« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »

[Page 106]

News Articles

Translated by Indre Joffyte

Edited by Rachel Mines

 

Gathering for Commemoration of Victims of Fascism

(“Musu Zodis,” 22 June 1963)

Twenty two years have passed since those horrible days and nights that sowed death, distress and tears. In those days, fascist killers tortured many innocent Soviet citizens in Skuodas and its surroundings.

On the 13th of June, the people of Skuodas gathered to escort over 500 victims' bodies. A long column of people carrying wreaths and bouquets of flowers lined up in Vilnius street.

They lived, worked, created, and loved. But the spirit of war which came from the West in June, 1944 brought pain and death. The local soil which once grew bread and nurtured life became wet with the blood of innocent people. Shots were heard by day and night all the way from Skuodas to Dimitravas concentration camp. The Grim Reaper was abroad. Gravesites of the murdered lined the waysides.

Honouring their memories of the victims, the people of Skuodas moved the bodies to the common cemetery. The funeral procession, including fifteen cars and thirty coffins, started from the District Government building.


[Page 107]

Gathering to Commemorate Victims of Fascism

(Name, date, author unknown. Possibly “Musu Zodis” 1963.)

The memory of the departed will never disappear from the hearts of their relatives or from the hearts of all the people from Skuodas. Town residents, workers, officers, and farmers from collective farms participated in the mournful gathering and funeral. They severely condemned the Nazis and their Lithuanian nationalist collaborators who desolated our land and killed thousands of innocent people. Our eternal hatred and malediction will accompany the killers, always and everywhere. Thousands of people from Skuodas have decided to keep vigil in the name of the departed, so that the cannons will never roar again, so that that blood and tears will not flow, so that with hard-working hands, they will temper the newly reborn and bloodthirsty hydra of fascism in the capitalist countries.

The funeral wreaths and blossoming flowers that the workers of Skuodas have placed on the graves of the departed will never wither. Their strong resolution to defend peace, as it was defended by our fathers, brothers and relatives, will never disappear.


[Page 108]

No One Is Forgotten: Where A Silent Forest Sighs

(“Musu Zodis,” Nov 17,1966)

A. Straksys

We leave the bus stop at Tubausiai on our way to the stone works, burnt casements, and old stables of the Dimitravas concentration camp. The sighing Alka forest meets us.

We had stopped for a minute and hushed the motor, seeing a poster by the roadside: a woman reaching for a rose through barbed wire. But she is not a woman anymore. She is not a person anymore. She is a target for an executioner. And a bullet pierces her.

We are following the way of the condemned. The sorrowful march of mourning bends the tops of branchy firs. And here we remember the words of G. Zulapaite, the secretary of Kretinga's Party Committee:

“What an unendurable way it was for them, the way we have just passed. The way to death, to suffering, the way out of life… If only these pines could speak…”

If these pines could speak… They would tell about the heads of babies smashed into their trunks, they would tell about the condemned's last curses at their torturers, they would tell about the enormous sufferings of the people.

But pines are silent witnesses. They only sigh sadly and are silent. Like guards of honour at the grave of martyrs.

So let those who are alive speak. Let them tell how there, at the hill of Alka, 510 residents of Skuodas were shot, how they went to their death, how they loved their lives and how they wanted to live. Let the living speak, and let us not forget those whose blood has been absorbed by this sacred earth.

Let the living speak…

 

On the Way of the Condemned

Even today, when a quarter of century has passed, Kazimiera Satkauskiene cannot remember without tears these horrible days when arrogance and hatred overflowed, when guns were given into the hands of sadists.

They were good acquaintances – she and Aleksandras Brickus, a shoemaker. He used to come to their home. One day, she was telling him stories of her experience as a member of a troupe of amateur actors: how someone broke the windows of their bus in Lenkimai, how they entertained people during Advent, how warmly they were welcomed in Kaukolikai, how they found a land mine on the stage in Aleksandrija.

The actors would perform with passionate speeches; this was the time [for passion]. After one such performance, a folk artist from Kaukolikai village gave them five nicely made wooden guns. She kept them in her room.

“She has a gun,” said Brickus after the war broke out.

And he and Liebus came with Albinas Meidus to arrest her.

She did not have any guns, but still she and her nine-year-old son, Vytukas, were arrested. After a few days she was released. But when Skuodas was attacked by Red Army soldiers, she was arrested again and put in the Rifleman's Hall with other prisoners. She saw and underwent all the horrors, the terrible wailing when husbands were parting from their wives and children and going to death. Those horrible shots that echoed just here behind the wall, those shouts of the dying people, the sadism and sneering of the killers. The priest Lionginas Jankauskas would come to the hall with a gun in his hand. He would wave his gun:

“ So, who is next for confession?”

