The building in front of you may look peaceful now, even serene, but it wasn’t always this way. This building used to be the headquarters of the Soviet KGB in occupied Lithuania, where the crimes of the communist regime were planned and carried out for fifty years.

Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights

Originally built in the late 19th century (while Lithuania was under Russian Empire) as a court, the building housed mostly occupant authorities throughout its existence. The Russian Empire, the Germans, then Lithuanians for just a couple of months, and then the Bolsheviks, and then the Polish occupiers, and then the Germans again, and then the Soviets - many authorities took turns using the building for their needs.

Today, there is the first national resistance museum inside, so you can see and experience – safely and freely – authentic places like the former KGB prison and the death penalty room, where over a thousand of people were shot to death. About a third of them were killed due to anti-Soviet activities. A very scary place to be sure. The building also houses exhibits which demonstrate the realities of the soviet regime activities, deportations and the GULAG system, armed resistance movement and other fight forms for restoration of state’s independence.

The founding members of the Lithuanian Helsinki Group were interrogated and imprisoned in this building. Stories of local dissident movements are told in a room that during the years of the Soviet repression served as a darkroom. The surviving equipment and some interior details are on display.

You can go inside and check it out for yourself if you’d like. I’ll wait out here for you and we can continue the tour when you’re finished.

Ready to move on? Good! As we head to our next stop, you should keep an eye out for the:

Monument for the Victims of the Occupation (click on the picture to get directions!)

Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre (click on the picture to get directions!)

Next stop: Parliament of the Republic of Lithuania - Seimas