THE UNDAUNTED II.
© Piet J. Kroonenberg, Amsterdam and WOSM, Geneva.
© Ïèò Êðîîíåíáåðã, Àìñòåðäàì è ÂÎÑÄ, Æåíåâà
L I T H U A N I A - L I E T U V A.
In the beginning
the area presently known as Lithuania was inhabited by three Indo-European
tribes : the Zjema‹tes, the Jutvings and the Auksjita‹ts. The terrain
consisting of marshes, rivers and covered by large, dense forests protected
them well against all intruders and they managed to keep them out. Yet
the Vikings, in their famous longboats, were a different threat. They
raided the coastlines, attacked the settlements and forced the tribes
to unite to fend them off. Attacks by the Mongols and the Tartars were
also repulsed and the tribes were not so much influenced by the various
migrations of nations from the east. Yet it was not until much later
that the Lithuanian nation came to being when the region was threatened
by some new enemies : the Teutonic Knights, also known as the German
Order, the Fratres Militae (Armed Brotherhood) or - more enlightening
- the Knights of the Sword. The members were mainly the second or third
sons or the bastards of German Knights and other gentry. They were well
aware that if their fathers died they would not inherit anything. Sometimes
their dads just gave them a horse, an armour and a sword and sent them
packing to carve their own way in life and to riches. These "knight
errants", as they were called, sought and found adventure.
During the first week of August 1914 the Great War, later known as World War I, began. The German Imperial High Command intended to crush France in a quick attack through Belgium before Great Britain would be able to deploy its forces on the Continent. Dedicating their potential and energy to this plan - which failed in 1914 but succeeded in 1940 - the Germans more or less neglected their Eastern Front with Russia. The Russian Armies initially scored some successes and penetrated East Prussia and the German zone of Poland. But a little later the Germans took the initiative. The Russians were forced to withdraw and large parts of Russian Poland and Russia were taken by German and Austrian forces. Lithuania, the nearest to East Prussia, was occupied by the Germans. But before they actually arrived the Russian military had deemed it necessary to evacuate a part of the civil population to the Russian hinterland and a fair portion of them had to settle in the city of Woronez, about which more later.
The war did not go well for the Russians and amongst others their Baltic provinces, Lithuania Latvia and Estonia were lost to the German Empire. So after more than 120 years of Russian regime the population had to adjust to the new German occupation authorities, which ofcourse was a difference though it was doubtful whether it was also an improvement. Had Emperial Germany won the war, it no doubt would have annexed the Baltic states and would not have granted them independence. But we are never to know.
On February 27th,
1917 the Russian revolution began. The centuries' old Empire of the
Czars came to an end and was replaced by a democratic republic led by
Kerenski, a social democrat.
The war between
Russia and Germany ended with Peace negotiations between the
The situation changed
drasticly. Was rather chaotic. The German soldiers in occupation of
the Baltic provinces were fed up with the war, glad that it was over,
and most of them wanted to go home. So the retreat began and the Bolshevik
Red Army, which was strongest in the north, made ready to advance and
re-occupy the territory the Germans withdrew from. But the populations
of the Baltic provinces had different ideas.They considered this to
be a nice opportunity to at long last regain their freedom and independence.
They armed themselves and were reinforced by some, small German military
units (Freikorps) which did not accept the German surrender, stayed
put and carried on fighting the Russians.
not yet really free and still at war. The new Bolshevik regime did not
intend to permit the Baltic States to secede. A bitter armed struggle
followed during which thousands gave their lives for their country's
new freedom. At last, July 12th, 1920, a treaty was signed. The Soviet
Union recognised the sovereignty of the free and independent Baltic
States including Lithuania. So at last Lithuania had obtained its freedom
S C O U T I N G.
In the years during
which Lithania and Poland had been one country and later when Eas Poland
and Lithuania belonged to the Russian Empire it so happened that the
populations mixed and lived together peacefully in towns and villages.
