The memorial plaque on the Giedraiciai battle monument listing the names of those who died in the fighting there (see, “Bun Rufka”).

Each year, a committee appointed by the Rokiškis Regional Museum confers the Ruvin Bun Award to an individual or group for increasing the awareness in Lithuania of the contributions of its Jewish citizens in the establishment and growth of the country.  The award is named for Ruvin Bun, a Jewish volunteer who fought in Lithuania’s wars of independence and died at Giedraičiai.  The award program coincides with the 100th anniversary of the 1918 founding of the modern Lithuanian state and considers research and educational programs that reflect the original vision of the Lithuanian state as a tolerant, multi-cultural society with a western-style constitution and established democratic government.

Private Ruvin Bunas, who was also known as “Rufka” Bun, was born on July 20, 1902, in Pasubate, in the Novo-Aleksandrovk uyezd of the Kovna Gubernya / Province, and lived in Aleksandravėlė, Rokiškio Uyezd (about 8 kilometers southeast of Obeliai). He volunteered to serve in the Lithuanian army on July 11, 1919, and was killed at the battle of Giedraičiai, on November 21, 1920, the last day of the Lithuanian-Polish War.

Bun’s name appears on a memorial plaque on the Giedraičiai battle monument as Private “Bun Rufka” and at the bottom of the plaque are the words, “Tėvynė nepamirš jūsu darbų, kuriuos padarėt jos laisvei ir garbei.” (“The Motherland will not forget what your efforts accomplished for her freedom and honor.”)

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Eilinį Ruvin Bunas (taip pat žinomas kaip Rufka Bun), kuris gimė 1902 m. liepos 20 d., Pasubatėje, Novo-Aleksandrovsk ujezd ir gyveno Aleksandravėlėje, Rokiškio apskr. (ujezd). Tai yra apie 8 km į pietryčius nuo Obelių. Jis tarnavo savanoriu Lietuvos kariuomenėje nuo 1919 m. liepos 11 d., ir žuvo mūšyje ties Giedraičiais 1920 m. lapkričio 21, paskutinę Lietuvos-Lenkijos karo dieną.

Jo vardas ir pavardė yra iškalti Giedraičių mūšio monumente, jis minimas kaip eilinis „Bun Rufka.“ Monumento (paminklo) apačioje yra lentelė su žodžiais, „Tėvynė nepamirš jūsų darbų, kuriuos padarėt jos laisvei ir garbei.”

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2016 Award Winner

2016 Award Winner — Viktorija Kazlienė









2017 Award Winner

2017 Award Winner – Neringa Danienė and the Rokiškis Theatre Association

The Significance of a “Savanoris” (Volunteer)

During the First World War, the Imperial German forces conquered much of the territory that Czarist Russia had annexed in the “Partitions of Poland,” including all of the land that today is in Lithuania.  Germany urged the minorities in Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Belarus, and other lands conquered by the Germans to declare “minority majority” states.  The Germans hoped these new countries would be economically and politically dependent upon Germany.  Following the November 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, the Russians also urged the creation of these states, albeit in the hope that they would not be dependent upon Germany.  In such a climate, numerous independent states were declared in 1918, though in most cases the German military had actual control.

The situation was changed by the November 11, 1918, Armistice of the Western Allies with Germany.  Under the terms of that ceasefire, all German forces were required to return to Germany – both on the Western and Eastern Fronts.  The result was a military vacuum in the East.  Two days later, on November 13, 1918, Bolshevik Russia invaded the new countries, quickly occupying Lithuania and nearly capturing Warsaw, the capital of the new Polish state.  The new states organized armies, virtually from scratch to defend their independence.  A brave citizen who answered Lithuania’s desperate call for volunteers is known as a “savanoris.”  The volunteers not only succeeded in pushing the Bolsheviks out of Lithuania but soon after defended Lithuania when the Polish army attempted to conquer Lithuania.

Lithuania kept its independence thanks to these volunteers and during the inter-war period they were generally held in high esteem.  In this article, Ettie (Sidrer/Santocki) Zilber, Ed.D., explains how the savanoris medal won by her grandfather spared him from execution in 1941, Jewish Volunteer Jakūbas Santockis.








This memorial, which is dedicated to Ruvin Bun and three other Jewish savanoriai (volunteers) who died in Lithuania’s Wars of Independence, was unveiled on May 8, 2018. The photograph was taken by Ana Maisel and posted on Facebook by Hon. Amir Maimon, the Israeli Ambassador to Lithuania.