achieve the desired outcomes”.
Photos from the Lithuanian Special Archive of the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights of the Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania