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Baltic States investigation. [First interim report] (Volume pt. 1) online

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more than 9 square meters of so-called living room ; 9 square meters is
nearly 100 square feet. That was the oflicial maximum of living room
for everybody, so, as quite a lot of Russians came to Tallinn, then
everybody had to find some friends if he was able. They had to take


friends in. The rents were set up according to what was called the
social position of the apartment owners. For example, for workers it
was the lowest rent, but if anybody didn't work, irrespective of who
he was, the rent was much higher.

It was the same with electricity. For example, electricity for clergy
was 10 times the rate, higher than just for a general rate.

Mr. McTiGUE. You mean they charged the clergy 10 times more
than they did the general public ?

Mr. KuTT. Yes.

Mr. McTiGUE. IVliy?

Mr. KuTT. They were accounted for as people who did nothing,
who didn't work.

Mr. McTiGUE. That was the Communist version; they charged 10
tim.es more because the clergy did nothing ?

Mr. KuTT. Yes.

Mr. McTiGUE. Go aliead.

Mr. KuTT. That was the rent position.

Mr. McTiGUE. How much did the rents increase, approximately,
after tlie Communists took over?

Mr. KuTT. The rents didn't increase in such a proportion as, for
example, the industrial goods prices were raised, the reason being that
the Communist policy seems to be not to build new houses, but to press
into the old houses during that period, beginning from 1917, as many
people as possible.

It is veiy interesting to follow their building programs as far as
living houses were concerned, not factories, and so on. Only the
smallest part of funds assigned for building go for houses, for living
purposes. They don't pay more rent, they just press more and more
into the houses ; 4 or 5 or 6 people are pressed into 1 room.

Mr. McTiGUE. Were you in Estonia when the arrests and the depor-
tations started?

Mr. KuTT. No ; I came out 4 months before.

Mr. McTiGUE. Before ?

Mr. KuTT. Yes.

Mr. McTiGUE. Were any of your friends arrested or deported?

Mr. KuTT. I lost about 75 perc.'^-nt of my friends during 1 year after
the Soviet occupation.

Mr. MgTigue. During 1 j^ear after the Soviet occupation?

Mr. KuTT. Yes.

Mr. McTigue. Were most of those leaders in industry ?

Mr. KuTT. Yes, in economy, in government.

Mr. McTiGUE. Did you leave your family in Estonia when you left?

Mr. KuTT. I didn't have any family besides my daughter who was
living with my divorced wife, so I didn't risk very much in that sense
that anything could happen to my daughter when we were separated.

Mr. McTiGUE. After your business was taken away from you or
nationalized, how did you make a living?

Mr. KuTT. I just started selling my things. I got 100 crowns a
month from my bank account, but prices were up 41/0 times so that
didn't last very much, so I started to sell my personal things.

Mr. McTiGUE. After you sold your personal things, what did you
do? ^

Mr. KuTT. They just lasted until the time when I went away.


Mr. McTiGUE. You made no effort to find work under the
Communists ?

Mr. KuTT. No ; I didn't look for work and even if I had looked I
think I wouldn't have ^ot it.

Mr. McTiGUE. How did you escape finally from Estonia?

Mr. KuTT. I just paid for a document a certain amount of money.
I sold my things and I paid for a document which the Communists
themselves issued and on the ground of that document I was able to
go on a ship and go to Germany.

Mr. McTiGUE. What about the ship ?

Mr. KuTT. That was just a ship, a passenger ship.

Mr. McTiGUE. Oh, I see. How would you estimate the present
living standard in Estonia compared with the standard of the pre-
war period, or with the standard of some free country of the Western
World? How does it compare now^ with what we

Mr. KuiT. Approximately it can be estimated that about one-third
of the previous living standard in Estonia has been left. Two-thirds
have been cut away. Compared with the living standard of the
United States, in 1952, the living standard in Estonia now is approxi-
mately 12 percent.

Mr. Machrowicz. On what do you base those figures?

Mr. KuTT. I base those figures on prices of foodstuff computed,
according to the figures of the Department of Labor, the United
States, is 1 against 7.14, and, on the other hand, I worked it out
myself and in Estonia at present it is 1 against 161/^.

Mr. Machrowicz. Are you basing those on Estonian figures?

Mr. KuTT. No; just figures which the Latvian Revue just brought
out at the beginning of this year — the closing figures. The food-
stuff-relation figures are — I am using the figures worked out by the
Department of Labor of the United States because I think the Depart-
ment of Labor will have the most reliable figures in that sense, in
relation to wages against foodstuff prices.

