United States. Congress. House. Select committee o.

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

. (page 49 of 75)
Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Select committee oBaltic States investigation. [First interim report] (Volume pt. 1) → online text (page 49 of 75)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


Mr. Rastikis. Yes. During the war, when the relations between
the United States and Soviet Russia were not so bad, during the hist
war, some of our people who were deported to Siberia could write
letters to relatives in the United States, and during the war, I think
in 1943, I received here through the consulate, our consulate in the
United States, not a letter, but just a message. From what source
it was, I don't know, that our children were in Siberia near the Chi-
nese boundary.

Mr. Machrowicz. But, in this letter, she did not indicate she was
at any place in Siberia ?

Mr. Rastikis. No, nothing about that.

Mr. Machrowicz. Does the NKVD have anything to do with the
mails, with the operation of the post office in Russia ?

Mr. Rastikis. Oh, yes.

Mr. Machrowicz. The same as with all other departments ?

Mr. Rastikis. Oh, yes.

Mr. Machrowicz. Didn't it occur to you that it was rather strange
that a letter by your daughter shoulcl be delivered to you by the
NKVD ? Why didn't she go through the regular post office channels ?

Mr. Rastikis. For me, it is clear, that these two men who came to
me, they wanted to have some arguments in their hands that they
can say 'is the truth, and they have the original letter of my daughter,
that my daughter wanted to go.

Mr. Machrowicz. Is it true that a daughter, a girl 15 years old, if
she wants to communicate with her father, ordinarily she would not
go to the NKVD for assistance in writing the letter, would she^

Mr. Rastikis. No, sir : I don't think my daughter went to the NKVD,
but I think that the NKVD went to my daughter to give such letter.

Mr. Machrowicz. In the letter, she says in part : "We have changed
considerably since you saw us," or words to that effect?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Machrowicz. Do you have any idea as to what she meant by

Mr. Rastikis. I don't think that my oldest daughter, that she
changed in her mind. I think maybe physically they changed.

Mr. Machrowicz. Now, what has happened to Mr. Urbsys, the Min-
ister of Foreign Affairs who accompanied you to Moscow?

Mr. Rastikis. Wlien the Communists took over Lithuania in 1941,
Mr. Urbsys and the Former Prime Minister, or the last Prime Minister,
were deported to Russia.

Mr. Machrowicz. Did you, to your knowledge, or anyone else, ever
hear from them since then?

Mr. Rastikis. First, before the Germans came, I heard from other
people that Mr. Urbsys and his wife were in Ukrainia, in the city of

Mr. Kersten. Will you spell that, please ?

Mr. Rastikis. T-a-m-b-o-w, in the eastern part of Ukrainia.

Mr. Machrowicz. Were they in a prison camp ?


Mr. Rastikis. No; they had just one time every week to see a com-
mittee or to report to a committee, and they had some work with
translations into the Franch or from the French into the Russian, but
I don't know exactly whether that is the truth or not.

Mr. Machrowicz. But they were deported from Lithuania, were
they not, anyway ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Madden. What happened to the Vice Premier?

Mr. Rastikis. He was deported, but later.

Mr. Machrowicz. Wliat happened to the Ambassador to Moscow,
Natkevicius ?

Mr. Rastikis. He died in exile.

Mr. Machrowicz. He died in exile?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Machrowicz. All three of those men who were your companions
on this trip to Moscow have either been exiled or died ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Machrowicz. Doesn't it seem strange inasmuch as that was
their fate, that Russia would want you to come back ? You had good
reasons to believe, did you not, that a fate similar to theirs, or worse,
would await you if you came back ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Machrowicz. You had no reason to expect any other fate than
thatof their's?

Mr. Rastikis. No.

Mr. Machrowicz. You know, do you not, General, that a very
similar situation occurred in Poland when Russia invaded Poland:
that they invited 14 Polish leaders to Moscow?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes; I know the story.

Mr. Machrowicz. You know that 14 people have disappeared ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Machrowicz. And not one has been heard fi'om ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Machrowicz. These are the facts that lead you to believe that
no faith or credence can be given to any agreement made by Soviet
Russia ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Machrowicz. Is that right?

Mr. Rastikis. That is right.

Mr. Kersten. I don't know whether I mentioned Tom Dodd was
one of the American prosecutors in the Nuremberg trials and who has
also had great experience with dictatorship.

