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

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erase. Namely, to select people for the administrative offices, particularly the
persons best fitted for the educational institutions, who would be able to resist
the new occupant in the future. On July 9, 1941, Administration (Board) of
Cultural Activities and National Education was formed. Its task was to dis-
seminate truthful information regarding the Government's activities and to
collect the materials regarding the Bolshevik mismanagement to Lithuania. J.
Senku was appointed administrator of this board. He invited Aleksandras
Merkelis to assist him in this work.

On August 5, 1941, the Government was compelled to discontinue its functions.
The Germans closed down the Lithuanian Activist Front. Since that time, the
national will of Lithuania is again being expressed in underground activities.

The facts whereby I illustrated the resistance of the Lithuanian people during
the first Soviet occupation, can be easily verified through testimony of their
witnesses and, in part, by the evidence published in the Soviet and Lithuanian

Mr. KJERSTEN. You may be excused.
Mr. McTiGUE. Mr. Merkelis, please.

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. Merkelis. I do.



Mr. JklcTiGUE. AVhat is your name, please?

Mr. Merkelis. Aleksandras Merkelis.

^Mr. McTiGUE. Where were you born?

Mr. Merkelis. In Lithuania.

Mr. McTigue. Were you appointed as director of the Museum ot
Red Terror?

Mr. Merkelis. Yes, I was.

Mr. McTiGUE. When?

Mr. Merkelis. On July 12, 1941.

Mr. McTiGUE. In your capacity as director of the Museum of Red
Terror, was it your job to gather documents that were left behind by
the Soviets, w4ien they were fleeing the German Army, and also to
investigate certain atrocities and brutalities, with a view to gathering
documentary evidence to that end?

Mr. Merkelis. Yes. That was my basic duty.

ISIr. McTiGUE. Where is your residence at the moment, Mr. Mer-

Mr. Merkelis. Great Neck, Long Island, N. Y.

Mr. McTigue. I will direct this question to you, Mr. Jurgela. You
were sworn previously in this hearing and it will not be necessary
to swear you again. I will ask you a question later on, and in that
connection I want the record to show that you were at one time
Director of the Lithuanian-American Information Service?

Mr. Merkelis. Well

Mr. Jurgela. That is right.

Mr. McTiGUE. During what j^eriod?

Mr. Jurgela. Since between June 1944 and August 1951.

Mr. McTigue. In your capacity as Director, have you had occasion
to translate from time to time certain documents from Russian into
Lithuanian ?

Mr. Jurgela. From Russian and Lithuanian and Polish into

Mr. McTiGUE. Into English?

Mr. Jurgela. Yes, sir.

Mr. McTiGUE. I hand you, Mr. Merkelis, a document which pur-
ports to be an original document written in Russian and ask you if
you can identify that?

Mr. Merkelis. Yes, I can. I understand the Russian language
and I had picked up or received this document from the former NKVD
office in Lithuania.

Mr. McTiGUE. In wliich country or city ?

Mr. Merkelis. In the county and city of Siauliai.

Mr. McTiGUE. I ask this be marked for identification as exhibit

{The document was marked "Exhibit 16-A." See p. — .)

Mr. McTiGLTE. Again, I hand you a document which purports to
be a copy of the original Russian document marked "Exhibit 16-A"
and ask you if that is the English translation of the exliibit wliich
has just been identified as 16-A?


Mr. JuRGELA. I have not proofread this translation, but I under-
stand that is a copy of the transhition originally made by me and pub-
lished in a certain issue of the Lithuanian Bulletin.

Mr. McTiGUE. Is that an English translation of 16-A which I have
just identified and made part of the record ?

Mr. JuRGELA. I had no chance to compare it, but my understanding
is that it is so.

Mr. McTiGUE. Mr. Chairman, I am not going to read this document
into the record at this time since it has been entered as an exhibit, but
I would like to read from page 5 of the English translation of the
Russian document which has just been entered for identification and
made a part of the record.

Mr. IvERSTEN. Mr. Counsel, as I understand it, this is a translation
of a Eussian written document, the original of which we have here
before us, identified as exhibit 16-A, which the witness has stated
he picked up in the former NKVD headquarters in Siauliai. In
other words, it was left behind by the NKVD in their flight from
Lithuania, is that correct?

Mr. McTiGUE. That is correct.

Mr, Kersten". All right.

