Volume 31, No.2 - Summer 1985
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 1985 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.


III. Supporters of Aušra


The epithet Aušrininkai can, at least symbolically, be applied to those who gave their wholehearted support to the publication Aušra by either helping in its circulation and distribution or helping to defray the costs of publication by their generous donations, and also to those whose writings appeared in Aušra but who were not included in the official list of its contributors. For the above reasons, a number of Lithuanian physicians, considered below, can also be included among the Aušrininkai.

Dr. Vincas Pietaris (1850-1902)

Known to many only as the author of the first Lithuanian historical novel, Algimantas, Dr. Vincas Pietaris was a physician, a scholar and researcher, a historian, and a writer. His name is not found on the official lists of contributors, yet his writings were published in Aušra.

Dr. Pietaris's forefathers originally came from Lithuania Minor and settled in Lithuania, in Žiūriai-Gudeliai, as long ago as the times of the Teutonic Knights (thirteenth century). He was born on September 21, 1850, in Žiūriai-Gudeliai village, on the plains of the region known as Sūduva (southwestern Lithuania), Pilviškiai township, Vilkaviškis county. While still a child he "demonstrated great intelligence, a good memory, and an inclination toward learning, especially in the field of mathematics," wrote Dr. Jonas Basanavičius in "Medaga dr-o V. Pietario biografijai" [Data for the biography of Dr. V. Pietaris].1

His earliest schooling was at a primary school in Pilviškiai. He then attended secondary schools (gymnasiums) in Marijampolė and Suvalkai. Upon graduation he was granted a scholarship, and he began studies at the Department of Physics-Mathematics of Moscow University. He graduated in 1875 and, changing his field of study, transferred into the Department of Medicine. Dr. Pietaris graduated with a medical degree in 1879, together with Dr. Jonas Basanavičius. Thus he was one of a small number of Lithuanians of his time who acquired university degrees in two different fields of learning.

While still pursuing his university studies, he became interested in contagious diseases and read extensively on the subject in German, French, and Russian. Because of his scholarship, once he had graduated he was obliged to serve for a certain period of time as recompense, and he chose Demjansk, in the region of Novgorod, because that was where his wife, Marija Nikolajevna-Kosovich, was from. He worked there as a district physician, but after several years he moved to a larger city, Ustiuzhna. At first, here too he was a district doctor but later he was appointed medical consultant to the local court. In addition, he had a private practice. For his conscientious service, Dr. Pietaris was awarded several honors, including the Order of St. Stanislaus of the Second Degree. His patients, long-time residents of Ustiuzhna, considered him "a most exemplary physician."

Dr. Basanavičius had described him as follows: "He was of slight stature, dark-complexioned, broad-shouldered and broad-chested, with a face that glowed with health; a high and wide forehead and eyes that peered intelligently set off a face that was otherwise not overly handsome and was adorned with a sparse and insignificant little beard."2

Dr. Pietaris wrote many articles on medical topics, which are still preserved in the manuscript section of the Vilnius University library.3 They are undated, but it is likely that the earliest were published sometime during 1881-84 because when writing about cholera in one of them he states, "Last year Koch identified the cholera bacillus." Since Robert Koch reported his findings in 1883, it seems probable that this article was written about 1884.

Dr. Pietaris chose typhus exanthematicus as his first research topic. In a letter to Dr. Basanavičius written from Ustiuzhna on March 27, 1896, he stated, "Last year an epidemic of typhus ravaged our area. To be sure, first of all I sought to make use of this happenstance both for research purposes and also practically, in search of a cure... Now I am still hoping to come across at least several instances of typhus, but cases so advanced and so serious that there would be little hope of recovery, for it is on such that I could try out the effectiveness of a new method of treatment. If even in such cases my method will result in a rapid cure, well then I could consider my work to be completed."4

Although he had some success in curing patients of typhus, Dr. Pietaris was still unconvinced of the efficacy of his method, and in 1898 he stated with regret in a letter to the Rev. A. Jakštas-Dambrauskas, "Not too long ago I had the opportunity of trying my cure for typhus exanthematicus. It turned out that my method of treatment was totally ineffective." Nevertheless, he would not abandon his efforts, and eventually, after much research, his doubts could be put aside. On December 21, 1901, he wrote the Rev. A. Jakštas-Dambrauskas, "Once again I proved to myself that regarding the treatment for typhus I am on the right track."

