Zitate aus dem Buch Musiskiai (Our People) von Ruta Vanagaite und Efraim Zuroff
Musiskiai Ruta Vanagaite und Efraim Zuroff
Almost all Jews murdered in Lithuania were killed individually, primarily by shooting, in close proximity to their homes, or at the major mass- murder site of Ponar (Paneriai) outside Vilna (Vilnius), in many cases by Lithuanian Nazi collaborators.
Besides the unusually high percentage of jews murdered, there are several other important aspects of the events in Lithuania which are noteworthy, and have had a powerful influence on the country's failure hitherto to openly and honestly deal with its Holocaust past. The first is the extremely large number of Lithuanians who actively participated in the murders, a factor which significantly facilitated the implementation of the Final Solution and greatly magnified its scope. Although there is no exact figure for the number of Lithuanians involved, our research indicates that at least 20,000 took part in the mass murder of jews in a variety of functions, ranging from incitement to facilitating murder to actual shooting. A second very important factor is the role played by Lithuania's prewar (
political leadership, many of whom fled the Soviet occupation of June 1 1940 to Berlin, where they organized the Lithuanian Activist Front (LAF), which enthusiastically supported the Third Reich and actively incited the local population to participate in the genocide of the Jews. S.4
A third factor of significance is that in many locations, especially throughout provincial Lithuania, the majority of the killers were Lithuanian volunteers, and in quite a few places, it was Lithuanians alone who carried out the murders, without any Germans or Austrians present. This was the case, for example, in Lazdijai, Telšiai, Eišiškės, Joniškis, Dubingiai, Babtai, Varėna, and Vandžiogala, whereas in Onuškis, Vilkaviškis, and Virbalis, the only Nazis present at the murder sites were photographing the crimes.
A fourth factor is that Lithuanians physically attacked Jews in more than forty different cities, towns, and villages, even before the Wehrmacht arrived, in many instances at the behest of LAF propaganda, which is yet another indication of the extent of independent Lithuanian initiative and zeal in harming their Jewish neighbors.
The seventh factor is that Lithuanians not only murdered Jews in their native country; at least several thousand men serving in auxiliary police units were also sent to help carry out the systematic annihilation of Jews in Belarus.
The eighth factor is that Lithuanian auxiliary police units were also in-volved in the murder of thousands of foreign Jews deported to Lithuania from Germany, Austria, and France. If we also consider that in quite a few cases the murders were preceded by the torture and humiliation of rab¬bis and prominent Jews (often carried out with extreme cruelty), and that extremist nationalism was a primary source of motivation for collabora¬tion with the Nazis and active participation in the mass murder of Jews, it becomes abundantly clear why it has been so difficult for Lithuania to deal with Holocaust issues. S.5
...the day of the largescale massacre of close to 10,000 Jews from the Kovno Ghetto at the nearby Ninth Fort, which was carried out almost exclusively by Lithuanians. S.6
My [Ruta Vanagaite] grandfather's neighbor Balys, arrested and interrogated by the Soviets along with my grandfather, transported those jews to the execution site, and for this received compensation in the form of a Jewish house and 4.5 hectares of land. S.26
On June 28, Kaunas commandant lurgis Bobelis, who had been appointed by the PG, created a National Labor Defense Battalion (TDA) from the ranks of the volunteer insurgent-partisans. Gradually, about twenty such battalions were created in Lithuania. The belief was that they would form the nucleus of a new Lithuanian army. The Nazis immediately took command of two units of a TDA battalion, which were immediately put to work shooting Jews at the Seventh Fort in Kaunas. A third unit (led by Lieutenant Juozas Barzda) took part in one of the larger mass murder operations in which 2,514 Jews were killed. It is true that after the mass murder operations began, some of the soldiers of the battalion deserted (117 soldiers fled the battalion between July 5 and 11), but about 1,000 remained, they continued their national security activities at the Kaunas forts and elsewhere, murdering thousands of Jthuanian Jews. S. 41
On August 16, 1941, the chief of the Lithuanian Police Department, Vytautas Reivytis, sent a secret letter to the chiefs ot all regional police departments:
"After receipt of this circular, immediately arrest all men of Jewish ethnicity from the age of 15 up, and all women who distinguished themselves during the period of Bolshevik occupation by their Bolshevik activities or who are still known for this sort of activity or imposture, at the locations indicated in the note. Collect the arrested people next to major transportation arteries and immediately inform the Police Department using special means of communications. In reporting, indicate exactly how many Jews of this type have been arrested and collected, and at what location.