Mr. ISIcTiGUE. The document is marked "Strictly Secret." It is
entitled "Instructions — Regarding the Manner of Conducting the De-
portation of the Anti-Soviet Elements From Lithuania, Latvia, and

In the upper right-hand corner of this document there is a rubber
stamp entry on page 1 in Lithuanian and Russian LSSR County
Committee of NKVD, city of Siauliai, and the date of receipt.

Mr. Kersten. Is that an NKVD original stamp, Mr. Jurgela ?

Mr. Jurgela. Yes, it is. One half is written on the lefthand side,
which is in Lithuanian and on the right side — in Russian ; and these
entries are made in Russian.

Mr. Kersten. You have studied and are familiar with this docu-
ment, too?

Mr. Jurgela. Yes, I am.

Mr. Kersten. In other words, this is a Soviet deportation order for
the people of Lithuania?

Mr. Jurgela. Those are instructions for the briefing of personnel
which will execute this operation.

Mr. Kersten. In other words, how they are to deport the people ?

Mr. Jurgela. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. All right.

Mr. McTiGUE. I would like to read, Mr. Chairman, from page 5 of
this document. It is entitled "Manner of Separating Deportee from
his Family." (Reading:)

In view of the fact that a large nurabei* of the deportees must be arrested and
placed in special camps and their families settled at special points in distant
regions, it is necessary to execute the operation of deporting both the members
of his family as well as the deportee simultaneously, without informing them of
the separation confronting them. After having made the search and drawn up
the necessary documents for identiiication in the home of the deportee, the
administrative workers shall draw up documents for the head of the family and
place them in his personal file, but the documents drawn up for the members
of his family should be jilaced in the personal file of the deportee's family.

The moving of the entire family, however, to the station should be done in
one vehicle, and only at the station should the head of the family be placed


sepai'ately from his family in a railway car specially Intended for heads of

While gathering together the family in the home of the deportee, the head of the'
family should be warned that personal mail articles are to be packed into a sepa-
rate suitcase, as a sanitary inspection will be made of the deported men separately
from the women and children.

At the stations the possessions of head of families subject to arrest should be
loaded into railway cars assigned to them, which will be designated by special
operative workers appointed for that purpose.

Mr. Kersten. Counsel, I will ask Mr. Jurgela this question. Did
you follo^Y this translation in the original Russian document?

Mr. Jurgela, Yes, I did. Tliat appears on page 7 of the original
and the last paragraph appears on page 8,

Mr. Kersten. As read by counsel, is that a correct translation of this
Russian Communist written document for instructions in the deporta-
tion of families ?

Mr. Jurgela. It is the correct translation, and I would like to point
also that the original carries some heavy red-pencil notations, appar-
ently made by the operators in Siauliai.

Mr, Kersten. By NKVD operators in Siauliai ?

Mr. Jurgela. Yes, underscoring major points.

Mr. McTiGUE. That is all I have.

Mr. BoNix, No questions.

Mr. Kersten, We will adjourn at this time until 2 : 15,

(Whereupon, at 1 : 20 p. m., the committee recessed until 2 : 15 p, m.
of the same day,)


The committee reconvened at 2 : 45 p, m.

Mr. Kersten, The hearing will come to order, please. Is Canon
Petraitis present ?

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

Canon Petraitis. Yes, sir.


Mr. McTiGUE. What is your name, please?

Canon Petraitis. Antnas Petraitis.

Mr. McTiGUE. Wliere were you born ?

Canon Petraitis. In Lithuania, in the village of Jokubaiciai, in
the county of Raseiniai.

Mr. McTigue, Are you a resident now of Chicago, Father Petraitis ?

Canon Petraitis. Yes, I only live with a good friend of mine, a

Mr, McTiGUE, At the time of the Soviet occupation of Lithuania in
June of 1940, where were you located. Father?

Canon Petraitis. I was a pastor of the parish of Erzvilkas.

Mr. McTiGUE. Did there come a time approximately 1 year later in
April of 1911 when you were arrested by NKVD agents. Father?

Canon Petraitis. On April 6. That wasn't a year later. About 10
months later.


Mr. McTiGUE. What were you charged with ?

Canon Petraitis. When I was detained, I did not know what for,
•and later it became clear that I am charged with antirevolutionary

Mr. MoTiGUE. Were you taken to prison, and, if so, where ?

Canon Petraitis. I was taken to the prison in Taurage, and held
there 2 days, and I was interrogated there.

