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Dovas Zaunius



DOVAS ZAUNIUS, (1845-1921), active participant in the Lithuanian national movement. A self-educated man and a prosperous farmer, he was one of the first to join the movement in his native Lithuania Minor (East Prussia), then under German rule. His farm at Rokaiciai, in the county of Pakalne, became the center for national cultural
and political activities. Activists, who had fled Lithuania Major to escape Russian persecution, were given shelter there and assistance in reaching Western Europe or America. Georg Sauerwein spent a year at Zaunius' farm, during which time he wrote
the anthem of Lithuania Minor. From 1885 on, Zaunius was a member of the Birute Society and several times was elected as its chairman. One of the founders of the Lithuanian Political Society, he made an unsuccessful bid for the German Reichstag (parliament), and later campaigned for Jonas Smalakys, who was elected from the Klaipeda district. In 1892 and 1900 Zaunius submitted petitions with numerous signatures to the Prussian minister of education requesting that the Lithuanian language be brought back into the elementary school curriculum; the effort, however, was fruitless. In 1900 he took part in organizing the Lithuanian ethnographic display at the Paris World's Fair. He and his wife raised a family of nine children, one of whom later became foreign minister of the independent Republic of Lithuania.