United States. Congress. House. Select committee o.

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

. (page 46 of 75)
Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Select committee oBaltic States investigation. [First interim report] (Volume pt. 1) → online text (page 46 of 75)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Mr. McTiGUE. Bayoneted throuoh the chest or shot through the-
chest ?

Mr. MiLiAUSKAs. Yes and their hands were tied on the back.

Mr. McTiouK. "Was there anything else about the bodies that you

Mr. ]\riLTAtrsKAs. The Priest Balsis, he was cut at the tongue.

Mr. McTiGUE. He had his tongue cut out ?

Mr. MiLiAUSKAs. Yes.

Mr. Mc'J'iGUE. Do you recall or do you remember whether any of
the other priests had the skin flayed off their backs or peeled off their

jNIr. MiLiAusKAS. I don't remember for sure which one, whether it
was Priest Dabrila or Priest Petrika ; from his back with the knife
was cut pieces like belt, three pieces from the back. From the neck
to more than the middle back.

Mr. McTiGDE. Do you mean that his skin was ripped from the back
of his neck down to the waistline?

Mr. MiLiAUSKAs. Yes.

Mr. McTiGUE. In one single piece ?

Mr. MiLiAUSKAS. Yes.

Mr. McTiGUE. About the width of a belt ?

Mr. MiLiAUSKAS. No, three pieces. Not one piece. About 2 inches

Mr. McTiGUE. Do you recall anything else about it?

Mr. MiLiAUSKAS. No, I don't remember any more.

Mr. Machrowicz. They were Catholic priests?

Mr. MiLiAUSKAS. Yes, sir.

Mr. Machrowicz. They were all from your yillage?

Mr. MiLiAUSKAS. Priest Balsis was from our village, and the other
two were guests. They lived together.

Mr. Kersten. Do you recall the name of the parish, the church
from which Father Balsis came ?

Mr. MiLiAUSKAS. Lankeliskiai.

Mr. Kersten. Was that the name of the church?

Mr. Jurgela. The church or hamlet.

Mr. Kersten. What was the name of the church?

Mr. MiLiAUSKAS (through interpreter). St. Francis Church.

Mr. Kersten. Mr. Andrus Valuckas we plan to hear at a later date.

I want to say at this time, before we adjourn, that the evidence pro-
duced at this hearing required certain unusual arrangements, as is
obvious, and we — I think I speak for the members of the committee —
Ave appreciate the cooperation of the press, here in Detroit, under these
rather difficult arrangements. One of the functions of our committee,
I believe, is that the people of the United States shall have some under-


standing of what happens to people under communism. These wit-
nesses have related this with their own lips, and we appreciate the
courtesy and cooperation of the press, here in the city of Detroit.

After I make the announcement of the adjournment, there is another
short statement I would like to make, and the gentlemen of the press
may be interested in it.

At this time, the hearings in Detroit are adjourned to Chicago, 111.
The first of our hearings will be in Chicago on Thursday of this week,
December 10, at 10 o'clock, in the Federal Building. The hearings are
now adjourned.

(Whereupon, at 4 : 20 p. m., the hearing adjourned, to reconvene at
10 a. m,, December 10, 1953, in the Federal Building, Chicago, 111.)



House of E-epresentatives,

Baltic Committee,

Chicago^ III.

The committee met, pursuant to notice, at 10 a. m., in room 209,
United States courthouse, Hon. Charles J. Kersten (chairman of the
committee) presiding.

Present : Messrs. Kersten, Bonin, Madden, Dodd, and Machrowicz.

Also present : Dr. Kluczynski.

Also present : James J. McTigue, committee counsel, and Constan-
tine R. Jurgela of counsel.

Mr. Kersten. The hearing will come to order.

Since these hearings opened on November 30 in Washington with a
statement by Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, we have heard
from the representatives of the free governments of Lithuania,
Latvia, and Estonia, who are still recognized by our Government.

In addition to that, former President Plerbert Hoover, and the only
living member of the Latvian Cabinet in 1940, have testified con-
cerning the tremendous progress these three countries made during
their 20 years of independence.

Mr. Alfreds Berzins, former Minister of Public Affairs in Latvia,
indicted Soviet Ambassador Andrei Vishinsky as one of the top mur-
derers of our times who has gone unpunished, and additional evidence
concerning Mr. Vishinsky's activities in the takeover of Latvia and
the brutality and atrocities which followed was heard in Detroit.

We have invited Mr. Vishinsky to appear before the committee, and
we have offered him the opportunity to be heard in defense of these
charges at any time convenient to him.

