United States. Congress. House. Select committee o.

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

. (page 19 of 75)
Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Select committee oBaltic States investigation. [First interim report] (Volume pt. 1) → online text (page 19 of 75)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

Mr. LuDiG. Yes ; with some assistants.

Mr. Machrowicz. And that was at a time that the Russians were
trying to maintain the fiction that Estonia was really independent?

Mr. LuDiG. That is right.

Mr. Machrowicz. Yet the questioning was not conducted by
Estonians but by Russians?

Mr. LuDiG. Exclusively by Russians.

Mr. DoDD. Sergeant, do you know now whether or not you were
reported as a captive after you were captured ?

Sergeant Morar. Not for quite some time, sir.

Mr. DoDD. How long ; do you know ?

Sergeant Morar. Oh, not until the initial list was turned over in
December. They always threw^ that up in our face, too. Often during
my incerrogation I was told, "Nobody knows you are a captive." In
other v;ords, they just said that they could go ahead and do with me
what they liked, and nobody would know.

When we were repatriated, on the way down to be repatriated,
somebody told one of the chiefs about Stalin dying and said, "Wliat
is the matter with the great Russian scientists that they couldn't keep
the old boy alive '^ They are so great and they should be able to keep
him alive, but he has passed on." This man replied, "Maybe it is a
good thing now to pray to Stalin instead of God." The Chink told
him, "You must remember that you are not home yet."

On the day that they told us the armistice had been signed we were
told that, if we did anything, if we violated any rules, we would be
sentenced and we would serve the sentence regardless of the fact that
the armistice had been signed. Their rules are something like tliis
article 58 or 85 that I heard, that rules governing the conduct of
prisoners was anything from 5 days to death. It was just at the dis-
cretion of whoever was making up his mind as to what it would be.
I mean, it wasn't written as a law should be written. It w^as just for
breathing at the wrong time. If it was against regulations, you would
have a hostile attitude. I often got stood at attention for a hostile
attitude. They made up the rules as they went along, the most lying,
deceitful people I have ever seen.

Mr. DoDu. Were you told before you were sent on a mission what
you might expect if you were captured by these people, or did you
have an idea that they would abide by the general rules of land
warfare ?

Sergeant ]\Iorar. It was my own personal knowledge of the
orientals from the Second World War when I was in the Pacific.

Mr. DoDD. You had had some experience with it ?

Sergeant Morar. Yes. So I knew what to ex])ect, more or less.

Mr. I^ODD. Let me ask you this, if you know : Was the average man
in the Air Force or the Army aware of what he was up against or did
he believe that he was facing an enemy who would behave well
anyway ?


Sergeant Morar. I really don't believe I am in a position to say.
I can say what I know of my own personal things.

Mr. DoDD. For example, were you allowed to write letters to your
family '(

Sergeant Mor-vr. Oh, certainly — you mean before I was captured?

Mr. DoDD. Xo, 1 mean after you were captured.

Sergeant Morar. Oh, no; not for a long time, not until January
of 1952. Initially I requested permission to write to my wife and
let her know that I was alive, and they said, "Sure, go ahead, but you
write to General Ridgway also." I told them I couldn't write to
General Ridgway. They wanted me to write and tell him to stop the
war, etc.

Consequently I didn't write to General Ridgway nor did I write to
my wife. I wrote a letter, but they wouldn't take it. They said,
^'When you write to General Ridgway, we will mail both letters to-
gether." They wouldn't let me and I never did get to write one until
J got up to the Yalu River.

Mr. DoDD. Just one other question. Was there any attempt made to
wage a kind of psychological warfare on you? I don't know that
that is exactly the way to put it. Let me explain what I mean.
Were your questioners or your captors ever trying to tell you stories
about what was going on, let us say, in the United States of an adverse
nature, to worry you or disturb you or anything of that kind?

Sergeant Morar. Oh, yes, they always told us that, stories that
the average American family, because of war losses and everything,
was in a turmoil, that the average family in America had to save up
all year to buy a coat; that all the families in America were only
eating meat once a week ; they had to save their money during the
week so they could eat meat once a week — things like that.

Mr. DoDD. Did they ever ask you any questions about your family ?

Sergeant Morar. Yes, sir, they tried. I told them I had no family.

Mr. DoDD. Right in this court building there was a famous spy
case that was tried here involving the Rosenbergs. Did you ever
hear about that while you were a captive ?