Many Lithuanians studied at universities in the Russian zone of divided
It was remarkable
that in Luthiania - as in many other East European countries - very
high standards were reached in scouting, so much so that the foreign
visitors, mainly British guide and scoutleaders, were very impressed
indeed. On the other hand there were few countries where the scout and
guide organizations suffered so many victims for the cause of scouting,
as history will reveal.
When in Paris (1922) the 2nd International (now World) Conference was held and the International (now World) Movement was founded, the movements represented were all registered and recognized as members, and were since considered to belong to the "Founder Members". For reasons unknown the LSS was not present at the conference and consequently did not belong to the "Founder Members". Yet it was registered as a member by the Boy Scouts International Bureau on June 1st, 1924. A recognition which enabled 20 Lithuanian scouts (boys and girls), under the leadership of Scoutmaster V. Senbergas, to participate in the 2nd World Jamboree at Ermelunden near Copenhagen (1924).
In Scouting's early days it was not uncommon that in various countries Heads-of-State, be they Kings or Queens or Presidents, took a great interest in scouting and guiding - which they deemed very important for the development of youth. Some even consented in they themselves - or other members of the family - becoming patrons or patronesses of the national movements. (2) But on April 23rd, 1925 (St George's Day) the Lithuanian President was installed as LSS's Chief Scout, which was exceptional.
In 1927 - to commemorate
LSS's 10th anniversary a First National Camp (Stovykla) was held near
Panemun‚ on the banks of the river Nrmunas. As from that year onwards
the national broadcasting system permitted LLS to put on the air a daily
half hour radio program which was very popular and lasted until the
communist take over in 1940. National and international scouting and
guiding news was given and reports concerning such international scouting
events as the 3rd World Jamboree (1929) at Arrowepark near Birkenhead
in England, the 4th (1933) at Godolo in Hungary and the 5th (1937) at
Vogelenzang in the Netherlands. To the latter travelled 25 Lithuanian
scouts who pitched their tents in Subcamp 7.
G U I D I N G.
The G.G. International
Bureau used to organize several International Conference, the 5th one
of which was held at Parad/Hungary in May 1928. The Lietuviu Skausiu
Skyrius was invited to attend. As one of the 26 participating Guide
Movements.(3) thus belonging to the "Founder Members" of the
WAGGGS - the World Association of the Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
The 2nd report ending June 30th, 1932 mentions a total membership of 3552, whereas the 3rd report, ending June 30th 1933 indicates that the movement's name has been changed into Lietuvos Skauciu Seserija which is however also translated as Lithuania's Girl Scouts Sisterhood. Its membership is said to be 4010, an increase of no less than 458. (4). But this report, written in German, also paid a tribute to the great event, the highlight of the year, the visit by the World Chief Scout, the World Chief Guide, their family and the more than 600 British Guide leaders and Scout leaders. In summer 1933, the two British cruise ships, used for this Baltic tour, also called at the Lithuanian port. The British guests visited the National Camp (Stovykla) at Palanga where Baden-Powell signed a huge 4 to 5 tons stone (5) with his initials, together with Chief Scout and President Antanas Smetona. This British invasion drew the attention and greatly enlarged the two movements' popularity. Radio and press dedicated much time and space.
From the Fourth
Biennial Report July 1st, 1934 - June 30th, 1936. Total membership 6608.
In its 5th Biennial
Report - covering July 1st, 1936 - June 30th, 1938, Lietuvus Skaucia
Seserijas told WAGGGS in London that its membership was now 6920 and
Apparently there was never a Sixth Biennial Report which ought to have been sent after June 30th, 1940. The general political situation in Europe had changed so much and the tensions were so high that it may never have been written.
Adolf Hitler managed
to manipulate his direct neighbours and the West European Democracies.
He had it his way when he was dealing with Austria and Czechoslovakia.
