What really happened at the Lietukis garage, 25 June 1941?

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Grellber
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Post by Grellber » 10 Jan 2008 18:49

Jonathan -Ok, I´ve seen this one as well. But isn´t it strange that nobody seems to know the guy referred to in the statement, Klimaitis. No info anywhere, not even on sites related to his victims. There is a thread on him also on this forum.
http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic. ... 20#1164020
He seems to be a mythical figure. Nobody seems to know anything. So... Can he relly be important. And why do the report refer to him if he is of no historical interest? I just do not get it...

Jonathan Harrison
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Klimaitis

Post by Jonathan Harrison » 10 Jan 2008 23:10

I found one eyewitness reference to Klimaitis:
Testimony of Vytautas Petkevicius, author and member of the Lithuanian Seimas (published in “Uzrase Sud” Vilnius, June 2001)

“What I saw that day in the Lietukis garage yard will be ingrained in my memory for as long as I live. Can you imagine what it must have been like for a child to witness people being brutally murdered in broad daylight? It was a gruesome spectacle. I was twelve at the time and had just got off the ferry that had brought my schoolmate Ricardas Pakulis and me from the district where we lived on the banks of the Nemunas River (I lived in the Freda neighborhood). We reached Vytautas Prospektas at eleven o’clock sharp and headed for the Lieutakis office building where company employees were queuing to receive two free loaves of bread each (the father of one of my friends worked as a truck driver for Lieutakis).

“We couldn’t find Ricardas’ father so went downstairs to the garage. The parking spaces in the yard were empty as the Russians took all the trucks with them when they fled Kovna. The adjacent Defense Ministry offices were also empty and were eventually used to house Lithuanian members of the “White Armband” patrols. We could not find Ricardas’ father there either but we hung around to see what all the commotion was about. As we stood there a number of Lithuanians began to grab Jews of the street at random and drag them into the center of the yard.

“At around one in the afternoon after several dozen Jews had been assembled in the yard, the Lithuanians set upon them with clubs and iron bars. They battered them until they were senseless and then, as the victims lay prostrate on the ground they set upon them with hosepipes (usually used to wash cars) which they forced up their rectums and then turned the water on and left it on until the victims’ bowels burst under the pressure. I stood at the side of the yard and watched it all together with my friend Ricardas. I will never forget what I saw for as long as I live.

“Just then the headmaster of school passed by. Upon noticing us standing there he approached and slapping us sharply on our faces he shouted: “what do you think you’re doing here? Clear off at once!!” We didn’t see anybody in uniform, neither among the murderers nor victims. I recognized one of the killers, he was a neighbor of ours named Zigmas Juodis. There were a few other familiar faces there as well but I cannot remember their names.

“After a while, a member of the White Armband patrol showed up and announced that the “members of the Klimaitis group (who carried out the pogrom at Slabodka on June 25) should now leave the area as they are needed for another job elsewhere.” A number of Lithuanians then left the scene while the rest carried on with their “work.” They were all under the command of the L.A.F. (“Lithuanian Activist Front”) Chief
of Staff Alexandras Bendinskas (who later became a member of the Seimas following the declaration of independence).”
http://209.85.165.104/search?q=cache:mD ... d=21&gl=us

Jonathan Harrison
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Post by Jonathan Harrison » 10 Jan 2008 23:21

Note also that in his OP, Michael referred to Alexandras Bendinskas as a member of the LAF, but it now appears that he was a commander of that organisation, which rather places a new complexion on his account.

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 10 Jan 2008 23:23

The boastful claims made by Stahlecker in his reports back to his superiors are essentially irrelevant to the dynamics of the ethnic conflict between Lithuanians and Jews.

If Jonathan Harrison is interested in finding out about such dynamics, then I recommend to him the book "The Final solution : origins and implementation", edited by David Cesarani ( London ; New York : Routledge, 1994), which contains an essay on the Holocaust in Lithuania by Dina Porat.

Ms Porat directly addresses the issue of why Lithuanian nationalists collaborated so enthusiastically in the physical destruction of Lithuania's Jewish minority, and concludes that there was a genuine clash of interests between ethnic Lithuanians and Jews, the former seeing the Soviet occupation as the crushing of their national aspirations and the latter welcoming it as rescue from the possibility of German rule.

That conflict existed independently of the German Government's own attitude toward Jews, although of course the German occupiers of Lithuania instrumentalised it for their own purposes, just as they instrumentalised the pre-existing ethnic hostility between Jews and other nationalities elsewhere in Eastern Europe.

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Post by michael mills » 10 Jan 2008 23:51

I did a search for Vytautas Petkevicius, which came up with this Englis-language result (among a host of Lithuanian ones):

http://listserv.buffalo.edu/cgi-bin/wa? ... t-l&P=1745

I cannot vouch for the reliability of this source, but it suggests that Vytautas Petkevicius was a Communist Party member before Lithuania gained its independence in 1991.

If Petkevicius was a Party member, that would not necessarily disqualify his evidence, but it does "place a new complexion on his account", to use Jonathan Harrison's formulation.