In addition to his thorough and painstaking studies of typhus, Dr. Pietaris was interested also in cholera. In the letter to Dr. Basanavičius quoted above (March 27, 1896), he wrote: "Last year there appeared among us a disease similar to cholera that we called summer tryda—cholera nostras... I was hoping at the time to run across cases of true cholera and even went to St. Petersburg for that purpose... and to the cholera ward in Vilnius... One thing that I learned was... that that particular method of treatment which yields good results in diseases of the stomach and the intestines does not result in a quick cure of cholera." Dr. Pietaris paid special attention to prophylactic methods, providing instructions for avoiding cholera.5

He was also interested in other diseases: pneumonia, smallpox, measles. When in 1900-1901 epidemics of smallpox and measles ravaged northern Russia, however, he did not produce any more scholarly-medical articles, for he was already in poor health himself and was busy creating his swan song, the novel Algimantas.

Living of necessity far from his homeland, Lithuania, he longed for his birthplace and returned there often to visit his brother and other relatives. He once wrote to Dr. Basanavičius: "For several years now I have been visiting my birthplace every year... and year after year, like a bird I find myself circling my birthplace. Year after year these circles have been decreasing in size. After my return, for a long time it seems as if I were still breathing the very air of Lithuania... The steep banks of rivers and rivulets with pensive ancient graves of my forefathers upon them, the wide watery expanses of Hoary Old Man River Nemunas, the pleasing meanderings of the Neris River, the solitude of the conifer forests, the sands along the banks of the Dauguva River, and the melancholy land linger in my memory for a long, a very long time."6

It was not only the beauty of his homeland's countryside that was dear to his heart but Lithuanian life in general. Upon learning of the appearance of Aušra, on March 10, 1884, he wrote Dr. Basanavičius: "It is most truly a must for us to meet and talk, both about Aušra and about other matters, and, finally, to see one another and to talk like two old cronies. My wife is most desirous that you serve as godfather."7

His aim was to provide the readers of Aušra with basic information about the contagious diseases he was researching. This is evident from the fact that he prepared two versions of his articles, one scholarly and the other popularized. In his medical articles he originated Lithuanian medical terminology.

Blessed with an extraordinarily fertile imagination and a mathematical manner of reasoning, Dr. Pietaris came up with some novel ideas, such as the building of a submarine in order to throw a scare into the Russians so that they would grant independence to Lithuania.

Another of his interests was history. He read early annals and chronicles and serious studies about Lithuania. Like many others, he had formulated his own theory of the origin of the Lithuanians, namely, that the Lithuanian nation had migrated to its present location from India. He based this conclusion on the similarly sounding words of the Sanskrit and the Lithuanian languages.8

A contemporary, Adam Honory Kirkor (1818-1886), a researcher of Lithuanian history and a publicist, excavated several Lithuanian castle mounds and inventorized their contents and then reported his work and his conclusions in the Polish and the Russian press.9 He wrote about Lithuania in Zivopisnoja Rossija in a way that angered Dr. Pietaris, who wrote to Dr. Basanavičius from Ustiuzhna on February 5, 1884: "Recently I perused several volumes (three) of the book obtained through Volf in St. Petersburg... Just like that seminarian, I was hoping, wishing, and longing to see gathered in one spot all that is beautiful in Lithuania... Yet what did I find? Instead of Lithuanian artifacts, a rock dredged up from the Dauguva River with a Muscovite cross and inscription scratched upon it... Instead of Lithuanian songs — 'kuntai-balabai'... When I tell you that all this was effected by Kirkor, then it will be clear to you why Lithuania has been so maligned here."10

Dr. Basanavičius included this entire letter in Aušra (1884, No. 4, p. 137), with the note that this was "from a letter written to us by Dr. P." Dr. Pietaris was not especially pleased by this action and wrote Dr. Basanavičius on November 12, 1889: "Not too long ago I read that letter of mine that you stuck into Aušra earlier. You should not have included my actual initial. In such situations it would be better to give as my name Hawk or Raven or some such other [pseudonym]."11 The fact that his letter was printed in Aušra should entitle Dr. Pietaris to be called a contributor to Aušra.