Then his greedy eye fell upon Poland. Though he never expected France
and England to go to war over Poland, he nevertheless wanted to cover
his back and so - to the world's utter surprise - he made his move towards
the Soviet Union. From State and Humanity's Enemy Number One, the Soviet
Union was suddenly declared to be a friend and a pact in that respect
was signed on August 23rd, 1939 added to which was the infamous top
secret Ribbentrop/Molotov Protocol
dividing Eastern Europe in a Nazi and a Soviet sphere of influence. The Baltic States were allotted to the Soviet Union be it that in 1939 Lithuania had to hand over Klaipede/Kalypedu or the Memel, bordering on East Preussia, with its mixed German/Lithuanian population to Nazi Germany. The first to be expelled were the Jews.
When Word War Two
had begun with the Nazi attack on Poland in September 1939 the Baltic
States detected a concentration of the Red Army near their borders.
The countries were put under enormous pressure. On May 10th, 1940 Nazi-Germany
began its offensive in Western Europe overrunning the Netherlands and
Belgium, forcing France to its knees and compelling the British to retreat
REDS - THE BROWNS - THE REDS.
The Red Terror began
immediately. All those belonging to the opposition and in particular
those having leaders' capacities were arrested as they were deemed a
danger to the new regime. Scouting and Guiding also had the bill presented
and most of the scout and guide leaders were put in jail.
friendship did not last long. On June 22nd, 1941, the Nazis launched
their Operation Barbarossa, attacking the Soviet Union. Its leadership
had ignored the warnings received from the British Prime Minister and
War Leader Winston Churchill and was not at all prepared when the German
offensive began. German tanks sliced through the defences like a hot
knive through butter.
No wonder that when they were able to obtain arms they turned on the retreating Red Army soldiers and killed as many as they could. No wonder that in the period between the Red Army's retreat and the Germans' arrival the Lithuanians took charge and hunted traitors and Soviet agents that had not been able to get away.
No wonder too that the Lithaunians greeted the Germans as liberators expecting them to restore the country's independence.
No wonder that most of them were very disappointed when they found that this was not a liberation. The only difference was the colour of the occupation, Nazi Brown in exchange for Soviet Red.
The Lithuanians who had armed themselves and attacked the Red Army on retreat, where disarmed by the Nazis and arrested. The provisional government that had taken over from the Soviet one, was disbanded by the Nazis on August 5th, 1941 and all leading personalities were taken into custody and deported to Germany to be locked up in a contration camp. The Nazis, like the Soviets, had no need for independently thinking people. The old Lithuanian national flag, yellow-green-red, that had been hoisted again, had to be removed once more. The left-overs of the LSS, mainly young boys and girls, that had reemerged, were told to stop all activities and to remove their uniforms. The Nazis did not at all want a liberated and revived Lithuania. A Nazi administration took over in the Baltic States which became a Reichskommisariat led by a Nazi Reichskommissar. The intention being that, when the war would have been won, the countries would become part of the Great Thousand Years' Reich.
Some of the armed
Lithuanians managed to escape and to hide in the dense forests. They
formed partisan units which tried to keep the Nazis away from them.
There were armed clashes which led to German reprisals and the Nazis
committed many war-crimes. The Lithunians were caught between two evil
systems. Yet each system knew its Lithuanian collaborators. Some, despite
everything, joined the Nazis with enthusiasm. When the war lasted longer
than the Nazi leaders had expected and millions of Germans had fallen
on the different fronts, new recruits were needed and sought elsewhere
in the occupied territories. The cunning Nazis declared their war on
the Soviet Union as to be in reality a Crusade against inhuman communism
in order to save the western civilisation and christianity. All over
Europe devote Raman Catholic boys, who had always been told how bad
communism was, fell for it and joined the SS. In the Baltic States,
blinded by their hatred for the Soviets and not understanding the game
the Nazis were playing, many joined up, willing to fight on the fronts
but also to assist in the oppression of their own compatriots. Dressed
in SS uniforms they were also involved in the extermination of their
Lithuanian Jewish fellow citizens and many of other nationalities.