About a week later, Satkauskiene and her son were removed for investigation. The investigators were Cizauskas and Vasaris, together with the brothers-in-law Meidus and Veitus.

“Are you a communist?”
“Who I was, still I am. You know what kind of communist I am. I was a cashier.”
“We know. And you? A communist?” – this was for the son.
“I am a Pioneer.”
“Oh.”

Satkauskiene and her son Vytukas were not sent away with those who were released. Rather, they were sent together with the Jews through the town on the way to Lenkimai. The column was convoyed by Albinas Meidus, Jurgis Embrasas, and Kazys Vysniauskas. Meidus was appointed their leader by Kostas Vasaris. He knew whom to appoint.

“Do not wait for those behind,” Meidus ordered the marchers.

The column moved. People were exhausted by terrible uncertainty, indiscriminate shootings, terrible sadism. They were also starving. The killers had ways to satisfy their desires. The first victim fell. Another one fell. The third. A child fell.

But the column kept going. Women leading their children or carrying them in their arms walked toward the unknown because each saw a small spark of hope in front of her.

They finally reached a bus stop at Tubausiai. Here, the road turned to the right, to the concentration camp of Dimitravas.

They were locked into the camp. Afterwards, the guards started to divide the unfortunate victims into groups. Insolent sadists, with the blessing of the priest Jankauskas, drove the victims beyond the gate of the camp. On that grey road, the people were driven to the hill of Alka.

Doctor Fugelman had been shot. His wife knew that, and so did both his daughters. With that knowledge, they had walked all that long way to Dimitravas. Mrs Fugelman was a very beautiful woman. She met the eye of one of the killers. He invited her into his office in Dimitravas.

She came back crying but held her head up high. She had heard an offer. You will stay alive, just give up your small Jewish girls. And be my… girlfriend. She spit into the eyes of the killer. She and her daughters were expelled to Alka Hill that same evening.

From Alka Hill, wagons laden with clothes came back to Dimitravas camp. The killers were sharing them, fighting over them.

And the cries of children and the threnodies of their mothers were still heard on the way to Alka.

People went to die, for the reason that they were people. That was their only fault.

Kazimiera Satkauskiene, now a department head in a governmental enterprise, was waiting to be sent to Alka with her nine-year old son. For keeping five wooden guns in her room.

 

The words of the killers

For me, it is difficult to imagine how one can shoot a human: take him to the pit, tell him to undress, so that you can later bring his clothes home to your wife or wear them yourself, to lift a gun and target a human heart. No! No! No!

But they could. And for them it was not so difficult. But the silent pine trees do not speak. Let the killers speak for themselves. Steponas Grikstas will speak. Let us listen to the speech of the sadist, the fiend. He would prefer to stay silent. But he had to speak tête-à-tête with an investigator.

“On the 15th of July, 1941, many people gathered at the bottom of the Alka hill. We all had guns.

The commander of the Nationalist squad, Vitkus, announced that we would have to dig four pits before evening. He invited us to join his squad, which would kill the women and children from Dimitravas camp.

We dug the pits in the afternoon. Three of them were big, and the fourth was smaller. When we were about to finish digging, two men from Vitkus's squad came to us. After they inspected the pits and ensured that everything was ready, they returned to the camp.

I, Stanislovas Vitkus, Pranas Mazalas and Stasys Zibinskas – we all wanted to take part in shooting women and children, so we also went to Dimitravas. We were given guns and bullets. Just after sunset, we took about 300 women and children from the camp. The prisoners understood that we were taking them to be shot, so most of the women and children were crying, asking for mercy. On the way, one woman stayed behind. She was shot, and her body was buried the next day by Stasys Zibinskas.

About 40-50 meters away from Alka Hill, the column was stopped. Vitkus ordered the prisoners to undress. Some women and children undressed, the others just took off their wraps. We drove the undressed to two pits and told them to get inside. Many women refused to do so. We were pushing them and beating them with the butts of guns and clubs. Pranas Mazalas, Stasys Zibinskas, Jurgis Petrulis and the nationalists of Skuodas were especially active.

When a group of people was in the pits, we started to shoot. But as we did not have enough bullets, after a few shots in one pit we went to another one and shot till we had no bullets left.

Shouts and groans were heard from the pit after the shooting. Vitkus ordered us to back-fill the pits although some people were still alive. That night I did not participate in back-filling the pits because I could not find a shovel.

Two hundred women and children were sent to us in the morning. This group was divided into two. One group was taken to the forest, the second one was told to undress. Some women refused to undress, so we undressed them by violence. We were tearing the babies from their mothers, throwing them into pits and killing them.