Mr. McTiGUE. The dairy industry is the principal industry in
Estonia; is that correct?

Mr. KuTT. Yes ; it was.

Mr. McTiGUE. And butter, for example, is the principal export
commodity ?

Mr. KuTT. It was.

Mr. McTiGUE. Can you tell us briefly how the price of butter in-
creased after the Communists took over ?

Mr. KuTT. Before the Communist occupation the price of butter
was 2 crowns a kilogram. With exchange rate, 1 crown against
1.25 rubles, the price changed to 2 rubles 50. After these 3 days
when the prices were raised, the price of butter had been fixed at
7 rubles 50, but during the next 8 months the price w^ent up to 22
rubles a kilogram. So, instead of 2 rubles 50, say in June or July
1940, in May or June 1941 it was 22 rubles.

Mr. McTiGUE. Which means that it increased how many times ?

Mr. KuTT. It had increased 8i/^ or 9 times.

Mr. McTiGUE. What can you tell us, for example, about a watcli,
a wristwatch?

Mr. KuTT. The w^ristwatches went uj:) — I had such an experience
myself. I had to sell some things and the first thing I thougjit I


ought to sell was an old watch, and I didn't know the price because
the prices -had changed, too, in the 3 days. So I went to a jewelry
shop and asked to see the watches and I wanted to know what the
price is. I was shown about 20 watches, some of them old watches
and some of them silver watches. I had a steel watch to sell, and I
asked whether that is all you have here. The man told me, "Yes:
it is now all we have."

There were 20 or 25 watches in the tray, but he told me that before
he had more than 4,000 watches in the store.

I asked what was the price. He said for the silver watches the
price is 900 rubles a watch.

Now, the price for such kind of watches before the Communist
occupation was about 15 to 20 crowns, but the silver watches were
Soviet made watches and they sold them, instead of 15 to 20 crowns,
which made perhaps 19 to 25 rubles, they were sold at 900 rubles,
so they had gone up about 40 to 45 times.

Mr. McTiGUE. What explanation can you give to the apparent dis-
crepancy between the comparatively high industrial output and the
low living standard during the postwar period in Estonia ?

Mr. KuTT. Yes, industry really has gone up so that the com-
bined recovery of industry and agriculture in Estonia is higher than
before the war. It is mainly so on account of longer working hours
and quite a lot more of people must participate at work to get food.

As the present living standard is only about one-third of what it
was before the war, then the only explanation can be that the differ-
ence between the larger production than before the war and three
times lower living standards — the only explanation is that the dif-
ference is being used to purposes other than manufacturing of con-
sumer goods for the needs of Estonian people.

Mr. McTiGUE. I have no further questions.

Mr. KJERSTEN. Mr. Bentley ?

INIr. Bentley. Mr. Kutt, you have been telling us about this in-
flation that took place after the Soviets took over Estonia. When
did you leave Estonia ?

Mr. KuTT. I left Estonia at the beginning of March 1941.

Mr. Bentlet. You have been telling us about this inflation that
occurred. Was this inflation, as far as you could determine, deliber-
ately planned on the part of the Communists?

Mr. KuTT. It was exactly deliberately planned.

Mr. Bentley. Wliat would you assume was their purpose in per-
mitting this inflation? What would you assume their purpose was?

Mr. Km^T. The primary purpose was, by lowing the living stand-
ard to get out the resources of Estonia for purposes of their own.
For that reason they had to bring to the same level the wages, as well
as prices in Estonia, corresponding wages and prices.

Mr. Bentley. To drive the living standard of the Estonian people
down to the living standard of the Russian people ?

Mr. KuTT. Exactly.

Mr. Bentley. During the time you were there was a large part of
the agricultural produce of Estonia requisitioned for shipment to
Soviet Russia ?

Mr. KuTT. Oh, yes. The natural export of Estonia was to a large
part just agricultural produce and that seemed to be one reason
why the prices of agricultural produce were not raised in proportion


as the prices of other goods. The prices for industrial goods were
raised by 10 to 15 times. They created an artificial surplus; nobody
"would buy such goods at such prices.

Mr. Bentley. Another reason, I presume, for having this infla-
tion was also to drive out what you might call private capital on the
part of such people as yourself, capital that couldn't be obtained
through nationalization, to bring that out and to frankly impoverish
peoj)le such as yourself who had any amount of reserves of capital
assets. Would that be correct ?

