United States. Congress. House. Select committee o.

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

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they were placed in different groups.

Mr. Kersten. Did you notice whether they were placed this way
by the Russian soldiers ?

The AViTNESS. Yes. They were directed by the Russian soldiers.

Mr. Kersten. Were the Russian soldiers armed with their guns?

The Witness. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Did they have bayonets on them ?

The Witness. Yes.

Air. Kersten. And after the people were placed in these cars, did
you notice anything in particular?

The Witness. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. AVhat did you notice ?

The AVitness. I have seen — it was a very hot day, and then the rain
came, and female hands were stretched out from those barbed wire
windows, and they were collecting drops of the rain.

Mr. Kersten. Doing what with the drops of the rain?

The AA'iTNESS. They pulled those inside the cars to drink.

Mr. Kersten. To drink?

The AViTNESs. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Did you notice any children at the windows ?

The AViTNESS. Those small slit windows were high up to the car,
and I could not see. I could only see female hands and arms.

Mr. Kersten. Did you have some other people trying to prepare
some food for these people in the cattle cars ?

The AViTNESS. Yes; when we saw that scene we all cried and we
prepared some sandwiches and hot coffee.

Mr. Kersten. AA'^here did you prepare these sandwiches and coffee ?

The AA'^iTNEss. In our office.

Mr. Kersten. And what did you do then with the sandwiches and
hot coffee ?

The AAVtness. Two girls walked out toward the cars, and they
wanted to distribute those sandwiches to the people inside the cars,
but the Russians saw that they are leaving the building with sand-
wiches, and they began to beat them up and kick them up.

Mr. Kersten. Who did tlie Russian soldiers begin to kick?

The Witness. Those girls who were carrying the sandwiches.

Mr. Kersten. AAHiat happened to these girls then ?


The Witness. They came back all blue, and ciying, and we hid
them away.

Mr. Kersten. Were they able to get any sandwiches or coffee
through to the people stuffed in the cattle cars ?

The Witness. We thought that they would be able to do that, but
they came back all beaten up.

Mr. Kersten. Well, were they able to get any of this food through
to the people in the cars ?

The Witness. No.

Mr. Kersten. As I understand it, then, the Russian guards kicked
them away ; is that right ?

The Witness. Yes, they kicked them away. They beat them up,
and kicked them away.

Mr. Kersten. How long, to your thinking, did these cattle cars
remain there on the tracks with the people in them ?

The Witness. I think 2 or 3 days.

Mr. Kersten. And all this time so far as you knt)w, without any
food and water?

The Witness. No (shaking head).

Mr. Kersten. Meaning that there was no food or water, so far as
you know.

The Witness. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. You say there were about 50 ©f these cars that you

The Witness. Yes, about.

Mr. Kersten. On this one occasion ?

The Witness. Yes ; then after a while some other cars arrived and
they filled those cars with people.

Mr. Kersten. What is that ?

The Witness. And then after a while other cars arrived and they
filled those cars with people.

Mr. Kersten. This is just one train that you are telling about ?
Was the same situation true of other trains?

The Witness. Yes.

Mr. Kers'it:n. About how many trains did you happen to see
brought out of the station there?

The Witness. About three.

Mr. Kersten. Three trains with a large number of cattle cars in
each one?

The Witness. In each one, more or less, 20 or 30 people, I tliink.

Mr. Kersten. In each car?

The Witness. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. You previously stated you thought there were about
50 cars?

The AViTNESs. Fifty cars in each train.

Mr. Kersten. You think about 50 cars in each train; is that right?

The Witness. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. And they were all cattle cai^s in each train; is that
right ?

The Witness. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. And those people, from y(^ui" understanding, were
all sent to Siberia; weren't tliey?

T]ic Witness. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. And many of them you knew?


The WiTXESs. Yes,

Mr. Kerstex. And liave you ever heard from any of your friends
since ?

The Witness. Nothing.

Mr. Kerstex. And all the people that you knew there, were they
good i^eople or criminals?

The WiTXESs. From m}' point of view they were all good people;
mostly Catholic and good people, educated people.

Mr. Kerstex. Lithuania is almost completely Catholic; is it not?

The Witxess. Yes.

Mr. Kersi'ex. And can you think of those people on their own
choice ever wanting the Communists to come into their country?

The Witness. No.

Mr. Kerstex. Now, as I understand it, Madame Witness, you do
not wish your identity known because you have relatives in Lithuania ;
is that correct ?

