United States. Congress. House. Select committee o.

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

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Mr. Banionis. They were taken to the prison, all of them. Most
people were afraid and they ran away. They jumped over the fences
and ran on all sides, you know. There was shooting, too. They
started to shoot. They started to shoot into the air.

Mr. Machrowicz. Those 200 who were arrested, were they later re-
leased ?

Mr. Banionis. Well, I don't know,

Mr. Machrowicz. Were any of those friends of yours ?

Mr. Banionis. Yes, those who were with me. Those I know.

Mr. Machrowicz. Were some of them later deported to Siberia ?

Mr. Banionis. There were many deported and many sent to the
prison. Many came out after the war broke out.

Mr. Machrowicz. You continued to be a student at your school, is
that right?

Mr. Banionis. Yes.

Mr. Machrowicz. Can you tell us anything as to what the Com-
munists did with relation to student life? How was student life
f hanged by the Communists taking over?

Mr. Banionis. The Communists looked toward the students to
make Comminiists of them. They didn't like professors or teachers
or all of the students who were university students. They were edu-
cated ill Lithuania along democratic lines. They didn't like it. They
paid more attention to the youth. They started to organize the Com-
munist youth. They asked many times several students to be members
of the Communist youth organizations. The students naturally re-
sisted, and nobody wanted to be a member of this Comnumist youth

Mr. Machrowicz. What did they do with the patriotic youth
organization groups?

Mr. Banionis. They closed it. All the patriotic youth organiza-
tions. There was just the Communist Party in Lithuania and the
youth organization.

Mr. Machrowicz. Before the Communists came did you have school
newspapers ?

Mr. Banionis. Yes. We had it in the classes, but not political.

Mr. Machrowicz. Just cultural ?

Mr. Banionis. Yes.

Mr. Machrowicz. What happened to the newspapers?

Mr. Banionis. They were all closed. Everything was closed and
not allowed. They only allowed what was coming from the Com-
munist Party or the Communist organization.

.Mr. Machrowicz. Was there any change in the method of teaching
or the subjects taught or in the way they were taught ?

Mr. Banionis. The way they talked they just wanted to teach the
Communist Party story and communism.


Mr. Machrowicz. Did you have to study that? Was that
compulsory ?

Mr. Banionis. Yes. It was very important.

Mr. Machrowicz. What happened if you refused to study

Mr. Banionis. We just couldn't pass our examinations and we
didn't learn anything more.

Mr. Machrowicz. Do you mean the students didn't care very much
to take those studies ?

Mr. Banionis. No. Nobody.

Mr. Machrowicz. You also were in Lithuania when these so-called
free elections took place. Can you tell us more or less how those
elections took place?

Mr. Banionis. The elections took place; everything was made
like a theater.

Mr. Machrowicz. Tell us what you mean by that.

Mr. Banionis. I saw that before election, the Russian troops, the
regular army troops were sent to the country, to the country schools
of the land. They were playing in theaters, like making music and
sport numbers, and all that. I saw them. I knew they were watching
the people, so that nobody could make any speeclies or anything
against this election, because the people didn't want to go to vote.

Mr. Machrowicz. When they did go to vote they got a ballot?

Mr. Banionis. They got a ballot.

There were Russian soldiers and civilians going together and going
to the homes. They carried the wooden boxes and went to the homes
to have the people vote.

Mr. Machrowicz. The Russian soldiers in this so-called free
Lithua nian Republic brought the ballots to the house ?

Mr. Banionis. That is right.

Mr. Machrowicz. How many names were on the ballot ? Did you
have a choice of tAvo or three candidates for an office ?

Mr. Banionis. It was just the names of the Communists.

Mr. Machrewicz. In other words, every office that you voted for
had the name of one candidate, the Communist candidate?

Mr. Banionis. That is right. Nobody else.

Mr. Machrowicz. So you could either vote

Mr. Banionis. Or not. It would be the same.

Mr. Machrowicz. You didn't have a choice between two candidates ?

Mr. Banionis. No.

Mr. Machrowicz. You got a Communist candidate and you had a
chance to vote for him or not.

Mr. Banionis. We were supposed to vote for the Communist.

Mr. Machrowicz. What happened if you didn't like the Communist

Mr. Banionis. Some people, tliey tried not to drop the vote in, or
do something.

Mr. Machrowicz. If you didn't like the Communist candidate, you
just didn't drop the ballot in, or spoiled the ballot?

Mr. Banionis. Yes, but you should make that in secret, where they
don't see that.

