United States. Congress. House. Select committee o.

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

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zen is then coached enough about speaking with unknown people or
giving information.

Mr. Kersten. Certainly from these Embassies they can get a lot
of information that they can use to our disadvantage; isn't that

Dr. Trimakas. Sure.

Mr. Kersten. Would you believe a Communist under oath?

Dr. Trimakas. Never, never.

Mr. Kersten. Would you try to negotiate an agreement with a
Communist ?

Dr. Trimakas. All means are good that serve the ends. The end is
world revolution, overthrow of the present regime, and all means are
good to that end.

Mr. Kersten. Your country was lost via the Soviet Embassy in
Kaunas, wasn't it ?

Dr. Trimakas. That is it during the activities and so-called, accord-
ing to their terminology, friendly relations with the Soviet Union.

Mr. Kersten. I know from study and investigation that you had a
wonderful country in Lithuania, as there was in Latvia and Estonia
during the independence, built up by the people. But all that is now
lost due to the Communists ; isn't that true ?

Dr. Trimakas. That is exact.

Mr. Kersten. Thank you.

Mr. Machrowicz. You brought in the name of Vladimir Dekanozov
who was the counterpart of Vishinslr^ as far as Lithuania is con-

Dr. Trimakas. Yes.

Mr. Machrowicz. Isn't it true that at the time Dekanozov acted as
the person who took over Lithuania he was actually the Deputy Peo-
ples' Commissar for Foreign Affairs?

Dr. Trimakas. That is exact.

Mr, Machrowicz. Deputy of Vishinsky?

Dr. Trimakas. At that time Molotov was the commissar.

Mr. Machrowicz. Do you know wdiat happened to him ?

Dr. Trimakas. Well, as I told, he was Minister of Interior in

Mr. Machrowicz. That was in 1952.


Dr. Trimakas. Yes, before the fall of Beria. He was a native of
the same country as Beria and a friend of Beria. Well, his fate is
unknown. He disappeared from the scene. He has been arrested
and whether there will be a trial or not, nobody knows, but he does
not exist any longer in freedom.

Mr. Machrowicz. He was a close associate of Beria ?

Dr. Trimakas. That is right.

Mr. Machrowicz. When Beria disappeared, Dekanozov disappeared
with him?

Dr. Trimakas. He followed him.

Mr. Machrowicz. All of which proves that even if you are a good
Communist it does not always help you in Soviet Russia.

Dr. Trimakas. Not at all. There can't be any friends but the ideol-
ogy of Communist world revolution.

Mr. BoNiN. They had the ideology, didn't they, Beria and Dekano-
zov, but whatever happened to them today, we don't know.

Dr. Trimakas. That is exact. It is not to be forgotten that every-
thing is being regimented and that the person who regiments every-
thing dictates the line to be followed. If you deviate from that line
you have to disappear, you have to follow that line. Under Stalin,.
Stalin dictated, he was the chief person. Now it may be Molotov or
it may be Malenkov. If you deviate from Malenkov you disappear.

Mr. BoNiN. Communism, then, is a dictatorship of individuals?

Dr. Trimaivas. One hundred percent, 150 according to their calcu-

Mr. BoNiN. Individuals.

Dr. Trimakas. That's it.

Mr. Kersten. How would you think that the Soviet agents in the
Embassies here would be actually preparing lists for people in Amer-
ica for elimination ; how would they go about it?

Dr. Trimakas. They have first of all Communist Party members,
and any Communist Party member is obliged to render any services
the party organization asks. If they are asked to supply certain in-
formation on certain persons here, they have to do it as long as they
are members of the party.

Mr. Kersten. Through the network of the Communist Party in
the United States they would get a lot of information at the Soviet
Embassy ?

Dr. Trimakas. That is the best means of information for them.

Mr. Kersten. Is that the way they operated apparently in Kaunas?

