During the inter-war period the Republic of Lithuania was inhabited by about 200 000 Poles, in whose documents the Lithuanian administration frequently recorded Lithuanian nationality. After the WW II the whole territory of so-called Kowno (Kaunas) Lithuania and that part of Lithuania territory which earlier had belonged to Poland (the Wilno /Vilnius/ region) became part of the Soviet Union. As late as September 1944 the authorities of Soviet Lithuania and the Polish communist authorities signed a convention according to which all Poles and Jews with Polish citizenship dating from prior to 17 September 1939 were to be resettled to Poland. The convention thus pertained primarily to the inhabitants of the Vilnius Lithuania. In view of the fact that numerous Poles from the Kowno region, who previously had been Lithuanian citizens, also declared their willingness to leave, the authorities of Soviet Lithuania created a number of obstacles for resettling the “Polonised Lithuanians” from rural terrains and those of inter-war Lithuania. The evacuation of persons with Lithuanian citizenship and registered as Lithuanian nationals was particularly hindered since they were regarded as Lithuanians. As a consequence, out of about 18 000 persons in the Kowno Lithuania who in 1945 signed up for evacuation, only 10% managed to leave. It is probable that this group included numerous former war refugees from Poland, and thus that the real number of evacuated Poles-Lithuanian citizens was even smaller.
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