Mr. Machrowicz. Now, did the Russian soldier who brought the
ballot have a chance to see how you were voting?


Mr. Banionis. He gave you the slip and you put a mark and
dropped it in the box. Then, you didn't have any chance not to vote.

Mr. Machrowicz. This vote was in the presence of the Russian

Mr. Banionis. Yes, in the presence of the Russian soldiers.

JNIr. Machrowicz. And if you failed to vote for the Communist
candidate, the Russian soldier knew exactly what you did?

Mr. Banionis. Yes. Then maybe he would take you with him.

Mr. Machrowicz. That was the Russian idea of free elections?

Mr. Banionis. That is right.

Mr. Machrowicz. That is all.

Mr. Kersten. Before we proceed with the questioning, I would like
to make a brief announcement.

We don't anticipate, and I don't believe there is an}^ basis for fear
of threats to any witness here by anybody.

As previously stated, some witnesses do request that their identity
be not disclosed for fear of reprisals to friends or relatives behind the
Iron Curtain, and we shall certainly fully protect them along that

That is the only anticipated danger which we believe will be com-
pletely overcome by this protection. However, so as to make abso-
lutely sure, we have made contact with Police Commissioner Leonard,
and I am informed that Police Commissioner Leonard will be happy
to comply with any request from the committee for the protection of
any witnesses. The Detroit police, therefore, will give any protection
that might be necessaiy to any witness before this committee.

Mr. Machrowicz. Mr. Chairman, may I ask one more question?

Mr. Kersten. Certainly.

Mr. Machrowicz. You also had an opportunity to see what change,
if any, there was to the religious life. Can you tell us anything as to
how the churches were affected by the Communists taking Lithuania
over? From your own experience, that is.

Mr. Banionis. From the first day, the people went to school, they
told nothing to the Russians. They didn't do anything in my circle —
the people I knew. They had Communist meetings and church meet-
ings at the same time, but the people went to the church meetings.
The Communists held meetings to try to get the people to stop going^
to church.

Mr. Machrowicz. What other action was taken by the Communists
with relation to churches?

Mr. Banionis. So far as I know, they arrested many of the Catholic

Mr. Machrowicz. Were there many of these Catholic priests ar-
rested that you knon' of ?

Mr. Banionis. I know a couple of names.

Mr. Machrowicz. Did they do anything Avitli regard to the church
]n'operty ?

Mr. Banionis. They took it from the churches, you know. They
have taken more from other people like the farmers.

Mr. Machrowicz. Did they try to make it as difficult as possible
for the people to get to church ?

Mr. Banionis. I can't tell you exactly, but every day they made it
harder for the churches, but the people were going to the churches
more than they had before.


Mr. Machrowicz. That is what I was trying to bring out. Despite
all these persecutions and attempts to keep people from the churches,
the people continued to attend church more than before.

Mr. Banionis. Yes.

Mr. Machrowicz. You have been in the United States for about
4 years, now !?

Mr. Banioxis. That is right.

Mr. Machrowicz. Can you tell us briefly what is your impression,
the most important impression, you get as to the difference between
life here and life in Lithuania under the Communists?

Mr. Banionis. Like darkness and sunshine.

Mr. Machrowicz. Do you want to say anything further on that?

Mr. Banionis. I hope you will learn more about the Russian
regime and communism. The people live in constant fear. It is
difficult to tell exactly what it means to live under the Russians and
(lie Communist regime. You should live for a couple months under
the Communist regime. Then you can tell exactly. Sometunes it is
liard to tell how you would feel by that time.

I remember now that I was questioned and I was turned against
my friends, my professors, and such moral powder they had there.

Mr. Machrowicz. You think there was some difference between the
questioning you had there and the questioning you are undergoing
by this committee?

Mr. Banionis. Oh, yes.

Mr. Machrowicz. That is all.

Mr. Kersten. I just want to remark at this point, I imagine Con-
gressman Bentley, you, as a representative in the American Embassy
in Hungary, were able to observe firsthand and corroborate much of
what this witness has described as living under the Communists to be.

Mr. Bentley. I am familiar with the impressions he mentioned;

Mr. Kersten. And I imagine, Mr. Machrowicz, your impression in
dealing with Soviet atrocities, that the people of Poland have known,
it is the same blueprint and same in Poland.

Mr. Machrowicz. It is exactly what happened in Poland and every
country behind the Iron Curtain.

Mr. BoNiN. You said that arrest took place on November 2. What
you stated was memorial day.

