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

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was brought to him from his father's farm. When he

was in the seminary, he was helped financially by rela-



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION 641

tives residing in the United States. He was ordained in
June, 1910. He was a good mixer and was popular both
in his home parish and that of his pastorate, Kursenoi.
He was able to get along with everybody, never neg-
lecting the fallen away. His housekeeper was instructed
never to turn away the poor from the rectory. These
same poor were often his guests."
His niece relates the following about her uncle:
"My reverend uncle, whom the Reds murdered,
was so good to me when I lived in his rect:ry
for two years! At that time he was building the
church in Kursenai. He was busy all the time.
He had many worries for the parish was small
and it was quite a problem to meet the bills.
"He never neglected the sick. He never failed
to visit the non-church members. At first these
would not talk to him, but gradually they would
be won over by his friendliness, and eventually
they would return to the fold. During the sum-
mer four or five seminarians used to spend their
vacation in the rectory, usually those of poor
families.

"People badly in need were always helped.
"Until the church was built, the services were
held in a tentlike structure which in winter
was no better than a barn. The poor country
folk, who had no relatives in town, used to
come to the rectory to warm up. The poor he
had always with him.

"In a word, he was wonderful. It's easy to
imagine what an agony I lived through when I
was informed of his martyrdom. . . "
Since he was made a Canon, it is clear what di-
ocesan authorities throught of him.

The following laconic information was received
about his end:

"Reverend Dambrauskas, pastor of Kursenai,
born in 1879, executed in a horrible manner by
the communists."



642 BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION

6. REVEREND ANDRIUS JUKNEVICIUS

Who would have imagin-
If**^ ■"" \ ed that the Reds would deem

^ it necessary to liquidate even
1 a priest of three score years
of age. Yet this really hap-
pened for such was the fate of
the Very Rereverend Dean
Andrius Juknevicius, the pas-
tor of Merkine. He was born
June 2, 1882. Ordained June
21, 1907, he would have cele-
brated the 35th anniversary
of his priesthood this year. About his martyrdom we
read thus:

''Several days before the outbreak of the Russo-
German War, Reverend Juknevicius came to
Kaisedoriai diocese to take the pastor's place
temporarily. On the third day of war, the Rus-
sian artillery fired at the cathedral's steeple.
Then immediately followed questioning of the
civilians as to who fired at the steeple. Very
Reverend Juknevicius, together with the assis-
tant priest and some parishioners, were taking
shelter in a dug-out near the rectory. The dug-
out was discovered by the local communists
who a few minutes before had been to "see"
the vicar. The priest was not even given tim^e
to dress properly but was taken to the com-
mander's office. There they demanded that he
confess, as many of those arrested testify, that
he fired at the Soviet army units from the
cathedral's steeple. They also demanded that
he tell who fired at the Red army at the rail-
road station. In various ways the Reds threaten-
ed him and tried to frighten him into con-
fessing guilt. Finally at midnight he was taken
by two soldiers and led in an unknown direc-



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION 643

tion. Five days later his body, pierced by two
bullets, was found in the woods, one mile from
Kaisedoriai. His face was disfigured with burn-
ing gasoline to make identification more dif-
ficult, for nearby there were a number of other
bodies. This sixty year old venerable priest was
murdered by the communists June 24, 1941.
•**A similar fate awaited the vicar, but as he was
being led in an opposite direction, he manag-
ed to escape."

7. REVEREND MATAS LAJAUSKAS

Cruel as may seem to be the fate of the Very Rev-
erend Juknevicius, by far more horrible is the end of the
Reverend Lajauskas, a venerable sick old man of 70
years of age. He was born in 1872. Ordained April 12,
1897, he was successful in his pastoral work from the
start, for he loved the common people. Soon he was ap-
pointed pastor of Maletai, a parish consisting of 5,600
members, and at the same time dean of the same district.
The parish of Maletai was organized by the Most Rever-
end Bzostovskis, bishop of Vilnius.

