Erdmonas Simonaitis

Erdmonas Simonaitis
Erdmonas Simonaitis.jpg
Simonaitis in 1930s
Born(1888-10-30)October 30, 1888
DiedFebruary 24, 1969(1969-02-24) (aged 80)
Resting placeKlaipėda cemetery
NationalityPrussian Lithuanian

Erdmonas Simonaitis (October 30, 1888 in Juschka-Spötzen (Spiečiai), Province of East Prussia – February 24, 1969 in Weinheim, West Germany) was a Prussian Lithuanian activist particularly active in the Klaipėda Region (Memel Territory) and advocating its union with Lithuania. During the staged Klaipėda Revolt of 1923, he headed the pro-Lithuanian government of the region. For his anti-German activities, he was persecuted by the Nazis during World War II. He survived the Mauthausen-Gusen and Dachau concentration camps. After the war he remained in Germany and rejoined various Lithuanian organizations. He was awarded the Order of Vytautas the Great and Order of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas.[1]

Early life

Simonaitis received his education in Heydekrug (Šilutė) and Tilsit (Sovetsk) and worked as a court clerk.[2] He became a Lithuanian activist in 1909. In 1912 he was co-founder of the Lithuanian Club of Tilsit (Lithuanian: Tilžės lietuvių klubas), which he chaired for two years. In 1915, Simonaitis was mobilized into the German Army. He was awarded the Iron Cross for his military service in France and Galicia.[2] After World War I he briefly worked in Vilnius where he became acquainted with Lithuanian politicians and the Council of Lithuania. After returning to Tilsit in 1918, he participated in the activities of the National Council of Lithuania Minor (Lithuanian: Mažosios Lietuvos tautinė taryba), which adopted the Act of Tilsit but Simonaitis did not sign it. In 1919 he moved to Memel (Klaipėda).[2]

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