In that same letter Dr. Pietaris discusses the demise of Aušra: "Being far from my homeland, I was unaware for some time that the publication Aušra, which appeared like a flash among us has once again fizzled out. Would it not be possible to revive it?" Full of concern regarding the fate of Aušra, he wrote to Dr. Jonas Šliupas: "I am a Lithuanian, a Lithuanian of old... Right before my very eyes a lovely sapling of Lithuanianism sprang up from a minute seed, put forth its foliage, and began to wax and flourish, coming into bloom in 1883. True, the blossom, though beauteous, was fragile and fell off without bearing fruit. Who is responsible for Aušra's downfall?" Searching for a likely reason, Dr. Pietaris continued: "Our part of the world is peopled mostly by plowmen and Catholics, thus most desire a newspaper that would both prove informative as regards work in the fields and appeal to its readers because of its religious and ethical content... Did Aušra deliver what the populace desired? No!... Aušra was more interested in presenting information more properly suited for the better educated than for ordinary working people. As a result, it even sustained irreparable financial losses. Further on Dr. Pietaris analyzes the numerous intra-Lithuanian quarrels: "It is both heartrending and exasperating to observe our endless quarrels and disagreements... I cannot describe how unfavorably I was affected by news of the disagreements among Lithuanians in the United States... At that time, too, news of your dispute with the Rev. Aleksandras Burba reached me from America... The Reverend Giedraitis, a noted Lithuanian, did, nevertheless, in his capacity as regent of the Seinai theological seminary forbid the seminarians to pursue studies of the Lithuanian language... The Lithuanian language department was eliminated at the Kaunas theological seminary... Was that what you wanted?" Dr. Pietaris claimed to have taken up his pen although it was clear to him that he would not inspire anyone, but he was only hoping "to do his duty as a 'member of the Lithuanian Nation.'" He urged Dr. Šliūpas to join in this endeavor, for their joint efforts would result in greater strength to accomplish the required tasks.12

His interest in history led to articles on historical topics, such as "Senovės pinigai ir jų vardai pas rusus ir lietuvius" [Early coins and their Russian and Lithuanian nomenclature], "Lietuva pirm šimto metų" [Lithuania one hundred years ago]. He also authored literary works. Of note was Keidošių Onutė [Annie of Keidošiai], in which he tried to demonstrate the need for educating girls as well as boys. His greatest work was the historical novel Algimantas, arba lietuviai XIII šimtmetyje [Algimantas or Lithuanians in the thirteenth century]. Like many of his contemporaries, Dr. Pietaris used a number of pseudonyms: Tenykštis, Žuvėdra, Vincas Zanavykas, Petras Zuikis, Savasis, Senas Lietuvys. He also sometimes signed his last name as Peteris or Piettaris.

Many reports, certificates, and bills from his more than twenty years of work as a district doctor and court consultant were preserved in the Historical Archives of Novgorod, but they were destroyed during wartime. Several of his autopsy reports are extant in the Vologda Archives located in the town of Cherepovets.13

Dr. Pietaris died in Ustiuzhna on October 3, 1902. His wife, Marė, described his final days in a letter to Dr. Basanavičius: "My poor husband was chilled to the bone during a journey he had to undertake to perform an autopsy. He was a very sick man when he returned from that powiat on September 24... and died on October 3."14

After Dr. Pietaris died, Dr. Basanavičius took it upon himself to see that his writings were published and his family did not suffer want. He wrote letters regarding these matters to the Rev. A. Jakštas-Dambrauskas and later to A. Olšauskas. To the Rev. A. Jakštas-Dambrauskas Dr. Basanavičius stated plaintively that he too was unwell but that he wanted to help the family of Dr. Pietaris, and, in his opinion, the "best means of aiding them would be to publish the writings of Dr. Pietaris 'for the benefit of his family."' After obtaining a promise from Olišauskas that he would publish the writings of Dr. Pietaris, Dr. Basanavičius wrote to him as follows: "Dear fellow countryman, relying upon your promise, I am sending you a marvelous little piece by the late Dr. Pietaris, "Iš mano atsiminimų" [From my reminiscences], which 1 am hoping you will deign to publish. His widow, who is beset by hardship, should be paid an honorarium of at least 400-500 franks, by doing which you will wipe many a tear from her face."15

Algimantas was to have five reprintings. It was first published, posthumously, in 1904 in Shenandoah, PA., and the fifth reprinting was in 1978 in Chicago. The collected writings of Dr. Pietaris were published in 1973 in Soviet Lithuania, however, this collection did not include Algimantas.