Reverend Lajauskas studied at Vilnius Seminary
together with another prominent Lithuanian priest.
Reverend Deksnis, who is now in the United States.
About his former classmate, the Reverend Deksnis has
this to say:

**He was an exellent student. For that reason he
had a chance to go to the Theological Academy
at Petrograd . Then he was made professor at
the Vilnius Seminary. He came from a poor fa-
mily. His brother became a blacksmith. During
the last year of his life he was sickly and seem-
ed to be exhausted. The last days of his life he
was ill in bed. The communists, nonetheless,
had no mercy on him. At midnight they raided
his rectory, broke into his bedroom and de-
manded the whereabouts of his vicar. Nobody
in the rectory could tell them for the vicar was



644 BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION

in hiding. Then the communists commanded
the pastor to get up and follow them. Outside
they shoved the sick man into a truck and dis-
appeared. A few days later, about two miles
from Maletai, a corpse was found in the mud.
It was identified as that of the dean."
His cruel death occurred on June 27, 1941.

8. REVEREND JONAS NAVICKIS

Reverend Navickis
was born April 19, 1864.
He was ordained August
15, 1887 and became pas-
tor of Vieksniai, one of
the most prominent pa-
rishes of his diocese, also
the district dean. He was
also canon and member
of the Diocesan Advisory
Board of Telsiai. His pa-
rish had about 11,000
souls. The first parish church had been built in 1620 by
King Vladislov III. In 1854, the parishioners built a new
church, which was consecrated by the famous Bishop
Valancius.

Particulars about his end are lacking. His name
appears on the list of priests who were executed by the
communists. Since he was almost 80 years old, it shows
the diabolical cruelty of his executioners.

9. REVEREND JONAS PETRIKA

He was born April 13, 1885 and ordained April 1,
1908. During the Red occupation, he was chaplain of
Mariampole College. One of his students. Miss Virginia
Bartuskaite of Worcester, Massachusetts, has this to say
about him:

"In Mariampole he was chaplain of Rygiskiu
Jonas College till 1940. When the Reds occu-
pied Lithuania, he was discharged for the Reds




BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



645




have no use for chaplains. Be-
fore he left the college, I had
a chance to talk to him. At the
time he was living in the home
for old priests. As our chap-
lain he was excellent, always
cheerful and helpful. I'll never
forget him and will always
remember him in my prayers."



Before his end he was vicar in Lankeliskiai. He was
murdered by the communists June 22, 1941 in Budavone
Woods together with two other priests ab-ut whose
cruel death we have already written, the two who had
been crucified after having been branded with crosses.

10. REVEREND POVILAS RACEVICIUS

Reverend Racevicius was
the author's classmate in the
Seminary at Kaunas. Many
times I had conversed with
him in the garden of the se-
minary, sat together with him
during the meeting of the se-
minarians, was his neighbor
at the table in the refectory,
used to enjoy the sunsets at
the confluence of the rivers
Nemunas and Neris. Never, never had I dreamed that
some future day I, in the United States, would be writ-
ing about his martyrdom in Lithuania at the hands of
the communists.

He was born December 15, 1908. In the seminary,
besides pursuing the regular course of studies, he spe-
cialized in Canon Law. I remember well his popular
treatise in the Catholic Daily ''Rytas" on the Papal En-




52975 O - 54 - 42



646 BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION

cyclical ''Quadragesimo Anno." His ordination took pla-
ce April 1, 1933.

His last appointment was in 1938 when he was made
chaplain at Joniskis College. Under the Red occupation,
he was dismissed from the school. Then he was made
vicar in the same city. When the war broke out, he was
in hiding but former co-teacher, of communistic lean-
ings, betrayed him. The communists found him, dragged
him to the woods, and in the neighborhood of Kriukai,
shot him to death. Thus stopped beating another heart,
beating so lovingly for God and for the people.

11. REVEREND STANKEVICIUS

Concerning Reverend Stankevicius we have no par-
ticulars. All we do know is that he and two other priests.
Reverend Vegele and Reverend Vilkevicius, were ex-
ecuted by the communists in Skoruliai, district of Vilnius.
This communication was received from Rome, October 9,
1941. It also stated that he was but recently ordained.