When the last group was shot and we back-filled the pit, we hurried to take the prisoners' belongings. Personally I took boots, shoes, three shawls, a wrap, two pairs of trousers, two jackets, coats for children and a lot of other things.”

It is horrible to read those lines. Behind them lie the fates of 500 people.

The evidence of Albinas Meidus, Jurgis Embrasas, Kazys Vysniauskas, Aleksandras Brickus, Jonas Mockus and Liudas Kniulpys should be added to those words. These men were among those whom Stasys Grikstas said were “especially active.” They washed their bloody hands at sunrise…

The lives of 510 people were lost at Alka Hill. Firs silently bowed their branches; their trunks were red with blood, curls of hair were blowing, and the ground under their feet was crying. Now let the documents speak.

 

289 Buried Alive

There is a case in the museum of Dimitravas concentration camp. In it lies a document detailing the exhumation and inspection of the bodies of the victims of the German terror. This is a terrible document revealing one more page of the Alka Hill tragedy.

One hundred and three people were found at the corner on the top of the hill. Thirty-one of them were between 3 and 5 years old. One woman, shot through the head, was holding a baby in her arms, not older than 1 year. He was not wounded. He was buried alive.

One hundred and forty nine people were found in the second grave.

It is written in the document: “After examination of skulls and bone fragments, forensics experts did not find any signs of gun shots or injuries caused by cold irons or other things. Forensic experts came to the conclusion that all 149 people were buried alive.”

One hundred and fifty-one bodies were found in the third grave. Most of them were female. Among them were two pregnant women. In the fourth grave were 107 bodies. Sixty-one were women. Others were teenagers younger than 15. All had been shot.

And here are the final statistics:

In total, there were 510 people tortured, shot, and killed on Alka Hill and at its foot: 31 babies, 94 children, and 395 women. Two hundred and eighty-nine people were buried alive.” That number includes those 31 babies.

These are terrible statistics: a terrible profanation of humanity.

M. Taicaite, the Kaplan sisters, E. Melamedaite, the two Segel sisters, Mrs. Fugelman with her two daughters, Mrs. Brekmaniene, the Mendelson family, and many others, well known by the older generation of Skuodas, lay in this terrible grave, shot or buried alive.

A place for Chana Shafaite-Breneriene was measured here too. But on the first day of the war, she managed to escape, though her mother and sisters went to death. The family and relatives of M. Elkindas were also shot here. The brothers L. and A. Jelovich also came here to bow their heads at the grave of their mother. Their father had been shot in Skuodas, their mother and aunt with five children, here, at the bottom of Alka hill.

And the funeral march is played in remembrance of those who died innocent. Condemnation rises from the depths of our hearts for those who tortured the people here, made a bloody ball here, drank vodka and ate on the clothes of the victims.

“We condemn the priest Jankauskas-Jankus who replaced the cross with a gun on the very first day of the war and who led the murder of innocent people,” says L. Inis, the secretary of the LKP (Lithuanian Communist Party) of Skuodas. He escaped abroad and found good protectors there who are now killing people in Vietnam.”

A retiree lieutenant-colonel from Uljanov, V. Shvedovas, speaks. He tells how, during the days of the Great War, he fought fascists in the same forest and expelled them from the soviet land.

“But we did not defeat all of them,” he says. “Some are still left, and they march with the sound of Nazi marches. But we are strong. And we will not let the horrors which happened in our land happen again.”

Words… Words… Words…

But people will not forget. A memorial stone has been placed at the bottom of the hill. Its inscription reads: “Fascist executioners killed 510 people here in 1941-1944.” Another memorial stone stands on the top of the hill.

Years will pass by.

New generation will grow.

There will be no more wars in the world.

A man will grow bread, will love, will fly into space. And people will come here to bend their heads. To bend for those who loved life and died for it.

 

A horrible dwelling place

A sunny way lies in front of us, but we do not lose our way. Our companions, K. Satkauskiene, St. Ciaupa, P. Busma, P. Bruzas, V. Reika and S. Vitkus want to spend some time here where they spent the most difficult hours of their lives.

Dimitravas is not the same today. It is full of sun and joy. The camp which was established in independent Lithuania on December 12, 1936, and which started to function in August of 1937, which imprisoned communists J. Pajaujis, A. Vilimas, R. Volenksyte, and later Ch. Aizen, B. Baranauskas, K. Didziulis, J. Stimburis and many others, does not exist anymore. The women's barracks have disappeared. Only stone walls and windows with bars remain.

I was examining this room. P. Bruzas from Mosedis indicated the windows. This room used to hold eighty men.