Dr. Juozas Rugis (1858-1919)

Another physician that deserves mention, a man of extraordinary erudition and many talents who accomplished much, who wrote for and circulated Lithuanian publications and is well deserving of renown, was Dr. Juozas Rugis. He wrote an article for Aušra but was not considered one of the official contributors of Aušra.

Dr. Rugis was born on May 23, 1858, in Rugiai village, Sintautai township, Šakiai county. He attended secondary school (gymnasium) in Marijampolė during 1870-78 and Moscow University, graduating in 1885 with a Doctor of Medicine degree.

The Rugiai family was descended from the Ruhigs, who came from Lithuania Minor to settle in Lithuania in the eighteenth century. Dr. Rugis's father was a well-to-do farmer who spoke in the Zanavykai dialect. During his secondary-school days, Juozas Rugis was friends with Vincas Kudirka. While studying in Moscow he was a member of the Lithuanian students association. After obtaining his medical degree, he decided to return to Lithuania and establish a private practice and selected a remote corner of Samogitia, Švėkšna, near Lithuania Minor, as his place of residence.16

Dr. Rugis was a lively personality of inexhaustible energy, glowing with health. Nevertheless, he was not accepted at first by the Samogitians. They were wary of this young, handsomely attired Lithuanian-speaking physician because, in their experience, "except for the priest, other intellectuals never uttered a word of Lithuanian." In addition, they doubted that such a "youngster was truly a real doctor." Dr. Rugis once wrote his sister Agota that "Švėkšna is hell on earth." Before long, however, he won the trust of the people because of his sincerity and reliability, becoming a most loved and honored person.

Dr. Rugis married a Polish gentlewoman, who readily became Lithuanianized. They raised two daughters, the historian Alicija, and Janina, a teacher, and a son, Jonas, an engineer.

While still a student in Moscow, Juozas Rugis contributed his writings to Aušra. According to the Rev. Juozas Tumas-Vaižgantas, Rugis coauthored an article for Aušra with the Rev. Aleksandras Burba, gently taking to task the priests who were ignoring their, Lithuanian heritage and even had pro-Polish tendencies. The authors were hoping by this means to attract the attention of such clergymen to Aušra and to entice them into joining the periodical's supporters.17 After Aušra ceased publication, Dr. Rugis wrote for Varpas [Bell] Ūkininkas [Farmer], Lietuvių laikraštis [Newspaper for Lithuanians], and Vilniaus žinios [News of Vilnius]. His articles dealt with various topics, from the practical—e.g., agriculture—to political. He also was generous in his financial support of Lithuanian publications.18

Dr. Rugis also played a role in the circulation of Lithuanian publications. He organized a group of helpers for this purpose and kept large quantities of the banned Lithuanian periodicals and books in his own home. Many of the more important activists of the Lithuanian Renaissance movement visited him often. Dr. Rugis did not hesitate to help across the border those who were in trouble with the czarist authorities because of their illegal Lithuanian activities.

Once the ban on the Lithuanian press was lifted, Dr. Rugis began to organize libraries and reading rooms and clubs for farmers. He urged acceptance of rural land reform whereby villages were divided up into single farmsteads. He was a proponent of cooperatives and founded one in 1910. In 1911 he established the firm Dr. Rugys and Company, known as Artojas, for the purpose of buying up estates, dividing them up into lots, and selling these to Lithuanians so as to prevent their colonization by Russians.19

Not only was Dr. Rugis actively involved in public life, he was an able physician held in high regard not just locally but over a wide-ranging surrounding area. He practiced medicine in Švėkšna until his death, except for a period of time during the Russo-Japanese war and during World War I. During the latter he sent his family to a safer location and, after evacuating the hospital, went to work as a district doctor in Mogilev, Byelorussia. He returned to Švėkšna in 1918.