12. REVEREND BENEDIKTAS SVEIKAUSKAS

While the author of this booklet was an assistant
at Kupiskis, the Reverend Sveikauskas used to visit the
pastor, his former schoolmate, the Reverend Stanislovas
Baltrimas who later was deported to Russia. Reverend
Sveikauskas was born March 21, 1884 and ordained
June 12, 1912. At the time I knew him his health was
so shattered that he was unable to take any responsible
position. His nerves were so wrecked that he could not
distribute Holy Communion. At every step he took, it
seemed to him that he would slip, fall, and scatter the
hosts. Since he was unable to take any responsible posi-
tion, he was pensioned and lived in Rokiskis.

June 26, 1941, between 3 and 4 P. M., a group of
unknown women, accompagnied by two men known as
communists, came to the Reverend Sveikauskas' home,
seized him and led him to the so-called NKVD (Na-
rodnuj Kommisariat Vnutrenich Diel — National Com-
missariat for Internal Affairs). There he was shot to



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION 647

death, a bullet having- pierced his head. S:on the com-
munists themselves had to flee and the ill-fated priest
was found in a pool of blood.

13. REVEREND JONAS TUTINAS

Reverend Tutinas was born August 11, 1897. He
was a veteran of World War 1, having served in the
Russian tsarist army. He fought in Turkey at Trapesund.
He was ordained March 24, 1S28. He was a splendid
man and a zealous priest. Here is the account, received
from Reverend A. Biliunas, of how this priest who had
never in any way offended anyone perished :

"He was extremely m.odest and retiring and
had committed no offense against anybody. He
didn't imagine that anyone could even dream
ill about him. Therefore, when war broke out
and he was advised by his friends to stay, he
stayed. And here's the result. A number of Red
Officers, led by two well-known communists,
came to the rectory. They found the pastor and
some church servants. All of them were com-
manded to go with them. Outside some of them
tried to escape. They scattered, some running
far away. The pastor darted behind his bath-
house and lay down on the grass. The commu-
nists shot the organist and his wife in the yard.
Then they began to look for the others. Having
found the priest, they sent a bullet through his
head and pierced his chest with bayonets many
times. His arm was also pierced. Horrible
wounds covered other parts of his body. The
parishioners later found their pastor, his hand
on his chest."

Thus perished the priest who never in any way
offended any person.

14. REVEREND BALYS VEGELE

When in 1936 he consecrated the church of Vepriai,
the Most Reverend T. Matulionis, now bishop of Kaise-



648



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



doriai, in spite of the fact that he had spent many years
in the prisons of Red Rus3ia, could hardly have imagined
that its pastor would five years hence be a victim of his
own former tormentors.

The Reverend Balys Vegele, the pastor of Vepriai,
was born September 1, 1880 and ordained November 7,
1904. In the said parish he was pastor since 1927. Al-
though the parish is rather small, consisting of about
3,000 souls, he had an assistant priest.

The reason for his trip to Skoruliai is unknown, but
he went to Skoruliai at the time when the Russo German
War broke out. There the Reds, put him to death, to-
gether with the Rev. Stankevicius and Rev. Vitkevicius.



15. REVEREND PRANAS VITKEVICIUS



He who drives from Kaunas
to Zarasai near Jonava has to
cross an elevated bridge. From
that bridge he can't fail to see
the small town of Skoruliai. Very
likely that town was named after
Skorulski who in 1522 built a
brick church there. The parish
consists of about 3,000 souls. Its
pastor, Reverend Pranas Vitkevi-
cius, was born October 9, 1877
and ordained December 16, 1901. The parish in general
was poor, but the pastor was satisfied with it and was
glad to carry on. His work came to an unexpected end
when the Russo-German War broke out. He, Rev. Ve^ele,
and Rev. Stankevicius were put to death by the retreat-
ing Reds. Did he ever dream that he would celebrate his
fortieth anniversary of the priesthood not with flowers,
but dying in the pool of his own blood. . . .




BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION 649

SIT VOBIS TERRA LITHUANICA LEVIS

Recalling to mind again these fifteen martyred Lith-
uanian priests, we see again the pierced chests, the cros-
ses branded on foreheads and chests, their burnt faces
blackened, we see them crucified. Seeing them thus we
do not shout for vengeance, we do not demand retribu-
tion ; we pray for their souls, and praying, we say with
our crucified Master: let the blood of these martyrs wash
away from the eyes of tormentors and their followers
the dark film that hinders them from seeing the divine
truth, and let it soften their hardened hearts so that
never again and nowhere would they dare to spill inno-
cent blood.

