On 25 May the International Day of Heroes of the Fight against Totalitarianism was marked in Lithuania for the first time. That day, Polish officer Witold Pilecki was honored in Užupis in Vilnius.
Polish officer Witold Pilecki fought against both totalitarian regimes, i.e. Communism and Nazism. In 1940 he voluntarily got to the Auschwitz concentration camp, became a prisoner and left his testimony to the history on what was happening in Auschwitz, known as the Pilecki‘s Report. In 1948 the government of Soviet Poland sentenced him to death for spying for imperialists. Witold Pilecki‘s roots are also related to Lithuania. At one moment, as a child, Witold Pilecki lived in Vilnius with his parents.
On 25 May members of the European Parliament Rasa Juknevičienė and Andrius Kubilius, Polish Ambassador to Lithuania Urszula Doroszewska, Chairman of the International Commission, Member of the Seimas Emanuelis Zingeris and other members of the Seimas, Ronaldas Račinskas, Executive Director of the International Commission, representatives of Vilnius City Municipality commemorated the story of Witold Pilecki at the house in Užupis, where the Pilecki family had lived.
According to Emanuelis Zingeris, Chairman of the International Commission, “the personality of Witold Pilecki is an example of a man who loves his country and fights against any occupier who impinges on the country’s independence.”
The event in Vilnius was organized on the basis of the resolution adopted by the European Parliament in September of 2019 on the 80th anniversary of the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and the outbreak of World War II. With this resolution, 25 May, the day of Pilecki’s execution, was declared the European International Day of Heroes in the Fight against Totalitarianism.