During the years of Soviet rule, Bruzas worked in the trade-union committee in Mosedis; his son was a policeman in Kretinga. He underwent all those horrible hours in the Riflemen's Hall, and was a witness of Alfredas Kiupis's death.

Later, Bruzas was released. But when the Soviet Army was approaching, he was arrested again. Together with Skruibys, M. Kincius, father and son Baltinas, V. Reika, and his wife Intas, they were taken to Skuodas, and from there to Dimitravas.

“They were mocking us. They used to walk around and laugh. “Look,” they used to say, “a short sausage will be made of this one, a fat one of the other.” Alfonsas Baltinas ostentatiously spilled the soup. What a soup it was – some slop without salt. We were pushed outside. And told to run. Lie! Rise! Lie! Rise! The elderly Baltinas became very weak. The policeman stamped on him with his shoes…

But the Soviet Army was not far away. The balls were cracking, the bullets were whizzing, and the Lithuanian “policemen” guarding us ran to the forest.

'Go to hell,' they told us. 'But we will be back.'”

“And we were taken to be shot from here,” road worker Busma remembers. “We were imprisoned here, then taken to Kretinga, to the monastery. From there we were put into cars, with our hands tied together, and deported. They said, 'this is your end, men.' But we untied our hands on the way and escaped.”

“But listen, what happened to me,” said the communist Ciaupa. I hardly escaped from them.”
Ciaupa worked in the land distribution commission, so he left with those who decided to escape on the very first day of the war. But in Riga they were stopped by the Germans. Ciaupa found work in Mitauja, but became ill and returned home. And there he was caught. He was taken to Dimitravas. He did public works in the camp, and later was appointed to the shoemakers' brigade.

One day, the thirteenth of June, 1943, Ciaupa, together with Ant. Ruikys, Juozas Sukys, Ant. Paulauskas and Juozas Antanauskas were sent to the stables outside the camp territory to cut chaff. While they were working, Simanskis, the head of the camp, and Tronskis, the storekeeper, returned from Kretinga. They unbridled their horses and took them to the stables. But they left the key in the door. The prisoners quickly thought of a plan. They took the key, locked the door, and went to the forest. And caught the wind in the fields…

“I was in this camp twice,” says V. Reika. “I was brought here with the activists at the beginning of the war. During the rising of 1944 I escaped. The second time, I was arrested with Burba. We returned together.”

The prisoners of the concentration camp have a lot to tell. Some of them got their white hair too early; some of them had various illnesses because of that experience. And they all repeated the same words: those were the most terrible days of their lives, and let no one else ever experience that.

People! Beware.


[Page 109]

Trial Process of Fascist Murderers in Klaipeda

(Name, date, author unknown. Possibly “Musu Zodis.”)

It has been nine days since the start of the trial process in Klaipeda of the group of fascist killers led by the priest L. Jankauskas.

Defendants were questioned in sessions of the criminal law department of the Supreme Court of Soviet Lithuania. Around seventy victims and witnesses gave evidence. The horrible truth was revealed: the terrible violence and massacres perpetrated by bourgeois nationalists in Skuodas and Dimitravas during the first years of the fascist occupation. Many workers watching the trial again saw the faces of the Nazi killers.

The judicial investigation has now ended. The public prosecutor, J. Bakucionis, gave an impassioned speech. In the name of Skuodas society, he demanded the extreme penalty for the murderers.

At the end of his speech, the public prosecutor, J. Bakucionis, stated that the criminals deserved to be sentenced to death.

“But our Soviet law,” he said, “is strict; fair, but at the same time humane. Article 49 of the penal code in our country determines the limitation of prosecution.”

In consideration of Article 49 of the penal code, the public prosecutor asked the court to adjudge the defendants, Albinas Meidus, Jurgis Embrasus, Kazys Vysniauskas, Aleksandras Brickus, Jonas Mockus, Liudas Kniupys and Lionginas Jankauskas, guilty for committing crimes stated in the first part of Article 62 of the penal code, and to impose a sentence of 15 years' imprisonment, to be served partly in prison and partly in the penitentiary's high-security unit.

The public prosecutor further demanded confiscation of all property from the defendants.

The litigants' arguments ended yesterday. After the lawyers' speeches, the defendants had the right to speak. They pleaded guilty and asked to minimize their sentence.

The court will pronounce sentence today.


[Pages 109-110]

Article by V. Miniotas and S. Laurinaitis

(Name of publication, title of article, date unknown)

[The beginning of this article may be missing.]