The Witxess. Yes,

Mr. Kerstex. And you know how Communists act and that some-
times they try to make it bad for one's relatives ; is that not right?

The Witness. Yes, very bad.

Mr. Kersten. Congressman Madden?

Mr. Madden. Madame Witness, when the Baltic Committee opened
its hearings in Washington a week ago, Monday, during those hear-
ings two women testified who were taken to Siberia in cattle cars such
as you described.

I do not know whether they described the construction or the ap-
pearance of the ventilation in these cars. Could you give an idea
what windows, if any, were in these cars, where the air could get into
these cars? Could you give a description of that?

The Witxess. A small window there was and the window remained
mostly shut, and the cover was wrapped in barbed wire.

Mr. Madden. As I understand it there are two small windows up
toward the top.

The Witness. I don't know ; I saw just the one little window.

Mr. Madden. I might state for the record, Mr. Chainnan, that if

1 remember right one of these women that testified in Washington
was from Estonia, and Estonia is almost predominantly a Lutheran-
Protestant country.

Mr. Kersi'en. That is right.

Mr. Madden. And the same method was used out of Estonia and
Latvia as was used out of Lithuania in transporting prisoners out to
Siberia, and the testimony of these 2 women in Washington stated
that 1 car this lady was in had 43 people and after 3 days without
food they had to remove several women from the car in order to get

2 kettles of black bread and soup into the car.

IVfr. Kerstex. Yes.

Mr. Madden. And that in the car she was in there were 37 women
and about 8 or 9 children, in this particular car that this 1 woman who
testified in Washington was in.

It was also testified in W^ashington and I think also in either New
York or Detroit that Lithuania at that time had an estimated popula-
tion of 3,300,000 and there were only 1,800 Communist in the country.

Mr. Kersten. That is right.
r.i.".t7ri — 54 — pt. 1 30


Mr. Madden. That was in 1939 and 2 years after, in 19-1:1 out of a
population of 3,300,000 there were only 2,100 Communists, after 2
years, and most of those additional Communists came in from Russia,
those 400 additional ones, which merely reveals the fact that the
organized terror of the Communists — although in Lithuania there
were 3,300,000, those 2,000 got control of Lithuania.

Mr. Kersten. And in getting this control they were successful in
wrenching from their homes and sending them into permanent exile
several hundred thousand of the people, of the citizenry of these de-
fenseless nations.

Mr. Madden, That is right ; that is all.

Mr. Kebsi'en. Mr. Machrowicz?

Mr. Machrowicz. No questions.

Mr. Kersten. Congressman Dodd?

Mr. Dodd. No questions.

Mr. Kersten. Thank you, Madame Witness.

The Witness. Thank you for your kindness.

Mr. Kersten. Sister Alexandra, please.

Mr. Jurgela, will you come over to the witness stand and help the
witness, please?

Wil you raise your right hand

I am sorry. Just one minute, Mr. Photographer.

A Photographer. Yes, sir.

Mr. Kersten. The Sisters here have requested, because of a rule
of their order, that no pictures be taken. They do not desire any photo-
graphs, and I would like to respect that request.

The Photogrx\pher. O. K.

Mr. Kersten. Thank you. It is a rule of their order.

Now will you rise, please?

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

Sister Alexander. I do.


Mr. Kersten. Your name is Sister Maria Alexandra?

Mr. Kersten. Mr. Jurgela, will you move that silver microphone a
little closer so the witness' voice w411 carry.

Just lean forward a little bit.

That is spelled A-1-e-x-a-n-d-r-a?

Sister Alexandra. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. And the first name is spelled M-a-r-i-a?

Sister Alexandra. Yes.

Mr. Kersten, And you are presently a member of a religious com-
munity here in Chicago, are you ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. What is the name of your religious community?

Sister Alexandra. The Sisters of St. Casimir.

Mr. Kersten. And what is the address of your convent?

Sister Alexandra. West Marquette Road.

Mr. Kersten. 2G01 West Marquette Road, is that right?

Sister ALEXANDiiA. Yes, that is right.


Mr. Kersten. About liow many Sisters are located there at the
present time ?

Sister Alexandra. Now, about — I don't know, really.

Mr. Kersten. Just approximately?

Sister Alexandr.'i. About 40, 1 think.

Mr. Kersten. About 40 ?

Sister Alexandra. About 40.

Mr. Kersten. And there is a girl's high school close by, is that not
right ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Conducted by your order?

Sister Alexandra. Not far away.

Mr. Kersten. Within a block or two?