Mr. McTiGTJE. By whom ?

Canon Petraitis. By the Russian NKVD.

Mr. McTiGUE. How long ?

Canon Petraitis. I was interrogated 2 days and 2 nights.

Mr. McTiGUE. What happened after that?

Canon Petraitis. They took me to Kaunas to the Security Building.

Mr. McTiGUE, What happened there ?

Canon Petraitis. There I was interrogated for a full month ; inter-
rogations continued for 48 hours at a time, and more. And they were
using torture.

Mr. McTiGUE. "W^iat kind of torture?

Canon Petraitis. I was beaten on ear with a paper blotter, with a
marble blotter.

Mr, Machrowicz. You were beaten on the ear with what?

Canon Petraitis. I was beaten on the ear with a heavy paper

Mr. Kersten. Paperweight ?

Canon Petraitis. Paperweight.

Mr. McTiGUE. Were you knocked unconscious ?

Canon Petraitis. When I couldn't anything, they wanted me to
confess some activities whereof I had no knowledge. They used
to kick me with their feet and then they said : You confess ; you had
better confess now because at a later time you will confess anyway
and you will talk more than necessary.

Mr. McTiGUE. What did they want him to confess to again ?

Canon Petraitis. To confess that I had assisted and led those
people who had tried to cross the frontier into Germany.

Mr. McTiGUE. How long did those beatings and interrogations last
at this time ?

Canon Petraitis. For a moment. However, I was unconscious from
April 12 to 30.

Mr. McTiGUE. From April 12 to April 30, is that what the father
testified ?

Canon Petraitis. I was unconscious. I was beaten into uncon-

Mr. McTiGTJE. From when to when ?

Canon Petraitis. From April 12 to April 30.

Mr. McTiGUE. Does the father mean he was unconscious for that
period, throughout?

Canon Petr^vitis. I could not recall the days. I did not know where
I was or who I was. I saw myself being a child sick with measles and
the torture proceeded as follows :
At 12 at night they called me for interrogation.

They had prepared several protocols containing confessions of all
kinds. When I read the protocol, then I saw that I had confessed
nothing and that I was guilty of nothing. Then they said, "If you
will sign, you will talk even more. I advise you in a friendly manner,


and I wisli to be a man toward you. You will live free. You will
work for our benefit. You write a pamphlet that you renounce re-
ligion." When I said I would not write a pamphlet, he said, "Write
at least an article for the newspaper. You will get a good job. You
will be able to return to your parish, if you wish, and you will sign a
paper that 3'ou will spy upon your friends and others who are opposed
to Stalin." When I said, "No ; I am not prepared for that kind of
work — my conscience does not permit it," then he got very angry
and he struck me on the ear. He rang a bell, wrote a brief note and
said, "Take him over there."

Then I was led down to the cellar, in the same cellar where my cell
was located, but I had not seen that though — where they used tor-
tures. The room was fairly long but not wide. There was a table
of this width, more or less.

Mr. Keksten. Indicating about 2 feet.

Canon Petraitis. Yes; about 2 feet. They laid me on that table.
They turned my shirt collar up and they turned down my pants to-
ward the ankles. Then I saw that they held something like what they
call a banana in Lithuanian — a police stick, and they struck. I heard
them count to 19 in Russian. It was very painful to me and at first
I felt hot and then I don't know any more. Then, when I awakened,
I was facing the lights — lamps — blue lights and I thought to myself
that I was in America. I had visited America several months in 1936
and had been operated on in America for tonsils, so I thought, "They
are removing my tonsils again" or some sort of reminiscence. I
thought these were the doctors around me. Then it got dark in my
eyes and I felt short of breath, and I didn't know anything at all

Mr. McTiGUE. You were struck 19 times. Father, approximately?

Canon Petraitis. I heard them count to 19, and then I didn't hear
anything further.

Mr. McTiGUE. Then did you regain consciousness, Father?

Canon Petraitis. Then I did recover consciousness and I felt them
put some anodium of volerian in my mouth, and then they gave me
something to smell that affects the nose — I don't know what it is
called. Then I recovered.

I saw light again, and I understood where I was, and again they
told me to sign that sheet of paper and another paper in blank.
They said, "You sign at the bottom."

Mr. McTiGUE. Did you sign the paper. Father ?

Canon Petraitis. No.

Mr. McTiGUE. What happened then ?

Canon Petraitis. And then they swore at me. Is it necessary to
use the Russian curse words ?