Pro or anti the Nazi occupation, collaborating or resisting, all Lithuanians feared the Red Army's return. . And the tide had certainly turned. Nazi Germany "Victorious On All Fronts" was harassed on all fronts and retreated. The Red Army had recovered from the blows and had been reinforced and reequipped by its own industry behind the Ural mountains and by the Western Allies
In August/September 1944 the Germans were slowly forced out of Lithuania by the advancing Red Army. It was a slow process but unstoppable. Thousands of Lithuanians, whether pro or anti Nazis did not wish to stay and wait until the Red Army would return. A new switch of masters, and as experience taught, there was hardly a difference between them. Some went to the coast and tried to get on board anything that would float and take them to Sweden. Others managed to get on board German vessels and disembarked in some German port unless they were torpedoed by a Russian submarine. But most took the roads down south and went the long and hard way via East Prussia and Poland into Germany. Two enemies hit them, the advanging Red Army and King Winter. Mixing with the Germans escaping from East Prussia, thousands tracked along on the frozen coastal waters and many perished when being straffed and bombed by Russian fighter planes. Those who made it got involved in the bombardements on the German cities. Trying to keep ahead of the Red Army they went as far west as possible until they met the advancing Western Allies.
Those who stayed put saw the Soviets returning and were subjected to the new terror when the communists took over again. Almost everybody was considered to have been collaborating with the Nazis and thousands were arrested and deported to far away places. Only a very small percentage of those survived and was able to return home when in 1953, after Stalin's death, the regime went more lenient. The deportees places were filled by Russian and Ukrainians who were forced to settle in Lithuania to keep the economy going.
The above mentioned partisans in the forests, first harassed the retreating Germans and later the advancing Red Army and their activities lasted until well into 1952. News concerning their prolonged, unequal struggle scarcely reached the Free West and if so but was seldom given any attention.
Lithuania disappeared behind the Iron Curtain and was not heard off for a very long time.
The madness and bloodshed of World War Two ended on May 8th, 1945 at 0800 hours. A point of time. In the Armies of the Western Allies officially known as "Zero Hour" and in German history as "Die Stunde Null". It came as a relief to all, the victors, the vanquished and the victims of it all.
THE DISPLACED PERSONS.
In September 1948
the DP Division of the Boy Scouts International Bureau had registered
2000 Lithuanian DP scouts spread over the US, the British and the French
zones. In 1947, despite visa and money problems - which the UNRRA (6)
and the DP Division BSIB solved - some were able to attend the 6th World
Jamboree in Moisson/France.
Meanwhile it had
become quite clear that a return to the homeland was impossible and
certainly not imminent. Several countries offered accommodation and
a new future and so gradually the DPs of the various nationalities spread
all over the world. (7) Wheresoever they went the Lithuanians, as all
other DPs, still hoping that a return home would be possible in a not
too far off future, stuck together as much as possible, keeping alive
their culture and customs and their scouting and guiding. (7). Petras
Jurgela, mentioned before as the Founder of the first Lithuanian troop
ever, had also survived the war and was living in the USA where he founded
a Lithuanian Group. He was also appointed as LSS-in-Exile Chief Scout.
Upto well in the late eighties he performed this task. It is unknown
whether he may have lived long enough to have seen the revival of th
LSS in the old homeland.
At the 8th World Jamboree, Bad Ischl/Austria, 1951 21 LSS scouts were present. Eleven scouts, 2 scoutleaders and 8 rover scout represented LSS at the 9th World Jamboree/Indaba/RoverMoot, the Jubilee Jamboree of 1957 at Sutton Goldfield/England. In 1958 the Lithuanians celebrated three to them important events : LSS' 40the anniversary and rememberance of how 40 years earlier before their country had gained it independence and the 500th birthday of St Casimir, the Lithuanian's Patron Saint. . A STOVYKLA was held near Milford/Michican/USA and the participants were flown in from all over the world. Foreign guests participated, such as Hungarian, Latvian, Estonian, Ukrainian and Polish Exile Scouts, but also a large number of American and Canadian Scouts.