Sister Alexandra. Yes ; one block.

Mr. Kersten. And that is the Maria High School?

Sister Alexandra. The Maria High School.

Mr. Kersten. That is a high school for girls?

Sister Alexandra. Yes, for girls.

Mr. Kersten. And most of the nuns of your order are of Lithuanian
background ; is that correct ?

Sister Alexandra. All of them are Lithuanian.

Mr. Kersten. You say all of them are ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Sister, were you born in Lithuania ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes, sir.

Mr. Kersten. Were you in Lithuania when the Communists camo
in 1940?

Sister Alexandra. Yes, I was in Lithuania.

Mr. Kersten. What was the name of the city or town that you
were in ?

Sister Alexandra. Not far away from Kaunas, close to Kaunas.

Mr. Keksten. What was the name — was it a suburb of Kaunas?

Sister Alexandra. Yes, a suburb.

Mr. Kersten. Sister, I think it might be better — it might be easier
for Sister Alexandra if you just stated your answers in Lithuanian
and Mr. Jurgela can answer it in English. Will that be satisfactory ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Then you speak right up, Mr. Jurgela.

Were you a nun at that time when the Communists came ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. xVnd what w^as your occupation ?

Sister Ai^xandra. I was a teacher in school.

Mr. Kersten. Who did you teach ?

Sister Alexandra. The children in kindergarten.

Mr. Kersten. What were the ages?

Sister Alexandra. From 3 to 7.

Mr. Kersten. And when the Communists came, did the sisters
change their religious garb ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. To a regular secular dress, such as women would wear

Sister Alexandra. Yes.


Mr. Kersten. And did the Communists come into your school and
take over the direction of it?

Sister Alexandra. Oh, yes.

Mr. Kersten. Did you have some talks with the Communists in
charge ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes, they told us how to teach the children.
There is no God. That Stalin is God, and all people must revere him
as a god, and to pray to him and sing hymns composed in his honor.

Mr. Kersten. You mean to Stalin?

Sister Alexandra. Yes, to Stalin.

Mr. Kersten. Well, what did you do ?

Sister Alexandra. Just the same. I taught children about God.
I show them pictures of Lenin and Stalin that we had in the school^
but I did not say anything about it regarding them.

Mr. Kersten. Was there a crucifix in your classroom?

Sister Alexandra. Yes, prior to that. When the Russians came in
they told us to remove the crucifix, and to hang the picture of Stalin.

Mr. Kersten. And did the Communist agent come into your school-
room to check up on you ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes, every day, sometimes several times a day.

Mr. Kersten. And did he ask the children about whether a crucifix
had been put up there in his absence ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes. He used to ask that, and the children, not
knowing anything, they used to say "Yes."

Mr. Kersten. And did you used to put it somewhere other than on
the wall ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes, put it away in a secret place so that no one
would see it.

Mr. Kersten. Did the Communist a§pnt when he came into your
classroom give the children lectures about the existence of God, or,
rather, the nonexistence of God?

Sister Alexandra. Oh, yes. He explained to them that God is giv-
ing them nothing, and that Stalin could give them anything they
asked him.

Mr. Kersten. You heard that with your own ears before your small
children ; is that right ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes. Yes, that is right.

Mr. Kersten. At any rate

Sister Alexandras.. He thought the children would ask him for
something, for some candy or something, but the children did not.

Mr. Kersten. You, without his consent and against his orders, then,
and when he was out of the room would continue to teach religion to
the children; is that right?

Sister Alexandra. Oh, yes, because my duty as a nun was to teach

Mr. Kersten. And about the existence of God ; is that right ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. So, you got into a little trouble with the Communists,
didn't you?

Sister Alexandra. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. On account of that trouble, did you have some mili-
tary tiucks with Russian soldiers calling at your home in the night?

Sister Alexandra. Oh, yes, several times.

Mr. Kersten. And, at that time, where were you living, Sister^


Sister Alexandra. In a private home, with a certain woman. Two
nuns were living there together.

Mr. Kersten. You and another nun?

Sister Alexandra. And another nun.

Mr. Kersten. And what time of the day or night would the Rus-
sian military truck first call for you ?

Sister Alexandra. Eleven o'clock at night.

Mr. Kersten. And, what did you and the other nun do when you
saw them?

Sister Alexandr^^.. When we saw the truck arrive, we jumped out
the window the other side of the house and hid in the bushes.

Mr. Kersten. How long did you stay out of the house ?

