KTU lecturers – the signatories of the Act of Independence of March 11

KTU lecturers – the signatories of the Act of Independence of March 11

On 11 March 1990, 124 signatories signed the Act of Independence; four of them were lecturers of Kaunas Polytechnical Institute (renamed Kaunas University of Technology on 31 October of the same year): associate professor of the Department of Higher Mathematics Antanas Karoblis, professor of the Department of Theoretical Mechanics Vytautas Paliūnas, lecturer of the Department of Philosophy Algirdas Vaclovas Patackas and head of the laboratory of the Research Centre “Vibrotechnika”, associate professor Povilas Varanauskas. On the celebration of the 30th anniversary of the restoration of the independence of Lithuania, KTU Museum invites to visit the virtual exhibition “KTU lecturers – the signatories of the Art of the Reestablishment of the State of Lithuania of March 11” presenting the moments of the life of the signatories captured in photographs, their personal documents and the documents from KTU archive, the manuscripts and a painting by V. Paliūnas painted when he was a pupil of the gymnasium, etc. The Museum is grateful to the relatives of  A. Karoblis, V. Paliūnas and A. Patackas as well as P. Varanauskas who loaned the photographs and documents for the exhibition from their personal archives.

Antanas Karoblis (1940–2007)

Antanas Karoblis was born in the family of an entrepreneur. While a pupil of the Joniškėlis Secondary School, he was a member of the underground anti-Soviet organisation of students “Geležinis vilkas” and avoided prison only because he was a minor; however, he was expelled from school and forced to graduate from secondary school extramurally. Even though he was talented, he was not admitted to Vilnius University and he was expelled from Vilnius Pedagogical Institute right after his admission.  Only later, A. Karoblis managed to graduate from the Faculty of Mathematics at Vilnius University extramurally. While working at KPI, A. Karoblis defended the dissertation of the doctoral candidate (now – doctor of science) in mathematics. He had also prepared the doctoral dissertation (now – habilitated doctor); however, his activities in Sąjūdis and later in the Supreme Council – Restoration Seimas prevented him from defending the dissertation. The future signatory was not a member of the Communist Party and, when the national revival began, he became an active member of the Reform Movement of Lithuania – the chairman of the KPI Sąjūdis Council. He was an active participant in the restoration of Vytautas Magnus University, the member of the Restoration Senate and lecturer of this university. After the end of the activities of the Supreme Council – Restoration Seimas, he and like-minded people established a social movement “Lietuvos sambūris”; however, its activities ended in a few years due to financial difficulties. Then, in 1988, A. Karoblis joined the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party, became the chairman of the Kaunas District Division, the member of the Kaunas District Council. When the Lithuanian Social Democratic Party merged with the Lithuanian Democratic Labour Party (former Lithuanian Communist Party), A. Karoblis left the party; however, he continued to be actively involved in the activities of the Club of the Signatories of the Act of Independence. In 2006, A. Karoblis wrote in his diary about the issues of the Lithuanian political system: “You have to have big money to get elected to Seimas. Or join the party you do not like, pander to its leaders, publicly worship it to be included in the list. There are many such cases in Lithuania. The person’s career is determined not by his competence and honesty but by money, acquaintances, loyalty and indulgence”.

Vytautas Paliūnas (1930–2005)

