- 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