Petre Dirkstiene is testifying. She finds it hard to speak. Although the terrible things she experienced happened almost 23 years ago, today they are still present in her tearful eyes. By order of [Lionginas] Jankauskas and [Kostas] Vasaris, the armed gang's leaders, Dirkstiene's husband and Petras Dirkstys, the representative of the collective farm, were arrested. Also arrested, among others, were the chair of the land division department, Viktoras Sleckus; secretary of the committee Pranas Guze; depot manager Vera Mazeikiene; and officer Stase Mazmiriene. By the Bartuva river, Juozas Dirkstys and about twenty other people were shot following the order of the priest Jankauskas. Albinas Meidus, Jurgis Embrasus and Jonas Mockus fired the shots. Dirkstiene, searching for her husband, followed the group of victims while they were being led to the mass murder site.

“Although I was scared, I was following them. I was hiding behind the last house and heard the shots.

I could not sleep the whole night. I was sitting on a bench. Early in the morning I went to the pit. I found it was not filled. I could see arms and legs. The ground was bloody. There were many trousers. I recognized my husband's. Fainting from the pain, I came back. How will I survive with seven children? The eighth is on the way. I noticed priest Jankauskas heading my way. I saw him approaching two unarmed soviet soldiers in the churchyard and shooting them. Then he leaned over them and searched for something.”

Priest Jankauskas ordered gang member Brickus to arrest shop cashier Kazimiera Satkauskiene. At once she and her child were shut in the prison, and later in the town hall, which was overcrowded with people who had been arrested.

“I cannot even speak about all the horrors. The bandits were beating children and women with guns and clubs. The victims were not able to lift their heads off the ground. The bandits were shooting through the windows. They were hitting the arrested. They were taking anything worth taking. They even took a small pencil-sharpener from a little child. Meidus was demanding valuables. They were taking everything.

While we were there, the priest Jankauskas came. He was dressed in a cassock. He had a gun in his hand. He said: “Whoever wants to make confession tomorrow, raise your hands.” We did not raise our hands. I said to the priest that it is the duty of a Christian to heal the injured, not to wave a gun. He shouted something brutal to me and went out. The priest saw what was happening in the hall. Some people were even going mad there. The executioners were taking them out and shooting then next to the hall. They were taking pregnant women and killing them.”

A rank of witnesses testified to the crimes of priest Jankauskas: Petras Jablonskis, Adele Kringeliene, Jonas Sonklodas, Kaze Malukiene, Kazys Jablonskis, Jonas Preibys, Kazys Kova, Tomas Luksas, Jonas [illegible; Zavalis?], and Edgaras Zurgevicius.

Petras Jablonskis, the secretary of the Young Communists Organization in Uzluobe, was arrested on the first day of the war by Kostas Vasaris, one of the leaders of the gang, and two other bandits. Jablonskis resisted and was injured. Together with his brother, Kazys, they broke into the Skuodas hospital. The priest Jankauskas came and drew a gun.

“That black commandant of Skuodas, priest Jankauskas,” P. Jablonskis testified, “came to the hospital, found an injured soviet soldier, stripped off the bandages, and ordered him to be taken out. He was shot next to the dairy.”

Kaze Malukiene, who worked in the hospital at that time, witnessed this event as well.

Kazys Jablonskis saw the priest Jankauskas and others looking for injured soviet soldiers near the dairy. Jablonskis said:

“The Germans were shooting. Jankauskas helped them. He was finishing people off with shots in the head. Three people were shot.”

Jonas Sonklodas saw priest Jankauskas sprinkling holy water from an aspersorium on the unburied dead in the middle of the square.

The mark of the priest Jankauskas was his Browning, angrily says witness Juozas Preibys, who was a fireman in those days of 1941, and who saw with his own eyes how the priest Jankauskas walked armed around the town. “I brought a baby born on the first day of the war. I asked [Jankauskas] to baptize him, but he just put on a belt with a gun and went out into the town.”

Jonas Mockus, a member of the nationalistic gang, stopped Kazys Kovas in town and told him to dig a pit for the condemned.

“Soviet activists were brought to the pit. The chaplain told them to make confession. People refused and started to sing the “Internationale.” I saw with my own eyes how priest Jankauskas, on his own initiative, was trying his hand and shot a woman.”

Priest Jankauskas plundered and killed, killed and plundered. The victim Pranas Guze saw the priest wearing clothing which he had taken from the killed.

Tomas Luksas remembers Jankauskas looting and looking for property.

“I saw priest Jankauskas with a few other members of the gang carrying an armful of shoes from a shoe factory,” says witness Edgaras Zurgevicius.

This man [Jankauskas] is the head of “Balfo” – the so called Common Foundation of American Lithuanians. This is what is supported and favoured by the governmental institutions of the USA and the Vatican!