Dr. Trimakas. That is what they did. Besides that, they have their
own official network of spies, of agents that are working, but all of
them are members of the Communist Party. They don't trust others.

Mr. Kersten. I have seen some of these lists and we intend

Dr. Trimakas. When I say "Communist Party member," it does
not mean that he is in the position of a Communist Party card holder,
not necessarily.

Mr. Kersten. I know. I have seen some of these lists that were
used in Lithuania, lists of categories to be eliminated. My recollec-
tion of those lists is that all of the ordinary groups in society, as was
mentioned here yesterday — i-H Clubs, Boy Scout leaders, and groups
like labor unions, officials, civilian and otherwise, teachers, the profes-
sions — all of this type of people are listed for elimination, for liquida-
tion or deportation, aren't they ?


Dr. Trtmakas. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. In order to create this new Soviet man that you spoke
about, they have got to get all of these other elements out of the way,
is that it?

Dr. Trimakas. Yes ; to destroy the old generation.

Mr. Kersten. That is what was done in Lithuania, and you have a
conviction that that is being done for the United States?

Dr. Trimakas. There is no doubt about it. They have to destroy,
according to Marx, the whole element that is against their conception,
their ideology and to educate a new one along their own lines.

Mr. Madden. As a matter of fact, a member of the Communist Party,
is not any more safe than an anti-Communist like yourself would be.
Trotzky was shot in the back by the Communists, and Beria who has
disappeared, as far as we know, and the hundreds that were purged by
Stalin back in 1936 were not safe when the Soviet leaders decided that
their usefulness ended.

They weren't any more safe from execution and liquidation than you
or the members of this committee.

Dr. Trimakas. Absolutely.

Mr. Madden. Being a Communist you are not immune from danger
because once the Kremlin head takes a personal dislike to a member of
his own party, he is liquidated.

Dr. Trimakas. Absolutely true. You never know who will be
dictator tomorrow, Malenkov or Molotov. It depends.

Mr. Madden. It might be somebody in this room who is serving the
Communist Party who may be picked up in a short time, maybe a year
or maybe a month and be liquidated. And he thinks he is doing a
great job for the Communists right today. I know we had them at
the Katyn committee hearings. They would attend hearings and take
notes, report back on our hearings. I used to see them in the audience
at the Katyn committee hearings.

Mr. Kersten. I believe, Mr. Madden, at some of our sessions here
we have had the Tass reporter. He might be on the liquidation list

Mr. Madden. You can't tell. He isn't any safer than you or me.
You live at sufferance, being a member of the Communist Party.

Dr. Trimakas. As long as you please your boss, the dictator, you
may stay for today, but you never know what happens this night when
he may be changing his mind.

Mr. Madden. That is right.

Mr. IvERSTEN. Thank you, Dr. Trimakas.

Mr. Kersten. Mr. Zalcmanis.

Do you solemnly swear you will tell the truth, the whole truth and
nothing but the truth, so help you God?

Mr. Zalcmanis. I do.


Mr. Kersten. Will you identify yourself, please, Mr. Zalcmanis?

Mr. Zalcmanis. My name is Janis Zalcmanis, Latvian citizen, living
at 158 West 92d Street, New York. I was born in Riga in 1887.

Mr. McTigue. Can you talk a little louder, please ?

Mr. Zalcmanis. Yes. I left Latvia October 13, 1944 — over Sweden.
I arrived in New York on November 6, 1945.


Mr. MgTigue. What was your occupation in Latvia ?

Mr. Zalcmanis. Shipowner.

Mr. McTiGUE. What were some of your activities ?

Mr. Zalcmanis. I was vice president of the Chamber of Commerce
and Industry in Riga, chairman of the Riga Trade Association, and
member of the Exchange Comimttee.

Mr. McTiGUE. When you say member of the Exchange Committee,
is that like the New York Excliange here ?

Mr. Zalcmanis. Yes, only smaller.