Much of his time and efforts were devoted to his profession. He performed the less complicated surgery himself and sent more complicated cases to Karaliaučius, Lithuania Minor, where he maintained constant contact with the university's surgeons. His death on September 10, 1919, was a direct result of his devotion to his profession, for though ill himself, he had gone to attend a woman in labor, and after saving the lives of the mother and two babies, he suffered a relapse from which he never recovered.

Dr. Petras Radzvickas (1864-1931)

Although not a contributor to Aušra university professor and physician Dr. Petras Radzvickas justly deserves to be called its supporter for his efforts in promoting and circulating Aušra. Born on October 22, 1864, in the village of Pacentai, Janava township, Kalvarija (Marijampolė) county, Dr. Radzvickas was the son of a prosperous farmer who hoped that at least one of his sons would become a priest. After his older brother, Andrius, who spent two years in the Seinai theological seminary together with Vincas Kudirka, left the seminary, Petras Radzvickas resisted his father's efforts to pressure him into entering the seminary and therefore had to support himself by tutoring while studying at the secondary school (gymnasium) in Marijampolė. During his studies he also attended the Lithuanian-language classes given by Petras Kriaučiūnas, who "not only taught us Lithuanian grammar but also Lithuanian history; he urged us to respect our native tongue and sometimes presented us with Lithuanian booklets," as he later related in his autobiography.20 He further stated there that "a great sensation that caused much excitement among us was when he showed us the just-published first issue of Aušra. Once after chatting with me, Kriaučiūnas invited me to his apartment, where he stuffed my pockets with issues of Aušra and suggested where and how I was to distribute them. From that day, until I finished the gymnasium I performed this task I had been entrusted with rather successfully."

After graduation, Radzvickas began studies at Moscow University. He graduated in 1891 and then worked for five years at the university's eye diseases clinic, during which time he also obtained the degree of Doctor of Medicine by defending his dissertation, "Podkonjunktivalnija vpryskivanija sulemy." He was chosen to be a privatdocent of Moscow University but was not approved by the Minister of Education because he was a Catholic. Dr. Radzvickas then decided to pursue further studies at the university's ear, nose, and throat clinic. After completing his residency, he went to Smolensk, Russia, where he became head of the city hospital's ear, nose, and throat department. Seven years later he started his own office-hospital.

While living in Smolensk, Dr. Radzvickas made friends with other Lithuanians living there and aided immigrants. After the 1905 revolution, he founded the Lithuanian Self-help Society. After the Communist takeover, Smolensk was overrun not only by refugees but by loose prisoners from the Solensk hard labor prison. In 1920 Dr. Radzvickas was arrested for giving aid to hostages ("bourgeois") and sentenced to be shot. His life was spared when his patients surrounded the headquarters of the Cheka (Soviet security service) demanding that their doctor be freed. He was then placed under house arrest and had to work under guard.

Returning to Lithuania in 1921, he joined the Lithuanian Army and was appointed head of the ear, nose, and throat diseases section of the Military Hospital. In 1924 he was chosen to head the Department of Medicine of the University of Lithuania (Kaunas).

Dr. Radzvickas was an extraordinarily conscientious physician. He willed 100,000 litai (Lithuanian currency) to the Medical Students Fund and 10,000 litai to the School for the Mute and the Blind.

He wrote articles for the Lithuanian press in addition to fourteen serious medical studies (see Appendix A).

