Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights - History and Facts | History Hit

Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights

Vilnius, Vilnius County, Lithuania

The Museum of Genocide Victims in Vilnius focuses on human cost of the Soviet occupation of Lithuania.

Antara Bate

24 Nov 2020
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights

The Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights, previously the Museum of Genocide Victims until 2018, commonly known as the KGB Museum, is dedicated to the history of Lithuania under the Soviet rule between 1940-1941 and 1944-1991. As its name suggests, it is particularly focused on the repressions against the Lithuanian people.

Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights history

The building which houses the museum is over 100 years old. Its history reflects the complicated events in the history of Lithuania at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries.

This former headquarters of the KGB (and before them the Gestapo, Polish occupiers and Tsarist judiciary) houses a museum dedicated to thousands of members of the Lithuanian resistance who were murdered, imprisoned or deported by the Soviet Union from WWII until the 1960s. Backlit photographs, wooden annexes and a disorienting layout sharpen the impact of past horrors outlined in graphic detail.

Between 1944 and the 1960s, more than 1000 prisoners were killed here. Messages of despair and defiance from those awaiting execution remain etched into cell walls. Memorial plaques honouring the dead tile the outside of the building.

The Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights was established in 1992. It is the only such museum in the Baltic States, housed in the same building where the repressive Soviet authorities NKVD and NKGB-MGB-KGB worked from the second half of 1940 until August 1991. The building’s basement contains an internal prison-interrogation isolation cell where residents of Lithuania who seemed suspicious to the occupation authorities were imprisoned from the autumn of 1940 until 1987. Visitors can get acquainted with the exhibition, which was set up in the former death penalty enforcement room.

Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights today

Exhibitions at the Museum of Genocide Victims look at the history of the Soviet occupation and the activities of the Soviet secret service. There are also exhibitions on the armed and unarmed anti-Soviet resistance and those Lithuanian people who were sent to the Gulags and exiled to the remotest parts of the Soviet Union.

Getting to the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights

The museum is housed in large grey former KGB building on the main street of the western half of central Vilnius, Gedimino pr., and the various plaques on the wall are clear indicators of its former function. The entrance to the museum itself is a little more hidden, round the corner on Aukų gatve 2.

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