Partisan movement in the area of Gruzdžiai in 1944–1953

Aurelija Malinauskaitė

The armed resistance against the occupational Soviet regime in Gruzdžiai Valsčius in 1945–1953 is analysed. The structure of partisan forces, their fight developments and methods, as well as the actions of USSR repressive bodies, first of all NKVD army, against the partisans and their supporters to impose Stalin’s dictatorship is described.

From the very beginning of the resistance the activities of partisans were carried by meeting the regulations passed by the Lithuanian Liberty Army (LLA) that was a secret political and military organisation established during the Nazi occupation period. Gruzdžiai Valsčius was subordinate to the LLA Šiauliai Command and later to the Žemaičių Legion. Numerous partisan battle units formed spontaneously during the first stage of resistance (1945–1946) were uniting and reorganising, gaining experience in bloody clashes with the repressive forces. The second stage (1946–1948) notable for unification and centralisation of the guerrilla movement saw the formation of the Revival Command (Prisikėlimo apygarda), and the Gruzdžiai partisan units belonged to the Duke Žvelgaitis Brigade (Kunigaikščio Žvelgaičio Rinktinė) of this Command in the West Lithuanian province. The detachments of Ąžuolas, Audra, Bronius Norkus, Antanas Žąsinas-Spyglys, Plechavičius and other were in action. Due to intensification of punitive actions and destruction of social support base of partisans (their families and supporters were being sent to camps or deported to Siberia), only in 1953 the occupational regime finally had broken down the resistance of partisans in Gruzdžiai Valsčius.