I might add that Mr. Berzins, as a result of his testimony against
Mr. Vishinsky, received three telephone calls threatening his life,
and has been under the protection of the New York City Police De-
partment since last Thursday.

We believe that at these hearings today we will develop evidence
concerning the takeover of Lithuania and some of the important
events which followed.

I should point out that this series of preliminary hearings is de-
signed to bring out eyewitness and personal experience testimony
from people who escaped the Communist terror. AVe are learning
also the methods and the manner in which the Soviets stole the life,
land, and energies of the 6 million people in the Baltic countries, im-
posing there the pattern later followed in the other countries of
Eastern Europe now behind the Iron Curtain.

At this time, I want to say that one of the members of our commit-
tee, Mr. Fred Busbey of Illinois, had intended or had planned to be

52975—54 — pt. 1 25* 373


here this morning, but, because of temporary illness, it is impossible
for him to be here today, and I believe also impossible for him to
be here tomorrow. I believe he will continue with the work of our
committee as the hearings continue after the first of the year,

I also want to point out that Congressman John Khiczynski, one
of our colleagues, is here with us this morning. Congressman Klu-
czynski from Chicago, we are very happy to have you with us.

Mr. Klucztnski. Thank you.

Mr. Madden. I thought maybe it might be well to mention that
another purpose of this committee, along with the mission that Con-
gress authorized it for, is to overcome and let the people behind the
Iron Curtain, as well as the people in the free countries, know that
the Communist propaganda, including the speeches made by Mr.
Vishinsky, that Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were not countries
that volunteered, as they would have the world believe, to enter the
Soviet orbit. Our testimony has revealed in Washington and in New
York and in Detroit that the Soviet leaders, through their criminal
acts of massacre, murder, and prison camps, forced the people of
these three countries, as well as all of these subjugated Baltic coun-
tries, to come into the Soviet orbit, and it is not true that there was
any volunteering or consent that the people of these Baltic countries
are today under the iron heel of the Communist tyrant.

Mr. Kersten. That is certainly true, Mr. Madden. The speech
made by Mr. Vishinslcy last December and all of his speeches have
always stated that these three countries willingly came into the Soviet
Union ; that they wanted to come into the Soviet Union, and that since
that time they have been happy peoples and countries. The over-
whelming evidence before our committee is that these three countries
before being taken over were happy, prosperous countries. Since that
time they have suffered great destruction, many of their people have
been murdered, and the exact opposite is true of the claims of the

General Rastikis.


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. Rastikis. I do.
Mr. Kersten. Take a chair, please.
Mr. Rastikis. Thank you.

Mr. Kersten. Will you state your full name for the record, please ?
Mr. Rastikis. Stasys Rastikis.
Mr. Kersten. That is S-t-a-s-y-s ?
Mr. Rastikis. Yes, sir.

Mr. Kersten. Will you spell your last name ?
Mr. Rastikis. R-a-s-t-i-k-i-s.

Mr. I^RSTEN. Presently are you living in Washington, D. C. ?
Mr. Rastikis. Yes ; now temporarily.
Mr. Kersten. You and your wife?
Mr. Ras^itkis. Yes; me and my wife.
Mr. Kersten. Wlien were you born. General ?



Mr. Rastikis. September 18, 1896.
Mr. Kersten. In. Lithuania ?
Mr. Eastikis. In Lithuania; yes.
Mr. Kersten. You are a Lithuanian ?
Mr. Rastikis. Yes ; I am a Lithuanian.

Mr. Kersten. In the year 1939, were you in the Lithuanian Army?
Mr. Rastikis. Yes, I was.

Mr. Kersten. At that time what was your position ?
Mr. Rastikis. I Avas commander in chief of the Lithuanian Army.
Mr. Kersten. Now, Lithuania is one of the three Baltic nations,
countries, on the Bakic Sea, just northeast of Poland, is that correct?
Mr. Rastikis. North from Poland.

Mr. Kersten. How long had you been a military man. General, at
that time ?

Mr. Rastikis. About 25 years.
Mr. Kersten. You were a professional soldier ?
Mr. Rastikis. Yes. I am.

Mr. Kersten. At that time you had a family, didn't you ?
Mr. Rastikis. Yes.
Mr. Kersten. How many children?
Mr. Rastikis. Three daughters.
Mr. Kersten. And in 1939 how old were they ?
Mr. Rastikis. 1939 or 1941 ?

Mr. Kersten. Well, how old were they, say, in 1941 ?
Mr. Rastikis. In 1941 they were 11 years old, 4 years old, and the
third one, about 12 months old.