Vytautas Paliūnas was born in the family of a civil servant, he lost his father early in his life. His uncle Juozas Paliūnas-Rytas was a brave partisan – the leader of the Maironis team at the Prisikėlimas military district, later – the last leader of the Prisikėlimas military district; when the district was abolished, he became the leader of the P. Lukšys team at Kęstutis district.  In 1952, he was betrayed and shot himself. During studies, V. Paliūnas was interrogated by the KGB because of the activities of his uncle and he could not be admitted to post-graduate studies for 8 years after graduation even though he graduated from the institute with honours and was invited to work there. However, V. Paliūnas defended the dissertations of the doctoral candidate (now – doctor) and later – doctor (now – habilitated doctor) in technical sciences. He was actively involved in the restoration of Vytautas Magnus University, as the member of its  Restoration Senate and a lecturer. He was elected to the Research Council of Lithuania (1991–1999), the Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania (1990–1992). In 1993, he joined the Homeland Union Party and became the member of the Kaunas City Council. While assessing the years of freedom in Lithuania, the signatory noted the moral damage caused to the society during the Soviet times. He wrote: “While voting for Independence on March 11, I did not expect an easy life in Lithuania, However, I did not expect the corruption to be so widely spread in the restored state.”

Algirdas Vaclovas Patackas (1943–2015)

Algirdas  Patackas was born in the family of teachers. While studying at the Faculty of Chemical Technology of KPI, A. Patackas did not join the Komsomol organisation even though he was being pressured by the Vice-Dean Andrius Novodvorskis. His resistance to the Soviet system was expressed in the middle of his studies: in 1963, during the medium (half of studies) celebration, he secretly painted the memorial for Communist youth located in the territory of the Faculty of Chemical Technology in  the colours of the Lithuanian national flag and painted the Columns of Gediminas on it using the fuel oil mixture. It caused a huge uproar, people were trying to wash the memorial using various chemicals for months; however, the perpetrator was not identified. In 1965–1966, he was the winner of the first bodybuilding  championships of Lithuania and the Baltic States. During his post-graduate studies, A. Patackas got involved in the hikers movement, collected folklore, began writing and publishing anti-Soviet publications. In 1986–1987, A. Patackas was imprisoned in the KGB basements without any court for the editing and publishing of the underground publications “Pastogė”, “Lietuvos ateitis”, “ETHOS”. A. Patackas prepared a dissertation in electrochemistry; however, he could not defend it because of the persecution by the KGB. During the revival period, A. Patackas was teaching ethics, cultural philosophy, Baltic culture in Kaunas Polytechnical Institute and Vytautas Magnus University. In 1988–1990, he was the member of the Sąjūdis initiative group, later – Sąjūdis Kaunas City Council. In 1992–1996, 1996–2000, 2011–2015, A. Patackas was the member of Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania, the member of the fractions Sąjūdis, Christian Democrats, “Drąsos kelias”, at the end of  his life – the member of the Mixed Group in Seimas. He wrote 9 books on the culture of Baltic people and other topics; he was awarded the medal of G. Petkevičaitė-Bitė for publications, the Knight’s Cross of the Order of the Cross of Vytis but he refused to accept it. He spoke strongly about the society of the restored Lithuania: “The Lithuania of 16 February 1918 was tired but healthy. The Lithuania of 11 March 1990 was ill. This illness could be compared to cancer that continues spreading. The name and reasons of this disease – collaboration”.

Povilas Varanauskas

Povilas Varanauskas was born in the family of teachers. His family was exiled to Siberia in June 1941, his father was separated from his family and imprisoned in Rešotai and Karaganda camps. P. Varanauskas was not admitted to the daytime department of Kaunas Polytechnical Institute (KPI), therefore, he has to complete the evening department. He graduated with honours and later defended the dissertation of the doctoral candidate (hereinafter – doctor) in technical sciences.  P. Varanauskas was more than a scientist, he was also the honoured inventor of the LSSR who made approximately 350 inventions. After the beginning of the national revival, P. Varanauskas became an active member of the Reform Movement of Lithuania Sąjūdis: participated in the constituent assembly of Sąjūdis, was one of the founders of the club of the exiles. P. Varanauskas is still actively participating in social activities, involved in the activities of the Club of the Act of Independence of Lithuania and the Association of Lithuanian Creators-Volunteers. He remains an idealist, as illustrated by his words: “I believe in Lithuania, I believe in its future. I am happy that it raised from the bottom and I could participate in this transformation”.