Sergeant Morar. Well, to quote it, I will say that they referred to it
as "The legal lynching of a glorious pair of peace fighters." That is
the way they brought it out. We would always read letters that some
Outer Mongolian Association had written demanding the release of
the Rosenbergs. The Daily Worker followed it very closely too.

Mr. DoDD. Thank you very much.

Mr. Kersten". Sergeant, did you happen to read the Daily Worker
version of the Korean war; that is, how they described the Korean
war in the Daily Worker and what was going on, and so on? Do
you remember reading about that?

Sergeant Morar. Yes, sir.

Mr. Kersten. How did that version accord with the facts as you
were experiencing them?

Sergeant Morar. Well, in prison camp we weren't experiencing
too much; we didn't know what was going on. They kept us com-
pletely blacked out.

Mr. Kersten. Yes, of course, but I mean that was completely carry-
ing out the Communist line, was it not ?

Sergeant Morar, Definitely.


Mr. Kersten. And all the news yon got from America was, I sup-
pose, either via that or what the Communists there told you ; is that
correct ?

Sergeant Morar. That is correct. Even the Daily Worker, regard-
less of where this news originates it is the same; you can spot it.
They use the same phraseology, the same verbiage and everything,
whether it comes from Russia or Pakistan or Britain. If it comes
from the party it is the same thing.

Mr. Kersten. The same line whether it is in Russia, Britain, or
the United States.

Sergeant Morar. Yes, sir.

Mr. Kersten. If it is a Commie party line ; it is the same ; is that

Sergeant Morar. Yes, sir.

Mr. Kersten. When you were sent into this hole what about your
limbs ; were they in any way tied ?

Sergeant Morar, Initially, no.

Mr. Kersten, After a while?

Sergeant Mor.\r. Then when I was beaten I was tied.

Mr. Kersten. You were tied at that time.

Sergeant Morar. Yes, sir.

Mr. Kersten. From your experience with these Communist inter-
rogators and the Communist people that were around you there, what
is your impression of the Communist way of life?

Sergeant Morar. Well, from the personal experience I had with it,
as I understand it, it was the most deceitful, lying thing I had ever
seen. The minions of communism were liars and cheats; anything
for the party. No lie is too great, no deceit too foul for the party or
for them. In fact I think it got to a point where they would rather
tell a lie than tell the truth.

Mr. Kersten. Would you place any kind of reliance whatsoever on
the word of a Communist, big or little ?

Sergeant Morar, No, sir; I wouldn't. I wouldn't put that much
[snapping his finger] faith in what a Communist said.

Mr. Kersten. Written agreements, whether he swore on a stack of
Bibles or took several oaths?

Sergeant Morar. Oaths mean nothing to them because, as I say,
they are atheistic. That means nothing to them. The party is all-
powerful. Everything is for the party. They would even swear
upon their honor as a Communist about something, and then turn
around and do something else because they figured the party would
benefit. They are a lying, deceitful, cheating bunch of people. I am
just sorry that I didn't get to do more before I got shot down. I got
in a little trouble telling them that. That is exactly the way I feel
about it. I wouldn't have no more qualms about killing them than

Mr, Kersten. Do you think the American people fully realize just
what kind of people these Communists are?

Sergeant Morar, Obviously not. I do not think that the majority
of them do. Some do, undoubtedly. This is my opinion and it does
not reflect anybody else's opinion, but I don't think that the average
American knows enough about America let alone know about some
force that is trying to break up America. It is pitiful what people
don't know about their own country.


Mr. KIersten. Do you think that good Americanism and an appre-
ciation of what we have in America here is very important for all of
us, particularly our youth?

Sergeant Morar. Yes, sir. I don't think that we have to fear any-
thing; that we should be what we are supposed to be and stand for
what we are supposed to stand for, what our people have always
stood for, our Constitution, what it guarantees.

We don't have anything to fear. There is nobody on earth that
we have to be scared of. We don't have to be scared of anybody ; just,
by God, be Americans, and that's all. It doesn't take any super

Mr. Kersten. Mr. Ludig, would you place any reliance on the
word of a Communist from your experiences with them?

Mr. Ludig. No, sir, I wouldn't believe them, a single w^ord.

Mr. Kersten. I3ig or little.

Mr. Ludig. That is right. You read in the papers about some con-
ference that is going to take place again. May I ask you, what kind
of a conference or what kind of agreements have the Russians kept in
the past ? To the best of my knowledge they didn't keep a single one.

You are speaking to me as a former national of Estonia. Well, the
independence of Estonia was guaranteed by the peace treaty, by solemn
agTeements of commerce and friendship, and things like that. What
has happened to them all ? The whole thing was a lie.