Mr. McTiGLHE. That is a financial exchange ?

Mr. Zalcmanis. Yes, for trade and industry and business.

Mr. McTiGUE. Will you proceed, please, Mr. Zalcmanis?

Mr. Zalcmanis. That is about the occupation of Latvia?

Mr. McTiGUE. Yes.

Mr. Zalcmanis. On June 17, 1940, Latvia was occupied by the Rus-
sian Communist forces.

Mr. McTiGUE. What happened to your shipping industry?

Mr. Zalcmanis. A week after the Russians came in there was a
decree of nationalization issued which took over all industry, com-
merce and shipping business and offices and companies.

Mr. McTiGUE. After that decree was issued was a commissar of
some kind assigned to take over your shipping interests ?

Mr. Z*LCMANis. Yes, in the same time there was a decree of the
commissars which should take over the lead of the enterprise, was
issued too.

Mr. McTiGTJE. Were you permitted to stay on there ?

Mr. Zalcmanis. I was permitted to stay as an employee and helped
them in the beginning because the commissar never was a man who
knew the business so we had to help them in the beginning.

Mr. McTiGUE. What happened to the Latvian ships that were for-
merly under your control and jurisdiction?

Mr. Zalcmanis. We had seven ships.

Mr. McTiGUE. You had seven ships?

Mr. Zalc31anis. Yes. Three of them were in the free world waters
of America. The four others were in Latvia or in the Baltic Sea so
that the Russians took them over and nationalized them too.

Mr. McTiGUE. Were those ships seized ?

Mr. Zalcmanis. Yes.

Mr. McTiGUE. Did any of those ships have American cargoes ?

Mr. Zalcmanis. Not these. They were without cargo or cargo for
Latvia, but the ships which were trading between the American ports
had sometimes also American cargo.

Mr. McTiGUE. Those ships were instructed to return to port ?

Mr. Zalcmanis. Yes. The people from the shipping department,
and the commissars often asked us in the evenings to return to the office
and to sign cables, telegrams to our captains of the three ships in
American waters. The order was given to go with the ship to Commu-
nist port of Vladivostok. If not they threatened their families, but
the captains knew already who could give the orders, such an order.
They were sure it was not the order of the owner but the Communist
government, the Communist regime. So they don't follow these or-
ders, especially then when there was a cargo for the American citizen
or for Amei'ican firms.

Mr. McTiGUE. So that the ships did not return to Latvia?


Mr. Zalcmanis. The Latvian shipj)ing owners tried to change the
cables because they could not give such an order to go with cargo which
don't belong to them, to Russia. We tried always to change this, but
often we were threatened that we will be treated as saboteurs, and
they say, "You know what happens to saboteurs."

Mr. McTiGUE. Before we get off the subject of the three ships, they
were kept in this country then in 1940 ?

Mr. ZALc:\tANis. You mean the three ships ?

Mr. McTiGUE, The three ships did not return to Latvia?

Mr. Zalcmanis. They did not,

Mr. McTiGUE. They were then used during the war ?

Mr, Zalcmanis. Yes.

Mr. McTiGUE. They were sunk ?

Mr. Zalcmanis. Yes, by the Germans,

Mr, McTiGUE. You made a claim, did you ?

Mr, Zalcmanis. Yes, for the insurance. My agent here claimed
insurance from the insurance company.

Mr. McTiGUE. Who defended against the suit?

Mr. Zalcmanis. My agent here, our agent here,

Mr. McTiGUE. Did the Russians also file a claim ?

Mr. Zalcmanis. Yes, the Russians asked for a trusteeship and to-
gether with the agent they got permission for such a trusteeship. The
trusteeship was accepted here by the courts. So they acted for the ex-
ploitation of the ships.

Mr. McTiGUE, The Russians claiming that since the Shipping Min-
istry in Latvia was nationalized the ships belonged to the Soviet?

Mr, Zalcmanis. Yes.