Mr. Banionis. That is right.

Mr. BoNiN. Isn't that All Saints Day in the Roman Catholic

Mr. Banionis. xA-11 Saints Day is a memorial day.

Mr. BoNiN. At which time all Roman Catholics throughout the
world go to the cemetery and pray for the departed dead ?

Mr. Banionis. That is right.

Mr. BoNiN. i^nd that is what you people were doing at the cemetery
on this day?

Mr. Banionis. That is right.

Mr. Bonin. You stated that at the time you signed the confession,
you were notified to make your reports to an NKVD agent, but you
were supposed to use an assumed or fictitious name on these reports?

Mr. Banionis. That is right,

Mr. BoNiN. Did you use a fictitious name ?


Mr. Banionis. I used the fictitious name that the Communist agent
gave me.

Mr. BoNiN. That is somewhat along the same pattern that the
Communists use in this country ; the}^ don't use the name they were
born with ; is that correct ?

Mr. Banionis. Yes ; that is right. They do it the same all the way
around the world where they have spies.

Mr. BoNix. In other words, the agents throughout the world use
fictitious names ?

Mr. Banionis. That is right.

Mr. BoNiN. In your reports, after you signed this confession and
your agreement to report on other people, it was your intentioTi to
turn in such reports that would not cau^e any harm to any of the
people you reported on ?

Mr. Banionis. That is right. I was very much afraid of doing
anything to my Lithuanian friends.

i told my good Lithuanian friends, "Maybe you will be arrested,
too, and you should be careful."

Mr. BoNiN. Now, the wounds that you demonstrated to this com-
mittee, both on your left shoulder and your right shoulder, were
they treated at all bv anv doctor, or Avere vou given any first aid
at all?

Mr. Banionis. No. Just myself. I washed it out with a little tea
that they gave me for breakfast. The blood was running over my
arm and my body.

Mr. BoNiN. Did you ask for any medical treatment ?

Mr. Banionis. Yes. I told them that I am wounded, but nobody
cares. In the room where I was during the arrest, together with
my friends, was 2 Kussian soldiers, 1 standing by the window, another
standing by the door, but they have not talked to us. When we
asked them anything, they just stood there and did not talk to us.
They just watched to see that we did not jump through the window
or run througli the door.

Mr. BoNiN. These people who questioned you for hours at a time
were Russians; is that correct?

Mv. Banionis. Russian and Lithuanians.

Mr. KERS'rEN. Lithuanian Communists ?

Mr. Banionis. Lithuanian Communist agents. The NKVD ; they
called them Cheka.

Mr. Bonin. That was just another name for the secret agents?

Mr. Banionis. It was the Russian name.

Mr. BoNiN. After you signed this paper which they told you would
make you free, you were no freer after you signed the paper than
you were prior to the signing of it, were you ?

Mr. Banionis. When I signed the paper, they freed nic. They let
me go outside of the NKVD building.

]\Ir. Bonin. Yes ; but you were still not free, because you were still
being spied upon, were you not?

Mr. Banionis. That is right.

Mr. Bonin. So no matter what way you turn with the Communists,
you are still in jeopardy?

Mr. Banionis. That is right.

Mr. Bonin. In other words, in your opinion, do you believe any
Conununist can be trusted?


Mr. Banionis. No. I don't believe, because everything is built on
the Communist methods where they are standing on the ground and
they lie and do such terrible things.

Mr. BoNiN. In December 1940, you were also in Lithuania?

Mr. Banionis. Yes.

Mr. BoNiN. Do you know whether or not the Communists endeav-
ored to prevent the celebration of Christmas ?

Mr. Banionis. Christmas, we celebrated at home. We made our
Christmas trees. There was just one Christmas with the Communists
when I left, and we were celebrating just in a family circle.

Mr. BoNiN. Did they endeavor to prevent religious services in the
churches on that day ?

Mr. Banionis. I don't know the facts, but it was the same as a
simple holy day, from the outside. In the churches, there w^ere
Classes and everything like Christmas.

There were no processions allowed outside the church.

Mr. BoNiN. You were not permitted to have any processions?

Mr. Banionis. No, sir.

Mr. BoNiN. They were prohibited?

Mr. Banionis. Yes.

Mr. BoNiN. Did they change any instructors in your school after
tlie Russians took over?

Mr. Banionis. They changed a couple professors. A few profes-
sors came and Communist agents came in like a comsorg,

Mr. BoNiN. Were they Eussians ?