People in United States of America! When you are listening to the sermons of Lionginas Jankauskas-Jankus – when you are hearing his anti-soviet lectures, keep in mind that the hands he lifts to the sky are bloody, that the blood of 1200 people killed in Dimitravas and Skuodas, including little children, the elderly, and women, is dripping from them, and it demands revenge!

 

The surviving testify – the murdered accuse

Holding their breath, the entire audience listened to the gripping tale of the experiences of the victim Aldona Arbaciauskiene-Bruzaite.

“At first my mother was arrested,” she said. “I was sick in bed, I had a temperature of 39 degrees. The next day, three armed men came in and took me to Mosedis. Then they tied my hands behind me, put me in a wagon, and took me to Skuodas. They shut me in a shed. The next day, they transferred me to the prison. They threw me on the cold concrete floor. During my interrogation, they kicked me and split my lip with a gun. Germans attempted to shoot me. I managed to escape. The nationalist gang caught me again. I, two soviet soldiers, and one other woman were told to stand at a wall. We were shot in our backs. I fell. When I regained consciousness, I saw three dead bodies without heads. But I had hardly been touched by the explosive bullet; it only scratched my head. At that moment, other people who had been shot started to fall on me. I heard one killer saying to another: 'Go past them again shooting. Do not leave anyone alive.'

I had been shot in the right foot. When the killers were gone, I started to crawl downhill, covered in blood, until I was at the Bartuva River. There were a lot of people who had been shot. I fell on the dead. They found five men who were hiding in a field and shot them straight away. One of the bodies fell on me.

Somehow, I managed to pull myself through the stream, and I crawled toward some cows. Two women approached me. They were frightened and started to run, shouting. Some man came and took me back to Skuodas. I cried, kissed his feet, and begged him to let me go. He kicked me. He left me with the dead with whom I had been shot yesterday. While lying there, I saw a man coming. Using an axe, he gathered up a full basket of fingers with golden rings.”

The audience is murmuring and everybody's eyes are turned to Albinas Meidus. His mouth is full of golden teeth. Are these the rings and watches of those who were shot? Witnesses Tomas Luksas and Vincas Virsilas testified that this bandit robbed and plundered the property of the shot. And his friends Liudas Kniuipis and Jurgis Embrasus saw Meidus shooting people, and they obeyed his commands.

The war caught the three little children of Viktoras Mazeika at their grandmother's home, not far from Uzventis.

“After some time, grandmother received a letter from Skuodas,” testifies Konstantinas Mazeika. The neighbors said that our mother had been shot in a bomb crater, and father was shot at the town hall. I know that Jankauskas and Vasaris were the leaders of the gang.”

Kostas Budrikas saw Meidus and Vysniaskas take Konstantinas's mother to shoot her. They threw some soil on the dead bodies. The Germans were watching and taking pictures of their nationalist collaborators working.

One can barely imagine the horrible sight of the massacre.

There were dead bodies throughout Skuodas. Brickus started to clear them away. He brought eight prisoners and told them to load the dead onto a wagon. Then yoked some of the prisoners to the wagon of corpses and ordered the others to push it. One man refused. Brickus beat him with a gun.

“Pull, you bastard, what are you waiting for?”

Petre Dirkstiene described this terrible episode to the court.

Viktoras Stonys testified that Brickus was waiting with a gun for prisoners to be brought to the pit in the village of Kulai I.

“Prisoners were digging the pit. Vysniauskas was chasing them. He ordered them to bury the dead and dance the Cossack dance. The prisoners refused. Vysniauskas was beating people with a club.” Rozalija Vaitilaviciene saw this from her own yard.

“I was not there, I did not see that,” the defendant Jonas Mockus repeated as if it was a lesson learned by heart.

It did not help. One after another, the witnesses reminded Mockus, a member of the nationalist gang, how he shot people at the town hall, at the Bartuva river, in the village of Kulai I. They reminded him of the facts of his sadistic behaviour.

The aforementioned Kazys Kova, who had been brought to dig the pits, saw Mockus stabbing pregnant women with bayonets and ordering naked old people to go to the river, where he commanded them to beat each other with sticks. If anyone did not obey, he himself beat them with a gun.

“I saw how Mockus tore a little baby from his mother's hands. He held the baby's legs, and saying “are you still kicking, creep?” he hit him on the curb of the well and threw him into the well.”

These words of the witness are accompanied by shouts of outrage:

“Oh, you damned murderers! How can the earth still carry you, killers!”

Witness Juozas Kova tells that he saw Mockus torturing women by the river Bartuva.

“One of them was not able to climb down the slippery bank. A shot was fired, and the woman lay still. I saw another woman begging, “Joni, Joni, why are you beating me so viciously?” And he kept on beating her with his gun. Mockus also harnessed people, beat them, and forced them to carry the dead.”