Mr. KuTT. That is right. All who had money or who had some kind
of property were in a very subtle and thorough way cut off from all
their resources. For example, even the safes, the private safes in
banks were opened and all valuables taken out, except silver spoons
and such as that were left. All the valuables, gold and whatever
there was, were all taken out to what was called state custody and
nobody saw them again.

Mr. Bentley. One more question, sir, about your recent remarks:
"^'ou assume that the increase in industrial productivity in Estonia
^ince the war has been probably because a great deal of that industrial
production has gone into what you might call heavy industry and
not into consumer goods ; is that correct ?

Mr. KuTT. Estonian industry has been actually doubled in both
directions, the heavy industry being represented mostly by developing
of Estonian oil shale industry and gas and oil distillation, but on
the other hand the light industry is still up quite a lot. But that
doesn't mean that products which the light industry produces are
remaining in Estonia. They are taken out from Estonia to a very
large extent. It might be, for example, the produce of textile in-
dustries is being taken out of the country by the rate of about 90
percent and sent to Soviet Russia where they will be sold to people who
again are working in heavy industry.

Mr. Bentley. This increase in industries in Estonia which Mr.
Vishinsky bragged about a year ago, that has been at the expense of
agricultural productivity ?

Mr. KuTT. Quite a lot. Before the Communist occupation 58 per-
cent of the population was supported by occupation in agriculture and
42 percent in towns, but in 1952 it was exactly the opposite — 42 per-
cent of the population got support from agriculture and 58 percent
were in towns.

By the way, Mr. Vishinsky 's 4 percent which he told last December
in 1952, that is not right. It was exaggerated at least by two times.

Mr. Bentley. Exaggerated at least double?

Mr. KuTT. Yes.

Mr. Bentley. That trend, incidentally, of fostering industry at
the expense of agriculture, I presume as far as you know, is not only
true in Estonia but in the other Baltic countries, and indeed in all
the satellite states?

Mr. KuTT. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Mr. Madden?

Mr. ISIadden. Could you state for the record what the Communists
have done in the way of educating, bringing up the children of
Estonia into the Communist ideology ? What efforts, what moves have
they made along that line ?


Mr. KuTT. The main activity in the direction of bringing up the
children in the Communist way has been made, I think, in two ways :
One is the movement of the so-called Pioneers, That is a counterpart
of what in Germany 10 years ago was called Hitler Youth. That is
for children. Then for teen-agers and perhaps some older up to 25
years, there is the Communistic League of Youth. That is for youths.
For children there is the Pioneers.

Naturally they press into these organizations all they can with
the hope that the youths will turn into Communists. In Estonia they
do not seem to have had very much success with it because from time
to time in the newspapers w^hich come out, the reports, there are re-
marks that there are not enough members in these youth organizations.

Mr. Madden. In other words, the youth of Estonia is not following
the Communist pressure to be active in these organizations ?

Mr. KuTT. According to the reports of the Communists themselves
about the lack of membership, it seems that the youths in Estonia are
somewhat critical of these organizations.

Mr. Madden. In other words, you would state that their progress
along the line of grooving the youths into the Communist cause has not
been a success?

Mr. KuTT. Not a success.

Mr. Madden. Now, state briefly an answer to this question : Is it a
fact that at no time the people of Estonia, the officials of Estonia — the
former officials of Estonia — cooperated willingly in any way toward
Soviet takeover of the country of Estonia?

Mr. KuTT. No, never.

Mr. Madden. They never cooperated in any way ?

Mr. KuTT. No.

Mr. Madden. The taking over of Estonia into the Soviet orbit was
brought about by reason of pressure and infiltration and threats and
massacre and murder and prison camps ?

Mr. KuTT. Actually, it was brought about by the Russian tanks, by
hundreds of Russian tanks which came over the border on June 21.
That was the joining of Estonia to the Soviet Union.

Mr. Kersten. Mr. Bonin.

Mr. Bonin. Mr. Kutt, in order to kee]) the record straight, you used
the word "nationalization."

Mr. Kutt. Yes.

Mr. Bonin. Actually, by the term "nationalization" you mean con-
fiscation without pay ?

Mr. Kutt. Actually confiscation without pa5^ There was just one
thing. In the course of nationalization of shipping the Communists
couldn't get the ships back from foreign countries to Estonia, so they
then did two things. One thing was that they promised to pay 25
percent for the value of the ships to be nationalized, but nobody ever
saw that money for the ships which the Communists got.