You need to make sure to provide food and appropriate security, for which you may make use of the auxiliary police, for the people arrested.
This circular must be fulfilled within 48 hours of its receipt. The Jews arrested are to be guarded until it is possible to come and take them away to a camp."
Antwort kam u.A. aus Šakiai: "I report that as of today in the district assigned me there are no Jews. Local partisans and auxiliary police took care of them." S.45
Aus dem Tagebuch von Zenonas Blynas, Generalsekretär der Litauischen Nationalistischen Partei:
August 13, 1941
One person arrived from Joniškis. Supposedly it is difficult for the rural,people to get used to the massacred of the Jews, in the villages [where] Jewish terror isn't as esspecially rabid as there, and it is creating a dicouraging and difficult atmosphere in the countryside.He says it would be betterto send them to workand shoot the Communists instead. It is a bad thing we have shoot too many, and that Lithuanians have done the shooting. Especially if it is true that the Germans are filming those shootings. S.45
One party colleague yesterday described the massacre in Rokiškis. It was done out in the open. The people were supposed to jump into a three-meter-deep pit, after half-undressing. People walking along the edge of the pit shot at them. Brains and blood splattered. The men doing the shooting were bloody. They were led out of the city tied together. At the pit they were told to half-undress. The women screamed and yelled. People from the surrounding area gathered. At first they were laughing and smiling but later became horrified, and the Aryan women also began to scream. A massacre. Shameful. The administration head is a Judas. I said, if the Germans are already doing this using our hand, then they should be doing it all calmly, -without publicity, without scandal. Instead of doing all that, that freak did the opposite I am going to remember him. Asshole. S.46
Commander Barzda has returned from the Minsk/Borisov/Slutsk region. The Lithuanian battalion shot more than 46,000 Jews (from Byelorussia and transported from Poland). Hundreds of Germans filmed it. The soldiers are lice-ridden, and 30 percent have scabies. ...
There is talk that the Vilnius battalion is going to Lublin. The Vilnius saying that they are being sent to perform honorable duties. Well, those german guys sure the heck are honorable. The Ukrainians, Latvians, Estonian: non of them do [the] shooting. Only we alone have to shoot. S.47
Kaunas military commandant Jurgis Bobelis issued an order to begin forming TDA battalions (an acronym for Tautinio darbo apsauga, or National Labor Defense.) The insurgency lasted for less than a week. By July 4, the newly formed battalion included 724 petty officers and soldiers. Then the battalion, which was supposed to sooner or later become the army of an independent Lithuania, began to carry out the mission for which it was formed, by order of the Germans—the mass murder of Jews: 416 men and 47 women were shot at the pits at the Seventh Fort in Kaunas on July 4 (according to the Jäger Report).
The TDA carried out the shooting, and Lieutenant Bronius Norkus and Junior Lieutenant Jonas Obelevicius were in charge of the shooting. S.62
Aus dem Verhör von Pranas Matiukas:
It was the summer of 1941. ... In the afternoon our third platoon of the battalion, which was still deployed at that time on Laisvė Alėja [Kaunas promenade] near the so-called Sobor [St. Michael the Archangel Church at one end], commanded by the officers Barzda, Norkus and Dagys, went by foot to the Kaunas Seventh Fort which was in Žaliakalnis [a neighborhood of Kaunas]. There were soldiers from other platoons guarding the fort.
Inside the fort, in the deep ravine between the slopes, about 300 to 400 people were under guard, people of Jewish ethnicity. They were there under the open sky.
There were also about 100 to 150 women of Jewish ethnicity who were being guarded inside the underground fortifications of the fort itself.
The shooting took place in the following manner. A group of battalion soldiers, more or less 10 people, commanded by petty officers or officers, took about 10 people from that ravine where the condemned Jewish males were being guarded. They took them about 50 to 100 meters from there, where there was a large crater caused by an explosion. Then they stood them on the edge of the pit facing the pit and shot them from several paces. After the shooting, the corpses fell into the pit. The soldiers fired from the rifles which they had, while the officers—Dagys, Norkus, Barzda—shot from pistols. ...
