Ignas Jonynas was a Lithuanian historian. His works and studies (especially his seminal work ‘Vytautas’ Household’, written in 1932) laid the foundations for modern Lithuanian national historiography. During the interwar period, he was not only a professional historian and professor at Kaunas State University, but also a diplomat (from 1920 to 1922, he represented the Republic of Lithuania at the League of Nations. Later he worked at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for a couple of years). Like several other Lithuanian intellectuals, writers and scholars, Jonynas appears to have sympathised with Soviet Russia. This is probably because he studied at Moscow University and liked Russian culture. He decided to stay in Lithuania after 1944. (His two sons left Lithuania.)
He became a professor at Kaunas and Vilnius universities (from 1946, only at Vilnius University). His lectures were very popular with students, especially historians. His ideas on history were based on principles of historicism and positivism. Jonynas taught some famous Lithuanian historians: such as Vytautas Merkys and Mečislovas Jučas. He organised special 'historical’ trips for historians around important places in Lithuanian history. In 1948 and 1949, he was attacked severely by the University Party Committee, and later by leaders of the Lithuanian Communist Party, for ignoring Marxist methodology, and for ‘bourgeois nationalism’. Jonynas admitted to ‘ideological mistakes’, and continued his professional career at the university.
Vilnius , Lithuania
- Atesninkai, Lithuania
- Sirutavičius, Vladas