The other thing seems to be unique in a certain sense. That is the
punishment of ships' masters and their family members and relatives
when the ships were not brought back.

If Mr. Chairman allows, I will read that law.

Mr. Kersten. All right.

Mr. Kutt (reading) :

52975 — 34 — pt. 1 l.'J


Law Restricting the Exploitation of Ships
issued as a decree of the president of the republic on july 2 7,1940

Art. 1. Any kind of leaving harbours or entering harbours without the per-
mission of the Government of the Republic is prohibited for Estonian ships in
foreign waters.

Art. 2. Masters of ships who transgress the orders of the Government of the
Republic regarding the bringing back of Estonian ships to the home country
will be treated as persons guilty of high treason, whereby responsible are also
the members of their families and nearer relatives.

Art. 3. Ships are prohibited to enter the harbours of the United States of
America and Britain without a permission of the Government of the Republic.


The Criminal Code will be supplemented by Art. 801 in the following reading :
"Ships' masters who without the permission of the Government of the Repub-
lic left a foreign harbour or entered a foreign harbour will be punished by term-
less hard labor."

This law will be valid with publication.

JoH. Varen,
Prime Minister, in capncity of the President of the Repuhlic.

That was the puppet Prime Minister who issued that decree. Ac-
tually never anybody was paid and the nationalization was actually
confiscation of property.

Mr. BoNiN. You also used the phrase that when the Russians oc-
cupied Estonia, they immediately started a campaio:n of propaganda
concerning work — there would be plenty of work for all the people
and there would be plenty of bread for all the people ?

Mr. KuTT. Yes.

Mr. BoNiN. Actually there has been a lot of work, slave work ; is
that correct?

Mr, KuTT. Yes, Naturally nobody is without work. "Who doesn't
work cannot eat, should not eat" — that is the slogan now. It really
is so that instead of perhaps about 15, perhaps up to 20 percent more
people are pressed into the work, but this higher pei'ceiitage consists
of very young people. Then aged people and a very large percentage
of women, wives and mothers, instead of caring for their families, havu
now been pressed into the factories.

Mr, BoNiN, In fact, most women are working the farms today;
aren't they ?

Mr, KuTT, Yes.

Mr. BoNiN, The children are kept in these community houses
w^here they are indoctrinated with atheist philosophy ?

Mr. KuTT, That is what they are trying to do,

Mr. BoNiN, And, of course, they have been feeding them with Rus-
sian rye bread too ; haven't they ?

Mr, KuTT, Yes,

Mr, BoNiN, That is the reduced standard of living which they
brought down to the equal of the Russian standard of living ?

Mr. KuTT. That is right,

Mr. BoNiN. You stated that they increased the value of the rent
for ministers and preachers of the gospel?

Mr. KuTT. Yes,

Mr. BoNiN. That is because they were nonproducers ?

Mr. KuTT, Yes ; the notion is that the clergy doesn't work.


Mr. BoNiN. It is also one of their methods of subterfuge to elim-
inate the clergy ?

Mr. KuTT. Certainly so.

Mr. BoNiN. To cause trouble for them ?

Mr. KuTT. Yes.

Mr. Boxix. That is all.

Mr. Kersten. Mr. Dodd?

Mr. DoDD. I have one question I would like to ask : You may have
covered this because I had to leave the room. Wliat happened in
Estonia with respect to, let us say, life-insurance policies which were
in effect? Were they just canceled out; do you know?

Mr. KuTT. Just canceled out. Nothing was left because all insur-
ance business — private insurance business — was just abolished.

Mr. DoDD. That would be true of pensions and matters of that na-
ture, as well ?

Mr. KuTT. Yes.

Mr. Dodd. All property rights, as I understand it, are completely
destroj^ed ?

Mr. KuTT. Yes.

Mr. Dodd. I think that is important because we haven't had too
much information as to how the economics of these takeovers work
out exactly, particularly in these Iron Curtain countries. I think it
is important that we get that and I am grateful to this witness.
I think he has been helpf id to us on that score.

Mr. Kersten. Just a question or two and then we will be through.
You heard Mr. Watson's testimony here this morning about the con-
dition of tilings in 1938; did you not?

Mr. KuTT. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. In a word, how did the conditions after the Com-
munists took over compare with the conditions he described? How
did they compare from the time he described to the time after the
Communists took over ?

