Lietuvos Centrinis Valstybės Archyvas

  • Lithuanian Central State Archives
  • LCVA


The history of the Archive can be divided into four periods: the first, from 1919-1940, during the time of Lithuanian independence following World War I; the second, from 1941-1944, during the time of the Nazi occupation of Lithuania; the third from 1944-1991, under the Soviet regime; and the fourth and current period, during the time of independence from 1991 to the present.

The first period was the time of the foundation and establishment of the government institutions and the formulation of work procedures. During this period of time, the Constitution was accepted, as well as additional legislation to regulate life in the renewed country and preserve the national heritage. Thus, the Central National Archives were set up in Kaunas, the capital of Lithuania at that time. In 1921, a peace treaty was signed between Soviet Russia and Lithuania facilitating the return to Kaunas of many documents that had been taken to Russia during the Czarist regime.

During the second period under the Nazi rule, the Archive continued to be active, albeit under certain restrictions. The Archive was subject to Reichskommissariat Ostland, and was only open to visitors of German origin. In actuality, the ongoing responsibility for the Archives was under the control of the Office for Internal Affairs, which was located in Kaunas.

The third period has been divided in two. In 1940, following the invasion by the Soviet Union, the Archives administration was transferred to Vilnius. From an organizational point of view, the Archives were now under the supervision of the NKVD. The confidential documents were transferred to the Soviet Union and afterwards were only partially returned. Even after World War II, the Archives remained under the supervision of the NKVD; in 1960, the Archives was transferred to the supervision of the National Council of Soviet Union Archives.

The current period began with the enactment of the Archives Law. The name of the main Archives was changed to the Lithuanian Central State Archives, and the Archives were transferred to the supervision of the Central Archives administration which is subject to the Lithuanian Council of Ministers.

Geographical and Cultural Context

The Archives deal with archival documentation created between 1918 and 1990, as well as documents, films, photographs and recordings that are a part of the Lithuanian cultural data base.

Mandates/Sources of Authority

The activities of the Archives have been arranged in accordance with the Lithuanian Constitution, European Union legislation, and additional laws that regulate the activities of the Archives as a public government office.

Archival and Other Holdings

The Archives preserves records of state, local government, enterprises, religious communities, popular organizations, other non-state institutions and individuals, dating from 1918 until 1990. The division of Sound and Image is the main repository of audiovisual heritage in Lithuania. It preserves moving pictures since 1919, photo negatives and positives since 1850's, sound recordings since 1950's, videotapes since 1988 until the present day. Archives’ holdings comprise of approximately 31 000 linear meters of records. "The archive contains 177 collections from the Nazi occupation period (a total of 72 189 items i.e. files). They are collections of the documents of the civil government, offices, military offices and police stations and their branches, industrial, transport and other companies and offices of the Nazi period."

Approximately 390,000 photographic documents (middle of the 19th c.–until nowadays): photographs, negatives, photographic glass plates, albums, vignettes, slides, digital pictures; works of A. Strauss, J. Čechavičius, A. Fleury,V. Zatorskis; photographic documents by J. Bulhakas, M. Smečechauskas, J. Karazija, J. Miežlaiškis, B. Buračas, A. Varnas, A. Mickus, V. Janiselis. The Soviet period is reflected in thephotographic material of the Lithuanian News Agency ELTA and editorial offices of newspapers; numerous collections of documentary photography works of J. Juknevičius, V. Kapočius, A. Žižiūnas. Modern-day documentary photographs are also being accumulated.

Approximately 20,000 audio documents: sound recordings on gramophone records, magnetic tape, audio cassettes, CDs. The oldest sound record is a series of songs performed by Lithuanian male quartet from Riga and recorded in Riga in 1907.There are also voice recordings of the presidents of Lithuania A. Smetona and K. Grinius, audio recordings testifying the events of 1940 in Lithuania; a collection of recordings of Kaunas Radiophone (Radio of the Reich) programmes relating to the war period; public speeches of Lithuanian functionaries of the Soviet period; recordings of conventions of various organizations and official celebrations of state holidays; recordings of Vilnius Recording Studio; voice recordings of representatives of Lithuanian Reform Movement Sąjūdis, scientists, artists, politicians, Lithuanian expatriates, former political prisoners and deportees; recordings of the programmes of Lithuanian radio service in the USA and Australia; recordings the Voice of America Lithuanian Radio Service of 1951–1995;

Over 3,000 video documents. Accumulation of video recordings started in 1988. They were mostly video clips filmed by cameramen of the Archives. They testify to the activities of the National Liberation Movement Sąjūdis, the restoration of independence of Lithuania, the events of January 1991. There are also video recordings of reminiscences of the former deportees, political prisoners, partisans submitted to the Archives by the Lithuanian National Foundation, Inc; Approximately 9,000 cinematographic documents (1910s– to date). Copies of the films made by the Lumieres in 1895 – the earliest films ever made – are preserved in the Archives. There is also a collection of the Lithuanian newsreels from 1918–1940 and the works of the first Lithuanian cameramen – K. Lukšys, J.Milius, brothers Motūza-Beleckas, S. Vainalavičius, S. Uzdonas and J. Miežlaiškis; cinematographic material relating to the World War II period; documentaries made in the Lithuanian Film Studios and Lithuanian Television in 1946–1990; the first Lithuanian feature films "Blue Horizon" (Žydrasis horizontas),"The Bridge" (Tiltas), "Ignotas Returned Home" (Ignotas grįžo namo), "The Turkeys" (Kalakutai), and others.

Finding Aids, Guides, and Publication

Galina Žirikova, Lietuvos centrinio valstybės archyvo fondai: holokausto Lietuvoje tyrimo šaltinis (The Collections of the State Archive of Lithuania: a Source of Research on the Holocaust in Lithuania), Vilnius, Valstybinis Vilniaus Gaono žydų muziejus, 2011.

Opening Times

Monday – Thursday 09:00 – 17:00 Friday 09:00 – 15:45 Lunch Break: 12:00 – 12:45

Dates of Creation and Deletion

2013-12-29 JL


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