<< The Lithuanian Word     << History     << Back    

Mykolas Birziska (Mykolas Biržiška)


Mykolas BIRŽIŠKA (1882-1962), Lithuanian literature and culture historian, signatory of the Lithuanian Declaration of Independence, born in Vieksniai on Aug. 12, 1882, the son of Antanas Biržiška. He graduated from the law school of the University of Moscow in 1907, at which time he settled in Vilnius. This city was the cultural and political center of the Lithuanian national revival, in which Birziska played an active part. He edited the monthly journal Visuomenė (Society), 1910-11, frequently contributed to the periodical press, took part in the work of the Lithuanian Learned Society (Lietuvių Mokslo Draugija) and participated in the activities of the Social Democratic Party as well as in other Lithuanian organizations.
When the Germans occupied Lithuania in 1915 and many Lithuanian intellectuals left for Russia, he chose to remain in Vilnius, working with the Lithuanian Committee for War Relief and becoming in 1915-22 the principal of the first Lithuanian high school in Vilnius. In that capacity he prepared a number of Lithuanian school textbooks and taught in the Advanced School of Arts and Sciences (Aukštieji Mokslo Kursai). When the German authorities permitted the convening of a conference concerning the affairs of Lithuania, he helped plan the conference and during the meetings (Aug. 17-22, 1917) was elected a member of the Lithuanian Council. He signed the Lithuanian Declaration of Independence on Feb. 16, 1918. the problems in the history of Lithuanian culture and society.
Text from the ENCYCLOPEDIA LITUANICA I-VI.  Boston, 1970-1978