Sister Alexandra. We stayed in the forest the first time 3 days and
S nights.

Mr. Kersten. You and the other nun?

Sister Ai.exandra. Yes, and 2 priests, and 1 man who used to
inform us of what was going on at home.

Mr. IvERSTEN. And did you ascertain that the Russian military
truck called for you again after the first time ?

Sister Alexandra. Oh, yes, several times, many times.

Mr. Kersten. And, did you come back after the first 3 days in the
forest ?

Sister Alexandr.\. Yes, for a while. We would just enter at dusk
and just have a little snack and left again.

Mr. Kersten. How long did you stay in the forest the second

Sister Alexandra. About 1 week then.

Mr. Kersten. And then, after that, did you sleep somewhere else?

Sister Alexandra. Inasmuch as the nights were cold, so I slept
several nights inside a church.

Mr. Kersten. Where did you sleep ?

Sister Alexandra. Behind the great altar, in a niche.

Mr. Kersten. In a niche?

Sister Alex.vndra. There is such a hole like in back of the altar.

Mr. IvERSTEN. Did you cover yourself up with something so that
you would not be seen ?

Sister Alexandr.\. With church vestments, like ordinates, and so

Mr. I^RSTEN. And, while you were in there, would you hear any
Russian troops coming in searching for you ?

Sister Alexandr.!. Yes, they had come one night.

Mr. Kersten. They didn't find you, though, did they ?

Sister Alexandra. They could not find.

Mr. Kersten. How many times, all told, did you ascertain that
tlie Rusisan trucks or truck called for you, the military truck?

Sister Alexandra. Very frequently ; probably around 15 or i^'O
times. Some times they left the truck in front of the house, and stood
there all day long.

Mr. Kersten. But they never caught you, did they ?

Sister Alexandr^x. No, never, because a certain man used to warn
us about it.

Mr. Kersten. Whenever they would be coming, I suppose?

Sister Alexandra. No, he notified us when he saw the truck stand-


Mr. Kersten. And later on, were you there in Kaunas at tlie time,
or rather, in the suburb, at the time the people were deported from
that area ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes, I was. Once I was traveling to my mon-
astery by way of Kaunas, and I have seen trains with people packed

Mr. Kersten. Tell us about that, Sister.

Sister Alexandra. It was a very long train. The type that trans-
ports cattle. The windows were all barred. They only left one little
window in each car. There were about twenty of those linked up into
a single train. One could see through those slot windows how many
people were packed there. They were crammed, and I could hear

Mr. Kersten. You heard that, did you ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes, I did.

Mr. Kersten. Did you hear anything of what they said or were
crying about ?

Sister Alexandra. No, I did not hear. I could not distinguish
their speech or words, but I did hear them weeping, and moaning.

Mr. Kersten. You heard them weeping and moaning ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Did you notice whether or not others of their relatives
or friends were nearby watching the trains or the people?

Sister Alexandra. I don't know whether they were relatives, but
there were a great many people around.

Mr. Kersten. What were they doing ?

Sister Alexandra. They looked very sad, and they were weeping.

Mr. Kersten. That is, both the people outside of the trains watch-
ing and the people inside of the trains ; is that right ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. About how many of these — pardon me.

Sister Alexandra. Whenever the Russians saw somebody crying
in public, so they seized that person and packed them inside the train,

Mr. Kersten. You saw that, did you ?

Sister Alexandra. Yes, I did.

Mr. Kersten. About how many trains did you happen to see,

Sister Alexandra. I have seen that once.

Mr. Kersten. Was that in Kaunas, or where?

Sister Alexandra. In Kaunas.

Mr. Kersten. Wliat do you think the people of Lithuania thought
about the Communists taking over their country ?

Sister Alexandra. They considered that was a terrible thing. I
don't know how to express myself.

Mr. Kersten. Thank you, Sister Alexandra.

Sister Cleopha, will you come up please ?


Mr. Kersten. Raise your right arm. Do you solemnly swear to
tell tlie truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you

Sister Cleopha. Yes, I do.


Mr. Kersten. That is C-1-e-o-p-h-a, is that correct ?

Sister Cleopha. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. And it is Sister Maria Cleopha, is is not?

Sister Cleopha. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. And you are a member of the same religious com-
nninity that Sister Alexandra is?

Sister Cleopha. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. And live at the same address ?

Sister Cleopha. Yes.

Mr. KJERSTEN. You are also of Lithuanian background, are you not ?

Sister Cleopha. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. And you were born in Lithuania ?

