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Vincas Kudirka and the Lithuanian National Anthem

Vincas Kudirka

Vincas Kudirka (December 31, 1858-November 16, 1899) was a  Lithuanian doctor, prose writer, poet, publisher, critic, translator, editor of the newspaper “Varpa,” one of the founders of the Lithuanian national movement, and author of the Lithuanian anthem.  Born at Paežeriai in the Paežeriai rural municipality, Lithuania, on December 31, 1858, Kudirka studied at the Paežeriai Primary School , where he was distinguished by all kinds of talents. After completing elementary school in 1871, he entered the Marijampolė Gymnasium.  After completing six classes, he joined the Seynos Priesthood Seminary where he studied for two years but was eliminated due to a “lack of vocation.”

The first Lithuanian work by Kudirka was in 1885. “Ausra” published an insignificant satirical poem “Why do not Jews eat pork?” He was arrested, imprisoned, and removed from the College of Medicine at the University of Warsaw in the same year.  In 1887 he returned to the University, from which he graduated in 1889.   In 1888 he founded the illegal Lithuanian Student Society of Warsaw.  That year, he wrote the original poem “Beautiful, Beautiful and Beautiful” as an improvisation on the occasion of the founding of the Lithuanian Society.  The following year the Society began to publish the “Varpa,” which he edited for several years and wrote the “Homeland Bells” section.

In 1890, along with the “Varpa,” the newspaper “Ūkininkas” was published for peasants by Kudirka’s initiative.   From 1890 to 1894 he worked as a physician in Sakiai.  At Sakiai he brought together a ensemble of string instruments and got acquainted with the young widow V. Kraševskiene, who became his loyal and beloved co-author and later his patron.  In 1895 he was again arrested for pro-Lithuanian activities, but released soon. His health weakened in 1895 and he went to Sevastopol in 1896 but      returned to Lithuania in the spring.  He died at the age of 40 on November 16, 1899, at Vilkaviškis  in  county Naumiestis, Lithuania, on November 16 , 1899, and his remains were buried in Meishte Cemetery.

My collection includes the following work by Vincas Kudirka:



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