"KGB Museum, my reflections - 2" Top 5 Page for this destination Vilnius Travelogue by matcrazy1

Vilnius Travel Guide: 1,723 reviews and 3,529 photos

Horror over more than half of our globe

This was the most horrible place in the KGB prison I visited. So-called padded cell had walls padded and soundproofed, with a strait-jacket on the back wall used for those who resisted or were deranged with torture. The walls absorbed their cries and shouts for help. This cell was fitted out in 1973, though there were similar cells before that. In the prison records and the prisoners' stories, mention is made of five such cells.
How many thousands of such cells were all over the Soviet Union that was over more than half of our globe in not so old past?



KGB building before WWII (1939)

The floor pf the prison of KGB buiding was located a littke before the ground lever with windows up above. I read interesting info (in English) on the history of the building. It's central part was built in 1899. The part when the museum is now was added in 1914.

HISTORY
1899 - 1915 - the courthouse of Bilnius government of Russian Empire
1915 - 1918 - Institutions of German occupying power
1918 (Nov - Dec) - enlistment office for the volunteers of Lithuanian Army, Vilnius commandant's headquarters.
At the downfall of Russian and German Empires, Lithuanian Council elected as far back as 1917, had declared independence of Lithuanian state on February 16, 1918. However, the independence had to be defenced from outer and inner enemies, first of all - from Russian Bolsheviks. Formation of Lithuanian Army started.
1919 (Jan - April) - commissariats of Bolshevik V. Kapsukas government, Revolutionary Tribunal.
Young Lithuanian Army wasn't strong enough to defend Vilnius from Bolsheviks supported by the Red Army. In the eastern part of Lithuanian teritory, so-called Soviet Lithuanian Republic was established for a few months.
1920 - 1939 - courts of Polish power.


COMMENT
After WWI this area of Lithuania was in severe danger of aggression from Russian Bolsheviks. The area was populated mostly by Polish Lithuanians or Lithuanian Poles and large Jewish community. When Red Army entered Vilnius and founded Soviet Republic there, only Polish troops could freed Vilnius from bolshevism and they did it.


KGB building 1939 - 1991

There were photos of vicitms of Soviet regime displayed on the walls of KGB prison. No comments...

HISTORY
1939, Nov - 1940, June - boys' school
Under the secret agreements of August 23 and September 28, 1939, the Soviet Union helped Germany to defeat Poland. On October 10, was forced to sign a mutual assistance agreement with the Soviet Union. Vilnius was restored to Lithuania, but Soviet established a lot of military bases all over the country, Lithuania was occupied by the Soviet Union on June 15, 1940.
1940, autumn - 1941, June - NKVD Vilnius board, its pretrial detention prison, from the spring 1941 - also NKGB
1941 - 1944 - headquarters of German secret police (Gestapo) and SD, its prison, barracks of Vilnius special squad (Sonderkommando), which carried out the repression against Jewish and other population of Lithuania.
1944 - 1991 - NKGB (MGB, KGB) prison, from 1959 called pretrail detention prison.
In 1964, when the armed resistance was already broken down the most of prison premises were transferred for storing secret KGB archives. Futher, there were 23 cells (19 later on) and special premises in the prison.

Last political prisoners of KGB prison were released in 1987.


Tortures over half of our globe

Look at a strait-jacket on the back wall of so-called "the padded cell". It was used for those who resisted or were deranged with torture.
After Stalin's death (1953) physical tortures as means of inquest were officially banned. But balckmail, threads and provocation's were still excercised during the investigation process and there were cases of physical tortures too.

The guard posts

This picture was taken inside the guard post No. 3. The post was also called "the watch cell". It was arranged in 1956. A guard 24 hours watched the windows of cells and those who would come close to them. The windows were instaled with alarm wire and screened with blind glass.
In 1964 with the cut of the prison's space there were left 4 of them - 3 inside the prison and 1 on the watch tower of exercise grounds. The posts were installed with telephones and alarm system (on the picture).

The Inquest Ward

After the war the cell was used to inquest the arrested who due to illness, wounds or injures inflicted in the process of investigation could not walk to the rooms of the investigators in the second and third floors of the building. Every piece of the furniture in the ward is fixed to the floor.
Besides psychological pressures such as threats, examinations lasting for some days, hunger, etc., tortures were exercised on the arrested during the inquest too. Officially such acts were registered as "the means of physical influence" or "an active investigation". A special permission of the prison authorities was to be issued for the application of such means of investigation. But the investigators either had no trouble in gettings the permission or in many cases did not worry themselves to get it.

Killed in KGB building

In these premises, behind this door on my picture, the remains of victims killed by KGB in 1944 - 1947 and buried in mass graves on the territory of former Turskulienai estate were kept. It is known that most of them were killed in former KGB building.

The research of Turskulienai graves was carried out by archeologists, law physicians and anthropologists in 1994 - 1996. The remain of 706 persons were found there. The remains of 43 persons were identified, remains of bishop Vincentas Boriseviciurs, priest Pranas Gurstaittis, partisan leaders Jonas Semaska and Lenoais Taurnys among them.
The remains of KGB victims are kept at the Museum of Genocide Victims till the society gets ready for proper perpetuation of their memory.

Lavatory and water isolation cells

Look at the lavatory and toilet together of former KGB prison.

I could see water isolation cells in the museum too. Excuse, the cell was so small that I couldn't take a picture there. Hollow cement floor and evidences of prisoners disclosed the function of the cells. The alternative for the punished was either to stand in ice-cold water, or to balance on a low round platform in the middle of the floor. They would fall into the water every time they got drowsy.
These cells were arranged in 1945. In the Fifties, they were re-arranged into medical post. Isolation cells were restored in 1996.

  • Page Updated Jul 4, 2004
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