Jonas Zemaitis was the leader of the Lithuanian Movement for Freedom and was posthumously recognized as Lithuania’s President. He was a leader of the armed resistance movement against the Soviet occupation of his native Lithuania. Jonas Zemaitis, a zealous patriot, fought for his people’s rights until the bitter end, eventually giving his life for the cause he believed in, and thus became immortalized as a hero in Lithuanian history. Perhaps ironically, the great revolutionary had a happy childhood growing up on a large dairy farm. After completing his education, he enlisted in the military, where he developed his revolutionary ideals. He began his military career as a lieutenant and continued his education at the Fontainebleu artillery school (Ecole d’Artillerie de Fontainebleau), earning the rank of captain before joining the flocks of Lithuanian military forces. He was devoted to his country’s honor and never shied away from risking his life for it. During the 1940s, as a member of the Lithuanian Freedom Army and Lithuanian partisans, he rose to prominence and was eventually recognized as the Head of State of contemporary occupied Lithuania, posthumously in 2009.
Childhood & Adolescence
Jonas Zemaitis was born in Palanga, in what was then the Russian Empire, on 15 March 1909. (now Lithuania). Jonas emaitis and Petronl Daukait were his parents. Despite his parents’ lack of religious convictions, the boy was christened in Palanga’s church.
He lived in Poland with his parents from 1910 to 1917. He was raised on his uncle’s large dairy farm and attended a primary school in that area. He grew up in a pleasant and enjoyable environment.
In 1917, he returned to Lithuania and settled in the village of Kiaulininkai, where his grandparents lived. He graduated from the Raseiniai Gymnasium in 1921. He enrolled in the Kaunas Military School in 1926 and graduated in 1929.
Career of Jonas
He began his career as a commander in the Second Flock Of Artillery. In 1935, the second artillery was deployed to Klaipda. It was a period of political unrest and tensions throughout the country. During this time period, he was involved in a street brawl to defend an officer’s honor and was shot at. He was immediately operated on, and his life was thus saved.
From 1936 to 1938, he attended the Fontainebleu artillery school (Ecole d’Artillerie de Fontainebleau). He was able to improve his French and German skills at the school. He was then promoted to the rank of captain and enlisted in the Lithuanian military forces.
In 1940, the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania, and he continued to serve in the 617th flock of artillery. Numerous arrests and retirements occurred during this turbulent period.
However, Jonas Zamaitis swore an oath of allegiance to the Soviet Union as a captain and was appointed director of training for the 617th artillery unit.
He was responsible for training the People’s Army’s next generation of soldiers in this capacity.
Lithuanian People’s Army units were stationed at the Pabrad military base in 1941. Here he did something completely unexpected—he surrendered himself and a group of soldiers to captivity under the Germans.
He refused to serve the Nazis, and Lithuanians who refused to serve the Nazis were held in POW camps until the summer of 1942. He was questioned and later permitted to return to his family. He briefly worked as a peat extraction technician.
He joined the Lithuanian Territorial Defense Force in 1944, which was organized by Povilas Plechaviius, the Lithuanian military officer, following the latter’s radio address to the Lithuanian people on 16 February 1944.
The Germans became concerned about the Lithuanian officers’ corps’ devotion and decided to disband it. Povilas Plechaviius was sent to Salaspils concentration camp to learn military discipline as part of their plans, and the army quickly disintegrated.
Zamaitis went into hiding after the Lithuanian Territorial Defense Force was disbanded. However, he was quickly discovered by Lithuanian priests, who invited him to join them; thus, he took an oath on his sacred honor and became a member of the Lithuanian Freedom Army and Lithuanian partisans.
He rose through the ranks and eventually became the army’s commander. In 1949, he founded and became chairman of the Union of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters. He remained a staunch supporter of the partisan resistance to Soviet occupation until the bitter end.
Awards and Accomplishments
He was posthumously promoted to the rank of Brigadier General and was inaugurated as Lithuania’s fourth President in March 2009.
Personal History and Legacies
In 1940, Jonas Zemaitis married Elena Valionyt and had a son named Laimutis. However, due to unavoidable circumstances, his son was forced to grow up in the care of others.
In December 1951, he suffered a cerebral hemorrhage and became paralyzed. He was hiding at the time, and Soviet agents discovered his hiding place in 1953.
Due to his disability, he was easily apprehended and transported to Moscow, where Lavrentiy Beria interrogated him. On November 26, 1954, he was hanged in the Butyrka prison.
Estimated Net Worth
Jonas is one of the wealthiest politicians and is ranked among the most popular. Jonas Zemaitis net worth is estimated to be around $1.5 million, based on our analysis of Wikipedia, Forbes, and Business Insider.