United States. Congress. House. Select committee o.

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

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Mr. McTiGUE. Where were you born?

]\ir. Daukantas. In Chicago.

Mr. McTiGUE. Were you in Lithuania at the time the Soviets oc-
cupied the country?

Mr. Daukantas. Yes, sir.

Mr. McTiGUE. When was that?

Mr. Daukantas. It was when they occupied it, it was in 1940, in

Mr. McTiGUE. What part of Lithuania were you in at that time?

Mr. Daukantas. Telsiai.

Mr, McTiGUE, We have had a great deal of protest from the Soviets
as a consequence of some of our hearings to the effect that the elections
in Latvia

Mr. Daukantas. Lithuania.

Mr. McTiGUE (continuing). Lithuania and Estonia were free and
open. Have you anything that you might want to say on that subject ?

Mr. Daukantas. Yes, sir. I was then schoolmaster and it hap-
pened in my school was the elections, and I was appointed there as a

Mr. MgTigue. The people came to your school to cast their ballots
in the so-called free election ?

Mr. Daukantas. Yes, sir.

Mr. McTigue. Go ahead.

Mr. Daukantas. They came in and we had a list. The list was from
Telsiai. According to the list the inhabitants should come — they
were forced to come — and throw in their ballots. There was a ballot
only on one list, that one they had to throw in. There were about 25
percent out of over a hundred that put in the ballots. But they weren't
all ballots. Some of them put in empty papers, they threw empty
papers in it.

After the election on our list it showed only 25 percent dropped

Mr. McTiGUE. Then what did you do?

Mr, Daukantas. Then we were told to add those that were short in
the ballot box.

On the third day it was announced that our circuit — I don't know
how to explain that — district — no it was not a district, it was a

Mr. Madden. Polling place, or precinct?

Mr. Daukantas, Precinct, yes. Out of our precinct there were 961/2
percent ballots voted.

Mr. McTiGUE. What happened to the other 31/2 percent?

Mr. Daukantas. We were short, I think.

Mr. McTiGUE. I see. So that you and the other members of the
election board were required to stuff the ballot boxes?


Mr. Daukantas. Yes, sir.

Mr. McTiGUE. At the insistence-

Mr, Daukantas. There was one person from Telsiai, he assisted us.

Mr. McTiGUE. What did you do during the time that Lithuania was
occupied by the Soviets ?

Mr. Daukantas. I was a teacher, I had a school 8 kilometers from

Mr. McTiGUE. Did you stay on there after the Soviets left for the
first time and when the German Army occupied Lithuania?

Mr. Daukantas. I had escaped, because they were after me. On
June 14, in the morning, I left my home, and my wife knew where I
went. Later she came to me and asked me not to come home because
they were looking for me.

Mr. McTiGUE. After the Soviet retreated from Lithuania in 1941,
and when the Germans occupied Lithuania, did you have occasion to
observe any atrocities that had been committed during the period of
that Soviet occupation ?

Mr. Daukantas. Yes, sir. I was working with the administration
of the recovered city of Telsiai, and after the war people were looking
all around, some looking for old trucks and taking out the motors,
looking for gas, and they came to the administration and told us some
of the ditches in the forest — that there might be some people there.

Mr. Madden. Bodies?

Mr. Daukantas. Bodies there. So there was a commission ap-
pointed and we sent them to investigate. They found there were three
ditches, and they dug them out with their hands, because they were
so messed up in those ditches that you couldn't do it with no shovel,
you got to dig it out by your hands.

Then when they were all out, they were washed and laid in rows.

Mr. McTiGUE. How many bodies did you find there ?

Mr. Daukantas. There were 73 Lithuanians, atrocities from the
jail, and 2 were Russians.

Mr. McTiGUE. Mr. Chairman, if you will recall it was at this
Rainiai Forest where, in the course of testimony in Detroit, a woman
testified about finding the body of her son. This is the very same
forest, the same massacre.

Mr. Kersten. That is right. The little elderly lady in Detroit
testified she came to the same forest, and there were 73 bodies there,
and 1 of them was her son, most of them bearing the marks of terrible
torture on their bodies.

Mr. McTiGUE. That is correct.

AVlien did you leave Lithuania, Mr. Daukantas ?

Mr. Daukantas. In 1944.

Mr. McTiGUE. When did you emigrate to the United States?

Mr. Daukantas. In 1948.

