History
 
RAPOLAS SKIPITIS
 
Prepared by “Encyclopedia Lituanica”. II. Boston, 1972. P. 203-204
 
SKIPITIS, Rapolas (1887-1976), jurist and statesman, born in Baukai county of Panevezys, on Jan. 31, 1887. As a high school student in Palanga and Siauliai (1901-09) and as a law student at the University of Moscow (1909-14), he took part in the activities of underground student societies, organized political conferences, disseminated illegal literature, and concerned himself with aid to political prisoners. After the outbreak of World War I he joined in Lithuanian refugee relief efforts. At the Petrograd Conference of 1917 he represented the nationalist liberal party Santara, which he had helped organize and whoso organ of the same name he co-edited. On returning to Lithuania he was appointed justice of the peace in the city of Kaunas early in 1919 before being made prosecutor with the city's regional court. At the same time he participated in struggles against the Bermondtists in northern Lithuania, where he headed a partisan detachment. He was one of the founders of the paramilitary organization Sauliu Sajunga, serving as its president in 1927-28. In 1922 he held the post of Minister of the Interior. Elected to Parliament In 1923 and 1926, he represented the Peasant Populist Party on the first occasion; on the second, the Farmers' Party, whose organ, Ukininko Balsas (The Farmer's Voice), he edited from 1925-27. He was one of the initiators and chairman of the Society to Aid Lithuanians Abroad (established 1931); he organized the First Lithuanian World Congress at Kaunas in 1935. From 1932-40 he was a member of the Lawyers' Council. When the Soviets invaded Lithuania in 1940, Skipitis withdrew to the West and came to the United States in 1946. Settling in Chicago, he became one of the most active local Lithuanian community organizers. He produced two substantial volumes of memoirs: Nepriklausoma Lietuva statant (Building Independent Lithuania, I, 1961; II, 1967;). He died in Chicago on Feb. 23, 1976.

 

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