- Lithuanian Riflemen's Union
Lithuanian Riflemen's Union or Union of Lithuanian Riflemen ( _lt. Lietuvos Šaulių Sąjunga), also referred to as šauliai ( _lt. šaulys for "rifleman")It should be noted that sources use this nickname to refer to the infamous
Ypatingasis būrysSonderkommando from the Second World War, many of whose members came from LRU.] a nationalisticen icon cite book | author =Tadeusz Piotrowski | coauthors = | title =Poland's Holocaust: Ethnic Strife, Collaboration with Occupying Forces and Genocide... | year =1997 | editor = | pages =p. 162 | chapter = | chapterurl = | publisher =McFarland & Company | location = | id =ISBN 0-7864-0371-3| url =http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0786403713&id=A4FlatJCro4C&pg=PA162&lpg=PA162&ots=0IlJRbNH1_&dq=Union+of+Lithuanian+Riflemen&sig=bRwOeNo9FqhDR1UjNK5amJ9pk2k | format = | accessdate = ] Kazimierz Sakowicz, Yitzhak Arad, Yale University Press, 2005, ISBN 0300108532 [http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0300108532&id=ZNI79jJnsOoC&pg=PA50&lpg=PA50&ots=O_Xe55ulTU&dq=shaulists&sig=Sfn171R7YuZLGm3sbS-wbiv34PM#PPA12,M1 Google Print, p.12] ] paramilitaryorganisation with historical significance.
The organisation was most powerful in independent Lithuania until Soviet occupation. Membership in it was seen as prestigious, and "šaulys" has been seen as a defender of the state: when Lithuania was occupied, it conducted
guerrilla warfare. It was natural, that many state officials were members of this organisation. At the time it was multinational besides Lithuanians including Jews, Belarusiansand Russians. The main purpose of the organization was to train citizens to a military art, and in case of military aggresion to provide trained people to the army.
Soviet Unionoccupied Lithuania, the Soviets quickly dissolved the organisation, and many members were arrested and sentenced to death.
After Lithuania redeclared independence in 1990, the organization was recreated, but it is not influential now. A branch called
Young Riflemen(Jaunieji Šauliai) is a paramilitary organisation for children, similar to Lithuanian Boy Scouts (Lietuvos Skautija). It is not very popular now. Current membership of the Lithuanian Riflemen's Union is 7,000; in the interwar period it was 61,000. Sixty-one percent of members are Young Riflemen (12-18 years old), 8% are Active Riflemen (people who formerly were in army, 18-45 years old) and the remaining 31% are Inactive Riflemen.
Some members of this numerous organization were involved in controversial and criminal actions during the first half of the 20th century.
Members of organization did participate in the controversial
Klaipėda Revoltof 1923, as the Memel territorywith the help of Riflemen from Greater Lithuania was annexed as Klaipėda Region. The former German area was then under control by France, according to the Treaty of Versailles.
After the beginning of
World War II1939-1940 in Lithuania, and later under German occupation (1941-1944), number of former members of this organization, dissolved and banned by soviets, became infamous for supporting anti-Polishactions as well as pogroms against the Jews. Some of its members volunteered to serve the Germans, forming a core of the infamous Ypatingasis būrysresponsible - along with German police - for the Ponary massacrewhere 100,000 Jews, Russians and Poles were murdered.pl icon Czesław Michalski, [http://www.wsp.krakow.pl/konspekt/konspekt5/ponary.html Ponary - Golgota Wileńszczyzny] (Ponary — the Golgoth of Wilno Region). "Konspekt" nº 5, Winter 2000–2001, a publication of the Academy of Pedagogy in Kraków. Last accessed on 10 February 2007.] pl icon Stanisław Mikke, [http://www.adwokatura.pl/aktualnosci_sprawozdania_1112.htm 'W Ponarach'] . Relation from a Polish-Lithuanian memorial ceremony in Panerai, 2000. On the pages of Polish Bar Association] .
Lithuanian Security Police
* [http://www.sauliusajunga.lt Official site]
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