We cannot know to what extent the account by Petkevicius reflects the official Soviet history which was the only one allowed in Lithuania from the time of the reoccupation in 1944 until independence in 1991. It is reasonable to assume that Petkevicius, as a Communist, might want to discredit Bendinskas and other Lithuanian nationalists who had fought against Soviet rule in the 1940s.

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Post by michael mills » 11 Jan 2008 00:00

Here is another link about Petkevicius:

http://listserv.buffalo.edu/cgi-bin/wa? ... t-l&P=1470

It confirms that he was a member of the Communist Party, and apparently in the 1990s was a member of a leftist group in the parliament of the newly independent Lithuania, opposed to the rightist nationalists.

It is reasonable to assume that he may have had an interest in justifying his own post-war collaboration with the Soviet rule in Lithuania, from which he apparently profited in terms of his own career, and also in supporting to some extent the Soviet version of the history of Lithuania in the 1940s and discrediting that promoted by Lithuanian nationalists such as Bendinskas.

It is reasonable to consider both Bendinskas and Petkevicius as biassed to some degree, and not entirely trustworthy witnesses.

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Post by Jonathan Harrison » 11 Jan 2008 01:29

michael mills wrote:The boastful claims made by Stahlecker in his reports back to his superiors are essentially irrelevant to the dynamics of the ethnic conflict between Lithuanians and Jews.

If Jonathan Harrison is interested in finding out about such dynamics, then I recommend to him the book "The Final solution : origins and implementation", edited by David Cesarani ( London ; New York : Routledge, 1994), which contains an essay on the Holocaust in Lithuania by Dina Porat.

Ms Porat directly addresses the issue of why Lithuanian nationalists collaborated so enthusiastically in the physical destruction of Lithuania's Jewish minority, and concludes that there was a genuine clash of interests between ethnic Lithuanians and Jews, the former seeing the Soviet occupation as the crushing of their national aspirations and the latter welcoming it as rescue from the possibility of German rule.

That conflict existed independently of the German Government's own attitude toward Jews, although of course the German occupiers of Lithuania instrumentalised it for their own purposes, just as they instrumentalised the pre-existing ethnic hostility between Jews and other nationalities elsewhere in Eastern Europe.
Again, this fails to address Stahlecker's assertion that "To our surprise it was not easy at first to set any large-scale anti-Jewish pogrom in motion there."

I'd also like to see a proper citation of a direct quote from Porat before deciding whether she agreed that "That [ethnic] conflict existed independently of the German Government's own attitude toward Jews". However, I will attempt to obtain the book and I thank Michael for the recommendation.

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Post by michael mills » 11 Jan 2008 09:16

Again, this fails to address Stahlecker's assertion that "To our surprise it was not easy at first to set any large-scale anti-Jewish pogrom in motion there."
Consider whether Stahlecker was telling the whole truth, or just a version of it that he wanted his superiors to hear.

The Soviet administration began to pull out of Lithuania on 21 June, the day before the German invasion, leaving a vacuum into which Lithuanian nationalists emerged and tried to set up their own government before the Germans arrived. There was even a revolt by Lithuanian units of the Red Army, which turned their weapons against the retreating Soviet forces.

In the few days between the beginning of the Soviet pullout and the arrival of the German advance guard, Lithuanian nationalists and mobs of civilians began to attack persons linked to the Soviet regime who had not managed to get away. There were also random attacks on Jewish civilians, motivated by the common perception that the Jewish minority had collaborated with the Soviet regime.

The above attacks were not controlled by German forces, which were only just starting to arrive when they occurred.

Once Lithuania had come firmly under German control, the German security police crushed the Lithuanian attempts to set up an independent government, and arrested a number of the nationalist leaders. Other nationalist groups were brought under German control, and formed the nucleus of the indigenous police apparatus that supported German rule.

Stahlecker may well not have wanted to admit that Lithuanian groups were acting independently before his arrival, and therefore downplayed their activities. He may have wanted to give the impression that all repressive actions in Lithuania, including attacks on the Jewish minority, were firmly under his control.

There is certainly a discrepancy between what Stahlecker claimed in his report, and the claims of both Lithuanian nationalists and Jewish sources. Both the latter claim that Lithuanian nationalists were acting on their own initiative before the arrival of German forces; of course the Lithuanain nationalists claim that their independent violent actions were directed against Soviet collaborators, whereas the Jewish sources claim that the victims of those actions were all innocent Jewish civilians.

I also suggest to Jonathan Harrison that he read the book I quoted in my first post on this thread; it is very informative.

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Lit.
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KGB agent Vytautas Petkevicius

Post by Lit. » 11 Jan 2008 14:01

Unfortunately I'd not suggest to trust also such sources like the "Testimony of Vytautas Petkevicius"

Because well known traitor and collaborator Vytautas Petkevicius was an active member not only of Communist Party but also he was "istrebitel" - member of NKVD-KGB armed bandits, which were the most active collaborators with the Soviet occupants during the Lithuanias' war with Soviet union in 1944-1968.