Mr. Kersten. The reason you mentioned 1941 is because that is
when you saw them for the last time, is that right?
Mr. Rastikis. Yes, sir.

Mr. Kersten. Will you state. General, whether or not some time
in 1939 3^ou, together with others, were called to Moscow ?
Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Was there a commission, a Lithuanian commission?

A delegation of the Lithuanian Government.

How many members of that delegation were there?

There were altogether, four.

Were you one of the four ?
Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Could you name for us the names of the other three,
please? Take your time because I believe the names may be a little

Mr. Urbsys.

How do you spell that ?


What was his capacity ?
Rastikis. He was at that time Minister of Foreign Affairs of

Mr. Kersten. Who were the others ?

Mr. Bizauskas.

Spell that.


And what was his position ?

He was at that time vice premier of our Government ?
Mr. Kersten. And who was the third ?












Mr. Rastikis,
Mr. Kersten.




Moscow ?
Mr. Rastikis.



The third was I.

There was a fourth, was there not ?


Who was the fourth ?

That was our Minister in Moscow, Dr. Natkevicius.

Spell that for us.


Was he the Lithuanian Ambassador to Moscow?

Ambassador to Moscow ; yes.

Did you and the other three you mentioned go to

Yes, sir.

Mr. Kersten. And you had others with you from Lithuania, did
you not?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. In other words, assistants to your delegation?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Do you remember the date that you went?

I don't remember exactly but about the 2d or 3d

Mr. Kersten.
Mr. Rastikis.
of October.
Mr. Kersten.
Mr. Rastikis.
Mr. Kersten.


And from where did you take off for Moscow?
Where did you leave from Lithuania ?

Mr. Rastikis. From Kaunas.

Mr. Kersten. By train or plane?

Mr. Rastikis. By plane.

Mr. Kersten. Who was the President of Lithuania at that time?

Mr. Rastikis. Mr. Smetona.

Mr. Kersten. It was at his knowledge and upon the decision of
your Government that your delegation went?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes, sir.

Mr. Kersten. Briefly tell us the purpose of your visit at that time.

Mr. Rastikis. Yes, sir. Mr. President, I speak not so well English.

Mr. Kersten. I think you meant to say Mr. Congressman.

Mr. Rastikis. Yes. Maybe you will allow me to tell in my own
language, Lithuanian.

Mr. Kersten. We understand. Do the best you can.

Are you going to speak in Lithuanian now ?

Mr. Restikis. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. I think we better go as far as we can in English.

Mr. Rastikis. I will try.

Mr. Kersten. If we do have to go into Lithuanian, we will do that,
but I think we are getting along pretty good.

Is it true that pressure was put on the Lithuanian Government by
the Soviets that resulted in your delegation going to Moscow?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes; that was true.

Mr. Kersten. Where did word come from to your Government
about the necessity of you going to Moscow ?

Mr. Rastikis. From Mr. Molotov through our Foreign Minister,
Mr. Urbsys. He was at that time in Moscow.

Mr. Kersten. That is U-r-b-s-y-s. Now, when you arrived in Mos-
cow, where did you go ?


Mr. Rastikis. We were in the Hotel National near the Kremlin.

Mr. Kersten. How much of a trip was it from the Lithuanian
capital to Moscow?

Mr. Rastikis. I don't remember exactly, but maybe 6 or 7 hours.

Mr. Kersten. What time of the day did you arrive there?

Mr. Rastikis. We arrived in the afternoon in Moscow.

Mr. Kersten. Then what did you do?

Mr. Rastikis. We were in the hotel and about 11 o'clock

Mr. Kersten. At night?

]\Ir. Rastikis. At night. We received a call from the Kremlin that
our delegation must come to the Kremlin. It was too late and we
believed that it was so late at night, about midnight.

Mr. Kersten. You thought it was pretty late for a call at the
Ki'emlin ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. But at any rate, you were called to come there?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. How did you get to the Kremlin ?

Mr. Rastikis. NKVD had, at that time, many cars near our hotel
and we have to take these cars of NKVD.

Mr. Kersten. Did you enter then through the Kremlin gate?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Then, tell us what happened from then on.

Mr. Rastikis. Yes. First, we were in a room of the secretary of
Mr. Molotov. Molotov was, at that time. Minister of Foreign Affairs
of the Soviet Union. We had to wait a pretty long time in his

]\Ir. Kjersten. When you say "we" do you refer to yourself and the
three other members ?

Mr. Rastikis. No, the whole delegation.

Mr. Kersten. Oh, yes, the whole delegation.

Mr. Rastikis. Later, we came into the room of Mr. Molotov and we
saw over there with Mr. Molotov, Mr. Potemkin and Pozdniakov.