Mr, McTiGUE. Was that case tried in the Supreme Court of the
United States?

Mr, Zalcmanis, Yes,

Mr, McTiGUE, What was the verdict?

Mr, Zalcmanis, The verdict was against the Russians and for the
real owner.

Mr. McTiGUE. "Wliat was the amount of your recovery ?

Mr. Zalcmanis, About $1,250,000,

Mr, McTiGUE, Going back to your Latvia shipping industry, right
after the takeover and after the political commissar was installed, did
you continue, for example, to pay your income taxes ?

Mr, Zalcmanis, Yes, The income tax was very high in 1939, We
got permission to pay from the Communists to pay from our income
of the ships, the first and second part of the taxes, but deferred on
the fourth. They refused to allow it, and said we have to pay ours
from our income which we had none,

Mr, McTiGUE. Their claim was that you had to pay the income
tax for your shipping lines out of your personal income, which wa&
nothing ?

Mr. Zalcmanis. That is right,

Mr, McTiGUE. How did you manage to do that ?

Mr. Zalcmanis. We cannot do it. They took away our furniture,
silver, and our personal property. They took our personal property
away. Even then they taxed so that we could not pay even the taxes
and we were alwaj^s in tax department, so they would have the right
some time to jail us.


Mr. McTiGTTE. In addition to your sliippino; interests, did you also
own an apartment house in Rio^a?

Mr. Zalcmanis. Yes ; apartment house in Riga, summerhouse on the

Mr. McTiGTjE. What happened to your apartment house in Riga?

Mr. Zalcmanis. They took it away.

Mr. McTiGTJE. What happened to your residence at the shore?

Mr. Zalcmanis. They took it away in 1941.

Mr. McTiGUE. In short, they took everything you had ?

Mr. Zalcmanis. They took everything they could.

Mr. McTiGUE. How did you manage to survive ; did you look for a

Mr. Zalcmanis. We were dismissed from our enterprise, from our
office. There was a long; time I was without a iob. I had to sell
somethinn: to live on. But then in sprino^ime I became a gardener.
I had a friend who took me for some work in his garden. So I worked
there until June 13, 1941.

Mr. McTiGTjE. As a gardener?

Mr. Zalcmanis. Yes. He was arrested for that, that he took some
capitalists who had no right to work in his enterprise and gave them

Mr. McTiGTJE. What happened on the morning of June 14, 1940;
do vou recall that?

Mr. Zalcmanis. Yes. June 13, in the eveninir, I was warned that
something- will happen in this night. So I went out of mv house, but
I did not know that the families will he harmed, so my wife remained
in my apartment. But the Communists took her away and deported

Mr. McTiouE. Have you ever heard from her since?

Mr. Zalcmanis. I have not.

Mr. McTiGUE. Not since that nifrht?

Mr. Zalcmanis. That is right. Mv partner was also deported and
mostlv all of the shipowners and captains.

Mr. McTiouE. What happened to you?

Mr. Zalcmanis. I had to hide. I was 5 days in a forest, and then I
came back and stayed in another's cellar, alwavs changing because I
was not sure they could find out where I am, until the 1st of July when
the Germans came in.

Mr. McTiGUE. Then how did you eventually emigrate to the United

Mr. Zalcmanis. I manaared to escape in a fishing boat to Sweden
and came over from Sweden to the United States. I had to settle
here the matter for the three ships, so I was the only one of mv part-
ners from our shipping enterprise. I tried to come over to the United
States and got the permission in November 1945, so I came here and
entered the United States, New York, on the 6th of November 1945.

Mr. McTiGTiE. You were big business in Latvia?

Mr. Z\LCMANis. Yes.

Mr. McTiGUE. You were a shipowner, you were chairman of the
Ri.fra Trade Association, you were a member of the stock exchange?

Mr. Zm>cmanis. Yes.

