Papiškės-Nova partisan dugout (shelter)

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Drapakampis forest, Papiškiai village, Zapyškis, Kaunas district 
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In the Drapakampis forest in Zapyškis subdistrict you’ll find a very important object relating to the history of Lithuania, namely the Papiškės-Nova partisan dugout, which at one point used to serve as a field hospital. This is one of the many dugouts used by those who participated in the struggles for freedom in Lithuania. They were usually established in forests and on farmsteads, in houses, near wells etc. There are only a few objects like this left.

Throughout different periods between 1944 and 1945 a total of 19 partisans hid in this two-person bunker established by the Juozas Misevičius’ troop of the Žalgiris (Grunwald) squad of Tauras Military District. One of them was the head of the headquarters of the Union of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters, Vytautas Balsys-Uosis, who was injured in 1945 in battles with a NKVD (People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs corresponding to the Ministry of Internal Affairs) unit. He was treated at this shelter. On August 28 of the same year, Zigmas Balsys, his father, was killed in the battles. The farmers near the forests of Zapyškis were deported to Siberia between 1946 and 1948. Near the shelter, in Kluoniškiai, there was also a homestead belonging to the Balsiai family, a partisan refuge burned by Soviet soldiers before Balsys’ death.

During the years of Soviet occupation, Balsys-Uosis, who escaped death on three occasions and who was a prisoner at labour camps because of his convictions, built a cross to commemorate the victims. In 2002, the dugout was rebuilt, although it only survived for 10 years as it was affected by moisture and the wooden overlays rotted and fell apart. The exceptional object was managed by representatives of Ežerėlis Forestry in the subdistrict of the same name along with representatives of the Vytautas the Great Riflemen’s Union of Kaunas County and other members of the community. For partitions, well-impregnated railroad ties, brought from Mauručiai, were used. After it was fixed up and cleaned out, the dugout was inscribed in the Register of Immovable Cultural Values and sanctified in 2013.

In 1944, when the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania for the second time, tens of thousands of Lithuanians joined in the battle against the occupants. Between 1944 and 1945, around 30,000 partisans gathered in the forests. The total number of active participants of resistance amounted to 50,000 who were supported by the same number of Lithuanian citizens. The Lithuanian partisans were well organised. The fighters wore uniforms and a solid governance structure was created. The anti-Soviet resistance lasted until 1953, during which time more than 20,000 partisans died.

Papiškės-Nova partisan dugout (shelter)

Drapakampis forest, Papiškiai village, Zapyškis, Kaunas district 

In the Drapakampis forest in Zapyškis subdistrict you’ll find a very important object relating to the history of Lithuania, namely the Papiškės-Nova partisan dugout, which at one point used to serve as a field hospital. This is one of the many dugouts used by those who participated in the struggles for freedom in Lithuania. They were usually established in forests and on farmsteads, in houses, near wells etc. There are only a few objects like this left.

Throughout different periods between 1944 and 1945 a total of 19 partisans hid in this two-person bunker established by the Juozas Misevičius’ troop of the Žalgiris (Grunwald) squad of Tauras Military District. One of them was the head of the headquarters of the Union of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters, Vytautas Balsys-Uosis, who was injured in 1945 in battles with a NKVD (People’s Commissariat for Internal Affairs corresponding to the Ministry of Internal Affairs) unit. He was treated at this shelter. On August 28 of the same year, Zigmas Balsys, his father, was killed in the battles. The farmers near the forests of Zapyškis were deported to Siberia between 1946 and 1948. Near the shelter, in Kluoniškiai, there was also a homestead belonging to the Balsiai family, a partisan refuge burned by Soviet soldiers before Balsys’ death.

During the years of Soviet occupation, Balsys-Uosis, who escaped death on three occasions and who was a prisoner at labour camps because of his convictions, built a cross to commemorate the victims. In 2002, the dugout was rebuilt, although it only survived for 10 years as it was affected by moisture and the wooden overlays rotted and fell apart. The exceptional object was managed by representatives of Ežerėlis Forestry in the subdistrict of the same name along with representatives of the Vytautas the Great Riflemen’s Union of Kaunas County and other members of the community. For partitions, well-impregnated railroad ties, brought from Mauručiai, were used. After it was fixed up and cleaned out, the dugout was inscribed in the Register of Immovable Cultural Values and sanctified in 2013.

In 1944, when the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania for the second time, tens of thousands of Lithuanians joined in the battle against the occupants. Between 1944 and 1945, around 30,000 partisans gathered in the forests. The total number of active participants of resistance amounted to 50,000 who were supported by the same number of Lithuanian citizens. The Lithuanian partisans were well organised. The fighters wore uniforms and a solid governance structure was created. The anti-Soviet resistance lasted until 1953, during which time more than 20,000 partisans died.

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