Mr. Kersten, No ; I don't believe so.

Canon Petraitis. And the last part of it was that they would tear
out my testicles, and I didn't feel anything further; I fainted.

Mr. McTiGUE. Well, right on that point, while I do not mean to
embarrass Father Petraitis in any way, I think that we probably
should have some amplification of that testimony, since it is the kind
of thing that is almost unbelievable, so far as people in this country
are concerned.

Now, what did they do at that juncture, exactly ?


Canon Petraitis. They seized my testicles in their hand and
crushed them.

Mr. McTiGUE. Did you faint thereafter, Father ?

Canon Petraitis. I was totally unconscious.

Mr. McTiGUE. How long were you unconscious ?

Canon Petraitis. I regained reasoning power in the cell I was lying
in, but I did not know who I was. I did not reahze that I was a priest.
I was remembering my childhood somehow.

Then I felt that soineone was coming up, and they moved my arms
up and down and my legs, and then I began to understand, and then I
remembered that the same female doctor who used to give shots into
our back said, in Russian, of course, that you insulted him too much.

Mr. McTiGUE. I didn't get that.

The Interpreter. It is a Eussian expression that you have over-
done it.

Canon Petraitis. After all, a man of 45 is not a man of 20, and they
tied my hands with a soft rag this way, my right arm pointing toward
my left shoulder, and my left arm pointing toward my right shoulder,
because, somehow, quite unconsciously, my legs were itching, and I
wanted to scratch my legs.

Mr. McTiGUE. Wliat happened thereafter?

Canon Petraitis. Then they picked me up by my arms, and leading
me into the corridor for a walk, because I could not walk by myself,
and then when I was able to get around by myself, then they took me
again to the second or third floor, half carrying me, and they told me
to write the date, the year, the month, name, father's name, and the
last name.

I still did not know what year it was, whether it was winter or sum-
mer. So, when they told me, I wrote the date they told me.

Mr. McTiGUE. Did you sign the confession. Father ?

Canon Petraitis. No, it was not a confession.

Mr. McTiGUE. Proceed, please.

Canon Petraitis. I signed my last name, but I could not remember
my first name. Somehow I was thinking of Casimir. I don't know,
and when they saw that I could not remember, so they made this
sound, and said, in Russian, "You see, it helped."

Mr. McTiGUE. What happened thereafter. Father ?

Canon Petraitis. And, after that, they transferred me to the prison.

Mr. McTiGUE. What happened in the prison. Father ?

Canon Petraitis. From the prison they took me twice over to the
security building for further interrogation, and they told me, "Talk.
Say everything, or it will be even worse for you than what you have
experienced already." I told them that I have nothing further to say
beyond what I said already, and I shall say nothing further to you,
and don't ask me any further.

Then, he said, one of his assistants there — there were 2 of them,
and he called the guard. Two men entered.

Mr. Kersten. Will you talk more to the loud speaker, so that we
can get your translation. Bring it closer to you, please.

Canon Petraitis. Thereupon those 2 men answered: "There is no
point in wasting our time here. He is a determined man. Lead him
away and finish with him." They led me to a garage, the former
garage in Lithuanian times, in the same building.

Mr. MoTiGUE. What happened in the garage?


Canon Petraitis. In that garage, it was empty except there was a
certain board, like a board they have in scliool. That board had been
like an old churn, very uneven. That board has been very uneven
and there has been a lot of blood below it.

The Interpreter. He means the blackboard.

Omon Petraitis. There were 2 men standing with rifles by the door
and 2 other men entered and 1 of them had a pistol in his pistol case
at his side. They told me to stand in front of that blackboard.

The one who had this pistol case drew his pistol and handed it to the
man who had no gun and said : '"Finish him off."

I was certain that they were going to shoot me so I made the cross
sign ; I crossed myself, and then they laughed, and they said : "Here's
a fool. Do you think that you woulcl chase away the bullets by making
a cross sign?"

I said nothing; I just crossed my arms and he fired. But he missed.
Whether he shot above me or where, I don't know. So the other man
who did not shoot laughed: "Ha, the fool, the people's enemy. The
people's enemy, his hands shook" — meaning the soldier who shot.
"Give me that gun", he said, "I will hit him here. That is how he
is to be shot" [indicating the point between the eyes], and he raised
his left arm and placed his arm with the pistol on that, and aimed
at me and he fired, and he missed.

