On April 19, 1947, Chicago Lithuanians held a banquet in the Palmer House to welcome the arrival to America of Kazys Grinius, statesman, diplomat, patriot, and former president of Lithuania. Kazys Grinius (1866-1950), a doctor of medicine, actively fought for independence from Tsarist Russia. He wrote for the clandestine publication Varpas and helped found the Lithuanian Democrat (Liberal) Party in 1902. After the 1918 independence, he was a leader of the Lithuanian Peasant Populist Party and was a member of the constituent assembly. On June 8, 1920, he formed a cabinet and four days later signed a peace treaty with the Soviet Union. He resigned as prime minister in 1922 and was elected president of Lithuania on June 7, 1926 but was ousted by the military coup d’etat that installed a Nationalist government on December 17. When the Germans invaded Lithuania, he refused to be a part of a German-controlled government and condemned Nazi persecution of Lithuanian Jews. He escaped the Soviet occupation in 1944 by fleeing to the west, arriving in the United States in 1947. At the banquet, President Grinius is seated in the center of the table for dignitaries, the last table visible in the photograph.