History
 
JONAS VAILOKAITIS, JUOZAS VAILOKAITIS
 
Prepared by “Encyclopedia Lituanica”. II. Boston, 1972. P. 23-24

 

VAILOKAITIS, Jonas (1886-1944), financier and industrialist, signatory of the Declaration of Independence, born on June 25, 1886 in Piktzirniai, county of Sakiai. He was educated at the Institute of Commerce and Industry in St. Petersburg, Russia. In 1912 he and his brother established a bank in Kaunas, which bought up estates whose owners were no longer able to maintain them, subdivided the land into smaller units, and sold them to Lithuanian farmers. This was a way of impeding the country's colonization, preventing the Russian government from taking over such estates and assigning them to Russian colonists. Elected to the Council of Lithuania during the Vilnius Conference (1917), he together with the other Council members signed the Declaration of Independence on Feb. 16, 1918. In 1920 he was elected on the Christian Democratic Party ticket to the Constituent Assembly, where he chaired the finance and budget commission. Subsequently he devoted himself to business and economic pursuits. He founded and directed, among others, the following large concerns: Ukio Bankas in Kaunas; Maistas, a meat processing plant which in 1925 was sold to a group of co-operatives; a brickyard, the largest in the country; the joint-stock company Metalas; a wholesale textile trading company; import-export companies. With these establishments he contributed greatly to the development of Lithuania's agriculture, trade, and industry. At the time of the first Soviet occupation in 1940 he withdrew to Germany, where he died on Dec. 16, 1944 in Blankenburg.
 
VAILOKAITIS, Juozas (1880-1953), Roman Catholic priest and economist, born in Piktzirniai, county of Sakiai, on Dec. 17, 1880. He studied at the Theological Seminary of Seinai and took his master's degree at the Theological Academy in St. Petersburg, Russia, where he was ordained priest (1905). From 1907-10 he was editor of the Catholic weekly Saltinis (The Source), in the pages of which he took a stand against Russian rule in Lithuania. For these unfavorable articles the government brought him to trial several times, sentencing him to monetary fines or imprisonment. During World War I he lived in Petrograd (formerly St. Petersburg), where he organized and headed the Peasants' Union (Liaudies Sajunga), an organization that brought together Lithuanian Catholic workers in the Russian capital; edited the newspaper Vadas (The Leader); and as soon as circumstances permitted, he assisted Lithuanian war refugees to return to their country. Not long after his own return, he was arrested by the Bolsheviks when they occupied Vilnius in 1919; he and several others who had been arrested at the same time were released in exchange for communist agents. In 1920 he was elected to the Constituent Assembly and in 1922 to the First Parliament, both times on the Farmers' Union ticket. Besides his duties as priest and his work in Catholic action, he was actively involved with rebuilding the economy of Lithuania; he worked closely with his brother Jonas Vailokaitis in financial and industrial establishments. He was a generous benefactor of charitable and cultural organizations and provided the funds for about 200 student scholarships. During the first Soviet occupation he was deported to Siberia in 1941 and was returned to Lithuania in 1953. He died in Pastuva, county of Kaunas, on Aug. 2, 1953.

 

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