Image: picture alliance/AP Photo/Lithuanian President Press
Germany loans Lithuania independence act
January 18, 2018
The document is believed to be the only surviving copy of Lithuania's original declaration of independence. The small Baltic country is set to mark 100 years of independence with year-long celebrations.
Germany loaned Lithuania a copy of its 1918 declaration of independence Wednesday ahead of the Baltic country's centennial celebrations.
"I want to thank our friend Germany which managed to preserve the document of great importance for us during turbulent times," Grybauskaite said at the handover ceremony, adding it was " one of the most important national documents has reached us at the most appropriate time."
Only surviving copy
A Lithuanian professor found the document – the only surviving copy of the original declaration of independence – in a Berlin archive in 2017.
Historians believe up to five copies were signed on February 18, 1918 while the country was under German occupation. The original disappeared in 1940 after the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania.
Under a bilateral agreement, Lithuania will return the document to Germany in 2023.