Soviet Tank    


Occupation and Soviet Period


Life under Soviet Occupation was terrible for most Lithuanians, and the laws and conditions they were forced to live under were extremely repressive.

During the occupied period the Soviets deported many people to Siberia, often without any trial or investigation of cromes. In June of 1941 about 12,600 people were deported in a four-day time span to Siberian Gulags. During this mass deportation 1,000 Lithuanians were killed and another 3,600 were imprisoned. In 1945 another mass deportation saw the deaths and deportations of 120,000 to 300,000 Lithuanians.  


The Hill of Crosses

The Hill Of Crosses

The Hill of Crosses, located near the city of Šiauliai, was a strong place of resistance for the Lithuanian people against their Soviet occupiers. Beginning as little more than a mound of earth, over it's history people began erecting crosses and religious icons on the hill. To enforce loyalty to the state the USSR banned all religion in its annexed territories. The Hill of Crosses was repeatedly razed during the Soviet period, only to be rebuilt during the night. In an effort to keep people away from the hill KBG guards and barricades were used to blockade it, yet people still found a way around, risking their safety to replace the large wooden crosses that had been bulldozed over with smaller crosses hidden in the grass from Soviet guards. Today this hill holds over 100,000 crosses and countless rosaries and religious icons, the exact number being almost inestimable. The hill hosts thousands of pilgrims and visitors every year.




Seal of the Lithuanian SSR

The coat of arms of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic

Map USSR and Lithuania

The USSR, containing Lithuania

Number of crosses on The Hill of Crosses (estimate)
1900 130
1902 155
1922 50
1938 Over 400
1961 Destroyed 5,000
1975 Destroyed 1,200
1990 Some 55,000