Mr. Banionis. They were Communist youth organization members,
or Communist secret police agents. They were Lithuanians,

Mr. BoNiN. They were Lithuanians?

Mr. Banionis. Yes. They picked up some very bad students for
this position.

Mr. BoNiN. For instructors?

Mr. Banionis. Yes, for instructors.

For example, those who drank heavily, or who had prison records.

Mr. BoNiN. In other words, they replaced educated instructors in
your schools with individuals who either had criminal records or they
were drunks?

Mr. Banionis. That is right. Just for the position of the political
agents, but for tlie most part, they left the same ]3rofessors in the
schools, because they didn't have enough people to change them.

There were not so many Communists in Lithuania, and among the
professors and teachers maybe there were 1 or 2 in all Lithuania.
They left the same professors in the schools, but so far as I knew,
they were preparing to change them later.

Mr. BoNiN. They were prepared to make changes?

Mr. Banionis. Yes.

Mr. BoNiN. That is all, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Maciirow^icz. Do you recall when the Russian troops marched
into Lithuania ? What month and year was that ?

Mr. Banionis. I saw for the first time the Russians on the 15th
of June 1940.

Mr. Machrowicz. Do you kow the date of the so-called free elec-
tions which were held ?

Mr. Banionis. Yes.

Mr. Machrowicz. When was that?


Mr. Banionis. I don't remember, now, the date exactly.

Mr. Machrowicz. What montli ?

Mr. Banionis. It was in July, I think. It was in the summertime.

Mr. Machrowicz. In what year ?

Mr. Banionis. 1940.

Mr. Machrowicz. That is, within 1 month after the Russian troops
occupied Lithuania, the so-called free elections were held ?

Mr. Banionis. They made the elections.

Mr. Machrowicz. That is all.

Mr. Kersten. Congi*essman Madden?

Mr. Madden. Mr. Banionis, it was testified last week in our hear-
ings in New York that in 1939 the population of Lithuania was
3,300,000, approximately.

Mr. Banionis. That is right.

Mr. Madden. And at that time there were only 1,750 Communists,
that is, party Communists, in Lithuania.

It was also testified that in 1941 — 2 years later — that that figure
of 1,750 Communists in Lithuania, rose only to 2,200, or an increase of
400 party Communists in Lithuania.

Mr. Banionis. I cannot tell you exactly the numbers, but I know
that not many people joined the Communist Party.

Mr. Madden. But that was the testimony that was given in New
York, and to your knowledge, is that just about what the figures were,
at that time ?

Mr. Banionis. I think that is about right.

Mr. Madden. In other words, the Communists succeeded in taking
over a country of 3,300,000 population with only 1,750 Communist
members living in Lithuania ?

Mr. Banionis. That is right. I think maybe it was less, something
like 1,700 who were really Communists.

Mr. Madden. And this increase of 400 in 2 years was made up mostly
of Russian Communists coming into Lithuania ?

Mr. Banionis. Yes. And they made those Communist members,
maybe just through force.

Mr. Madden. Do you recall the name of the NKVD chief of police
who originally asked you to sign this oath ; do you recall him ?

Mr. Banionis. No. He didn't tell me. It was a secret.

Mr. Madden. Is it not a fact that when the church was having
its services, that the Communist authorities would make it a point to
have some kind of a compulsory meeting take place at the time ?

Mr. Banionis. Yes.

Mr. Madden. At the time the church services were being held ?

Mr. Banionis. They had lots of meetings at the same time there was
service in the church.

Mr. Madden. In New York, at our hearings last week, a Lutheran
minister testified. I think he was from Estonia, regarding the same
attitude of the Communists against the Protestant churches that you
testified was taken against the Catholic church.

Now, did that same thing take place in Lithuania, that the Com-
munists took the same persecution measures and same attitude of dis-
tinction against all churches. Catholic, Protestant, and Jewish?

Mr. Banionis. I don't think they made exceptions. They didn't
have any exceptions for any particular type of church.

Mr. Madden. It was for all types of religion ?


Mr. Banionis. Yes.

Mr. INIadden. That is all.

Mr. Kersten. I have just a question or two, Mr. Banionis.

You have given us here a picture of what it means, particularly for
a young- man, an 18-year-olcl boy, to come in firsthand contact with
the Communists. I just wish all students in colleges and high schools
will know something about your testimony, as I know all good Amer-
ican students, the great overwhelming mass, are anti-Communist, too,
but to hear these facts from one who experienced them firsthand, it
is a good lesson for all of us.