The 18th World Conference of Olivaris, near Lisbon/Portugal (20-24/09/1961) will always be considered by all Exile movements as a black day in World Scouting's history. . The offer of an associate membership stranded on the unwillingness of the Poles and consequently the Exiles could no longer consider themselves as being members of the World Movement unless they would join the NSOs of their new countries of residence. It can very well be understood that to all the Exile Scouts this was a hard blow. (7)
In Exile the LSS
knew three sub-units viz Lietuviu Skautu Sajunga, Skautu Brolija, the
Boys' Division, Lietuviu Skautu Sajunga, Skauciu Seserija, the Girls'
belonged to the founder members of the CSAiE or "Council of Scout
Associations in Exile". When in 1976, the Guides-in-Exile merged
with the CSAiE, this institute was renamed AISGO or "Associated
International Scout and Guide Organizations".
Every 10 years, 1968, 1978 and 1988, far from the homeland, that some - having been born in Exile - had never even seen, the LSS scouts and guides celebrated their movement's and country's anniversaries. Excited they must have been during the 1988 STOVYKLA as they must have been aware that - thanks to Gorbatchev's Glassnot and Perestrojka - things were slowly but gradually changing in the Communist Block and that there was a glimmering of hope for better times.
THE ROAD TO FREEDOM.
But whereas the satallite countries had some freedom of movement, the situation in Lithuania and the other Baltic States was different. They were no satallites, they were part of the Soviet Union, very much a one-party Soviet State, with governments that had to follow the strict orders that came from Moscow and without official opposition. But those opposing the system and desiring independence founded Sajudis, not a political party but a movement supporting certain political tendencies which had emerged gradually.
Some tried out to see how far one could go without being arrested and punished. In winter 1988/1989 in the Baltic Soviet States some dared to hoist their old national flags, the possession of which - let alone the displaying and flying of which - was strictly forbidden. Some flew over the cities and ..... nothing happened. So more flags were being raised.
23/08/1989. Fifty years earlier Nazi German and the Soviet Union had signed the treaty which led to the Baltic States losing their freedom and independence in 1940. The peoples of the three Baltic States, hand in hand, formed an unbroken human chain from the north of Estonia to the south of Lithuania, demanding the restoration of their liberty. This impressed. Thereafter the Lithuanians more and more stuck their necks out so much so that in December 1989 Gorbatchev came to visit and to appease. He promised a law permitting states belonging to the USSR to secede. But promises were not enough and the Lithuanian communist government was put under such a pressure that it had to condone free elections, meaning that contrary to the past, when there was only a choice out of communist candidates only, this time Sajudis candidates could be elected as well.
24/02/1990. Of the 90 seats available in Parliament 72 were going to Sajudis sponsered and supported candidates, 9 to a new Lithuanian national communist party that had broken away from the USSR CP, and 9 to the, very disappointed, official communist party.
10-11/03/1990. The new Parliament in office - with all votes in favour and 4 abstentions only - ratified again the Declaration of Independence of 1918. For the moment that was as far as they could go.
rose when the Moscow Congress of People's Deputies- with an
16/03/1990. The newly created Lithuanian Defence Corps comes out in the open and takes over the border control, hoisting the Lithuanian National Tricolour (Yellow Green Red).
24/03/1990. The Red Army demonstrated that it was still there, parading through the streets of Vilnius/Vilnjoes to impress and frighten the people.
26/03/1990. A crucial day. The Black Berets, the special forces of the USSR's Ministery of the Interior, struck. Important buildings including hospitals, but not the Parliament, were occupied. More Soviet pressure was added when Moscow declared an economic boycot. Oil, natural gas and food were no longer supplied. More than 300.000 demonstrated. The other Baltic States declared their solidarity and West European countries and the USA protested. In May 1990 there is hardly any petrol left, public transport came to a standstill and various industries were closed for lack of natural gas and oil. But Russia's president Boris Jeltsin stated that the new Russian Federation would cooperate with Lithuania.