Mr. KuTT. If it w^ould be allowed to express in numbers and in a
certain comparison, then I would like to say that only one-third of
the wages is left. It would be approximately so that if, for example,
the present wages of United States industrial workers which, in 1952
were $1.53 an hour, would have been suddenly reduced from $1.53 to
only 51 cents.

Mr. Kersten. In other words — —

Mr. KuTT. In other words, just two-thirds cut off and only one-
third left.

Mr. Kersten. So that would be like a worker in the United States
who gets $1.50 an hour now getting only 50 cents ? That is what hap-
pened to the workers in Estonia?

Mr. Kutt. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. You don't mean that the workers even get 50 cents
an hour now ?

Mr. Kutt. No; not at all. But if we would compare the present
industrial worker in the United States and a worker in Estonia, we
must divide that $1.53 by 8.5.

Mr. Kersten. Which would reduce it to what ?

Mr. Kutt. That would leave less than 20 cents an hour for indus-
trial workers.


Mr. Kersten. The industrial workers in Estonia now, from the fig-
ures you have examined, get less than 20 cents an hour ?

Mr. KuTT. Less than 20 cents ; about 12 percent of what the workers
get here in the United States.

Mr. l^RSTEN. One final question: This law that you read about
ships' masters, keeping them from leaving the country or going into
;i port like somewhere in the United States, as I understood your
reading of it, that visits penalties on members of their families. Is

Mr. KuTT. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. In other words, if a ship's master should take a ship
to one of these forbidden ports, members of his family would prob-
ably be thrown into jail; is that correct?

Mr. KuTT. It is difficult to say, but it would have been done because
in cases where the ships' masters didn't bring the ships back to
Estonia, they were accused of being guilty of high treason. High
treason contained in Estonia — I am not a lawyer — but I have been
told by lawyers that high treason contained the death penalty and
if the relatives were made responsible also for these acts, for the same
crime, then in certain instances it might even not have been prison,
but worse.

Mr. Kersten. So one of the classic ways the Communists have of
controlling people is to hold their relatives as hostages, isn't it?

Mr. KuTT. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. And that is probably the way they are able to keep
some of their diplomats in line throughout the world; isn't it?

Mr. KuTT. That might be.

Mr. Kersten. Just one more question : What about the food situa-
tion for the workers during the months just before you left as com-
pared to the food situation before the Communists came in?

Mr. KuTT. The food situation was not so bad when I came out in
March 1941, just because Estonia had a very large surplus always of
agricultural produce.

Mr. Kersten. But from your examination of figures and informa-
tion as of the present time, do you have any idea as to the food situation
for the workers now ?

Mr. Kutt. At the present time it is awful.

Mr. Kersten. It is awful?

Mr. Kutt. At the present time, but in 1941, 6 or 8 months after the
Communists took over

Mr. Kersten. They still had some surpluses, is that correct?

Mr. Kutt. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Thank you, Mr. Kutt, for appearing before us and
giving us these economic facts.

The hearings are now adjourned until 2 o'clock this afternoon.
(Whereupon, at 12 : 45 p. m., the committee adjourned, to recon-
vene at 2 p. m.)

(The committee reconvened at 2 : 10 p. m.)

Mr. Kersten. The hearing will come to order, please.

Dr. Trimakas.



Mr. Kersten". Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth,
the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God ?

Dr. Trimikas. I do,

Mr. Kersten. Give us your full name, Doctor.

Dr. Trimikas. My name is Antanas Trimakas.

Mr. Kersten, Will you spell it for us ?

Dr. Trimak^^s. A-n-t-a-n-a-s T-r-i-m-a-k-a-s.

]Mr. Kersten. Where do you now live ?

Dr. Trimakas. I live now in Brooklyn, N. Y. I was born in Lithu-
ania, and came to this country in 1947.

Mr. Kerstex. What is your profession or occupation ?

Dr. Trimakas. At the present moment I am the chairman of the de-
partment of economics at the Seton Hall University, New Jersey.

]Mr. Kersten. Economics is your field, is it ?

Dr. Trimakas. That is my special field of interest.

Mr. Kersten. Would you give us some idea, Doctor, about your
experience in that field ?

Dr. Trimakas. Well, in my native country, Lithuania, I had an op-
portunity to work practically. I was inspector of cooperative banks
in Lithuania, and chief of the section of inspection of the Farmers
Central Bank. Then later on I was also director of one of the regional
banks of that Farmers Bank. That was during the independence
days. Wlien the Bolsheviks arrived I was with the Central Bank in

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