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

Mr. Kersten. Congressman Madden?

Mr. Madden. Did the Communists tell you, or talk to you about
your school, what should be taught there, what you should do in your
school ?

Mr. Daukantas. Yes, sir. As soon as they came over in 1940, in
the fall, we had to remove the cross, and all our religious pictures,
and famous portraits, and they gave us to hang up their own pictures.


There was Stalin, Lenin, and others — Marx — and so on, and so forth.

Mr, Madden. How about books?

Mr. Daukantas. Yes, books, they tore out leaves — they tore out
pages, pages were torn out. Wherever there was something about
religion, or there was something about our patriots, that would remind
them of Lithuania, they were all torn out.

Mr. Madden. How many elections were held at your school, Mr.
Daukantas ?

Mr. Daukantas. Two.

Mr. Madden. And at each time these elections were held, the author-
ities, the Communist authorities, told you, or asked you to commit —
or to stuff the ballots, or put in additional ballots ?

Mr. Daukantas. Yes — no, the first time there was not, only the
second time it was, I guess it was in January, in the beginning of

I can't remember the date.

When it was election to the Supreme Soviet.

Mr. Kersten. Just a question ; from your experience living under
the Communists what do you think that we here in America that
haven't experienced that, can learn ?

Mr. Daukantas. One thing I wish, that every American would
understand Communists and fight their own way to save the world
from communism.

Mr. Kersten. Americans should.

Mr. Daukantas. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. What do you think the difference is in living under
the Communists and living here in the United States?

Mr. Daukantas. Oh, there is no comparison. It is like going down,
because there there is no freedom. You don't feel yourself. You
are just like material. You just wait until somebody pushes you here
or there. You have no rights. And here — I am living here; I just
came in : I have got my property and everything and there I lost my
rights, everything.

I can't compare them. There is a very big

Mr. Kersten. Contrast?

Mr. Daukantas. Contrast.

Mr. Kersten. Like night and day?

Mr. Daukantas. Well, I like night, but I don't like communism.

Mr. Kersten. Thank you.

Mr. Madden. The Russian delegate, the Soviet delegate to the
United Nations, made a speech stating that Lithuania, Latvia, and
Estonia and these other Baltic countries that are under the control of
the Kremlin, all voluntarily wanted to come under the control of the
Kremlin, of the Soviets. Was Vishinsky lying when he made that
speech ?

Mr. Daukantas. He was lying. I was a witness of the election
when the people, free, voted for the union to communism; that is,
that we put in the ballots, which were 100 percent, and the people who
were voting, they were some kinds of — like I was a teacher; I was
afraid for my job.

Some other ones, the ones that had something to be afraid of, they
voted, and the other people, they didn't vote. Even laborers didn't


Mr. Madden. That is all.

Mr. Kersten. That is all ; thank you. Mr. Nenorta.


Mr. K[ersten. Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole
truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God ?

Mr. Nenorta, Yes; I do.

Mr. McTigue. Will you state your name ?

Mr. Nenorta. Pranas Nenorta.

Mr. McTiGUE. What is your address ?

Mr. Nenorta. 3811 Butternut Street, East Chicago, 111.

Mr. McTiGTJE. What is your occupation ?

Mr. Nenorta. I work at Universal Atlas Cement Co.

Mr. McTigue. Where were you born?

Mr. Nenorta. In Lithuania.

Mr. McTiGUE. Were you in Lithuania when the Communists oc-
cupied the country ?

Mr. Nenorta. Yes.

Mr. McTiGUE. What were you doing at that time ?

Mr. Nenorta. I was a police official at that time.

Mr. McTiGUE. In what city or village ?

Mr. Nenorta. Kaunas.

Mr. McTigue. Was your immediate superior officer arrested by the
Communists ?

Mr. Nenorta. Yes.

Mr. McTigue. What was he charged with?

Mr. Nenorta. The same as they accused other Lithuanians ; he, for
instance, was accused of being a policeman.

Mr. McTigue. He was arrested for being a policeman ?

Mr. Nenorta. That is right.

Mr. McTigue. Did the Communists thereafter come to you and
ask you to do something as far as this was concerned ?

Mr. Nenorta. No.

Mr. McTigue. Did the Communists at any time ask you to testify
against your former chief ?

Mr. Nenorta. Yes.

Mr. McTigue. Why did they want you to do that?