29/06/1990 the Lithuanian government decided to put the Declaration of Independence in the deep-freeze. President Landsbergis accepted but did not agree. The very next day the USSR ended her boycot and oil, petrol, natural gas as well as food were being delivered once again.
A period of discussions
and meetings followed but neither the USSR nor Lithuania were willing
to give in.
09/01/1991. The Black Berets, hit again surrounding but not yet entering main buildings. Unarmed Lithuanians stood between the soldiers and their targets. Gortbatchev, in a world wide statement, denied all responsability for this unwarrented action and also denied that he was behind or desired a possible communist coup d'etat in Lithuania.
dramatic situation developed. The Black Berets acted again. This time
simultaniously in Estonia and Latvia. Opening fire whilst storming and
taking several public buildings, the tv tower and tv studios, printing
shops etc. 13 civilians were killed. The radio was still on the air
when President Landsbergis said :" I promise that I'll remain loyal
to my country and I think that we are prepared to die for Lithuania."
Just before the radio station was forced to close down the following
dramatic message was put on the air :
But meanwhile the Baltic communists founded National Rescue Committees, intending to remove the elected governments from office and to replace them in order to restore law, order and the communist regime. The United States and other countries added pressure on the USSR.
30/01/1991. It so seemed that Corbatchev got the overhand. Black Beret units, including 45 tanks, unexpectedly withdrew from the Lithuanian capital. The Kremlin informed Washington that it would be prepared to resume the negotiations with the Baltic States.
09/02/ 1991. A new referendum. 85% of the population voted. 90% of them in favour of total independence. The Central Soviet Government in Moscow declared the referendum to be totally illegal. The Red army began a 10 days' manoeuvres in the three Baltic States.
01/03/1991 Denmark was the first country to recognize Lithuanian independence.
31/03/1991. The Luthanian Parliament demanded the total withdrawal of all Black Beret units.
03/06/1991 Red Army units entered the country and occupied stratigic positions in Vilnjoes/Vilnius. But at midnight they suddenly departed again.
30/07/1991. In Moscow US President George Bush had talks with Gorbatchev.
19-22/08/1991. Communist Coup d'Etat in Moscow. Gorbatchev kidnapped. Boris Jeltsin organised resistance and wins. Gorbatchev reinstated.
24/08/1991. The Soviet Union disintegrates. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and some other states declare their full indepence.
26/08/1991. The Scandinavian and some West European countries recognized the Lithuania's independence.
27/08/1991. The foreign ministers of the European Union countries recognized the independence of the Baltic States. Their peoples celebrated the return of their liberty.
02/09/1991. The USA recognized the Baltic independence. Huge celebrations in the countrie concerned.
04/09/1991. In Moscow the Congress of Representatives of the USSR voted in favour of the independence of the Baltic States. More rejoicing. Free again after 51 years !!!
08/12/1991. After almost 70 years the Soviet Union disbanded and partly replaced by the Commonwealth of Independent States. A considerable number of the former Soviet States got their independence, broke away from Moscow and were free to go their own way.
* * * * *
a) The Survivors.
scouting and guiding were impossible. Yet many a leader or scout and
guide, used to play scout or guide games with their children and instructed
them in the various scouting proficiencies. But bared from active scouting
and guiding the idealistic and ceremonial aspects of the movements which
before 1940 - all over the world were much stronger represented than
presently - came forward more and more, became the centre part of their
thinking and remembering and were fostered in nostalgia.
b) The Exiles.
THE SURVIVORS AND
And so as early as in 1988 the first scouting groups were reactivated in Vilnjoes, Kaunus, Kapsukas and Klaipeda . On the 30th of April, 1989, a general meeting was held and LSS - Lietuviu Skautu Sajunga, banned 1940, was revived in accordance with the statutes and rules valid before 1940. A 22 member National Council was set op and a 7 member executive council appointed. As Chairman was chosen Feliksas Sakalys. Six districts were created. Shortly thereafter official recognition was granted by the Lithuanian Council of Ministers of the - still - Soviet Republic of Lithuania. The news was sent to the Free West and to the Lietuviu Skautu Sajung-in Exile. The latter reacted immediately. Since 1945 they had been waiting and preparing for this great moment and enormous financial and material assistence was given immediately and as early as possible the first Exile-leaders came to see what they could do further.