Now, so that we may know how Communists operate on students,
here is a book that I would like to show you, written in Russian. It
is a textbook, and it is dated in the year 1952. I don't read Russian,
but I have had it translated, part of it. The cover of it states, "For
Non-Russian Schools," and I understand this is for use in such coun-
tries as Lithuania, Poland, and other occupied countries.

One story in this textbook — I believe it is a textbook for about 13-
or 14-year-old children — one story is a poem about an individual, a
boy by the name of Pavlic Morosow,

In this story, it is told, as the translated story read, how that Pavlic
Morosow, this boy, came to court to testify against his father, because
the father hid grain in the household, against the instructions of the
NKVD, and here is the story and the picture, here, of the boy testify-
ing against his father in the court, with a soldier with a bayonet stand-
ing behind the father and the son.

The story goes on to tell how the father is turned over to the execu-
tioner, and then how this boy is held up as a great j^oung hero, a young

There is a statue to this boy in Moscow, glorifying the idea of a
child, a young boy, turning his father over to the executioner.

Here is a picture of this boy testifying. Is that exactly the same
thing that you experienced firsthand, that they tried to make you
do to your relatives, friends, and professors?

Mr. Banionis. Yes ; that is right ; the same way they wished I would
do. So far as I know, it was taught in the Communist youth organiza-

Mr. Kersten. You will notice that this picture and this story — this
is all in Russian.

]Mr. Banionis. That is right.

Mr. Kersten. And this is what they are teaching young boys behind
the Iron Curtain.

Mr. Banionis. That is right.

Mr. Kersten. That is what they tried to teach you ?

Mr. Banionis. That is right.

Mr. Kersten. The parents and the relatives don't mean anything?

Mr. Banionis. They don't mean anything. They make no excep-

Mr. Kersten. Wlien you were living under the Communists, how
did the people generally feel about this kind of teaching and this kind
of activity?

Mr. Banionis. The people had a terrible feeling about that, and were
concerned with what would happen to our nation when they started
to teach such things to our young people.

52975— 54— pt. 1 3!)


Mr. Kersten. How do you feel about the crime of Vishinsky, who
spoke before the United Nations last December and said, "Why, the
Baltic nations freely entered the Soviet Union"? How do you feel
about that statement of his?

Mr. Banionis. I feel very bad about this.

Mr. Kersten. Do you think it is true?

Mr. Banionis. I will give you an example. Communist politics is
like a masked bandit going in to rob a bank, and when j^ou stop him
at the door and say, "You are a robber ; you are going to rob the bank,"
he will say, "No, I am not the bandit. I just watch the bank. The
cashier gave me your money and said, 'Take it ; this is yours.' '•

That is the way the Kussian Communist politicians went in our
country and in all the Baltic countries and in all Europe.

Mr. Kersten. Do you for one minute believe, Antanas, that the
Lithuanian people wanted to go into the Soviet Union?

Mr. Banionis. No; never. So far as I know from the Lithuanian
story, we stopped the Russians first in 1910 and 1918.

Mr. Kersten. So the claim that the Russians are now making, that
the}' are in the Baltic nations such as Lithuania because the people
wanted them to go in, is false. As I understand it from you, the
people want exactly the opposite ; is that correct ?

Mr. Banionis. The Lithuanian people wish to live free and inde-

They never wished to join the Russians or communism.

Mr. Kersten. And you saw that first hand.

Mr. Banionis. That is right.

Mr. Kersten. Thank you.

Are there any further questions? That is all.

We will now hear from General Cernius.

You do solemnly swear that 3^011 will tell the truth, the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth, so help you God ?


General Cernius. I do.

Mr. McTigue. Will you give us you full name. General, please?

General Cernius. My first name is Jonas, my last name Cernius.

Mr. McTiGUE. Where are you living now, General ?

General Cernius. Now, I am living in Flint, Mich.

Mr. McTiGUE. In what capacity are you employed?

General Cernius. I am a tool designer iri General Motors Corp.

Mr. McTiGUE. When did you come to this country, General?

General Cernius. I came on April 17, 1948.

Mr. McTiGUE. From where ?

General Cernius. From England. I lived 9 months in England
before coming here.

Mr. McTiGtiE. Where were you born, General ?

General Cernius. I M'as boi-n in Ku]>iskis, Lithuania.

Mr. McTkjite. Tell us something about your education.

Geneial Cernius. T had my education in Kupiskis, in my birth-
place; high school in Panevezys.

Then, in 1919, from high school I entered the Volunteer Lithuanian

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