Mr. DoDD. You have been asked a couple of questions as to whether
you would place any reliance on any agreement or promise that the
Communists make, and you said that you would not. I take it that
is the result of your experience with the Soviet, and particularly when
they forced themselves on Lithuania ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. DoDD. Did you have a different idea before these things hap-
pened to you and to Lithuania ? Did you think before you were called
to Moscow that the Communists would keep their promises?

Mr. Rastikis. No, sir; but the main point was that we knew at that
time that the war was just to begin — that was the beginning of a new
war — and our purpose, the purpose of the Government of Lithuania,


or of the leadership of the Lithuanian people, was, in some way, to
stay during these bad times of war, and maybe not to be quite inde-
pendent but to stay, maybe to make some little concessions but to stay.

Mr. DoDD. All right ; that is interesting.

Mr. Rastikis. Our situation was very difficult over there in East
Europe, between Germany, Hitler's Germany, and the Communist
Soviet Union at that time.

Mr. DoDD. Well, that is what I wanted to get at. You were really
in this position, were you not, you people in Lithuania; you didn t
really believe the Communists would keep their word anyway ?

Mr. Rastikis. No.

Mr. DoDD. You were caught between Nazi Germany and Communist
Russia ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. DoDD. The only hope you had, I expect, was some world force —
the League of Nations then, or some combination of decent nations —
would keep these people from attacking you or occupying you; isn't
that right ? Is that an accurate statement ?

Mr. Rastikis. I did not quite understand you.

Mr. DoDD. Well, what I am trying to make clear and it seems to me
to be important is that you people in Lithuania really didn't believe
the Communists would keep their word at any time ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. DoDD. That was as true after they had occupied you as after-

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. DoDD. You were caught between the Nazis, on the one hand, and
the Communist Soviets on the other?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. DoDD. The only hope for you was to make some concessions, or
more important, that some stronger force in the world would help

Mr. Rastikis. No, the force in the free world was not strong enough
to help us.

Mr. DoDD. And that was your only hope, that some stronger force
would help you?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. DoDD. That is the same hope you have today ?

Mr. Rastikis. The same hope I have now, with the United Nations.

:Mr. DoDD. That is all.

Mr. Madden. There is one thing more; you testified something ear-
lier which struck me as rather significant. You say in this meeting on
October 3, 1939, 1 believe it was Stalin that told you : Well, that maybe
Germany will later be the enemy of the Soviet Union.

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Madden. Who was that, Stalin or Molotov?

Mr, Rastikis. Stalin, but Molotov agreed.

Mr. Madden. That this was October 3, 1939, only 1 week after
September 28, 1939, when the Soviet Russians and the Germans had
agreed to a division of Eastern Europe and to cooperate as friends ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes, sir.

Mr. Madden. So that even with Nazi Germany, the Russians never
had any intentions of keeping their agreements?

Mr. Rastikis. No.


Mr. Madden. Because within a week after signing their agreement
with Ribbentrop, they told you that some time soon they and Germany
would become enemies ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes, that was on both sides.

Mr. Madden. I think you are right; neither the Nazis nor the Com-
munists had any intention of keeping their promises.

Mr. Rastikis. That is right.

Mr. Madden. Do you recall, General, at the time of the ultimatum
something was said about the relations — that is, the diplomatic rela-
tions of Lithuania — with any foreign powers ? Do you recall anything
about that whether or not some of those diplomatic relations would
have to be canceled ?

Mr. Rastikis. I don't know exactly, sir, because I was not in the
Foreign Office of Lithuania, but I think that another government

Mr. Madden. Was there something pertaining

Mr. Rastikis. Were informed, but at that time we understood that
from Great Britain or from the United States or from France, we
could at that time have nothing at all.

Mr. Kersten. Now, Lithuania was very largely a Catholic country,
was it not?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. About 85 percent ?

Mr. Rastikis. More.

Mr. Kersten. Even more ?

Mr. Rastikis. More.

Mr. Kersten. Did they have relations with the Vatican ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Did anything happen to that?

Mr. Rastikis. Our legation at the Vatican stands yet, at the present
time, too.

Mr. Kersten. No ; I mean by the Communists ?

Mr. Rastikis. By the Communists ; maybe the first step of the new
government in Lithuania, Faleckis' government was to put away the
representative, the legation of the Vatican, away from the country.