Prof. Dr. Petras Radzvickas died on September 22, 1931, in Kaunas, Lithuania.21

Dr. Kazys Grinius (1866-1950)

Among Aušra's supporters and distributors was also Dr. Kazys Grinius, a Varpininkas. He was born on December 17, 1866 in Salema-Būda village, Sasnava township, Marijampolė county. He attended secondary school (gymnasium) in Marijampolė and was a student of Petras Kriaučiūnas. From the introduction to Atsiminimai ir mintys [Memories and thoughts] by Dr. Kazys Grinius we learn that "in the fall of 1883 when he was a fifth-class student, Grinius read and circulated Aušra, and by doing so he joined in the struggle against Russia's unjust, despotic, and tyrannical rule of Lithuania. Together with his fellow fifth-class student Jonas Mačys (whose pseudonym was Kėkštas), in early 1884 he began to publish the patriotic handwritten newspaper "Priešaušris" [Predawn] meant for students. But he became a true patriot in 1884 after reading and rereading Aušra and the poems of Arminas, Gimžauskas, Vištelis published therein." When Varpas appeared in 1889, he became one of its supporters and was to remain so until his death.

While studying medicine at Moscow University he belonged to the Lithuanian students association. He graduated in 1892 and received his medical degree in 1893. Dr. Grinius then served as a shipboard physician for about nine months while sailing the Caspian Sea. Afterwards he settled in Marijampolė in 1894, remaining there, except for several intervals, until 1919. He practiced medicine in Marijampolė, Virbaliai, Kudirkos Naumiestis, Pilviškiai until 1920.

After Lithuania regained its independence in 1918, Dr. Grinius was elected to the Constituent Assembly and to the next three parliaments. He later served as prime minister and president of Lithuania. After the coup of December 16-17, 1926, which deposed him, he no longer participated in politics. In 1944 as the Soviets were about to occupy Lithuania, he withdrew to Germany. He later immigrated to the United States, settling in Chicago, where he died on June 4, 1950.22

Dr. Laurynas Tercijonas (1857-1905)

Another Varpininkas who was an ardent supporter and distributor of Aušra was Dr. Laurynas Tercijonas. He was born on August 8, 1857, in Amalviškiai village, Padovinys township, Marijampolė county. He attended secondary school (gymnasium) in Marijampolė and was a student of Petras Kriaučiūnas. He studied medicine at Moscow University, receiving an academic medical degree in 1885. Afterwards he studied field surgery at the St. Petersburg Military Medical Academy. During 1885-87 he practiced medicine in Marijampolė.

Due to the influence of Petras Kriaučiūnas during his school days, once Dr. Tercijonas moved to Marijampolė, he became actively involved in Lithuanian affairs. He actively promoted Aušra, the calendar put out by Aušra, and other Lithuanian publications. Two years later he was required to work for a period of time in repayment of his scholarship. He was sent to Sevastopol, in the Crimean Peninsula, where in 1895 he had as a patient Dr. Vincas Kudirka, who rested and worked on his writings there for a time. Dr. Tercijonas generously aided his former classmate financially, for Dr. Kudirka has run out of funds due to his long and serious illness. Dr. Tercijonas was also a major backer of Varpas and its concordant Varpininkai organization. He took part in the Russian wars with China and Japan as a military physician, and died of typhus in the fort of Port Arthur on March 23, 1905.23

Dr. Rokas Šliūpas (1865-1959)

The brother of the famed Aušrininkas Dr. Jonas Šliūpas, Dr. Rokas Šliūpas was described by his brother John as a "man both practical and educated who has earned the deep respect of society because of his industriousness and reserved manner and also his Lithuanianism."24

Dr. Rokas Šliūpas was a man of action and thus wrote little, but he too was one of the supporters and promoters of Aušra. He was born in 1865 in Rakandžiai, in Šiauliai county. He graduated from the secondary school (gymnasium) in Mintauja in 1884. While still a student he had circulated Aušra and in the summertime helped organize secret bands of persons to clandestinely bring in the czarist-banned Lithuanian books from across the East Prussian border. He also collected folklore.

After graduation he pursued further studies in the biology section of the physics-mathematics department of the University of St. Petersburg. He graduated in 1889. In 1893 he received his medical degree after graduating from the Department of Medicine of Moscow University. In 1888, together with Vincas Kudirka he visited Martynas Jankus as a representative of Lithuanian students in Moscow and St. Petersburg to discuss starting up the publication Varpas.

After receiving his medical degree, he served for a while as a physician in the factories of Moscow. Later he worked at the clinics of the University of Karaliaučius, Lithuania Minor. Returning to Lithuania in 1896, he went into private practice in Ariogala. After five years he moved to Aleksotas (southern section of Kaunas). He was arrested and deported by the czarist authorities for circulating illegal Lithuanian publications and later was drafted into the Russian army.

