Lithuania Under Totalitarianism

Lithuania lay under communist, totalitarian rule for half a century. Soviet troops moved into Lithuania in June 1940, and six weeks later the Soviet Union annexed the country. The Soviet culture of violence exploded when Nazi troops crossed into Lithuania on June 22, 1941. As Soviet authorities fled, some local communist officials summarily executed prisoners whom they could not take along. In turn Lithuanians rose in revolt and attacked the retreating Red Army. Urged on by Nazi propaganda that identified Jews with communism, some joined the Nazi authorities and turned on the Jewish population of the republic. From June to December 1941, an estimated 90-95 percent of Lithuania’s some 250,000 Jews died. When the Red Army returned to Lithuania in 1944, it found a different mood and even a different population than it had faced in 1940. In the cities, the historic Jewish communities barely existed; many urban Lithuanians had fled to seek refuge in the West .In the countryside, partisan groups offered fierce armed resistance to Soviet rule.