Mr. Kersten. He was the papal nuncio?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Was there something done about the Lithuanian
currency right away and the Russian ruble ?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes, the Lithuanian currency, we call it litas

Mr. Kersten. Was the ruble substituted for the litas ?

Mr. Rastikis. I don't know, exactly. I am not an economist, but I
think 1 to 10.

Mr. I^RSTEN. Was the ruble introduced into Lithuania?

Mr. Rastikis. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. And what about the border guards? Were they
substituted ?

Mr. Rastikis. By NKVD.

Mr. Kersten. In other words, the Lithuanian border guards were
substituted by NKVD.

Mr. Rastikis. NKVD ; I must just say that the border guards were
formed not from Lithuanians but just from Russians and NKVD, and
the NKVD has its own troops as border troops. As such troops, the
NKVD troops and the Russian troops stood on the border.


Mr. Kersten. General, you have contributed a gi'eat deal and have
thrown a lot of light on many questions. Thank you very much. Will
you wait here ? You can take your seat back there but we would like to
have you come back after lunch. There may be 1 or 2 things we
would like to ask you.

Mr. Brazaitis is a very short witness that we would like to have

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

Mr. Brazaitis. I do.

Mr. Kersten. Mr. Jurgela, you have been already sworn as an
interj^reter ?

Mr. Jurgela. Yes.


Mr. ]\IcTiGUE. Will you state your name ?

Mr. Brazaitis. Juozas Brazaitis.

Mr. McTiGUE. Where were you born ?

Mr. Brazaitis. In Lithuania, in the county of Marijampole.

Mr. McTiGUE. How long did vou live in Lithuania ?

Mr. Brazaitis. Until July 18', 1944.

Mr. McTiGtiE. What was the provisional government of Lithuania ?

Mr. Brazaitis. The provisional government of Lithuania had been
proclaimed by the guerrillas, by the insurrectionists, against the Soviet
occupation, on June 23, 1941.

Mr. McTiGUE. What was the tenure of the provisional government ?

Mr. Brazaitis. Six weeks, until August 5, 1941.

Mr. McTiGUE. Did you serve as head of the provisional govern-
ment at that time?

Mr. Brazaitis. I was Minister of Education and Acting Prime

Mr. McTiGUE. Did you have occasion while serving in that capacity
to appoint a commission to investigate the so-called Red terror, deal-
ing with atrocities, the gathering of records and related matters?

Mr. Brazaitis. Yes. On July 9 the Government decided to form a
committee called the administration of cultural activities and educa-
tion, and appointed as their representative Juozas Senkus, who is
presently living in England.

Mr. McTiGUE. Was Mr. Aleksandras Merkelis also a member of that
commission ?

Mr. Brazaitis. Yes. Juozas Senkus appinted Mr. Aleksandras
Merkelis to direct the Museum of Red Terror.

Mr. McTiGUE. Mr. Merkelis was the director of the Museum of Red
Terror, is that correct ?

Mr. Brazaitis. Yes.

Mr. McTiGUE. Those are all the questions I have.

Mr. Kersten. Are there any other questions ?

The Init:rpreter. The witness said he would like to present his
statement for the record, in Lithuanian.


Mr. McTiGUE. Mr. Chairman, the witness has a statement that he
would like to present for the record, and I move that that statement
be made a part of the record.

Mr. Kersten. It is so ordered.

(The statement referred to is made a part of the record and accom-
panies the transcript.)

[Translation from Lithuanian]

Testimony of Juozas Brazaitis Regarding the Lithuanian Resistance to the

Soviet Occupation in 1940-41

Having enslaved some nations, Soviet Russia asserts that they accept the
Comuninist regime of their own free will and that they voluntarily join the
Soviet Union. The earliest assertion of this tenor was made regarding Lithu-
ania and the other Baltic nations.

I wish to testify that this is not true, inasmuch as the Lithuanian people were
opposed to the Soviet occupation, were against the Communist regime imposed
upon it;were opposed to the Communist Diet's decision to incorporate Lithuania
into the Soviet Union. This determination of the Lithuanians germinated the
Lithuanian resistance — at ilirst a passive resistance manifested by individual
acts of opposition; later it developed into an active organized resistance and
the insurrection which had embraced the entire nation.