Here is a documentary video about one of Lithuanian Freedom Fighters where you can see the picture of Vytautas Petkevicius KGB file, left in Vilnius, KGB headquarters by the occupants (note time 1:40 -1:43):

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=kiGdKl9bV ... re=related

He is still active with his "testimonies". He wrote a book full of such "testimonies", where he said that on the bloody night of 13th of January 1991, in Vilnius, near The TV center, dozen of unarmed civilians were killed not by members of special forces of Red Army ("Alfa" group), but by Lithuanian volunteers...

Jonathan Harrison
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Stahlecker

Post by Jonathan Harrison » 11 Jan 2008 14:31

Michael claims that:
In the few days between the beginning of the Soviet pullout and the arrival of the German advance guard, Lithuanian nationalists and mobs of civilians began to attack persons linked to the Soviet regime who had not managed to get away.
This contradicts Stahlecker (see above), who had stated that the German advance guard arrived before the pogroms and instigated them:
Klimatis, the leader of the partisan group referred to above, who was the first to be recruited for this purpose, succeeded in starting a pogrom with the aid of instructions given him by a small advance detachment operating in Kovno, in such a way that no German orders or instructions could be observed by outsiders.
For Michael to refute Stahlecker, therefore, he has to present sourced evidence that there was no German advanced guard in Kovno when the first pogrom took place. Lithuanian eyewitnesses would not necessarily have been aware of the advanced guard, given that Stahlecker says "a small advance detachment operating in Kovno, in such a way that no German orders or instructions could be observed by outsiders".

Without such a sourced rebuttal, Michael's attempt to neutralize Stahlecker's testimony is just wishful thinking.

Moreover, Occam's Razor comes into play here. Michael's thesis requires that we make an unsupported assumption about Stahlecker's motivation, which is unnecessary as the observable facts are already explicable without assuming that Stahlecker was lying to his superiors (a rather grave offence in Nazi Germany, I would have thought).

Grellber
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Post by Grellber » 11 Jan 2008 17:48

Jonathan. I followed your link and ended up with:
This is the html version of the file http://www.lithuanianjews.org.il/media/ ... etukis.doc.

Lithuanian jews org again. Are they really the only ones in the whole world that knows anything on the subject?

By the way -Just ordered the book "The final solution". More suggested reading that in any way relates to the topic of this thread (Early days after sovjet forces leaves Lithuania / Latvia) very welcome.
Last edited by Grellber on 12 Jan 2008 13:25, edited 2 times in total.

David Thompson
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Post by David Thompson » 11 Jan 2008 18:46

Grellber -- You remarked:
Lithuanian jews again. Are they the only ones in the whole world that knows anything on the subject?
Given what happened to them, they're probably the ones who have the greatest interest in the subject. You might try asking the Lithuanian government for information if you're dissatisfied.

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Lit.
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Post by Lit. » 11 Jan 2008 21:29

Grellber wrote:Jonathan. I followed your link and ended up with:
This is the html version of the file http://www.lithuanianjews.org.il/media/ ... etukis.doc.

Lithuanian Jews again. Are they the only ones in the whole world that knows anything on the subject?
Not at all. In Lithuania just appeared a few new interesting articles and the documentary about this issue:

This article explains which parts of the "famous" photo pictures are just simple montages:

http://www.lrytas.lt/?id=11754960751175147389&view=4

http://www.delfi.lt/archive/article.php ... D=12723548

http://www.delfi.lt/archive/article.php?id=12723652

This article is trying to find out who really was that blond killer:

http://www.info.lt/index.php?page=nauji ... &id=106773

Here you can buy a set of 4 DVD "The Secret archives of XX century" (with English subtitles) where DVD No.3 are two parts documentary about "Lietukis":

http://www.patogupirkti.lt/book/book.as ... D-ARCHYVAI
Last edited by Lit. on 12 Jan 2008 11:53, edited 1 time in total.

michael mills
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Post by michael mills » 12 Jan 2008 00:12

I suggest to Jonathan Harrison that he read through this thread:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=76709

In it the question of Stahlecker's claims in relation to the period immediately after the Soviet retreat from Lithuania is canvassed in detail, including a large amount of information from the book "Bitter Legacy". The information from that book shows that Lithuanian nationalist activists were acting on their own initiative in the interim period before the establishment of firm German control.

Better still, read the book itself.
Last edited by michael mills on 14 Jan 2008 02:13, edited 1 time in total.

David Thompson
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Post by David Thompson » 12 Jan 2008 00:26

Michael Mills wrote:
I suggest to Jonathan Harrison that he read through this thread:

http://forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?t=76709

In it the question of Stahlecker's claims in relation to the period immediately after the Soviet retreat from Lithuania is canvassed in detail, including a large amount of information from the book "Bitter Harvest". The information from that book shows that Lithuanian nationalist activists were acting on their own initiative in the interim period before the establishment of firm German control.
Having posted to that thread, and having re-read it several times, I've gotten the opposite impression.

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