Happy Independence Day! Happy Independence Day!

Lithuanian volunteer soldiers are waiting in line for lunch. Courtesy of The Lost Shtetl Museum.

Happy Independence Day!

Some extraordinary stories are hidden behind the seemingly ordinary lives of Šeduvians and other shtetl residents. For instance, people who entered the battle to protect the young Lithuanian state from her enemies in 1919-1923. The first few months in the Lithuanian military in 1919 were not easy for anyone. There was a lack of officers able to lead larger contingents and there was a lack of weapons, boots, and food.

Despite these deficits, the Lithuanian military grew quickly and by the end of January 1920, it had 29,000 troops. These were an ethnically ragtag force made up of Lithuanian, Jewish, and German volunteers and conscripts as well as people of other ethnic backgrounds. At least nine Jews from Šeduva performed military duty in the nascent force. Two of these were later recognized as volunteer founding members of the Lithuanian military.

We are grateful to everyone who fought for the independence of our country. Happy February 16!