Mr. Kersten. I certainly want to thank both of you gentlemen.
I think you have demonstrated here that there is a Communist pattern
which is the same as it was back in 1940 when they took over the small
Baltic nations of Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, and the other nations,
Poland and other countries of Eastern Europe since that time, and
now China and Korea. I think you have demonstrated rather clearly
from your testimony that the pattern is the same from that time until
now and will continue to be the same as long as there is communism.

Are here any other questions ?

Mr. Madden. I would like to make one comment. In regard to the
remarks made by the chairman and both of you gentlemen regarding
the Communist line, it has been proven time and time again that the
Communist leaders, from Stalin, Malenkov down, have absolutely no
regard for the truth.

I think the most glaring demonstration of that was when they found
the mass graves of 4,000 Polish officers in the spring of 1943 at Katyn.
The German radio announced it to the world. Immediately Moscow,
the Communist radio and Pravda came out and stated that those Pol-
ish prisoners were massacred by Hitler and the Germans when they
took over the Katyn area in August 1941, that when the Germans came
in there they immediately massacred these Polish prisoners.

Well, when they discovered the fact — their minds in the Kremlin
were evidently not quick enough to think of it — that all these bodies
had winter clothing on them, heavy overcoats, heavy shoes and heavy
socks and so on, underclothing, it occured to them that they couldn't
have been massacred in August 1941. So they immediately changed
it to December 1941.

So truth does not enter into the picture with the Communist leaders
at all. They will say anything that will suit their own convenience,
and that is one of the outstanding demonstrations of how they can lie.


I want to join with the chairman in stating that both of you gen-
tlemen, along with the others who testified before this committee liave
paid a great penalty, you have paid a great deal in suffering toward
the future liberty of not only countries under subjugation but also
keeping countries that now have their liberty free.

The information and testimony you are offering here will be brought
to the minds of millions that the Communist conspiracy, the Com-
munist leaders of Soviet Russia are nothing but a gang of criminal,
barbaric conspirators, trying to control the world, and no set of ty-
rants has ever been able to rule the world or rule any country very
long by murder and massacre and prison camps.

Mr. Kersten. Sergeant, I want to ask you this question. Did you
have any contact at all with any of the boys or any of those of the
prisoners who supposedly refused to come back and be repatriated ?

Sergeant Morar. Not personal contact, sir. Back in 1951 I saw
some of them. I didn't know them.

Mr. Kersten. Considering the type of long, devious, cruel treat-
ment and brain washing that you were subjected to along with others,
it is probably not surprising that a few of them would succumb to
that ; is that probably true ?

Sergeant Morar. The percentage was extremely small to the total
number captured. I would like not to have had any, however, but 1
think it is about the right figure in a group that large that would suc-
cumb to that sort of thing due to whatever the circumstances might
be. Why they did it, I don't know ; I am not prepared to say.

Mr. Kersten. Again, gentlemen, we want to thank you, and we
think you have contributed a great deal to the work of this commmit-
tee. Thank you.

We have a witness with a very short statement to make, Dr. Leetaru,
and then we have one more witness after that.


Mr. Kersten. You solemnlj^ swear you will tell the truth, the whole
trutli, and nothing but the truth, so help you God ?

Dr. Leetaru. I do.

Mr. Kersten. Have a chair, please.

Mr. McTiGUE. Will you identify yourself. Doctor?

Dr. Leetaru. My name is Edmund Leetaru — L-e-e-t-a-r-u. I was
born on March 20, 1910, in Tallinn, Estonia.

Mr. McTiGUE. Where were you educated ?

Dr. Leetaru. I was educated in Estonia at the University Tartu,
where I got my medical degree in 1935.

Mr. McTiGUE. Are you a practicing physician in the city of New
York ?

Dr. Leetaru. Yes, I am a duly licensed physician in New York

Mr. McTiouE. Were you in Estonia at the tiuie the Comnmnists
occupied the country?

Dr. Leetaru. Yes; I was, sir.

Mr. JMcTiGUE. What did you do during the period of Soviet occu-

Dr. Leetaru. Before that I worked as a physician, and during tlio-
time of occupation 1 also worked as a physician.


Mr. McTiGUE. In July 1941, when the Soviets left, do you recall
an incident that happened ?

Dr. Leetaru. Yes. Before that my sister was deported to Siberia,
and they ordered that I be arrested, and so when I heard of it I fled
to the capital city of Tallinn where I worked a few weeks, and then I
went to Tartu. There I hired out with my friends.