In 1990 Dr Jacques
Moreillon, WOSM's Secretary General, had been to the Soviet Union and
during his official meetings in Moscow had met Mr Evgueni D. Katulski,
Vice President of the USSR State Committee for Labour and Social Affairs.
The latter had not only authorized but also requested a WOSM visit to
the Baltic States, which, at the time, Moscow still considered to be
loyal Soviet republics.
WAGGGS World Bureau
Circular, the Central and Eastern Europe Report - covering October 1990
- May 1991 - revealed that WAGGGS too had restored contact with the
Lietuviu Skautu Sajunga, Skauciu Seserija. (Girls' Division.) which
for the time being for financial, material and logistic reasons cooperated
with the boys but - as soon circumstances would permit - hoped to operate
In September 1991 (see above) Lithuania at long last was a free and independent country again and the scouts and guides participated in all the festivities.
According to WOSM
Situation Report no 6 (September 1991) Yrj" Gorski had been in
During a special WOSM meeting at Geneva (03-04/10/1991) it was disclosed that a number of non-WOSM-recognized movements, such as Federation des Scouts d'Europe, FEE-France and ZHR-Poland were promoting their own form of Scouting in Russia and Lithuania. Their influence was said to be very limited though the ZHR had some success amongst the Polish minority in and around Vilnjoes/Vilnus in particular.
LSS was invited to send a delegation to the World Bureau and the European Regional Office in Geneva and discussions with the 3 representatives were held on December 12 and 14th, 1991. Several items were discussed, e.g. the policy of and the procedure for recognition as a WOSM member.
A REGRETFUL DEVELOPMENT.
But meanwhile there had been a regrettable development in the LSS. As mentioned earlier there were the Survivors who, with the full assistance of the Exiles had set LSS upon its feet again and had done a wonderful job. They cannot be blamed for having recreated LSS as they had known it before 1940 and had kept it in their hearts during the dark and wasted years 1940-1988. So the reactivated movement was very much similar to the old LSS. Repeat: for which no one can be blamed, they all did their best.
Scouting to be a Movement with the emphasis on MOVE. And
During the Cold War so much had changed in the Free West and also in the scout and guide movements belonging to that part of the world. It is true some changes were very good, others might perhaps not have happened, but scouting and guiding were still going strong. Having lived behind the Iron Curtain for so long and having been cut off from the interntional scouting and guiding world for so long, these changes had not come to the attention of the Survivors who expectded that Scouting and Guiding .1989 wopuld still be the same as in 1940. But as soon as LSS had been reactivited and the national borders been opened, its younger members and its young leaders got into contact with not only the LSS- in-Exile but also with the Western Movements. They met them in camps in their own Lithuania or in foreign countries and they recognized that LSS' scouting was slightly different, less advanced. They opted for the more relaxed approach of western scouting as they saw it and they demanded more say and democracy in the LSS organization. In it they were supported by some of the younger Exiles and some of the instructors that the LSS-in- Exile sent from other countries. Regretfully a generation gap came to being and it came to a serious conflict, mainly between the elderly pre-1940 scoutleaders (also named Former Scouts) and the younger ones. The older ones stuck to their old scouting which the younger ones considered as being old-fashioned, undemocratic and stagnant. Efforts to make the two points of view meet, including Danish intervention, failed. Regrettably in LSS there were two fractions opposing each other.
Whilst the internal negotiations went on the LSS' leadership, ignoring the problem and not informing WOSM, applied for WOSM recognition. In accordance with the requirements of the World Constitution the World Scout Committee considered the application and the LSS' constitution and recommended that LSS be accepted. As usual the World Bureau sent to all recognized movements its Circular Letter (no 26/1992, dated 15/10/1992), informing them and asking them whether they agreed or objected. But apparently WOSM was not aware of the fact that there were now two Lithuanian movements, not including the Polish Zemaitijos Skautu Organizacija - ZSO which had its members in the Polish minority living in Luthiania.
