Those who gave their lives 

LORETA ASANAVIČIŪTĖ (22/04/1967 – 13/01/1991)

Loreta Asanavičiūtė, a defender of freedom of Lithuania, was born in Vilnius, on 22 April 1967, into the family of Stasė and Stepas Asanavičiai. Her family settled in Karoliniškės, a new residential area of Vilnius, in 1972. Her mother Stasė Asanavičienė considered her parents and her three children (her eldest child was her son Bronius, then daughter Renata, and the youngest was Loreta) to be her entire family. Stasė’s roots are in Ukmergė District and her maiden name is Vagonytė. Her mother, Loreta’s grandmother, Elena Petrauskaitė-Vagonienė was born in Petrašiūnai Village in 1906. She died of tuberculosis just after turning fifty, in 1956. Elena’s husband Juozas Vagonis originated from Paprėniškės Village in Ukmergė District. He was born in 1900 and lived with his wife for 20 years. He passed away in 1976.

Loreta began attending a kindergarten-nursery in Antakalnis, a residential area in Vilnius as early as before her first birthday. She attended a kindergarten in Žvaigždžių Street (currently L. Asanavičiūtės Street) since 1972 when her family moved to Karoliniškės. She started her education in Vilnius Secondary School No 38 on 1 September 1974. She briefly attended Vilnius Secondary School No 41 (in Karoliniškės, near the shopping centre Merkurijus), in 1975–1976, and she attended Vilnius Secondary School No 47 in 1977–1979. Loreta Asanavičiūtė attended Vilnius Secondary School No 50 since September 1980 for two years and she completed her 8-year school education in 1982. The same year, Loreta Asanavičiūtė began working in the sewing factory Aušra, first as an apprentice and later as a seamstress. By combining her work and studies, she wanted to help her hard-working mother. Loreta sewed clothes for children. She also attended Vilnius Evening Secondary School No 1 in 1982–1985, passed her Matura examinations, and received General Certificate of Secondary Education in 1985. In 1988–1990, she studied at the High School for Finance and Credit, which she graduated from in 1990 having acquired a profession of an accountant. In 1983, she began working at the amalgamation Dovana and continued working as a knitter until the events of January 1991.

Loreta enjoyed folk music since her school years and was a member of the folk band of Vilnius Construction Trust from 1986 until her death. Loreta was also a member of the folk ensembles of the Trade Union Culture Centre and amalgamation Dovana. Loreta took an active part in the activities of the Lithuanian Reform Movement Sąjūdis in the fateful years of 1988–1990.

Characterised by her relatives and primarily by her mother as “hard-working, single-minded, dutiful, good-natured, courteous, and composed <...> as well as obstinate, she looked after stray cats despite the fact that her mother forbade it...”

Loreta was modest, humble, shy, and always ready to assist wherever she was and whatever she was engaged in – she was appreciated and praised by everybody. She liked to dream and spend some time alone. Loreta was attracted by the Lithuanian folk music as she found a lot of positive education and wisdom in folk songs and enjoyed singing herself.

On 12–13 January 1991, she was on guard at the TV Tower in Vilnius. Loreta Asanavičiūtė went there together with her namesake friend Loreta Tručilauskaitė. Both of them worked at the amalgamation Dovana. At about 11 p.m. Loreta called her mother and promised her to return home. According to her friend, they were holding hands. Loreta Asanavičiūtė screamed, “I am afraid.” Her friend suggested kneeling down and praying, but the tank was already heading towards them. Three women — both Loretas and Angelė Pladytė — found themselves under the tank; however, Loreta Asanavičiūtė was most severely wounded... She was taken to hospital still alive and had hopes to survive. She passed away when she was twenty-two.

Loreta’s mother said, “...I remember, a week before that night, Loreta dreamt her fate. I was woken up by Loreta screaming in her dreams. It was 1:20 a.m. I got up, made some tea <...> while Loreta kept telling me that she dreamt of a huge, dark rising cloud and a dark square creature emerging through the cloud and attacking...”

Following Decision No I-952 of the Presidium of the Supreme Council – Reconstituent Seimas of the Republic of Lithuania of 15 January 1991, Loreta Asanavičiūtė was posthumously awarded the First Class Order of the Cross of Vytis for demonstrating heroic courage in defending the freedom and independence of the Republic of Lithuania. She was buried in the Antakalnis Cemetery in Vilnius on 16 January 1991.

On 9 January 1992, Loreta Asanavičiūtė was posthumously awarded the Commemorative Medal of 13 January. On 12 May 2005, she was awarded the Establishing Volunteers’ Union of the Lithuanian Armed Forces Medal “We Have Been, We Are, We Will Be” and the medal of the Lithuanian Reform Movement Sąjūdis.

In 1996, Loreta’s mother Stasė Asanavičienė was awarded the Latvian Barricades Social Support Fund Medal. American Biographical Institute bestowed an award on Loreta in 1998.

A street in Karoliniškės residential area in Vilnius bears the name of Loreta Asanavičiūtė.


     Prepared by Žydrūnas Mačiukas



The last words, “Doctor, will I live?” froze on the lips of Loreta Asanavičiūtė. It was very hard to answer the question of the twenty-year-old girl. Loreta met a horrible fate, was crushed by a tank… A few hours later, in hospital, her heart stopped beating.

However, we can bring some comfort to Loreta’s mother Stasė Asanavičienė, sister Renata, and her brother Bronius and his family: Loreta and the twelve men, who perished in defence of Lithuania’s independence, will live. They will live as long as there is at least one Lithuanian, and as long as the River Nemunas flows and its banks echo to songs.

It is no coincidence that songs are mentioned. Songs that Loreta inherited from her mother did not leave her lips until the tragic moment of her life. Loreta Asanavičiūtė, a fragile, reserved, modest, and humble girl was not a class leader while at school. She did not like loud music. Folk melody was a source of bright thoughts to her. She sang in the folk ensemble of the Trade Union Palace, where she worked.

When Loreta had some spare time, she would compete with her elder sister Renata, member of the choir Eglė, to find out who was better at singing, playing the accordion, or the piano. Having graduated from a secondary school, Loreta started working at the amalgamation Dovana, since she wanted to help her mother, who worked as a cashier and had to look after three children. At the same time, Loreta entered the High School for Finance and Credit. While working in Dovana she made quite a few pretty sweaters that some wear till today.

Stasė Asanavičienė has been deeply shocked by her daughter’s death. She finds it difficult to speak. Therefore we talk to Renata, and the table is covered with the cloth knitted by Loreta.

“When the reform movement started, we missed none of the events. We always attended them together. On the nights of 12 and 13 January, we were at the TV Tower. Loreta and I sang and danced together with other young people. Later on, my mother and I came home to get warm. My sister stayed with her friends. When we heard a bang of guns, we set to head for the TV Tower. And then the telephone rang. A man said that Loreta was wounded and that she was taken to hospital. When we saw her, she had already gone to the better world”.

“Your sister must have been very brave, wasn’t she?”

“I don’t know”, Renata says. “She was very sensitive and would easily burst into tears. When I was in hospital, she stayed with me all the time…Very recently, she told me that she had dreamt a very dark cloud and a black creature that tried to catch her. Who could have believed that the uncanny premonition would come true?”

Loreta, we will remember you in the Nation’s song…

Lithuania, 13 January, 1991: documents, testaments, responses / [Press Department]. – Vilnius : Press Department, 1991, p. 41.

Last updated on 2012-01-12

by Vidas Stropus

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