Mr. Kersten. Did that comprise the Soviet group ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes; just those three men.

Mr. Kjersten. Now, when you were ushered into Molotov's room —
first, as Congressman Machrowicz suggests, will you identify
Potemkin ?

Mr, Rastikis. Potemkin was at that time with Foreign Affairs,
but before he was a representative of the Soviet Union in Paris, in

Mr. Kersten. Yes, and what about Pozdniakov ?

Mr. Rastikis. Pozdniakov was the representative of the Soviet
Union in Lithuania.

Mr. Iversten. He was the Soviet Ambassador to your country ; was
he *iot ?

Mr. Rastikis. To our country.

Mr. Kersten. I see. How many of your delegation got into Molo-
tov's room?

Mr. Rastikis. All four.

Mr. Kersten. The four?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. You and three others ?


Mr. Eastikis. And three others ; yes.

Mr. Kersten. But the expert and the secretary

Mr. Rastikis. No.

Mr. Kersten. They remained outside ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes, sir.

Mr. Kersten. Now, tell us, in your own way. General, taking your
time, what the talk was after you got into Molotov's room ?

Mr. Rastikis. At first our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Urbsys,
told Molotov about the purpose of our delegation, that we came in
the name of the Lithuanian Government to see what the Russians
wanted from us, and that our delegation was sent by the Government
of the Lithuanian people.

Mr. Molotov told us a pretty long stoiy about what the Russians
wanted at that time from the Baltic States, especially from Lithuania.

Mr. Kersten. What did he say?

Mr. Rastikis. He said that nobody knows what will happen after
the war which began in Germany and Poland, that the war will be
pretty large, and that Russia or the Soviet Union now had an agree-
ment between the Soviet Union and Germany, but later it may be that
the Germans will be an enemy of the Soviet Union, because of that,
therefore, the Soviet Union had the intention to have its military
bases or the bases of the Red army on the territory of Estonia, Latvia,
and Lithuania.

Mr. Kersten. Now, just to interrupt a moment. Before this time
the Soviet Government had entered into a solemn agreement, had it
not, with Lithuania, and also Latvia and Estonia, renouncing forever
any claim whatsoever against the Baltic States, and pledging against
any kind of interference by the Soviet Union into the Baltic States,
including Lithuania ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. In other words, Lithuania was a completely inde-
pendent nation at this time ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes, sir.

Mr. Kersten. I believe that was testified to by our Secretary of
State, Mr. Dulles, a week ago Monday at Washington during these

Now, how did Molotov go on ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes. He wanted first a pact b-etween Lithuania and
the Soviet Union, a Mutual Security Pact, and second, to have in many
places of Lithuania, of the territory of Lithuania, the Soviet groups,
or the groups of the Soviet Army.

He said that during the talks between him and Ribbentrop, the
German Minister of Foreign Affairs, that it was agreed tliat Lithuania
is now under the influence of the Soviet Union.

Mr. Kersten. In other words, the Nazis and the Communists had
agreed to that without in any way consulting the Lithuanian Govern-
ment ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes. And that we cannot hope for any help from the
side of Germany, and that we must agree that it is necessary for us
to allow the Soviet Union to have their troops, military troops, mili-
tary bases, on our territory.

Mr. Kersten. General, was this the first information that you had,
and apparently that the other members of your delegation had, about
any agreement between the Nazis and the Communists?


Mr. Rastikis. We knew at that time that an agreement had been
made between Germany and the Soviet Union, but we didn't know

Mr. Kersten. About its contents?

Mr, Rastikis. Yes. And we knoAv nothing about that, but it was
in the appendix to this agreement, to these documents concerning our
States, the Baltic States, Lithuania, Estonia, and Latvia. Now, we
know that.

Mr. Kersten. Now you know it?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes. But at that time we knew nothing about that.
We felt that maybe there was something wrong about us, but what it
was exactly — we couldn't know — what it was exactly we couldn't know
at that time.

Mr. Kersten. Yes.

Mr, Rastikis. Our Minister, Minister Urbsys, answered Molotov
that if it would be necessary to sign an agreement, a mutual security
pact, that is one side of the story, but about the presence of the for-
eign troops, military troops, troops of the Red army on our territory,
it is un-understandable ; we couldn't understand that a quite independ-
ent state could have such troops in their own territory, especially when
these troops were quite of another kind than our troops.

I mean the Red army and the Lithuanian National Army. The
kind of these armies — how do you say it ?

Mr. Kersten. Are very different?

Mr. Rastikis. Pretty different, yes.