When the Germans invaded Estonia, they took half of the town
of Tartu. Tartu is divided by a river on the south and northern part.
I just happened to be in the department of health. That was about
July 9 or 10. I don't remember the exact date.

Uv. McTiGUE. Of 1941 ?

Dr. Leetaru. Of 1941. Then we got the information that the Com-
munists had massacred several hundred people in the prison. Then
the chief of the department — that means the former chief — when
the Germans came he ordered a conmiittee to investigate the rumors.
The conmiittee was formed and had five members. I was included
because I was outside, from Tallin — there was nobody else there; I
was the only one at tliat time.

And so we started to investigate the murders in the prison.

Mr. MgTigue. How many members of this committee?

Dr. Leetaru. The committee consisted of five members.

Mr. jMcTigue. Were they professional men?

Dr. Leetaru. They have been all physicians. The chairman was
a former professor of judicial medicine at the university.

Mr. Kersten. Wasn't there a Lutheran pastor there at about the
same time, too ?

Dr. Leetaru. Oli, the Lutheran pastor was among the murdered.

Mr. Kersten. There was a Lutheran pastor murdered, but wasn't
there one that survived who was also there who assisted in the burial?

Dr. Leetaru. Maybe because that was in two parts. The commit-
tee worked in the |)rison yard and the bodies had been taken to the
cemetery. Maybe the pastor was there.

Mr. Kersten. At the cemetery ?

Dr. Leetaru. Yes; because we hadn't too much time to look because
we had been all the time under artillery fire.

Mr. Kersten. I just mentioned that because I happen to have talked
to that Lutheran pastor over in London, and he also told about the
Lutheran pastor who was murdered there.

Dr. Leetaru. Yes; that is true. I recollect this gentleman, Tauler.

Mr. Kersten. Pastor Tauler.

Dr. Leetaru. Yes; I didn't recollect at the moment.

Mr. McTiGuii. Where did the commission find the corpses?

Dr. Leetaru. The corpses have been in the prison yard.

Mr. McTigue. What prison yard ?

Dr. Leetaru. That was the prison yard of Tartu. They had been
covered with earth, with loose earth, and then we digged out the pris-
oners. They digged out altogether between 190 to 200 corpses. But
there was also, I have to mention, a well — an old-fashioned well — in the
prison yard. They digged out about 16 or 18 corpses from this well.

Mr. McTigue. How many were men and how many were women?

Dr. Leetaru. About 70 to 75 percent of the corpses we saw were
men and the rest were women.

Mr. McTigue. Were there any children ?

Dr. Leetaru. I don't recollect any.


Mr. McTiGUE. Did you examine the women ?

Dr. Leetaru. We did examine all the corpses in the purpose to
make sure the cause of death. About the women, the younger
women, their underclothes we missed, and many of the younger
women had their dresses torn. We then examined them more closely,
and we saw quite a few of them had broken fingers and hands, of
these younger women. We got at that time the impression that they
had been attacked criminally.

Mr. McTiGUE. Were the men shot?

Dr. Leetaru. The men had been mostly shot, mostly on the neck,
on the back of the skull, but quite a few had also on the face bullet
shots, but several didn't have any bullet holes at all; their heads
had been crushed. Quite a few corpses which we took out from the
well didn't have any violation marks at all, but we didn't have time
to perform autopsies, so we couldn't make the test if they had been
drowned or not.

Mr. McTiGUE. Did your examination show anything with reference
to the time that they may have been killed ?

Dr. Leetaru. Yes. As I mentioned before, several of these corpses
showed the marks of crushed skulls, but quite a few, besides these
women I mentioned before, showed fractures of legs and hands too,
mostly just legs.

Mr, McTiGUE. How long did you remain in Estonia, Doctor?

Dr. Leetaru. I remained until September 14, 1944.

Mr. McTigue. Where did you go from Estonia ?

Dr. Leetaru. From Estonia I went to Germany.

Mr. McTigue. Did you subsequently emigrate to the United States?

Dr. Leetaru. I emigrated to this country in March 1949.

Mr. McTigue. Since that time you have been a practicing physician
in the city of New York ?

Dr. Leetaru. The first 2 years I worked at hospitals, but about 3
years now I am licensed as a physician.

Mr. McTigue. Thank you. Doctor.

Mr. Kersten. Mr. Bentley.

Mr. Bentley. Did you say that you had been able to identify many
of these people ?

Dr. Leetaru. I personally knew 3 or 4 of these people, but I remem-
ber we could identify about 120 or 130 of the corpses, but the rest
remained unidentified.