It is well said that those ideals die which have no
followers who are willing to die for them. These martyrs
died professing fidelity to God and loyalty to their native
land. These two ideals — fidelity and loyalty — shall
never die. These truths, which in history are recorded in
blood, will remain forever. The memory of these Lith-
uanian martyrs will ever remain in our hearts. The
stories of their martyrdom will be told from generation
to generation and the records of their torments will pass
from hand to hand.

This vision is now before our eyes: the heads of the
martyrs encircled by luminous haloes. It inspires us, the
living, to carry on and to sacrifice to die, if necessary,
for those ideals for which they died.

In the name of the blood which these martyrs shed,
we ask the American nation, which did not spare her
blood for freedom and democracy, to help the prostrated
Lithuanian nation to shake off the Nazi occupation and
to ward off the other imminent evil, the threatened
Soviet reoccupation. Lithuania yearns to live and so she
asks only one thing — the independence which she
formerly enjoyed.



650



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



Roman Catholic priests who were murdered or deported by Chek-
ists. These photographs are from a publication of the Riga* Roman
Catholic Curia. The author of this i)ublication, Rev. A. Piebalgs, did
not succeed in escaping the second Soviet invasion and was sentenced
for this publication to 10 years at hard labor.



Exhibit 11-A




Rev. Vladislavs Litaunieks

Roman Catholic parson of parish ViSlti.
Born 1909. A great idealist, he was a
very active and fiery Latvian patriot,
imposing in all his undertakings. Was
admirably successful in regard to
anti-Bolslievistic activities while as-
signed to work as a priest at Indra. .1
parish on the very border of Latvia
and Soviet Russia.





The Martyr Vladislavs Litaunieks

Victim of Cheka, shortly before his death.
He was a dangerous opponent of the
Bolshevists. They arrested him, in-
humanly tortured, convicted, and mur-
dered him in the prison of Daugavpils,
June 21, 1941. He was found with
a crown of barbed wire around his
head and a cross burned on his chest
by a burning iron.





Rev. Stanislavs Kai'acis

Roman Catholic parson of parish Zosna.
Born 1912. A young pciest, very ideal-
istic and an active fighter against the
Bolslievists. The Communists caught
him and jailed him during winter
1940-41. They tortured him liorrl-
bly and murdered him in i)rlson.



Rev. Kazimirs'^tuods

The Roman Catholic parson of Mezvidi.
Born 19<l(). He was steadfast, con-
stant and unchangeable as a priest.
He was hated by the local Commu-
nists. They applied to him their usual
method : arrest and torture, they
brought him out to the woods near
Kaunata and killed him there.



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



651





Rev. Eduards Bekehs
Roman Catholic parson, vicar of narish
Okra. Born 1S94. The maiTi line of
his nature vpas to tell everything
straight to a person he thought of
him or her. Therefore the ofiicials of
the regime didn't like him. The Bol-
shevists arrested him, and 3 days later,
July 3, 1941, brought him out to woods
and killed him there.



Rev. Vitalijs Pa§keviOs

RnmaTi Catholic priest-missionary ai
Kraslava. Born 1S82. This priest
was working his life through in the
Soviet Russia, many times arrested and
sentenced ; put into labor camps. By
a special exchange agreement between
Latvian Government and Soviet Russia
he was allowed to leave Soviet Russia
and to go to Latvia. He was assigned
to Kraslava, and stayed there as one
of the most self-denying priests. June
30, 1941, the Communists catched him
while praying in the church, applied
to him terrible tortures and killed him.




Rev. Sigismunds Tabore

retired Roman Catholic priest at
Kraslava. Born 1870. He was a
French citizen, but he excelled as a
zealous and self-denying priest among
the Latvians. Early morning, June
30, while in church, he was caught by
the Communists, inhumanly tortured
and killed.