Passive resistance had developed as follows :

1. It first came into the open by boycotting the elections engineered by the
occupant. The July 14, 1940, elections of "the People's Diet" were boycotted.
Even though the Soviets during the first month camouflaged the real objectives
of the occupation and of the Diet to be elected, and did not allow any talk of a
sovietization or of an incorporation, nevertheless, only 15-18 percent of the
voters took part in the elections. The supreme committee of the elections was
compelled to state in its official communique that there had been people who
had torn up the ballots and stamped them under their feet.

A similar boycott affected the January 1041 elections to the Supreme Soviet.
When people did not come to vote, soldiers had to proceed to villages in certain
places of Lithuania (at Marijampole) to round up the people from their homes
and to make them vote, or to carry the balloting urns to the villages and to col-
lect the ballots in that manner. People did not go [to the polling places] and
secreted themselves. There were people who openly refused to cast the ballots.

In August 1940, the Communist Party cell of students of the University of
Kaunas convoked a students' meeting to elect the student council, a sort of a
student parliament. The students demanded that new candidates be added to
the list presented by the Communist Party. The Connnunists refused and de-
manded that the list presented be put to a vote. The majority of students
raised their hands in opposition. Then the Communists made threats. Indeed,
MVD cars arrived shortly, and students escaped through the windows.

2. Passive resistance manifested itself also by boycotting the political parades
on such occasions as the Soviet holidays of November 7 or May 1. University
and high-school students were most inventive when they were compelled to take
part in such demonstrations and to carry the pictures of Stalin or other Soviet
leaders. There were a great many instances where pictures disappeared on the
route, or marchers remained stubbornly silent when ordered to shout in praise
of Stalin, or they shouted lustily some patriotic Lithuanian slogan. Rector
Mykolas Birziska of the University of Vilnius received a warning from Moscow
regarding such sabotage by students.

3. Decrees directed against I'eligion or national patriotic ideals were not obeyed.
Ordered not to observe Christmas or Easter holidays, most of the students failed
to attend classes on those days. There was one characteristic incident : Stu-
dents of the girls' high school in Vilnius attended the class ; however, when the
female teacher entered the classroom and looked at them, the girls understood
the teacher's feelings and the entire class burst into an uncontrollable loud sob-
bing that exi)ressed the young heart's ju-otest. These are but several examples
of passive resistance prevalent among urban population and youths.


4. In rural areas, most notable was the farmers' resistance against the so-called
Red supply trains, that is, parade of carts delivering collectively the compulsory

. grain taxes — with bands and red banners in the van. These were to be political
parades. The villagers deliberately sabotaged this parading method which
compelled the farmer to express his alleged joy. I know of a fact that had
occurred in Marijampole. Of the 30 loaded carts scheduled to put in an appear-
ance on the appointed date, only 3 carts arrived, and these 3 carts, adorned
with banners and escorted by a baud, paraded through the city to the amuse-
ment and jeers of the bystanders. The rest of that village farmers brought
their grain quotas the next day, when there was no parade.

5. On the other hand, both the youth and the adults demonstrated their
religious and national feelings. On All Souls Day (November 2) in 1940 the
believers made their traditional visits to the cemetery in greater numbers than
ever, and they sang religious hymns by the soldiers' graves. It all ended with
mass arrests, even of children. Churches were attended even by those who
had not usually attended. Religious rites were at the same time national
rites, thereby anti-Bolshevik.

In August 1940, the Ministry of Education convoked at Kaunas a congress of
all teachers. The objective was to reeducate, to indoctrinate the teachers.
The congress was to listen to Russian and Soviet songs by Red army personnel.
Then the attending thousands demanded a Lithuanian program. In the absence
thereof, the participants sang Lithuanian folksongs and thereafter dispersed.

National sentiment was demonstrated throughout Lithuania on February 16,
the Lithuanian Independence Day, by the raising of national colors — at least
on trees.

A great many demonstrations of resistance were followed by interrogations
and new arrests. Prisons were filled. Nevertheless, the spirit of resistance
was not quelled. Having first evinced itself during the elections of the People's
Diet, it became universal especially after the People's Diet was used as a tool
in annexing Lithuania to the Soviet Union.


1. Active resistance began with the founding of underground organizations.
At first, these were of a strictly local character. However, since October 9,
1940, centralization was initiated, and the Lithuanian Activist Front was formed
to lead the underground struggle.