Jurgis Embrasus confessed that he, together with Meidus, Kniuipis, Brickus and Vysniauskas, shot people. But was silent and looked down when witness Kostas Jonaitis reminded the murderer of one especially cruel episode which he, Jonaitis, had accidentally witnessed.

“Embrasus took a two- or three-year-old child from his mother and bashed him against a post. His little head cracked. The mother fainted. Embrasus immediately shot her.”

Liudas Kniuipis shot soviet activists; he took part in the shooting in the village of Kulai I. There he buried the dead and looted their clothing. When the lawyer asked him how many people had been shot in that pit, he calmly replied, “I did not count.”

Kniuipis did not count, but the court revealed all the cruelty of his gang, all the atrocities of the bourgeois nationalists.

 

The Way of Torment

The armed bourgeois nationalist gang led by Jankauskas and Vasaris shot people in the square of Skuodas and killed them by the town hall. They buried many of them close to the bridge over the river Bartuva. A few hundred were tortured and killed in the pits of the village Kulai I. By the middle of July, 1941, only women, children and a few men were left in Skuodas. At the command of the gang leader Vasaris, other bandits took them to Dimitravas camp. The road leading from Skuodas to Dimitravas was strewn with the dead bodies of women and children.

The testimonies of defendants, victims, and witnesses remind us of this road of torment walked by a few hundred soviet people at that time.

Behind the railroad crossing, Vasaris, the leader of the gang, stopped Meidus and put him in charge. Meidus passed on Vasaris's instructions to Vysniauskas, Brickus, Kniuipis, Embrasus, Mockus and others.

Meidus ordered: “We will shoot the tired women on the way”.

Soon after, he told Vysniauskas to shoot a tired woman. He said to Embrasus:

“Why are you staring?”

“I shot an old woman. I shot a woman and a baby,” confessed Jurgis Embrasus.

“On the way to Dimitravas, Meidus gave me a gun and told me to kill four women and one child. I shot three times at one woman. After we passed Lenkimai, Meidus ordered me to shoot another one. I saw Meidus searching one woman and shooting her on the road,” testifies Kazys Vysniauskas, a backslider with a criminal history of four convictions.

Joana Soloveicikiene, her daughter Gene, and Kazimiera Satkauskiene were taken to Dimitravas on that road of torment. They told the court what they had seen with their own eyes, what they had experienced.

“We were about five hundred women. It was very hard. We were throwing things away. Those who were not able to walk anymore were ordered to sit next to pits [by the road]. They were not permitted to turn. We heard shootings,” Joana Soloveicikiene and her daughter Gene Baipstiene remember.

Kazimiera Satkauskiene and her child were at the end of the column.

“They were shooting on the way, more terrible than they would shoot beasts. Meidus and Brickus brought a huddle of women to a big stone between Lenkimai and Darbenai. I heard shootings. How many women there were, I do not know. We heard shootings all the way. We spent a night outside. As I heard, Brickus took a young girl to the forest. He raped her, and then hit her head on a tree. Meidus was mocking the women and children on the way; he was whipping people.”

Adolfina Kaubriene had already experienced a painful disaster. Nationalist murderers had shot her husband at the pit, and sneering, brought her his teeth.

Kaubriene experienced a new horror when the women who were being taken to Dimitravas passed her house.

“Behind the railroad crossing, Vysniauskas told the women to lie in the pit and lift their heads over the edge, so that it would be more convenient to shoot. He shot two women. Another three were shot by Bauzys. The women were exhausted. I saw some of them were pregnant. One even gave birth on the way.”

Rapolas Martinkus and Leonas Ziemelis met the column of the women and children on their way to Dimitravas. Armed with a gun, Meidus took their bicycles. Those men saw Vysniauskas shoot a woman in a village of Lukne. On the way, they saw a woman's dead body lying on the road.

Gang members told Kazys Silinas to take a shovel.

“I understood what I would have to do. A few women were already dead. One, still living, had a spurt of blood on her neck. Vysniauskas beat her with a gun. That woman was Erbsteiniene. I told him, “let the woman die quietly.” He answered, “do you want to die right now for those words?”

That day, a young communist [prisoner], Petras Jablonskis, was being taken to Kretinga in a horsedrawn cart. He saw Kazys Vysniauskas shoot three women and injure a fourth one. Near the village of Palukne, Vysniauskas, riding a bicycle, ran over a woman and then shot her.

Forty women and children never reached Dimitravas. The last victims fell in the Kretinga region, in the village of Benaiciai. They were shot by Brickus.