Mr. Nenorta. They were looking for evidence to back their charges
against him. Usually when the arrested people did not incriminate
themselves, they usually sought evidence of some sort to incriminate

Mr. McTigue. Wliat kind of false testimony did they suggest that
you give?

Mr. Nenorta. They asked me about one of the criminal policemen
in this matter : Do you know such and such a criminal police depart-
ment officer ? Yes, I said, I do.

Do you know why he was serving in the ]-)olice department ; he used
to go abroad to Vienna to the Congress of Criminologists, they asked.
Do you know that he used to write articles about matters of arresting
and obtaining evidence against criminals?

I replied that I knew this. After I made a deposition, they asked
me to sign it. This deposition was written in Russian.


I knew Kussian and could read it ; I read it and refused to sign it.
Because we had spoken of Vienna, the deposition contained the fol-
lowing : That I knew such and such a criminal police officer and that
besides his police work, he also undertook certain political activity.

When I refused to sign this they used stricter means and began to
beat me. But I still refused to sign. Then they called another NKVD
man to their assistance.

This new NKVD man held my arms behind my back and another
man hit me over the head with the handle of his club.

They beat me until I fainted, but when I recovered I still refused
to sign so they let me to myself.

Mr. McTiGUE. What happened thereafter?

Mr. Nenorta. They asked me nothing else.

Mr. McTiGUE. How long were you confined to this jail?

Mr. Nenorta. Eleven months.

Mr. McTiGUE. Were you continuously interrogated, beaten, and
punished during those 11 months?

Mr. Nenorta. Yes; they interrogated me often, and they beat me
a few times. This time I have described about the evidence for the
criminal policeman, and once besides that.

Mr. McTiGiTE. But you never signed the false testimony or evidence
that they wanted you to give against your former police chief ; is that
correct ?

Mr. Nenorta. Never.

Mr. McTiGUE. When were you released from this prison?

Mr. Nenorta. We left the prison when the Germans occupied Lith-
uania at the beginning of the Germany-Russo War.

Mr. McTiGUE. When did you immigrate to this country ?

Mr. Nemorta. On June 20, 1949.

Mr. McTiGTJE. Did you immigrate from Germany ?

Mr. Nenorta. Yes.

Mr. McTiGUE. You went from Lithuania in 1914, after the Soviet
started to occupy the country for the second time, into Germany ?

Mr. Nenorta. Yes.

Mr. McTiGUE. No further questions.

Mr. Kersten. WTiat were those beatings? How did they beat you ?
AVhat kind of instrument did they use ?

Mr. Nenorta. Their fists. They kicked my shinbones, and with
the end of a revolver they hit me on the head or the back of the neck.

Mr. Kersten. Because you refused to sign a statement against your
superior police officer that was untrue ?

Mr. Nenorta. Yes.

Mr. Madden. And had you signed it, they would have used that
statement possibly to banish or execute or convict or murder your
superior officer ; is that true ?

Mr. Nenorta. Yes; they used it as a means of charging him w^itli
some crime and punishing liim for that crime.

Mr. Madden. That is all.

Mr. Kersten. What lesson do you think the people in this country
could take from your experience in living under Communists?

Mr. NeN( rta. Herewith, I would like to tell the American people
that my personal experiences prove that the Communists in trying to
establish their dictatorship throughout the world use various devices
which degrade freedom and human rights. They arrest innocent
people, invent various accusations, and in order to justify their means,


they abuse their witnesses by means of self-incrimination. I wish to
point out that among the charges that were made against me per-
sonally, there was one, the fact that I had built a wooden home for
myself. The cellmates who had not homes of their own were glad they
would not be accused of such a thing.

About 3 weeks later, one of my cellmates was called, out to be
interrogated, and when he returned, he said that they had asked him
if he had any property, and when he replied that he did not, they
charged him with not having property.

Mr. Kersten. What do you think of the difference between living
in America here and living under communism in Lithuania?

Mr. Nenorta. A very big difference. We have freedom here and
there was no freedom there.

Mr. Kersten. Thank you.

Father Zakarauskas.


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

Father Zakarauskas. Yes.

Mr. McTiGUE. AVill you state your name, please?

Father Zakarauskas. Vaclovas Zakarauskas.

Mr. McTiGUE. Spell it, please ?

Father Zakarausi^as. V-a-c-1-o-v-a-s Z-a-k-a-r-a-u-s-k-a-s.