In the early part of 1941, the Lithuanian Activist Front correlated prac-
tically all of the underground organizations and directed their activities. It
had collaborators in the armed forces, police, post oflice, hospitals, and other
Government institutions.

The mass deportations of June 14 seriously affected the organization's net-
work. Most seriously hit was the supreme command — just a few days before
the insurrection.

2. The Activist organization aimed in the first place, at rationalizing the
resistance operations, in order to protect the population from the NKVD provo-
cations. Secondly, to aid and shelter the prosecutees. Thirdly, to maintain
liaison with the free world. Finally, to organize an insurrection when suitable
time should arrive.

The Activist Front issued secret instructions to protect the populace, in the
event of war, from the terror of the Red army personnel and of the local Com-
munists, and to take over the local administration. At the headquarters, in
Kaunas, plans were made for the seizure of the city, for the proclamation of
the reconstitution of the Lithuanian state, the formation of a government and
for the transfer of administrative functions throughout the country to that

It was aimed to place the warring countries before an accomplished fact^ —
that they should encounter Lithuania not as an occupied area or a part of the
Soviet Union, but as an independent country. Warsaw, too, had planned an
anti-German insurrection with a similar end in view.

3. The insurrection.— Armed clashes with the Soviets had taken place in dif-
ferent parts of Lithuania prior to the signal to rise in arms. However, the
general insurrection began June 23 (1941).

Late on June 22 a detachment of the Lithuanian Activist Front seized the
post ofiice and disconnected all Soviet telephones. Early the next morning the
radio station and radiophone were seized. At 9 : 30 a. m. the populace of Lith-
uania heard over the radio the proclamation of an insurrection, the news of the
52975 — 54 — pt. 1 27


formation of a provisional government, and the national anthem whose strains
they had not heard for a long time. National flags were raised all over the
countryside, regardless of the Red Army on the march. While the radio was.
broadcasting without an interruption the insurrection communiques and songs,
stubborn fighting went on around the radio station itself. The Bolshevilcs
attempted to blow up the radio station. It had been defended successfully.

A Soviet Army retreating from the German frontier approached Kaunas on
June 24. There was a danger that this army would occupy the city of Kaunas
and convert tlae city into a defense point. The entire insurrection plan would
thus be foiled. Therefore, the main force of the insurrectionists were thrown
into battle in order to bar the Soviet army from crossing the river and occupy-
ing the city. Kaunas was protected from the invasion, and resistance pockets
of the Red Army men and Communists were eliminated.

On June 24 the Government took over the principal offices of administration in
Kaunas and Vilnius, even though bullets were still flying in the streets. The
objective was attained ; the cities were in Lithuanian hands and public order was
maintained. Thus, the van of the invading German forces, which reached these
places 48 hours later, faced an accomplished fact.

Fighting went on simultaneously in other cities. Units of the former Lith-
uanian Army, incorporated into the Soviet forces, likewise revolted at Vilnius
and Varena, and these units succeeded in remaining in the country.

It is estimated that 90,000 guerrillas had taken part in the insurrection. The
political and moral victory was gained at the cost of 4,000 killed casualities.

4. Differing treatment of the fact of insurrection. — The German press main-
tained discreet silence about the insurrection. Molotov was the first to speak
up on the Soviet side ; he voiced threats toward the Fascists of Lithuania.
Nevertheless, he had thereby acknowledged and publicized the fact of the insur-
rection. A couple of days later Lozovsky, Molotov's deputy, told the press con-
ference that the insurrection in Lithuania had been directed not against the
Soviets but against the Germans ; that, nevertheless, these efforts of protection
from the Germans had been naive.

The Lithuanian people interpreted the insurrection as the expression of the
nation's will to be free and to spare no lives in gaining the liberty. This was
a reply to the Soviet propaganda to the effect that the Litliuanians had allegedly
of their own free will renounced their independence and joined the Soviet Union.
To use the recently uttered words of President Eisenhower, this was the reply
by deeds and sacrifices, not hy empty words.

5. 'New resistance. — The Provisional Government soon became convinced that
the Germans would not tolerate its existence. Therefore, it undertook meas-
ures to create new facts which would be difficult for the occupying power to

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Select committee oBaltic States investigation. [First interim report] (Volume pt. 1) → online text (page 49 of 75)