"KGB Museum, my reflections - 3" Top 5 Page for this destination Vilnius Travelogue by matcrazy1

Vilnius Travel Guide: 1,745 reviews and 3,597 photos

The most up-to-date prison in 1904

The museum of Genocide Victims acquired this door in 2000, when Lukiskes prison was reconstructed. The door was fixed at this corridor in 2001. In Lukiskes prison, this door was used right from the building of prison, and, during the Soviet occupation, it was bound with iron.
Lukiskes prison was built in 1904. At that time, it was the most up-to-date prison in whole Russian Empire. During Soviet occupation, Lukiskes prison was the largest of 12 prisons acting in Lithuania.
After the investigation in KGB 1st inner prison, most of political prisoners were taken to Lukiskes prison, and later - to prisons and concentration camps of the Soviet Union. Sometimes, there were 50-100 political prisoners in one cell waiting for departure to futher inprisonment places.
According to official data, there were 675 places in Lukiskes prison in 1940, and 3250 places in 1945. But
according to NKGB data, there were 8786 prisoners kept in the said prison in January 1945.


Partisans in Lithuania

There was large table displayed photos and info (unfortunately exclusively in Lithuanian language) on partisans fighting against Soviet occupation during and loong time past WWII. It was put on the corridor of former KGB prison. At the end of museum tour I was directed to new room (on my picture) when there were pictures and documents of partisans of Lithuania displayed.

An armed resistance of partisans in 1944-1953 took about 20,000 sons and daughters from Lithuania nation. More than a half of them perished fighting for freedom in 1944-1945. Middle lenght of fighting as a partisan was only 2-3 years. Most of the fighters that died and was killed were younger than 21. Even after the death of Lithuanian patriots jeering at them was often. To frighten the inhabitants, the bodies of partisans were laid down in town squares, yards and markets.


Shower? Once a month!

Look at the showers of former KGB museum on my picture. The prisoners were showered once a month and one cell at a time. Water was turned on and off by warders. Very often they would turn on either cold or hot water just for mockery.
There were lavatories next to showers. After the war the prisoners could use them once a day. For the rest of the day they could realise their natural needs in a plastic bucket in the corner of the cell. The bucked was emptied once a day.


Put these slippers on...

... and go to the former cell of executions. The exhibit was placed underground thanks to the Lithuanian National Foundation in the USA which generously provided the funding for the exhibit's technical equipment.
Well, what equipment and why slippers? Surprisingly the exhibit looked very modern. It had a glass floor hang above the cement floor where reminds (bones and shoes) of the victims of Soviet regime were places. Really touching!


Stairs to the hell

I went dowstairs to see the most touching expostion of the Museum of Genocide Victims - the former cell of executions. There were Soviet original documents displayed there. Some of them were translated into English. They told me more than anything else.

Just one example,
MGB Prison Chief Samsonov's report of 16 May 1952 given to the Deputy Interior Minister Gavrilov:
I am informing you that from 1950 a special group belonging to the MGB and led by Lt. Col. Grisin, has carried out the death sentences; however, we do not have a pernament location where we could bury and hide the bodies.
The bodies are buried in various places - in the nearest forests around Vilnius, in a radius of 20-30 km; but because of the highly populated area and single homesteads surrounding the area, secrecy can not be guaranted, despite of our ingenious attempts to camouflage the burial area.
Besides, we would be discovered if the same people or cars would patrol these areas daily.
It is very difficult to keep secrecy in the prison because of its layout, incovenience for the work group and shift worker supervisor participation. When the condemned are broughtto the place of execution they have to pass all supervisory posts, although they do not belong to our special group; however, we are working on the problem.
Having imformed you, I request:
1. To take necessary steps to find a pernament burial place.
2. To authorise the administration and housekeeping department to issue six PPS automatic rifles, 500 bullets and a metal storage box.
3. During executions not to take prisoners to interrogations.
4. Vacate rooms 16, 17 and 18 and keep them vacant.
5. Add three people to the Special Unit.
6. Keys belonging to the Ministry's interior wooden door, which are being held by the prison administration, to be handed over to the Special Unit, that when they leave to carry out their missions they would not have to request them from the administration.



With bones beneath

When I went downstairs to the former cell of exections of KGB prison, you I saw the glass floor hang above the cement floor. There were shoes of the vistims of the Soviet regime beneatch the glass floor. Add gratitude glass plaque to the sponsor of the exhibit that was the Lithuanian National Foundation in the USA. Futher there were some remains of bodies, the bones of the victims of Soviet regime. They were put beneath the glass floor.


Documents say the truth

There were a few very interested, original Soviet documents displayed on the expisition put in the former cell of executions of KGB prison. They were written in Russian. I know Russian enough to understand them. Well, the English translation of some of them was put in seperate glass box of the exposition.

Three examples which prove the liers of Soviet authorities (in 1990):
1. LSSR Secret Police Deputy Minister Gavrilov to the SSRS Secret Police Deputy Minister I. Savcenka (dated June 1952):
I want to inform you that the execution of V. Toliusis and others was delayed because of a deep layer of snow in Vilnius, which prevented us from secretly burying the corpses. As soon as the snow melted in the spring, the order was carried out. We are taking the initiative to find a pernament secure place.

2. LSSR MGB Section A Chief Grisin to the SSRS MGB Section A Chief Maj. Gen. Gercovski (19 Feb 1952):
It is necessary at this time to liquidate this burial place; however, we are unable to accomplish that because of mild winters in the past several years. Therefore, I am asking for advice, how to destroy the area with chemicals without causing any suspicion from outsiders.
The reply directs: (...) the removal of bodies is strictly forbidden. Information regarding usage of chemicals to destroy the area will be forthcoming. (5 March 1952)

3. LSSR Secret Police Committee Chief wrote the letter to the Vicar of Vilnius Cathedral Father J. Boruta dated 20 March 1990, in which he states that no documents exist regarding the execution and the burial place of Vincentas Borisevicius.



Soviet propaganda then and now

At the end of my tour around the Museum of Genocide Victims I saw this room on my picture: full of pictures, posters and documents of Soviet propaganda. Well, the truth was quite different as I saw just before entering this room.

I am enough old to remember never ending and total propaganda of Polish communist authorities in not so old past. It's very strange that the man who was talking tons of liers from my TV screen in 80' (the Speaker of Polish government that time - Urban) is big businessman, one of the reachest people and the owner of a magazine in Poland now. Does it work the same way in Lithuania? Hopefully not.

  • Page Updated Jul 4, 2004
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