Barzda and Norkus said we would have to shoot the condemned right there, from the slope above into the ravine. Then the command was issued to begin firing. The people underfire began to run around inside the ravine, but were not able to escape anywhere, and all of them were felled by bullets.
This disorderly shooting took about an hour and a half. During that time the bottom of the ravine was covered with corpses and blood. I can say that almost all of our third regiment did the shooting, except for a few people who for one reason or another had stayed in the barracks. I shot, too. S.63
Zeuge Bileišis aus Linkmenys sagte aus:
"I don't recall exactly when, but more or less at the end of July, 1941, Adomas Lunius gathered all the members of the unit in a building which had been a fire station earlier and which now served as partisan headquarters. There were about thirty or forty people at the meeting. I was there, too. Lunius addressed us, the “partisans" and “insurgents," and announced that it was necessary to place all the Jews in the schoolhouse in the village of Dvariškiai. Adomas Lunius then divided all the insurgents into groups of four or five people. Lunius gave orders to each group as to which specific Jewish family they should arrest and bring to the Dvariškiai village
schoolhouse. I recall that together with two other "partisans" with whom I was not acquainted, I received an order to bring one Jewish family, whose surname l do not recall, to the gathering place. Carrying out this order, I went to the home of that family—and there were three or four people in the family—which was living in the house where Jurgis Šerėnas now resides.
When the others and I arrived to take away the Jewish family, we told them to come with us to the Dvariškiai village schoolhouse. At the moment that we delivered the Jewish family to the schoolhouse yard, we were met by Adomas Lunius, now sitting across from me, who told me and the other “partisans" and "insurgents" to take the Jews to a clearing outside Dvariškiai village near Ūsiai Lake. He said we would find a gathering place there. When we arrived with the Jews at the clearing near the lake, there were already Jews there who had been marched there by the other "partisans. ”
I remember the Jews sat there on the ground in a single group while the "partisans" stood by and guarded them. We put the three Jews we had brought in the place where the other Jews toere already sitting.
In total there were about fifty Soviet citizens of Jewish ethnicity collected, in the a clearing, perhaps more, perhaps fewer. When all the Jews had been collected in the clearing next to the lake, Adomas Lunius arrived, surveyed the gathering place and gave the command for all Jews to lie on the ground, facedown, which is what they did.
Then Lunius said that we were going to shoot the Jews and that the "partisans" must commence firing on his command, i.e., when he fires a shot from his pistol.
When the Jews lying on the ground heard they would be shot they began to yell and cry. Standing next to the shooting site, I clearly saw that Adomas Lunius shot from his pistol, although I did not see where he shot, whether into the air or at the Jews lying prone.
After he fired, this was at about eleven or twelve o'clock in the day, all the "partisans" (insurgents) who had weapons began to shoot the Jews lying on the ground. The shooting of the Soviet citizens of Jewish ethnicity lasted about fifteen minutes. After the shooting of the Jews, Adomas Lunius spoke to the insurgents who did not have weapons and announced that those who so desired could go home, which is what I did.
Several days later the possessions of the Jews were taken from the apartments of those Jews who had been shot and were collected at the Linkmenys Synagogue, and later, the "partisans," including me, received certain items. I got two towels, a tablecloth and something else, but I cannot remember what. S. 74 Litauisches Spezialarchiv
In the autumn of 1941—it might have been the end of September or early October, I don't remember exactly—I saw a group of drunken men walking on Adutiškio Street. They weren't walking in a row. There were perhaps about twenty or thirty of these men, dressed in the uniforms of the former Lithuanian army, some of them armed with military rifles, others with automatic weapons. A man in a German officer's uniform was walking on the sidewalk. Some of them were very drunk and shouting. One of them shouted that he was Stiopka Melagianskas, or Stiopka from Melagėnai, I don't exactly recall now. He was shouting that he knew this city. He and the others were shouting in Lithuanian.