Mr. McTiGUE. And you were big busintss in Latvia. You were
taken over by the Communists almost immediately?

Mr. Zalcmanis. Yes.


Mr. McTiGUE. What happened to small business ?

Mr. Zalcmanis. They promised in the beginning to take over only
the biggest and the big enterprise business. By and by they took over
all except maybe the market shops. They took all business over by
and by.

Mr. McTiGUE. That is all the questions I have.

Mr. Kersten. That is all, thank you.


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

Mr. Beck. I do.

Mr. Kersten. Will you state your full name, please?

Mr. Beck. Perry A. Beck.

Mr. Kersten. You are an attorney at law^, are you ?

Mr. Beck. I am.

Mr. Kersi-en. Duly registered and licensed to practice in the State
•of New York?

Mr. Beck. Duly registered and licensed to practice in the State of
New York and the Federal courts of New York and the Supreme Court
of the United States.

Mr. Kersten. You have been practicing for some years in New
'York, have you ?

Mr. Beck. About 35 years.

Mr. Kersten. In the year 1941 did you handle some litigation in-
volving a Lithuanian ship ?

Mr. Beck. I did.

Mr. Kersten. I show you what purports to be a true copy of an
■original deposition taken in a certain lawsuit. Would you take a look
at that ?

Mr. Beck. I am very familiar with it. I don't need to look at it

Mr. Kersten. You observe the document I am showing you, do you ?

Mr. Beck. To keep the record straight, I will take it and examine
it. The document you just handed me and Mdiich I examined is a
"true copy of a deposition that I had taken in the proceeding that you
just mentioned.

Mr. Kersten. And briefly what was that proceeding?

Mr. Beck. The Russian Government, I call the Russian Govern-

Mr. Kersten. That was the Soviet Government ?

Mr. Beck. Soviet Government, had brought an action against the
steamship Denny under the Lithuanian flag, in the United States
District Court in Newark, N. J. I think the title is on that document.
No, it isn't. The English of it anyhow was the Latvian State Cargo &
Passenger Steamship Corp. That was an organization in Latvia
formed for the purpose of taking over Latvian steamships, but as
Lithuania had very few steamships they didn't organize a separate
Lithuanian State line, but added the few ships that Lithuania had
to the Latvian State Steamship Line.

That organization intervened in the suit later on as being the true
owner. It was in my preparation for the trial of that suit that I
took the deposition that you just handed to me.


Mr. Keesten. Is that the deposition of one Owen J. C. Norem;^
is that correct ?

Mr. Beck. That is right.

Mr. Kersten. And according to the deposition Mr. Norem was the
United States Minister to Lithuania at and before the time of the
Communists taking over in 1941 ; is that correct ?

Mr. Beck. That is right.

Mr. Kersten. Did you take his deposition?

Mr. Beck. I took it in my office.

Mr. Kersten. And according to this copy he was sworn, was he?

Mr. Beck. He was sworn and he signed the original impression of
his deposition.

Mr. Kersten. Substantially in that deposition he describes condi-
tions in Lithuania just before and at the time of the takeover, does
he not ?

Mr. Beck. That is right.

Mr. Kersten. In the city of Kaunas ?

Mr. Beck. That is right.

Mr. Kersten. You heard him give that testimony as set forth in
this copy of the deposition ?

Mr. Beck. That is right. I was the interrogator.

Mr. Kersten. And the copy which we will have marked as an ex-
hibit is a true and correct copy of the sworn testimony of Mr. Norem,
is it?

Mr. Beck. That is right.

Mr. Kersten. Would you mark this, Mr. Reporter?

(The deposition was marked "Exhibit 8", see p. 574.)

Mr. Kersten. I think we should have this exhibit now marked
"8-A" conditionally. I think an attempt should be made to ascertain
the present whereabouts of Mr. Norem, the former United States
Minister to Kaunas, and in the event we can get Mr. Norem personally,
it wouldn't be necessary to have this deposition as part of the record,
but in the event he is not available, it being sworn testimony, I think
it adds an important fact to tliis record.