After some time, Vasaris, the leader of the gang, gathered his men together. They all went to Dimitravas, and there he ordered:

“We have to kill small children and women today.”

He distributed the bullets.

This is what the defendant Jurgis Embrasus said about the shootings:

“First of all, we were shooting old women and babies. Vasaris and Meidus went with the first group. We went about three kilometers. In the Jazdai forest, by the hill of Alka, we undressed them. Meidus was waving a club.

We heard an order while shooting: 'Hey, be careful when shooting. We do not have enough bullets.'

The bullets were brought by bicycle from Darbenai.

Mockus and Kniuipis were shooting. I was shooting as well. I saw the biggest pit. In it, some people were buried alive, especially children. By sunrise the shooting was over. We put the clothes in a wagon. We had breakfast in a little house. Vasaris, Meidus and other superiors ate in a room. We were given food outside. They gave us moonshine. We washed our bloody hands. We cleaned our guns in the labor camp, took our stuff, and came back to Skuodas.”

Surviving witnesses of those events, Steponas Grikstas, Izabele Aleksandraviciene, and Kazys Spucys, told how the condemned people were told to stand on those who had already been shot; how, lacking bullets, the killers buried the women and children alive; how the earth was still moving long after the pits had been filled.

After the mass murder, the killers willingly continued to serve the Nazi invaders. Jurgis Embrasus joined the parapolice and was sent to Belarus to kill soviet people. Liudas Kniuipis voluntarily joined the gangs of Plechavicius. In the postwar years, Kazys Vysniauskas, having served his sentence for some previously discovered crimes, did not turn to the moral way, but was sentenced three more times. A former member of the rifle company, frontier policeman Albinas Meidus, escaped from Skuodas and worked as a machinist in a tool factory in Kaunas until his arrest. Aleksandras Brickus was a vagrant without a permanent job. Jonas Mockus was found behind the borders of the republic.

These criminals and fascist killers have been denounced and tried. After a nine-day trial, the court will give judgment today.

 

Where are they from? Who are they?

Where are they from – those terrible killers? Who raised them? These and similar questions have been asked by everyone taking part in the trial process. And there is only one answer to these questions. They were formed by Lithuanian bourgeois nationalist leaders, clericalism and fascism. A passion for robbery and destruction led many of those bandits to join the ranks of killers. Soaked in vodka, they shot and robbed, robbed and shot. Not one by one, but tens, hundreds, thousands.

But together with those bandits, and no less disgusting a killer, a higher rank priest, Jankauskas, is being judged. That very priest, who had spoken in church about love for our neighbors and God's mercy, then went out of the church, took a gun, shot women and children, and tortured injured people. And this demonstrates not only the brutality of the killer, but also the hypocrisy of religious doctrine.

It is yet another sign of shame that the USA is sheltering this bloody killer. The same USA whose leaders call their country and other capitalist countries “the free world” while hiding under the veil of democracy. But what is the worth of “the free world,” when killers of women and children like Impulevicius, Paskevicius, Zakevicius, the priest Jankauskas, and others are not sentenced? What is the value of speeches about democracy, when killers and fiends are spared at the same time that fighters against fascism are persecuted?

Together with the denounced members of priest Jankauskas' gang, the people of Lithuania are also judging their leaders and colleagues who have escaped. They are putting their patrons and supporters in the pillory. They are demonstrating to the whole world that the earth must burn under the feet of the killers, so that similar disasters will never be repeated. The earth is meant for growing bread, blossoming gardens, and thriving life.

Years will pass, decades will pass, and happy future generations will learn about the horrible crimes of fascism only from history textbooks. But neither decades nor centuries will ever wash the shame from the bourgeois nationalists who became the Nazi killers. They will forever be accompanied by universal scorn and damnation.

 

« Previous Page Table of Contents Next Page »


This material is made available by JewishGen, Inc. and the Yizkor Book Project for the purpose of
fulfilling our mission of disseminating information about the Holocaust and destroyed Jewish communities.
This material may not be copied, sold or bartered without JewishGen, Inc.'s permission. Rights may be reserved by the copyright holder.


JewishGen, Inc. makes no representations regarding the accuracy of the translation. The reader may wish to refer to the original material for verification.
JewishGen is not responsible for inaccuracies or omissions in the original work and cannot rewrite or edit the text to correct inaccuracies and/or omissions.
Our mission is to produce a translation of the original work and we cannot verify the accuracy of statements or alter facts cited.

  Skuodas, Lithuania     Yizkor Book Project     JewishGen Home Page


Yizkor Book Project Manager, Lance Ackerfeld
This web page created by Lance Ackerfeld

Copyright ©1999-2014 by JewishGen, Inc.
Updated 24 Nov 2011 by LA