In 1905 he returned to Lithuania and worked as a school physician and taught hygiene in Kaunas. He was actively involved in Lithuanian affairs, founding various societies and providing for their financial support. He is usually remembered as one of the founders of the Lithuanian Red Cross (1919). Due to his efforts the Kaunas Red Cross Hospital was renovated and a Red Cross hospital was built in Klaipėda, also a tuberculosis sanatorium in Aukštoji Panemunė and a health resort in Birštonas. In recognition of his accomplishments, he was elected honorary chairman of the Lithuanian Red Cross.

His major writings are: Keli bruožai iš buv. Kauno komercijos mokinių gyvenimo (statistika, medicinos klausimai) [Certain aspects from the lives of former Kaunas commerce students (statistics and medical matters); 1928] and the manuscript of "Tikrovės pasakos" (Gyvybės atsiradimo populiari apžvalga) [Tales of reality popular overview of the origin of life); 1953].

After the Soviets occupied Lithuania, Dr. Šliūpas was appointed head of the Garliava dispensary, and he held this position until 1951. He died in Garliava on May 26, 1959.25

Dr. Antanas Vileišis (1856-1919)

Another supporter and distributor of Aušra was Dr. Antanas Vileišis, who was a member of the renowned Vileišis family. Dr. Vileišis was born in Mediniai village, Pasvalys township, Biržai county in 1856. He attended secondary school (gymnasium) in Šiauliai and studied medicine at Moscow University. While in Moscow, he was a member of the Lithuanian students association. He worked in Russia for a time after obtaining his medical degree, and then in 1898 he settled in Vilnius, Lithuania, where he was to remain for the rest of his life.

While still a medical student, in the summertime he was actively involved in the distribution of Aušra and other Lithuanian publications. After moving to Vilnius, he became an active participant of Lithuanian public affairs. He was one of the so-called Twelve Apostles of Vilnius— which also included Dr. Andrius Domaševičius—who were working in order that the St. Nicholas Church would be assigned to Lithuanian Catholics so that services for them could be held there in the Lithuanian language. Later Dr. Vileišis prepared a storage area for banned Lithuanian books in this church. He was a founding member, board member, president, and honorary president of a number of Lithuanian societies, among them the Vilnius education society Aušra, the society Rūta, the Lithuanian Self-help Society, and a society to aid war refugees.

While practicing medicine in Vilnius, Dr. Vileišis often treated without compensation the persons who smuggled banned Lithuanian books into the country from East Prussia and others who were actively involved in working for the cause of Lithuanianism. He even gave them money out of his own pocket to buy any required medication.

Dr. Vileišis also wrote many articles on hygiene, using pseudonyms such as A.V., d-ras A.V.., d-ras A. Medinietis (see Appendix B). He published a mathematics textbook in 1916.

Dr. Antanas Vileišis died in Vilnius on April 7, 1919.26


It is possible that other Lithuanian physicians also played a role in promoting, circulating, and supporting Aušra. It is likely that all who studied under Petras Kriaučiūnas, the notable Lithuanian patriotic educator, read Aušra and were involved in its distribution. If so, then either their deeds have not been recorded in the Lithuanian press or their names escaped notice and thus have not been included here.


Prof. Dr. Petras Radzvickas published a number of articles on medical topics in various periodicals, such as Russian medical journals, Medicina [Medicine], MŪSŲ žinynas [Our store of knowledge], including:

1 "Trachoma ir kitos akių ligos Lietuvos kariuomenėje" [Trachoma and other diseases of the eye prevalent in the Lithuanian Army], MŪSŲ žinynas, 12, 1923.

2 "Adenoidų išaugos ir jų reikšmė visuomenės gyvenime" [Growths on adenoids and their societal significance], Medicina, 12, 1924.

3 "Vigantolio reikšmė ozenai gydyti" [The efficacy of Vigantol in curing ozena], Medicina, 1932.


