The General Plenipotentiary of the Lazarus Union
visits the Lazarus Corps of Lithuania
A report by Prof.DDr.Lothar Gellert
From 26.7. – 28.7. I made a short visit to the Lithuanian Lazarus-Corps on the occasion of the annual Harbour Festival in Klaipeda.
Already at the arrival I was welcomed by the Commander of the Lazarus-Corps of Lithuania, Giedrius Petruzis.
The evening started with a common dinner with comrade Petruzis. Eugenijus Mantulovas (Long-Distance Captain, Director of Swedish Stevedoring Company, Head of Ecological Safety Division of CSLI) joined it as well.
After the dinner I could admire the beauties of the Old Town of Klaipeda (to many people known as Memel). Especially a tall ship from Colombia was the attraction at the harbour where many people enjoyed the Harbour Festival.
A theatre group from France performed a spectacle with inflatable sea animals. These ballons were led by strings from below.
On Saturday there were official meetings. I had the honour to be welcomed by the Commander-in-Chief of the Lithuanian Navy. The Rear Admiral Arunas Mockus was very happy when I spontaneously took off my formation badge from my uniform and handed it out to him as a sign of remembrance.
After this visit we went to the harbour to embark for the honour of the deceased sailors. For this reason the Lazarus-Corps of Lithuania had a wreath made with two loops. One of the loops showed the name and the function of the General Plenipotentiary and the other one the name and the function of the Commander of the Lazarus-Corps of Lithuania. As the Commander and I were the only persons aboard the ship wearing uniforms we were interesting photographic subjects for young and old. The warmth of the foreign people aboard the ship offering us drinks and food was very impressive.
All the boats then stopped after having reached the “3 miles area”. One of the boat was a naval vessel with the Lithuanian President aboard. From this vessel wreaths and flowers were surrendered to the sea. After a short minute of silence the Commander of the Lithuanian Lazarus-Corps and I as uniformed officials surrendered our wreath to the sea. We paid a last tribute to the deceased sailors and then we gave way to the other passengers to throw their flowers brought from home into the sea.
Afterwards the admission of four new comrades took place at church. There was a blessing and a prayer of the acting Father Benedikt. The following comrades were admitted:
Afterwards we went to the German Military Cemetery of Klaipeda/Memel where we put up a flower arrangement at the memorial cross. The names of all known soldiers who lost their lives in the area of Memel were engraved on the marble slabs around the memorial cross.
A planned visit to the Clock Museum of Klaipeda was unfortunately impossible because the museum was closed because of the Harbour Festival. Directly in the afternoon we went for a lunch to Kretingale (in former times Crottingen, not to be confused with Kretinga (see below)). The Commander of the Lithuanian Lazarus-Corps, the new members as well as Sergejus Ivanovas who works at the International Institute of Political Sciences and who is very engaged in protecting the human rights joined the lunch. He is also a comrade of the Lazarus Union. During the lunch it was possible to clarify some questions concerning the Lazarus Union.
After the late lunch dragging on until the early evening hours we returned to the City Centre where I used the time to explore the city on my own.
The Sunday started with a short walk through the Old Town where Grand Chancellor Arvidas Alasavicius joined us. We could clarify some questions regarding the issues of decrees. Unfortunately he has to leave due to familiar reasons. First we drove to the summer resort Palanga where you can visit the Amber Museum located in the former manor of Count Feliks Tyszkiewicz. It is impressive to see what can be made from amber. At the manor you can gain a deep insight into the former domestic culture. Around the manor there is a beautiful park.
Also not far away there is the summer house of the former president of the USSR Leonid Breschnew. Now it is a hotel of high status.
Afterwards we went to Kretinga (in former times Krottingen) only a few kilometres away. Here the architect and comrade Adomas Skiezgelas built a stone-monument showing Count Paminklas J.K. Chodkeviciui. Furthermore here you can also find a manor of Count Tyskiewicz with a wonderful winter garden and artefacts from his life.
After a common lunch with Sergejus Ivanovas I could hand out the membership badge and general questions concerning the tasks of the Lazarus Union and its meaning within the United Nations were discussed. I felt deeply honoured by the gifts to remind and I handed out the banner ribbon of the Lazarus Union to the Commander of the Lazarus-Corps of Lithuania for its banner.
The lunch was completed by a common coffee on the 20th floor of a skyscraper of Klaipeda. The Grand Chancellor again joined us and last open questions could be answered.
Afterwards I went directly to the harbour of Klaipeda to return to Germany.
It was a very nice visit with interesting insights into the history and culture of Lithuania. Further meetings are already planned for the following year. A special thank to the Commander of the Lithuanian Lazarus-Corps, Giedrius Petruzis, and his team for having organised the trip and the extensive support.
Prof.DDr. Lothar Gellert