The Nazi occupation

The war between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union started on June 22, 1941. On the first day of the conflict, Lithuanian people staged an uprising against the hated regime of the Soviet occupation. Even before the arrival of the German army, Lithuanian rebels took over Kaunas and set up the Provisory Government which declared the reestablishment of free and independent Lithuanian state. Prof B. Vitkus and J.Venclova were appointed respectively the Minister and Vice-minister of Agriculture.

The “People’s Commissariate” of Agriculture was again reorganized into the Ministry of Agriculture and took over institutions reorganized or newly established by the Soviet occupation administration, such as the People’s commissariat of state grain and animal farms, the Forestry office, the Lithuanian branch of the USSR state seed fund, the Lithuanian branch of the USSR grain purchasing board, the Fisheries office, the Agriculture product quality inspection under the State Inspection, and others.

On July, 17 1941 the Provisory Government has adopted the “Declaration on economical matters” which declared Lithuanian economy shall be based on private property, and that the private property, together with public property of the nation, is essential and indispensable for the enhancement of the well-being of the nation. On the same day the Cabinet approved the Law on Restitution of Land Ownership which was submitted to the Cabinet of Minister.

Unfortunately, the Nazi occupants barely tolerated the activities of the New Provisory Government only one month since the beginning of the war. The highest leadership of German Reich and the Nazi Party refused to recognize the independence of Lithuania, aiming to convert it to a colonial structure subject to German exploitation and colonization. German authorities merely tolerated a certain degree of self-government. On August 8, 1941 German authorities disbanded the Provisory Government, creating in the place of ministries (including the Ministry of Agriculture) “offices” lead by “general councilors” which had to report directly to the Nazi Generalkomissar and his administration and had to fulfill all their commands. Some of the decisions of the Provisory Government (including the decree about denationalization) which did not suit the goals of Nazis were revoked.

The German administration also imposed harsh taxes and agricultural production requisitions on farmers and severely prosecuted and punished (including imprisonment in concentration camps or death penalties) those of them who were unwilling und unable to fulfill imposed obligations.

During the World War II, Lithuania sustained considerable damage, 15000 residential houses were destroyed, 25000 farms were left without owners, and the area under crops diminished by 190000 hectares.

Last updated: 12-12-2023