Mr. Beck. Mr. Chairman, I don't like to be placing myself in the
position of volunteering, but I sat here yesterday and some time today
and heard a description of a pattern of action on the part of the Com-
munist government. I can say a few things on that score myself if you
would care to hear them.

Mr. Kersten. Is it from a knowledge of being in one of these occu-
pied countries, Mr. Beck ?

Mr. Beck. It is this

Mr. Kersten. Were you in one of these occupied countries?

Mr. Beck. No ; I was not. I will tell you this, if you care to hear it,
subject to being stricken out.

I had made available to me from diplomatic sources the decrees of
confiscation from all three countries. They were dated at about the
same day within a day or two, and the language of all of them was
exactly the same except for slight differences in translation and the
names of the countries involved.

After these decrees were promulgated, cables were sent by the newly
established governments in the three countries to the ship's agents and
to the captains of the ships, and those cables were in the same language.
The statutes providing for the punishment of the captains and the


owners who did not see that their ships returned to Murmansk and to
the port in eastern Siberia, in the same language.

I just state that as showing the common source of all of the things
that went on and in each case, I think there were six in all of Estonia,
were first commenced in the name of the old owners and later on the
respective State steamship lines were substituted, or they intervened.

We have the same thing going on in Washington now in the Court
of Claims.

Mr. Kersten. You mean that the decrees of confiscation of various
ships of these three countries

Mr. Beck. Yes. They were all the same.

Mr. Kersten", In other words, Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania con-
fiscating these ships ; is that correct ?

Mr. Beck. That is right.

Mr. Kersten. Wliere did you see these documents ?

Mr. Beck. I have them in my office and I received them from the
ministries and consulates of the respective countries. They showed
me the originals in their language, in the respective languages. I had
them translated. They were the official publications of the Govern-

Mr. Kersten. These are copies of the originals that you have, are

Mr. Beck. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. True copies?

Mr. Beck. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Could you make them available to the committee?

Mr. Beck. Yes, I can.

Mr. Kersten. Did you see the originals?

Mr. Beck. I did. I think I have copies in my office but I am

Mr. Kersten. T understand that the three originals are in the
possession of the respective diplomatic offices here and that we can't
get those originals, and if we can't get those originals or photostats,
we will call upon you.

Mr. Beck. I am quite sure that the originals are in the three respec-
tive consulates or ministries.

Mr. Kersten. Thank you for calling that to our attention.

Mr. Beck. There is one thing more, if I may. There was a cable
that went to Amtorg telling the Amtorg that the organization or the
State corporation in Kussia set up to own the ships, and conduct com-
mercial enterprises, that they had a long list of ships and gave the
names of all of the Latvian, Estonian, and Lithuanian ships that were
outside of the country. They told Amtorg to get in touch with the
captains, arrange for supplies, to get them to Murmansk, or what is
it, in the complete eastern part?

Mr. Kersten. Vladivostok.

Mr. Beck. Yes, they were to take them to one of those ports. And
they were to go irrespective of whether they had cargoes or not.

Mr. Kersten. Thank you, Mr. Beck.

Mr. Beck. I felt it my duty to appear here.

Mr. Kersten. Yes, thank you, Mr. Beck.



Mr, Kersten. Mr. Dicmanas, you solemnly swear to tell the truth,
and nothing but the truth, so help you God ?

Mr. DiCMAXAs. I do.

Mr. McTiGUE. Will you identify yourself, Mr, Dicmanas, please?

Mr. Dicmanas, Yes, sir. My name is Antanas Dicmanas. I was
born in Lithuania in 1891, in the city of Siauliai, I emigrated to this
country in 1907, I worked in men's clothing business until 1918.
In 1918 I was drafted in the United States Army. In 1919 I was

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