Mr. McTiGUE. What is your address in Chicago, please ?

Father Zaiiarauskas. 6812 South Washtenaw Avenue.

Mr. McTiGUE. Are you connected with a parish in the city of Chi-
cago ?

Father Zakarauskas. I live with a friendly pastor at his rectory.

Mr. McTiGUE. Where were you born. Father?

Father Zakarauakas. Lithuania.

Mr. McTiGUE. Where, in Lithuania ?

Father Zakarauskas. In the village of Kumsiskis, in the district
of Kaunas.

Mr. McTiGUE. Were you assistant at the cathedral at Kaunas when
the Soviet occupied Lithuania ?

Father Zakarauskas. Yes. I was assistant in the cathedral, and
chaplain to a secondary school.

Mr. McTiGUE. Were there any attempts by the Communists to force
priests to become NKVD spies ?

Father Zakarausk.\s. Yes, I myself had experience in that.

Mr. McTiGUE. Tell us about that, will you, please, Father ?

Father Zakarauskas. When the Communists first came into Lithu-
ania, I was released from duties, dismissed from my duties as chaplain
immediately. I learned from my students that all signs of religious
symbols, like pictures and crucifixes were taken from the walls and
thrown out. There were religious clubs in the schools and these were
immediately abolished, just like other cultural groups.

Personally, I was persecuted because of my preaching. Before the
war, and during independent Latvia, I made radio broadcasts through
the country of Lithuania, within the cathedral. I was often visited
by the NKVD men, who had been placed in charge of taking care
of the clergy. His name was Mortavicius. Recently I learned from


people tliat he is now the Vice Commissar of Interior Affairs. He
often spoke before religious groups that religious life would be abol-
ished in Lithuania.

Besides this, I wish to point out that he usually visited at night.
He always came armed and placed his w^eapon on the table. He de-
manded and said that the priests should first show sympathy to the
jDresent regime; that those who were not in sympathy woulcl sooner
or later be liquidated. However, the liquidation of the priests in
Lithuania would be different than it had been in Poland in 1939. He
explained that in Poland they first began to liquidate the priests.
That created a disturbance, and an unfavorable opinion amongst the
people. People would congregate in railroad stations and would lay
themselves across the tracks not to allow the train bearing the priests
to leave the station; that this situation was very harmful for com-
munism, and Communist propaganda and free will. "We will do
just the opposite in Lithuania. We will begin to first deport the
Lithuanian civilians, beginning with the intellectuals or the more ac-
tive people, workers and others. Then we will take the priests. We
will announce to the world that they are voluntarily going to Siberia
to serve the needs of their countrymen," but he smiled and said,
"They will never reach their countrymen. They will remain in this
country forever." He meant that they would be killed in Lithuania.
That is why, during the deportations, there was a very large number
of civilians deported, but a comparatively small number of priests.

We knew this and w^ere always prepared. The majority of priests
did not live in their homes, wishing to save their lives.

Every night was a fearful night, because every sound of an automo-
bile motor meant that they were coming to arrest and deport us.

I had an old pastor, a superior, at the cathedral, and he never lived
in the cathedral at night, but was always prepared for deportation.

I was asked to give them copies of all the sermons I had preached
in Lithuania during the years of independence, all of the radio

The Interpreter. The Father now wishes to tell some of his per-
sonal experiences in Kaunas about the religious persecution there.

Mr, Kersten. Very well.

Father Zakarauskas. First, religion was abolished in the schools.
There were no religious practices whatsoever allowed for the students.
In Kaunas there were a few gymnasiums at which Sisters or

Mr. Madden. "Wliat is a gymnasium ?

Father Zakarauskas. A secondary school, a high school.

The Sisters were taken away, the school was nationalized, and the
teaching Sisters were dispersed.

You have just heard from the Sisters of St. Casimir, who had quite
a monastery near Kaunas, that they had the monastery taken away
from them, and it was made into a national archives center.

The Sisters, if they wanted to live or exist, had to become servants,
they had to become either servant girls or had to do the work of
laborers, hard labor.

Another sign of religious persecution took place in the Catholic
press. All the entire Catholic press was immediately abolished. The
more famous editors and correspondents, reporters, were arrested and
jailed. Some of them died at the Cherven massacre.


Mr. Kersten. Just at that point, let me ask you, Father, were you
here yesterday when the testimony regarding the Cherven massacre
was related ?