Sister Cleopha. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Were you in Lithuania when the Communists took
over the government in the year 1940 ?

Sister Cleopha. Yes.

Mr. KJEKSTEN. Wliat happened to your residence when the Com-
munists took over at that time?

Sister Cleopha. We were expelled from the home.

Mr. Kersten. Was that in June of 1940 ?

Sister Cleopha. That was in December 1940.

Mr. Kersten. And from your regular residence did you then go into
another place where you were required to do some domestic work?

Sister Cleopha. Yes.

Mr. Kersi-en. Was there a Kussian officer or a Russian official there?

Sister Cleopha. The commissars in charge of buildings.

Mr. Kersten. Did he come to this place where you were required to
be, to live ?

Sister Cleopha. Yes ; he used to come.

Mr. Kersten. Do you have a brother ?

Sister Cleopha. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. Did the Communists do anything to him ?

Sister Cleopha. He was taken into the prison.

Mr. I^esten. Did you at any time have to leave the home to avoid
being deported ?

Sister Cleopha. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. But the Communists didn't catch vou, either, did
they ?

Sister Cleopha. No.

Mr. Kersten. Did you see some of the deportation trains ?

Sister Cleopha. Yes ; I did see them.

Mr. Kersten. Did you see some families being taken out of their
homes by the Russian soldiers ?

Sister Cleopha. Yes ; I did see that.

Mr. Kersten. Tell us a little bit about what you saw in that
connection, about that.

Sister Cleopha. At 11 o'clock in the daytime, trucks arrived and
stopped in front of our home. We looked — we were all scared —
to see what was going to happen, but they stopped in front of the
adjoining house; they placed the Russian soldiers outside and they
went inside to make a search. And then they moved some people into
the trucks and moved them away.

Mr. Kersten. You saw this with your own eyes, did you?

Sister Cleopha. Yes ; I did.


Mr. Kerstex. Did you notice the feelings of the people that were
being taken away ?

Sister Cleopha. Yes; I saw it.

Mr. Kersten. What did you notice?

Sister Cleopha. They were very much depressed, it was painful to
look at them,

Mr. Kersten. How close did you get to the deportation — to some
of the deportation cattle cars?

Sister Cleopha. I came quite close, right up to the sentries who
were guarding those cars.

Mr. Kersten. You mean the Communist soldiers ?

Sister Cleopha. Yes.

Mr. Kersten. At that time now you were no longer wearing a re-
ligious habit, were you ?

Sister Cleopha. Yes ; I did not wear it.

Mr. Kersten. Before the Communists came you wore the usual re-
ligious nuns' habit, is that correct ?

Sister Cleopha. Yes.

Mr. Ej:esten. Now, tell us, when you were close to the cattle cars
of the deportation trains, tell us what you saw. Sister, and heard?

Sister Cleopha. I didn't speak to the people because there were sen-
tries outside, but we looked at those people, and the windows were
very small, and they were high up and very narrow, so we could only
see the heads of the people. The people were very much depressed,
some were crying — some were weeping.

I don't know what else to say.

Mr. Kersten. Do you remember anything that any of them said or
cried ?

Sister Cleopha. No ; because we did not try to speak to them.

Mr. Kersten. About how many cattle cars were on these trains, in
your remembrance?

Sister Cleopha. I have seen four trains. I couldn't say how many
cars, but they were fairly long trains.

Mr. Kersten. And as to the condition of the people in all of these
trains that you noticed, was it the same way, that they were all sad
and depressed, and some crying?

Sister Cleopha. They were very depressed.

Mr. Kersten. The fact is, is it not. Sister, that these were all good
people, so far as you knew, that were being forced from their homes ?

Sister Cleopha. I didn't know many of them, but it seems to me
that they w^ere all good.

Mr. Kersten. And they were sent to Siberia never to return, so far
as you know, is that right ?

Sister Cleopha. In my time they did not return.

Mr. Kersten. Thank you, Sister.

Congressman Madden?

Mr. ]Madden. No questions.

Mr. Kersten. Thank you. Sister.

Mr. McTiGTJE. Mr. Daukantas.

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

Mr. Daukantas. Yes; I do.

Mr. Kersten. Have a chair.



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

Mr. Daukantas. Bladas Daukantas.

Mr. McTiGUE. What is your address?

Mr. Daukantas. 3735 Euclid Avenue, East Chicago, Ind.

Mr. McTiGUE. What is your occupation?

Mr. Daukantas. I am working at Inland Steel, stove tender.

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