prisons and spent a minute in the overcrowded cells, which, in respect to hygiene, defied description. In Jonava - and this is one example of many - 16 men, all of whom could have been set free since there was nothing to bring against them, sat for 5 weeks in a dreary cellar room 3 meters long, 3 meters wide and 1.65 meters high. Girls aged 13 to 16 were locked up because they, in order to get work, had applied for admission to the Communist youth. Here it was necessary, through drastic measures, to hammer the proper sense of direction into the heads of the responsible Lithuanian circles. The inhabitants of the prison were assembled in the prison courtyard and checked on the basis of lists and documentation. Those who as a result of harmless offences had been locked up for no reason were assembled in a special group. Those whom we sentenced to 1-3 and 6 months because of their offences were also specially set off, as were those who were to be liquidated, such as criminals, Communist functionaries, politruks and other such riffraff. In addition to the announced punishment, some, according to the offence, especially Communist functionaries, received 10 to 40 lashes with the whip, which were meted out immediately. After completion of the examination, the prisoners were led back to their cells. Those who were to be let free were led in a platoon to the marketplace and there, after a short speech in the presence of many inhabitants, let go. The speech had the following content (it was immediately translated sentence by sentence by an interpreter into Lithuanian and Russian):
“If we were Bolshevists, we would have shot you, but because we are Germans, we give you your freedom.”
Then followed a severe admonition to abstain from all political activity, to report to
the German authorities any hostile activities that came to their attention and
to intensively and immediately busy themselves in reconstruction, especially
in agriculture. Should one of them again be found guilty of an offence, he would be shot.
Then they were released.
One cannot imagine the joy, gratitude and enthusiasm that our measures triggered in those who were freed and in the population. We often had to deflate the enthusiasm with sharp words, when women, children and men with tear-filled eyes sought to kiss our hands and feet.
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