Situated in Vilnius’s former Gestapo and KGB headquarters, the memorial to the thousands imprisoned and murdered under Soviet occupation after WWII is vital to understanding the psyche of Lithuania.
Following the demise of Germany, the Agreement of Yalta of 1945 was put in place between the triumvirate of Churchill, Stalin, and Roosevelt, which saw Europe carved up and half of Germany and all lands to the east, including Poland and the Baltic States, handed over to Russia. A guerrilla war ensued against Soviet occupation and in the years until the death of Joseph Stalin in 1953, rebels were consistently murdered or deported to Siberia, although the shackles of Communism were not fully shaken off until Lithuanian independence in 1990.
As well as detailing the gradual suppression of the Lithuanian people under Stalin, exhibitions include KGB torture cells and execution chambers, which hold personal belongings rescued from mass graves found in countryside outside Vilnius. Considering that this building also housed the Gestapo HQ, an appropriate recent addition to the museum is the display about the Jewish ghettos and the Holocaust in Lithuania, including artifacts from the execution site at Paneriai.
The museum is open Wednesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., and until 5 p.m. on Sunday. Admission costs 6LTL, and concessions are 3LTL.