The following post contains significant information quoted and paraphrased from resources at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Library and Archives. They focus on the topic: the history of Germans in Lithuania. They are shared here for their scholarly and historical perspective and may help provide a political and social history to the family history we all seek.
Chapter 2: The Volksdeutsche in Wartime
Page 40: In the spring of 1939 Germany browbeat neighboring Lithuania into ceding the largely German Memelland to the Reich though 10s of thousands of Volksdeutsche were left in the areas remaining under Lithuanian control. (Note: This would be the area the Spurgats were from in Suwalki Province and extensively described in Himmler’s Auxiliaries.)
Page 41: The Soviets received a sphere of influence over (some other areas), but the Baltic states of Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania would remain a German concern (up to a point when Stalin decided that the narrow strip of land where most of the Lithuanian Germans lived would not be allocated to the Germans and they made plans to evacuate and resettle them in East and West Prussia.) See Himmler’s Auxiliaries.
…There were centuries-old German speaking communities in the Baltics. (Note: Yes, 1300s in Latvia and Estonia; more like late 18th century Germans in East Prussia who ended up in the Russian Empire.)
Page 46: Note: Very similar to Himmler’s Auxiliaries on page 158. In 1939 a week after the USSR’s attack on Poland, Stalin notified Hitler that he intended to claim Latvia and Estonia (and the plan of the evacuation of Germans for those two countries was put in place. See Himmler’s Auxiliaries page 158.)
A “Back to the Reich” program, “Heim ins Reich”, was initiated on October 6, 1939.
Another agreement on September 28, 1939, transferred Lithuania with its substantial German minority to the Soviet sphere in exchange for the addition to the German portion of the districts of Lublin and eastern Warsaw.
Page 51: Summer of 1940: In June the USSR “absorbed” the three Baltic states resulting in the hasty exodus of 12,000 Germans in Estonia and Latvia and 48,000 more from Lithuania. (Note: this is the second evacuation of remaining Germans in Estonia and Latvia and the 1st and only evacuation of Germans from Lithuania discussed in Himmler’s Auxiliaries on page 168-169.)
Chapter 3: The Scheme
Page 68: WWI was a dress rehearsal for the gross displacements of populations that would take place later in the century (post WWII).
The Kaiser’s forces deported elements of the … Lithuanian population for strategic reasons, clearing the territories for use as specially prepared killing zones that Allied troops would be compelled to cross. (Note: the rest of the paragraph talks about WWI so this sentence and the term “Kaiser” probably refers to WWI).
Page 381: A most valuable source of information came from Orderly and Humane: a reference to the Lassowski article “The Resettlements of Germans from Lithuanian during World War II.” See the next two posts.