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FLIGHT OVER LITHUANIA 1944-1945

Flight over Lithuania 1944-1945

Luftwaffe intelligence has made a number of flights above territory that is now Lithuania, during World War II. This is how Lithuanian landscape of the mid-twentieth century was recorded into history.

Such reconnaissance flights were made in all of the Europe. At the end of the war Western allies discovered aerial photos, made by Luftwaffe. It is estimated, that more than 1,2 million reconnaissance photos got into hands of allies. Most of those aerial photos are now preserved in National archives and records administration Archival building II, Maryland, USA and some are preserved in Keele university in United Kingdom. These photos were assigned with abbreviation GX. During the Cold war USA intelligence analyzed GX photos to get information on East and Central Europe which was under influence of USSR. GX photos was declassified at the very end of 20th century.

Lithuanian heritage experts identified flights, that was made above the Lithuania, in 2014. Lithuanian Central State Archives, in partnership with Klaipeda University, organized the project partly funded by Lithuanian council of culture in 2015, during which experts from Lithuanian archives made approximately 17,5 thousand digital copies of GX photos, that are now preserved in Lithuanian Central State Archives and are available to society.

Lithuanian Central State Archives, in partnership with Klaipeda University, organized the project partly funded by Lithuanian council of culture in 2017, during which photos were identified and attached to contemporary map. The result of project is here. The map is constantly updated with new photos.

Urban areas, natural monuments, cultural heritage objects and other important information are captured in these photos. Photos, taken during World War II helps to determine how these objects looked like more than 70 years ago. Photos serve to investigate the development of cities and towns, help identify extinct cemeteries and destroyed buildings.

FLIGHT OVER LITHUANIA 1944-1945

Vilnius

Vilnius during the battle between Wermacht and Red Army (July 11th, 1944). Burning old town, destroyed buildings in what is now Vokiečių (German) street and Railway station with bombing traces around it can be seen in photos.

Lithuanian Central State Archives’ collection of digitized aerial photos from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) RG 373 GX 735 SD, photos 64–66.

FLIGHT OVER LITHUANIA 1944-1945

Paneriai (Ponari) forest

Paneriai forest (September 17th, 1944). The massacre of the Jews took place in this forest during the World War II. Locations of great pit of massacre, guard baracks and other importatnt information was discovered through this photo.

Lithuanian Central State Archives’ collection of digitized aerial photos from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) RG 373 GX 929 A SD, photo 464.

FLIGHT OVER LITHUANIA 1944-1945

Kaunas

Kaunas, already taken by Red Army (September 17, 1944). Žaliakalnis and Šančiai districts can be seen in the photos as well as Kaunas forts and planes landed at the airport of S. Darius and S. Girėnas.

Lithuanian Central State Archives’ collection of digitized aerial photos from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) RG 373 GX 929 B SG, photos 248, 250 and 251.

FLIGHT OVER LITHUANIA 1944-1945

Klaipėda

Klaipėda and part of Curonian spit (February 21st, 1945).

Lithuanian Central State Archives’ collection of digitized aerial photos from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) RG 373 GX 2186 SD, photos 9–13.

FLIGHT OVER LITHUANIA 1944-1945

Šiauliai

Šiauliai (August 22nd, 1944). German intelligence officers used to mark potential targets, enemy positions and other valuable information with handwritten symbols.

Lithuanian Central State Archives’ collection of digitized aerial photos from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) RG 373 GX 815, photos 536 and 538.

FLIGHT OVER LITHUANIA 1944-1945

Panevėžys

Panevėžys (July 29th, 1944).

Lithuanian Central State Archives’ collection of digitized aerial photos from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) RG 373 GX 2525 SK, photo 57.

FLIGHT OVER LITHUANIA 1944-1945

Marijampolė

Marijampolė (September 17th, 1944).

Lithuanian Central State Archives’ collection of digitized aerial photos from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) RG 373 GX 929 B SG, photo 258.

FLIGHT OVER LITHUANIA 1944-1945

Radviliškis

“Lithuanian capital of railway” – Radviliškis (December 23rd, 1944).

Lithuanian Central State Archives’ collection of digitized aerial photos from National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) RG 373 GX 1293 SD, photo 111.

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