Vilnius, Lithuania, January 17, 2018 – Today, President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė received the original February 16th Act of Independence as it was returned to Lithuania from Germany.
At a solemn ceremony held at the White Hall of the Presidential Palace, Chief Archivist of Lithuania Ramojus Kraujelis and Head of the Political Archive of the Federal Office of Germany Professor Elke von Boeselager signed the Protocol on the transfer of the Act of Independence.
According to the President, “only a year ago, this ceremony was unimaginable as the search for the original copy of the February 16 Act of Independence that lasted for many decades, had become a long detective with different supporting versions”.
For over 70 years, the location of the original copy of the Act of Independence was unknown. After an extensive search, in March 2017, Professor Liudas Mažylis of Vytautas Magnus University found the original copy of the document, mailed to Germany, in the Political Archive of the Federal Foreign Office of Germany. The hand-written document is the Council of Lithuania’s Declaration of Independence. The document in Lithuanian and German languages was signed in Vilnius, on 16 February 1918.
According to the President, “one of the most important national documents has reached Lithuania at the most appropriate time, in the run up to the Centennial of the Restoration of the State of Lithuania”.