Biography of Pranas Dovydaitis

Born December 2, 1886, in Runkiai, Mariampol district. Graduated from Moscow University, Department of Law, History and Philosophy. From 1916 he was director of Kovno Gymnasium; from 1920 he taught philosophy at Kovno (Kaunas) University; from 1922 he was a professor at that university and taught, in addition to philosophy, ancient and medieval history, history of primitive society, history of Greece and Rome, and history of religion; he headed the department of the history of religion. Remained in Kaunas after the annexation of Lithuania to the USSR. June 14, 1941 – arrested and sent first to Starobelsk Camp, then to the internal section of Sverdlovsk Prison, where he was first interrogated. Later sent as a person under investigation to Gariyskoye sector of Sevurallag, where he was arrested on July 28, 1942. August 11, 1942 – presented with the indictment charging him with “active involvement in the Catholic youth organization “Ateitininkai,” the Center for Catholic Action, and the Christian Democratic Union”; furthermore, in the camp he had been part of the Committee for the Rescue of Lithuanians, purportedly a “clandestine counter-revolutionary organization, the goal of which was to provoke an armed uprising, escape from the camp and cross over to the German side to fight with them against the Soviet Union.” He admitted belonging to such a committee, but he did not admit to anti-Soviet activity. October 17, 1942 – sentenced to death [Special Board, NKVD]. November 4, 1942 – shot, in Sverdlovsk Prison. In his memoirs, Juozas Girnius described the life of Pranas Dovydaitis in the camp – his piety, mercy and honesty. We present his account of their first meeting: “Wanting to make the acquaintance of Pranas Dovydaitis, I beheld a man – more like a mummy than a living being. His eyes – large, sunken, illumined by his intellect – gazed aimlessly into a dark corner of the barrack. To the question, ‘Would you be Professor Dovydaitis?’ he responded, ‘Yes, at one time I was he.’ Source: Den’ skorbi…; Lietuvos aidas, 1998, No. 30.
Variant Names:
Davidaitis, Pranas; Dovydaitis, Pranas
Moscow (Russia); Sverdlovsk (Ukraine)
male; laity; executed