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Antanas Birziska (Antanas Biržiška)



Antanas BIRŽlŠKA (1855-1922), physician, born in the estate of Lapkasiai, near Vainutas, county of Taurage, on Jan. 17,1855. His ancestry can be traced to the noble Samogitian family formerly called Sudimantas; from the middle of the 17th century the family changed its name to coincide with its manor of Biržulaukiai. This family participated actively in the resistance movement against the Russian occupation of Lithuania in the 19th century. Biržiška, having graduated from the High School at Šiauliai in 1875, studied medicine at Moscow University and graduated in1880, While a student, he was a close friend of Vincas Pietaris and Jonas Basanavičius, both active in the Lithuanian movement. He declined an offer to remain as a faculty member at the University of Moscow and chose to reside at Vieksniai in western Lithuania, where he practiced medicine for the rest of his life and earned a reputation as a devoted and skilled doctor, at a time when there were few doctors in Lithuania. He later bequeathed his large medical library to the medical school of the University of Kaunas. He married Elzbieta Rodzevičiūtė, a music teacher (1858-1938), and raised three sons, Mykolas, Vaclovas and Viktoras, who became famous as scholars and public leaders. He died in Vieksniai on Oct. 31, 1922.

Text from the ENCYCLOPEDIA LITUANICA I-VI.  Boston, 1970-1978