After they appeared, residents began to say that a group of "Jew-shooters," shooters of citizens of Jewish ethnicity, had arrived to relax and rest in Švenčionėliai. S.82
The third platoon of the TDA battalion formed the nucleus of the Rollkommando Hamann mobile eath squad. Usually several members of the Gestapo and dozens of officers and soldiers from the battalion were "invited" to a specific operation in the Lithuanian countryside. "Hamann himself often didn't even come to the mass murders in the countryside;
he just assigned the task to officers from the first battalion [to lieutenants A. Dagys, J. Barzda, and B. Norkus]." S. 98
According to Karl Jäger's report for December 1,1941:
"It was only possible to achieve the goal of cleansing Lithuania of Jews because of the Rollkommando consisting of select men under the command of Obersturmführer Hamann, who understood my goals implicitly and was able to ensure cooperation by the Lithuanian partisans and the appropriate structures. S. 99
There were from thirty to forty Lithuanians in each operation of the Rollkommando Hamann. The local administration, police, and "partisans" made all the necessary preparations tor the mass murders by isolating the Jews and bringing them to pits that had been dug previously.
Hamann unit statistics:
Eight to ten Germans and about eighty Lithuanians altogether have participated in the murders carried out by the unit (mainly members of the third platoon of the TDA battalion). Hamann himself most often would not go to the sites. "The Germans usually stayed in Kaunas to carry out other functions, and usually just two or three Germans traveled to the shootings in the countryside. They often came in a passenger car, while the main forces came in one or two trucks, or sometimes on a Lietūkis bus. Local police and activists often collaborated with the Hamann group in the countryside." S. 99 (Zitat von Arunas Bubnys)
"Rabbi Bloch asked the Lithuanian commander of the camp, Platakis, to allow the Jews to pray the evening prayer." ...S.115
In Rainai wurden die Telsiaier Juden gesammelt und ermordet.
"About one hundred people remained imprisoned in the synagogue. At the end of August, Jakys (chief of thp Kretinga security police) sent an order to the commander of the insurgents, the teacher Barkauskas, to liquidate them. A meeting was called at which the place, date, and time were set, and there were deliberations on how to gather the women who were working with farmers, without causing a lot of noise, and where to find enough carts to carry the children and the elderly. Among those at the meeting were Barkauskas, Žvinys, and Zubavičius, who before the war had worked as a secretary of a municipal board of directors. After everything was discussed, twelve people were called in, police and insurgents. Six volunteers appeared among them.
When the Jewish women had been brought to the pit near Lake Plateliai and clearly understood what awaited them, nerve-shattering screaming and wailing ensued. They undressed and the grown-ups were shot in an orderly fashion, one at a time. They behaved differently with the children. They shot them a ways off from the pit and then threw them into the pit. I total there were about twenty children ages one to ten. Police officer Grišmanauskas's wife Berta Grišmanauskienė shot them all. The shooting lasted about an hour. The participants divided up the clothing. The next day Barkauskas sent Jakys a report on how the order was carried out. S. 126 (Ruta Puisyte)
Antanas šėgžda studierte am Lehrer Seminar in Taurage. 1941 war Antanas 19.
On June 25 or 26 two friends stopped by and suggested I join the volunteers unit. They said if I entered the unit, life would be easier for me. While on the police force I wore civilian clothing and was armed with a rifle, and on my left arm l wore a white
armband made of material upon which I wrote in my own hand Ordnungsdienst, which translated means "Order Service."
At the end of August 1941 I took part in shooting Jews three times. There were fifty of us police officers. During the first operation I personally shot ten Jews. Regular police officers transported them from the town into the forest. They transported them early in the morning so the residents of the town wouldn't see. We took their money and valuables from them and put their clothes in a pile, and then we took theclothing to a storage facility and distributed it to people who had suffered from the war, including my mother. She brought me a new blue woolen coat from the storage space.
Also, I found large sums of money on the Jews brought to be shot. That is, when they brought a party of Jews to the pit dug for the shooting, I proposed that they give me their money, because they were about to die anyway. They gave me different sums of money, which I used to buy a fedora for 50 rubles. I bought a violin in Kaunas for 700 rubles, and spent the rest of the money on food. I took about 4,000 rubles from murdered Jews over the entire period. Over the course of my service I shot about fifty Jews.
