Mass murders of Jews by Lithuanian Nazi collaborators – FSB releases archive documents

The FSB publishes archival documents on the involvement of Lithuanian collaborators with Nazi Germany in mass murder in the occupied territories of the USSR. Their atrocities resulted in the murder of over 20,000 Soviet citizens, particularly the Jewish population.

Documents proving the involvement of Lithuanian collaborators of Nazi Germany in the mass murder of civilians in the occupied territories of the Lithuanian SSR during the Great Patriotic War have been published on the official website of the Russian domestic intelligence service FSB. These declassified Soviet counterintelligence documents can be found under the “Archival Materials” heading in the “History” section.

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After the German attack on the USSR, the Nazis recruited Baltic nationalists from the local population in the occupied territories to do their “dirty work”. These nationalists carried out punitive measures against civilians, Soviet prisoners of war and the elimination of citizens of Jewish nationality.

For example, information about the mass murder of the Soviet population in the Lithuanian SSR during the German occupation can be found in the report of Colonel Mitrofanov, a head of Soviet counterintelligence, dated October 24, 1944. The document states:

“In the course of operational work in the liberated areas, we established facts about the mass extermination of Soviet citizens during the German occupation of the Lithuanian SSR. From the material of the exposed agents of enemy punishers, traitors and active German accomplices it emerged that during the occupation of the Fascist invaders shot and executed more than 20,000 innocent Soviet citizens, mostly from the Jewish population and party and Soviet activists, in the districts of Marijampolės, Alytus and Vilkaviškio alone.”

The atrocities committed by the German occupation authorities and their accomplices in the town of Seirijai in the Lithuanian SSR were cited as an example. The document says:

“In 1941, around mid-September, the German occupation authorities, with the direct participation of active collaborators of the German occupation authorities and traitors from the ranks of the secret police and members of the military-nationalist organization Šaulių, massacred about 1,900 people of Jewish nationality and 45 communists in Seirijai and the surrounding settlements. Among those shot were men, women, old people and children.”

The FSB also published an August 12, 1944 interrogation report of Herman Pavlaitis, a Lithuanian born in 1912, who was a police officer during the Nazi occupation. He said:

“With the arrival of the Germans in Lithuania, with the occupation of the area by German troops, I volunteered for police service from July 8, 1941. … I did everything I was sent to and what tasks whatever was assigned to me.In general, my job as a police officer was to carry out measures to exterminate the Jewish population, the communists and those loyal to the Soviet power in order to strengthen the fascist system in Lithuania…. At the time of my service in Liudvinavas there was also a mass shooting of the Jewish population in Liudvinavas by the police, in which I was actively involved.”


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According to him, the German command then ordered a mass raid on the Jewish population living there. The raid resulted in the arrest of about 7,700 Jews, including women, the elderly, and children to infants.

Pavlaitis said all of the arrested Jews were taken to a military camp where they were given no water or food for three days. On the fourth day, groups of those arrested were taken to a stable where they were stripped naked, searched and their property and belongings stolen. Then the Jewish men were ordered to dig pits – 150 meters long, 4 meters wide and 5 meters deep. Later, during interrogation, Pavlaitis recounted:

“After everything was prepared for the execution, the actual execution began. The men were shot first, in groups of 100 to 200 men. The shooting was carried out by police officers and Germans with rifles and machine guns. After all the Jewish men had been shot, immediately the women were shot in this way, as were children of all ages, including infants.”

After the killing, the bodies were piled in pits prepared by the Jewish men themselves. Pavlaitis noted that not all of them died instantly, many of them being shot and buried alive with minor to moderate wounds. For this reason, the ground was still moving “several hours” after the bodies were buried.

The published documents were disclosed and approved as part of the No Statute of Limitations project. The aim of this project is to preserve the historical memory of the tragedy of the civilian population of the USSR – the memory of the victims of war crimes committed by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Great Patriotic War.

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