Lithuania: anniversary of Polish liberation of Vilnius commemorated

Ceremonies commemorating the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Vilnius from German occupation by Polish soldiers took place in Lithuania on Saturday.

The speaker of the Polish parliament’s lower house, Marek Kuchciński, and veterans paid homage to the soldiers who took part in the operation, codenamed “Ostra Brama” (“Sharp Gate”).

“I pay my respect to all participants of this heroic operation who covered themselves with immortal glory and went down in history as a symbol of the sacrifice of Polish soldiers,” Mr Kuchciński said.

Operation “Ostra Brama”

The operation was conducted by the greatest Polish resistance movement, the Home Army on the night of July 6, 1944. Its aim was to free Vilnius, a Polish city before the war, before the arrival of the Soviet Red Army. It would allow the Polish forces to claim full rights to the city.

The operation was a part of the Polish national uprising against the German occupation. It was followed by the Warsaw Uprising which also had the objective of securing the city before the arrival of the Soviet forces.

However, following the German defeat, the Red Army entered Vilnius and proceeded to arrest the Polish commanders. Some were executed, some imprisoned, some transported to Siberia.

In this context, the parliament speaker recalled that Lithuania continued to fight against the Soviet occupation following the war, similar to Poland.

“Now, we are free and safe together,” Mr Kuchciński said. “We are in NATO, the most powerful alliance in the world, and our place has always been in Europe.”