Dr. Antanas Vileišis wrote numerous articles on hygiene in such periodicals as Tėvynės sargas [Guardian of the homeland] Varpas [Bell], and later in Vilniaus žinios [News of Vilnius], Šaltinis [Source], Viltis [Hope], Žemdirbys [Husbandman], and also the following booklets (from Lietuvių enciklopedija, vol. 34, p. 81):

1 Pratarmė moterims, kurios nori būti sveikos [Advice to women who desire to be healthy], 1899 and 1906 (after Zielchak).

2. Trumpa šneka apie limpančias ligas ir kaip nuo jų apsiginti. I-II. [A short talk about contagious diseases and how to avoid them], 1901 and 1906.

3 Kaip apsireiškia gyvastis [Manifestations of life], 1902.

4 Džiova [Tuberculosis], 1903 (after A. Knopf).

5 Pirmoji pagalba [First aid], 1903 (after Johannes Friedrich August von Esmarch).

6 Apie blogąją ligą [About syphilis], 1904.

7 Apie cholerą ir kaip nuo jos apsisaugoti [About cholera and how to avoid it], 1905.

8 Kas daryti, kad sveiki būtume ir ilgai gyventume [How to stay healthy and live a long life], 1905 (translation).

9 Kaip užsilaikyti pavasarį, vasarą, rudenį ir žiemą [How to care for oneself in spring, summer, fall, and winter] 1906 (after L. Volberg).

10 Cholera ir kova su ja [Cholera and the fight waged against this disease], 1907.

11 Difteritas [Diphtheria], 1907.

12 Naminis gydytojas [At-home physician], with J. Totoraitis (Dr. Vileišis wrote part 1, about human diseases, 115 pp.; part 2 was about the diseases of animals; at the time this book was considered the best available in Lithuanian), 1908.

13 Rūgštusai pienas prof. Mečnikovo [Professor Mechnikov's sour milk], 1907 (after I. Tacharov).

14 Raupų čiepijimas, šneka su jauna motina [A talk with a young mother about smallpox vaccination], 1909 (after B. Oks).

15 Kaip reikia užlaikyti sveikos ir sergančios akys [How to care for both healthy and diseased eyes], 1910.

16 Oras ir klimatas ir jų svarbumai žmogaus sveikatai [The air and the climate and their importance to human health], 1913 and 1914 (after Zolodarin).

17 Svarbiausios žmonių ligos [The most important diseases of man], written by his brother Petras and edited by Dr. Antanas Vileišis using the pseudonym Dr. Mikols, 1899 and 1906.


1 Jonas Basanavičius, Rinktiniai raštai (Vilnius, 1970), p. 633.
2 Ibid., p. 635.
3 Sveikatos apsauga, 1968, no. 3, p. 45.
4 Basanavičius, p. 661.
5 Sveikatos apsauga,
1968, No. 3, p. 47.
6. Basanavičius, Rinktiniai Raštai, p, 655.
7 Ibid., p. 641.
8 Lietuvių enciklopedija, vol. 22, p. 460.
9 Basanavičius, Rinktiniai raštai, p. 946.
10 Ibid., p. 639.
11 Ibid., p. 645.
12 Antanas Milukas, Amerikos lietuviai XIX šimtmetyje [Lithuanian-Americans in the nineteenth century], vol. 1, 1938, p. 316.
13 Sveikatos apsauga, 1968, No. 3, p. 48.
14 Basanavičius, Rinktiniai raštai, p. 665.
15 Ibid., p. 814.
16 Alicija Rūgytė, Švėkšna, 1974, p. 246.
17. Ibid., p. 252.
18 Alicija Rūgytė, Zanavykija, vol. 2, p. 264.
19 Lietuvių enciklopedija, vol. 26, p. 88.
20 Fraternitas Lithuania, 1958, p. 353.
21 Lietuvių enciklopedija, vol. 24, p. 405.
22 Kazys Grinius, Atsiminimai ir mintys (Memories and thoughts], vol. 1, 1947. pp. 11-17.
23 Lietuvių enciklopedija, vol. 31, p. 73.
24 Juozas Jakštas, Dr. Jonas Šliūpas (Chicago, 1979), p. 287.
25 Lietuvių enciklopedija, vol. 30, p. 62.
 26 Ibid., vol. 34, p. 80.