Then the first one laughed : "AVhy didn't you hit the target ? Why
did your hand shake?"

So one of them said : "Here is the devil. He is very lucky. Let him
live a little longer."

And they brought me back into the cell, pushed me into the cell,
but he did not close the door, and they talked to each other.

One said : "Tomorrow night at 12 o'clock, you come back, and we
will finish that ceremony with him."

But there I could not know when it was daylight or night time or
how much time had passed because there was no window in the cell,
and I was still waiting for them to come to shoot me.

Then they let me smoke a certain cigarette. When I puffed several
smokes, the tobacco was good but there was some taste like medicine,
not medicine, just not pleasant. I puffed once more and I said, "Oh,
no, I will not smoke." After a moment, I felt so happy, that there
was no doubt in my mind, it seemed that everyone was so friendly —
such good friends, but it was for a very brief moment because I did
not smoke. Tlien I asked him for more smokes so they said, "We gave
you a whole pack." I said, "I cannot smoke these. They make me
vomit — I don't like the taste," and I wanted to drink very much after
that smoke. So I asked them to give me the Lithuanian cigarette
called Vilkas, but they did not give me. I did not smoke these other
cigarettes any more.

^Vliether it was day or night, I do not know. Later on, the same
woman doctor who had earlier, gave me a shot in the back. Very soon,
in 3 maybe 5 more minutes, I felt again so happy. It seemed that I
have no enemies here and friends who wish me everything — a very
foolish feeling. Then they led me away. However, it lasted very
short and it passed away. They led me upstairs. They talked to me
and they looked at each other and shook their heads. They asked me,
"Don't you feel a headache?" I said no. They shook their heads


again, and said, "Do you have the doctor's paper?"' So the other
said, "Yes, there is one in that folder." They looked at it. They
shook their heads and said nothing. They began interrogating me
again. I said that I know nothing further and I would say nothing
further. So they whispered to each other and shook their heads all
the time. Then they returned me back to the prison.

Mr. McTiGUE. How long were you confined in prison. Father? _

Canon Petraitis (through interpreter). I was in prison until
June 22, 1941.

Mr. JNIcTiGUE. What happened on June 22, 1941 ?

Canon Petraitis (through interpreter) . In the evening when it was
so quiet in the prison, some dull explosions could be heard like shots.
The guards disappeared from the corridors — the hallways.

And the prisoners

Mr. Kersten. Where was that prison ?

Canon Petraitis. Kaunas.

Mr. Madden. You had started to say something about the prisoners.

Canon Petraitis. There were military among the prisoners.

Mr. Madden. Wliat was it you said, now ?

Canon Petraitis. There were officers among them, colonels, and
others, so they said, "We must liberate ourselves, we should break
down the doors, otherwise they will execute us."

Mr. Madden. "\^'1io said that?

Canon Petraitis. The military among the prisoners, the impris-
oned army officers.

There were different opinions regarding that, but it was decided
that we should wait a little. And then at night, probably it was 12,
but we had no watches. We heard the greatest noise, and there were
Russian NKVD men speaking in the hallways.

Then they began to break down the doors, beginning at one end
of the corridor, breaking them down with axes.

Mr. McTiGUE. Wlio were breaking down the doors ?

Canon Petraitis. The NKVD men. And the prisoners had to
leave 1 by 1 from the cells.

Mr. McTiGUE. Wliere were they taken?

Canon Petraitis. And so our turn came at our cell, and they did
the same thing. Two men pointed their bayonets at me from both
sides, and they led us downstairs into buses. They loaded three buses,
it seems, and they took us away from Kauna in the direction of
Ukmerge. Not far from Ul^merge the Germans began to bomb the
retreating army, among whom we also got mixed up.

So the NKVD men left the buses and they retreated into ravines
alongside the road, and they pointed machine guns and automatic
guns at us and said, "Whoever leaves the bus will be shot."

So the Germans strafed the column with machine ginis, and the
top of our bus had been strafed, but we were not touched.

Mr. Madden. Just a minute. The Germans were chasing the
NKVD men who had the witness as a prisoner, with others, is that
true ?

Mr. McTiGTJE. They were strafing the column and in this column
were the NKVD men with the prisoners.

Canon Petraitis. The Germans could only see the retreating troops,
so they bombed and strafed them with machine guns and this par-
ticular bus was hit by their machine guns.


They dropped some bombs ahead of us, but none of them hit us, so

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