Mr. Kersten. Go ahead.

Mr, Rastikis. But Molotov insisted that we did not have a chance,
that it meant that we must understand that Russia must have their
troops, and we must understand Russia, and that we have no other
way^ — just this one way — to allow the Soviet Union to have these
troops in our territory, in the territory of Lithuania,

This first meeting in the Kremlin, in the room of Molotov, was just
general discussion between Mr. Molotov and Mr. Urbsys.

Mr, Kersten. Well, do I understand you correctly then to say that
Molotov told your delegation that it had no choice

Mr, Rastikis, No choice,

Mr, Kersten (continuing) . But to agree to Soviet troops being gar-
risoned in Lithuania ?

Mr. Rastikis, Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Go ahead.

Mr. Rastikis. The first meeting ended about 1 o'clock — —

Mr. Kersten. In the morning ?

Mr. Rastikis, In the morning, yes, about 1 o'clock. Then we went
back to our hotel, and the next day, about the same time, about 11
o'clock in the night, we were invited to come to the Kremlin again,
this time in the same room, where Molotov, Potemkin, and Pozdnia-
kov were present, but there was also Stalin himself,

Mr, Kersten. Now, where was this ? Where, in the Kremlin, was
it? In Molotov's office?

Mr, Rastikis. Yes, in Molotov's office.

Mr, Kersten. All right.

Mr. Rastikis. And Stalin told us that we must be, that we must
understand that we have just one way, and that we must agree to


what the Russians want, and that we have no hope from the German
side, because Mr. Molotov agreed that Lithuania is already in the
influence sphere of the Soviet Union. Mr. Urbsys said that he don't
believe that the Germans did so, but Stalin

Mr. Kersten. You mean that Urbsys said he didn't believe that the
Germans had agreed to this ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. What did Mr. Stalin reply ?

Mr. Rastikis. Then Stalin told the story about how it was to

Mr. Kersten. What did he say ?

Mr. Rastikis. He said that during the second trip to Moscow, which
was in September 1939, that Mr. Ribbentrop finally agreed that all the
territory of Lithuania, excepting part of our territory near the Ger-
man border, will remain under Soviet influence ; and one part of our
territory, the west part of our territory, which is a small part, but one
of the best parts of our country, that will belong to Germany ; not
under the influence sphere of Germany, but will belong to Germany,
and that the Russians and the Germans agreed about this problem.

All of us, Urbsys, Bizauskas, and I, and all of us, we could not be-
lieve that all of our territory is already divided into two parts.

Mr. Kersten. How did this information given you by Stalin affect
you and the other members of the delegation ?

Mr. Rastikis. The effect was very bad, because we saw that now we
have not lost yet our independence, but — I mean, the Soviet Union and
Hitler's Germany has already divided our territory without our knowl-
edge, and that it is, maybe, something more about the rest of our terri-
tory, which must be belonging, as an influence sphere, an influence
zone to the Soviet Union. We could not believe that, but Stalin de-
clared that it is the truth, and that Germany will no help us alone,
and we must agree with all this what the Soviet Union wanted from

First, the mutual security pact between the Soviet Union and Lithu-
ania ; and, the second, to have a number of troops of the Russian Army
in our territory.

Especially the second problem was very difficult for us. Mr. Urbsys
asked Stalin and Molotov how many troops they wanted in Lithu-
ania. The first number was 75,000, but a little later they said : No,
maybe 50,000 Red soldiers on our territory. I must say here that at
that time our Lithuanian Army had about 30,000 soldiers.

Mr. Kersten. May I ask you here when Urbsys and your delegation
were protesting, did Stalin say anything directly to him that you

Mr. Rastikis. Oh, yes, yes. Mr. Urbsys spoke pretty long; Stalin
was nervous because of his long speech and he said : You young men sit
down and be quiet. You don't understand what is happening in the
whole world. •

Mr. Kersten. You don't understand what?

Mr. Rastikis. You cannot understand about what is now happening
in the whole world and we have protected you against Germans,
against Ribbentrop.

Mr. Kersten. And at that particular time Urbsys was talking about
the independence of Lithuania ?


Mr. Rastikis. Yes, about the independence of Lithuania and about
the dividing ■

Mr. Kj:rsten. The division of your country ?

Mr. Rastikis. The division of our country, of our territory.

Mr. Kersten. Without your knowledge?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. In other words, the division between the Nazis

]\Ir. Rastikis. Yes, and then Stalin told a story about his conversa-

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Select committee oBaltic States investigation. [First interim report] (Volume pt. 1) → online text (page 46 of 75)