Mr. Bentley. Of those that you were able to identify, generally
who were they. Government people ?

Dr. Leetaru. I can't swear to that, but I remember I personally
saw this pastor. Then I knew personally an actress, a writer, a
teacher, but fellow members recognized a few police officers. Then
they recognized a few businessmen, and also I personally recog-
nized a farmer, a friend of mine. His brother was killed and, there-
fore, I knew this farmer.

Mr. Bentley. Were you present during Mr. Grantskalns' testimony
this morning?

Dr. Leetaru. Yes ; I was.

Mr. Benixey. The circumstances of the causes of death and the
type of people who were killed are quite similar, aren't they?

Dr. Leetaru. Yes ; I couldn't make any difference.

Mr. Bentley. Thank you.


Mr. Kersteist. No questions from anybody ?

That was right after — this was how long after the Soviets left

Dr. Leetaru. That was I guess 24 hours or 48 hours later, when
we started the investigation.

Mr. Kersten. In other words, they left, the NKVD left, and then
shortly thereafter, a day or two, you were examining these bodies ?

Dr. Leetaru. Yes, Mr. Chairman.

Mr. Kersten. These were the bodies that they had left behind ?

Dr. Leetaru. That they had left behind and that they had murdered
within a short time before they left.

Mr. Kersten. They were all political prisoners as far as you were
able to see ?

Dr. Leetaru. I don't know.

Mr. Kersten. They are not ordinary criminals ?

Dr. Leetaru. No.

Mr. Kersten. So under the Soviet system the good people or the
leadership of the good people are brutally, barbarously murdered in
this way and the criminals are released from jail and put into author-
ity ; that is the way it turned out there, isn't it ?

Dr. Leetaru. That's the principle, sir.

Mr. Kersten. That's the principle of communism, isn't it ?

Dr. Leetaru. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Tlie new way of living ?

Dr. Leetaru. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Thank you.

Mr. Kersten. Dr. Devenis.


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

Dr. Devenis. I do.

Mr. Kersten. Have a chair, Doctor ?

Mr. McTiGUE. Doctor, will you identify yourself ?

Dr. Devenis. I am Mykolas Devenis — D-e-v-e-n-i-s. I was born on
May 1, 1891, in Lithuania, came to the United States in 1914, and was
graduated from Yale Medical School in 1919, and I practiced medicine
in Waterbury, Conn., from 1919 up until 1932, except for a few short
visits to Lithuania. Then in 1932 I went to Lithuania. I was caught
during the Communist occupation and was arrested — not exactly
arrested, I would say I was kidnaped — on July 22, 1940. The Red
Secret Police, armed, came to my place under pretext to search for

Mr. Kersten. Where were you at that time, Doctor ?

Dr. Devenis. I was in Ukmerge, near Ukmerge, which is about 3I/2
miles from my farm. I had a farm there and I lived on the farm.

Mr. McTiGUE. You were in the city at the time ?

Dr. Devenis. No ; I was on my farm about 214 miles from Ukmerge.
There was stationed the Red Army, and they had NKVD headquarters

Mr. Kersten. You were an American citizen ?

Dr. Devenis. Yes ; I was naturalized in 1920.

Mr. Kersten. And you still are an American citizen ?

52975 — 34 — pt. 1 11


Dr. Devenis. Yes, all the while. I didn't lose my American citizen-

Mr, Kersten. Go right ahead now.

Dr. Devenis. I emphasis the fact that I was not arrested but rather
kidnaped because I didn't have a formal warrant and no accusation.
The armed men came in my place under pretext of searching for fire-
arms. Then after a cursory search they said, "You come to police
headquarters for half an hour and you then come back." They forced
me to take my car there, and I went there and didn't come back for 2

Mr, McTiGUE. Did you show them your American passport?

Dr. Devenis. Yes, and I told them

Mr. McTiGUE, What did they say about that ?

Dr. Devenis. I told them that I was an American citizen. They
just laughed, "You think that you are an American citizen and that
you can't be arrested ?"

Mr. McTiGUE. They said it didn't make any difference whether you
were an American citizen ?

Dr. Devenis. Yes, that it didn't make any difference whether you
are an American citizen or a Lithuanian citizen, and I should empha-
size the fact that those were not Lithuanian secret police but were Rus-
sians. One Lithuanian man was an interpreter, but I spoke better
Russian than he did, so they didn't use the interpreter.

Online LibraryUnited States. Congress. House. Select committee oBaltic States investigation. [First interim report] (Volume pt. 1) → online text (page 19 of 75)