It was the Faellesradet
for Danmarks Drengespejdere (The Danish Scout Council) which alarmed
the World Bureau with its letter of December 21st, 1992 saying :
So despite all the hard work done and all the achievements by many, everybody was back at square one. Circular 26/1992 was withdrawn and the World Bureau as well as the European Regional Office opened its investigations. It was detected that even the younger ones who had stayed put in Lietuviu Skautu Sajunga disagreed with the old generation of survivors. From 1992 to 1995 attempts were made to bring all parties back together and to ensure theintroduction of a democratic decision-making process with more simplified structures. But as it was there were no results. The split was permanent. A regrettable and sad situation for all. .
In spring 1995 a meeting was held, called by a majority of young leaders. They were backedby key members of the LSS' National Council and progressive members of the LSS-in-Exile. Leaders of other organizations were also invited. Regretting that no progress had been made it was decided to found a new movement, modern style and structure, named Lietuvos Skautija. (Lithuanian Scouting) The organisation was duly registered by the Ministry of Justice in September 1995.
The next step was that Lietuvos Skautija called a General Assembly in Kaunas from November 23-24th, 1996. It was open to all active leaders registered by one of the - now several - scout associations existing in the country. So not only members of the Lietuvos Skautija, but also the Lietuviu Skautu Sajunga, the independent Sea Scout Association and the Lietuvos Lenku Skautu Sajunga (the Polish Scout Asociation in Lithuania) attended. All these representatives voted for unity and were involved in the drafting of a new constitution, conformi to WOSM's requirements. It was confirmed by this General Assembly that the name of the organizations would henceforth be: Lietuvos Skautija.
thereupon applied for membership of the World Organization. In accord-
ance with the Constitution of the World Organization the World Scout
Committee considered the application at its meeting of November 9th
and 10th, 1996 and recommended that it be accepted.
This time no one
objected and so, after 57 years the Lithuania Scouts were back home
1) For further details see THE UNDAUNTED, part one, the Polish Chapter, page 169.
2) A Republic's
President being Chief Scout was exceptional. Many heads of state - e.g.
the Presidents of the United States - and members of many Royal Families,
used to be Patrons and Protectors of Scouting and Guiding or still act
3) See THE UNDAUNTED, part one, Hungarian Chapter, pages 249/250.
4) The population at the time being about 2,5 millions,( 80% Lithuanians, 9,5% Russians and 8% Poles) . these figures are not bad. When banned in 1940 there were more than 10.000 scouts and guides. t
5) The Stone of
6) UNRRA - United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration. It took over the running of the Displaced Persons Camps from the military.
7) See THE UNDAUNTED, part One, pages 50-55, and 58-61 for further detailed information.
8) See also THE UNDAUNTED, part One, the Hungarian Chapter, page 291 for similar experiences in Hungary.
9) KFUM the name used in the Scandinavian countries for the YMCA (Young Men Christian Association) which, as the Young Women Christian Association, always played an important part in Scandinavian Scouting and Guiding. As for Europe YMCA is having groups in Belarus, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Faroe Islands, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway. Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine. In most countries these YMCA groups belong to the NSOs. In some of the East and Central European countries they may not yet do so but the overallbody, the European Alliance of YMCAs (EAY) is seeing to it that all of its groups will soon belong to WOSM/WAGGGS recognized national organizations.
10) From 1975 - 1990 British Patric A. McLaughlin ran the WOSM European Regional Office from Geneva. He had to deal with 14 countries in which scouting was active. Due to Scouting's revival in East and Central Europe, his successor Dominique Benard, (French) who stayed in office until 2000, had a constantly increassing number on his hands.
11) It was always customary to have these first before an application for membership could be sent to the World Bureau. For some unknown reason in this case it did not happen apparently