Mr. Zakristijans O. Vilmanis

The devoted guardian of St. Donatus
pilgrimage chapel in church at Kras-
lava. Was arrested together with the
Rev. V. Pa§kevi(!s and Rev. S. Tabare
while praying in the church. He has
been extremely brutally tortured and
killed on June 30, 1941. Mr. Vilmanis
was a brilliant and exemplary young
Christian man.



652



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION
Exhibit 11-K





Rev. Jazeps Pudans, S. J.

Was arrested and deported Jime 13, 1941.
Born 1003. He was a splendid scholar,
educated with illustrious universities
abroad. Was rector of parish and
famous church at Ilukste. Active and
energetic, very influential and popular,
he was naturally one of the most hated
priests by the Bolshevists.



Rev. Peteris ApSenieks

Roman Catholic parson of parish Balti-
nava. Arrested by the Bolshevists on
June 13, 1941, and most certainly
killed. Born 1887. He was a very
industrious priest and (juite unusually
fruitful religious author and i)oet. He
meant spiritual danger to the Commu-
nists.




Rev. Anto.n'.s Lopatexoks

Roman Catholic parson of i)arishes at
Elerna and Eglaine. Born 1007. He
was opponent to the Red regime. The
trickery the Reds applied against him
was this : they spread news that he
was a huligan, summoned him to Com-
munist court, and sentenced him to 18
montlis of confinement, bringing him
out to a labor camp on the very coast
of the White Sea, where there is no
return from.




Rev. Janis Zuks

Acting Roman Catholic parson of a
maritime parish Sloka. He was one of
the Roman Catholic priests highly
revered in Byelorussia, where he did
work long years up to Bolshevistic
revolution. Because of his resistance
activities he was persecuted by the
Bolshevists and e.\pelled from Byelo-
russia. He managed to escape to
Latvia. However, .Tune 13, 1941, he
was caught l)y the Bolshevists anyway,
and deported to Russia.



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



653




SOME OF THE CHUECHES (ROMAN CATHOLIC) DESTROYED BY THE BOLSHEVISTS

Center : The newly constructed church at Rezekne with the famous monument of Liberation
of the Eastern Latvia in front of it, which was destroyed too. Roman Catholic high
school for girls at Jaunaglona. The chapel was demolated and destroyed. So was
destroyed the Roman Catholic chapel of the Roman Catholic Theological Seminary at
Riga.

Left side : Some churches destroyed by the Bolshevists in Latvia : Rageli, Izvalta, Kras-
lava, OzolmuiZa — the last one was transformed into a dancing hall by the new Communist
administration.

Right side : Some churches destroyed by the Bolshevists in Latvia : Dagda, Piedruja,
Nautrani, and the chapel of the Roman Catholic Archbishop with the Church of St.
Mary Magdalaine at Riga, which was closed and offered by the Bolshevist officials to a
theater, to be opened as a ballet stage there.



52975 — 54 — pt. 1-



-43



654



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



Exhibit 13




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MAP of LITHUANIA
OCCUPATION by USSR

15 Jurj.,1940

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654 BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



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657



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658



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



Exhibit 14-D




BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



659



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660



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BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



661



Exhibit 14-G




662



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION




BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



663



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664



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BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



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52975 — 54 — pt. 1 44



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672 BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION

Exhibit 16

[Rubber stamp entry on page 1 in Lithuanian and Russian LSSR County Committee of
NKVD, City of Sianliai :]

Received June 7, 1941

Incoming Number 24

steictly secret

Instructions Regarding the Manner of Conducting the Deportation of the
Anti-Soviet Elements From Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia

1. general situation

The deportation of anti-Soviet elements from tlie Baltic States is a task of
great political importance. Its successful execution depends upon the extent to
which the county operative triumvirates and operative headquarters are capable
of carefully working out a plan for executing the operations and of foreseeing in
advance all indispensable factors. Moreover, the basic premise is that the
operations should be conducted without noise and panic, so as not to permit any
demonstrations and other excesses not only by the deportees, but also by a cer-
tain part of the surrounding population inimically inclined toward the Soviet
administration.

Instructions regarding the manner of conducting the operations are described
below. They should be adhered to, but in individual cases the collaborators
conducting the operations may and should, depending upon the peculiarity of



Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Select committee oBaltic States investigation. [First interim report] (Volume pt. 1) → online text (page 74 of 75)