I served in the security unit for about three months—that is, from June 26 to the end of August, and on September 15,1 went back to school. S.131
On September 8, the Butrimonys police chief, L. Kaspariünas-Kasperskis, ordered that all Jews who were still alive should be taken to the town's primary school that night. The mass murder of the Jews of Butrimonys was planned for the next morning.It seems they were waiting for the third platoon of the TDA battalion, under the command of Bronius Norkus, to complete the mass murder of the Jews of Alytus, so they would be free to come to Butrimonys. The largest massacre in Alytus was carried out on September 9,1941. According to the Jäger Report, Norkus's men murdered 1,279 Jews that day: 287 men, 640 women, and 352 children. The killers had no chance to rest afterwards, and got right on the bus. No time for a party; that would have o wait until later that day, in Butrimonys.
On September 9, 1941, a bus arrived from Alytus with about twenty mobile-unit [Rollkommando] soldiers on it. In the afternoon the local police and white armbanders began to march the Jews from the school in columns. Jews wearing better clothes were ordered to undress down to their underwear. The columns of Jezos were marched to Klydžionys village, about two kilometers from Butrimonys. The shooting ended in the evening. Then the murderers returned to Butrimonys and celebrated the end of their "work" at the town cafeteria.
When L. Kaspariūnas-Kasperskis, renowned for his brutality, was transferred to become chief of the Birštonas police department, "he left Butrimonys with fourteen or fifteen large carts full of looted property. Local residents saw this and said: 'There goes Kasperskis, King of the Jews.'" S. 138
1998 wurden Mitglieder des Impuslevicius Battalion interviewt. Die Videos sind online auf der Webseite des US Holocaust Museums zu sehen. Folgendes Zitat aus "Musiskiai" stammt von Juozas Aleksynas. Der Link zu dem Video: https://collections.ushmm.org/search/catalog/irn508564
"When they used to send you to a shooting, what was your mood then?
Don't ask. You become a sort of machine. You are doing something but you don't know waht it is. It is terrifying. The Germans shot rarely; mostly they used to shoot photographs." S. 160
One place that is particular important to us is the town of Slutzk, where we want to commemorate the seven-fourth anniversity of the tragedy that took place there on October 28, 1941. Over eight thousand people were murdered there. Impulsevicius brought all three platoons of his battalion to do the job. Shocked by the cruelty of the killers, German Gebietskommissar Heinrich Carl wrote to his superior in a secret letter: "I beg of you, by all means, please never send this battalion to our area again." (Antanas Impulsevicius war der Kommandeur vom XII. Bataillon.) S.165
Vladas Paulaitis, Student, Mitglied der Ypatinga burys (Spezialeinheit):
Right from the beginning, when we joined the unit, they did not give us any guns. Our job was to evict citizens of Jewish ethnicity from their apartments to the street where soldiers from some sort of Lithuanian battalion took charge of guarding them and marched them in groups to Lukiškes Prison.. .. Then later they issued us Russian rifles. We had to march citizens of Jewish ethnicity from Lukiškės to Ponar, where they were later shot. _
We, the members of the Special Unit who were armed with guns, went to the prison, but did not go inside, but rather waited at the gate. There were also a large number of soldiers from some sort of Lithuanian battalion who arrived at the prison, wearing the uniforms of the former bourgeois Lithuanian army. They were not armed with Russian rifles, but were armed with some kind which I do not now recall.
In the prison yard the citizens of Jewish ethnicity, men, loomen, and children, were lined up in columns, and when they began to exit the gate we, members of the Special Unit and the battalion soldiers, surrounded them on all sides and marched them to
Ponar. We carried guns in our hands. At the head and tail of the column there were there were uniformed soldiers. I did not notice any soldiers dressed in German uniforms. Each time several hundred people were marched out, but I don't know the exact number.
I don’t recall which streets we marched them down. I do remember that in Ponar we had to cross the railroad, and right after the crossing there was a forest which is where the mass shooting site was.
There were several large pits dug there which the Soviet army units had dug for whatever reason before the war. As I recall they were pits with a diameter reaching twenty or more meters. We marched the condemned to one of the pits and they were held there before the shooting. Then we took groups from that pit to another pit and shot them there. The condemned were supposed to leave their things in the pit where they were held before being shot, things which they usually had taken tied up in bundles. In front of the pit where they were to be shot, they had to undress to their underwear, and only then were they taken into the pit and shot. . . . They didn't take us craft school students to do the shooting: instead, we were ordered to guard the condemned. Other unit members went to the shooting site and shot the condemned there. S.176