Father Zakarauskas. Yes, I heard that testimony.

Mr. Kersten. Did you know about that massacre after it occurred ?
Did you find out about it later ?

Father Zakarauskas. I learned about this immediately when the
Petraitis brothers returned from the trip. I also heard all of this
massacre described by another brother of the Petraitis who died in

Not only was it forbidden to publish new papers in books, but even
those religious books that had been published in times of independence
were taken out of the libraries and w^ere destroyed.

They even took out manuscripts and old books that were contained
in the library of the seminary in Kaunas. They were piled up into a
truck and were t^aken to a paper factory where they were reused
again as paper.

Mr. McTiGUE. Wliat happened to them ?

Father Zakarauskas. They were bound up and made into paper.

Mr. Kersten. These textbooks were used for what?

Father Zakarauskas. For pulp paper. Now, as far as the priests
were concerned, usually the rectories were taken over and nationalized.
For instance, at Kaunas, I had a two-room apartment; my brother,
my sister and a student lived there witli me.

Mortavicius, the official, mentioned: You will see how well the
priests will live in our i)resent great fatherland.

One night, about 2 o'clock in the morning there was a knock on my
door and he entered with a large family of 8 people, 6 children and 2
adults. They moved around all my books and tables and had the
family live in my apartment.

Perhaps this was done purposely since it was a non-Catholic family
and they wanted to cause some unpleasantness for a Catholic priest.
The next day Mortavicius called and he asked me :

"Do you have a lot of freedom living in your apartment?" I re-
plied : "Yes ; I expected this in the Great Russia. I get along very
well with this family.''

And we lived this way for 3 weeks. Evidently this did not help him
attain his purposes, for one night they came and took away the family
and the old people.

All Catholic societies and church organizations were immediately
abolished. I had many friends, teachers, and Government officials,
who would come late at night to my apartment and complain how
hard their life was, how their conscience was being raped.

Teachers were told not to attend church services and not to speak
of religion to the children. Officials in the various institutions were
forbidden to wear any official signs of religion, like medals, etc.

Mr. Kersten. I understand, then. Father, the Communists came in
and tliey quite effectively destroyed any open practice of religion ; is
that right?

Father Zakarauskas. Yes. First they destroyed open life and then
they tried to get into the conscience of tlie people.

Mr. Kersten. Does that substantially tell the story that you ex-
perienced under the Communists and their attitude toward religion?
Father Zarkarauskas. Yes ; that is my personal experience.


Mr. Kersten. Thank you. Congressman Madden ?

Mr. Madden. No questions.

Mr. Kerstex. Thank you, Father.

I would like to say at this time that we have found since we came
to Chicago that there are a large number of people in this area who
have i)ersonal experiences of life under the Connnunists, that a large
nmnber of possible potential witnesses, many of whom we should
like to have the opportunity to hear, are here. t

Our schedule, however, is such that we have stayed here up to the
very end and have tried to crowd everything into these 2 days.

There are a number of witnesses whom we had planned to call, would
like to have called, but because of time we cannot call any further
witnesses now.

It is quite possible that after the first of the year it may be advisable
or necessary to come back to this area for additional testimony of eye
witnesses to life under the Communists.

I think the stories of the several witnesses here before us like those
in Detroit, in New York, and Washington, demonstrate that there are
in this country people who have lived under the Communists and know
at first hand what that life is. It has been very enlightening for the
members of the committee, and for me, certainly. I think that a great
deal of clearing of the atmosphere as to the actual life under the
Communists has been made.

The stories of these witnesses, much of them harrowing experiences,
are something that I think the people of America want to know about.

Mr. Madden, did you have something to say at this time?

Mr. Maddex. I might say, Mr. Chairman, that the testimony that
has been revealed in the 2 weeks' hearings of the Baltic Committee
since we started at Washington, has been highly revealing; in fact,
it has been the first time that under oath an authorized congressional
committee has taken recorded testimony as to the inhuman, barbarous
brutalities that have been inflicted upon innocent peoples by the Com-
munist tyrants in the Kremlin, and these victims don't number in
the thousands, they number up into the hundreds of thousands.

Mr. Chairman, the revelations of the Baltic Committee's testimony
corroborates to a great extent the barbarity that was revealed by over
110 witnesses who testified before the Katyn Massacre Committee,
who held hearings in Washington, Chicago, and England, and Europe.

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