Deportations from Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia

Strictly Secret Instructions Regarding the Manner of Conducting the Deportation of the Anti-Soviet Elements from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. June 14, 1941


1. General Situation

The deportation of anti-Soviet elements from the Baltic States is a task of great political importance. Its successful execution depends upon the extent to which the county operative triumvirates and operative headquarters are capable of carefully working out a plan for executing the plans and foreseeing in advance all indispensable factors. Moreover, the basic premise is that the operations should be conducted without noise and panic, so as not to permit any demonstrations and other excesses not only by the deportees, but also by a certain part of the surrounding population inimically inclined toward the Soviet administration.

2. Manner of Issuing Instructions

The instructing of operative groups should be done by the county triumvirates within as short a time as possible on the day before the beginning of the operations, taking into consideration the time necessary for traveling to the place of operations.

3. Manner of Obtaining Documents

After the issuance of general instructions to the operative groups, they should definitely be issued documents regarding the deportees. Personal files of the deportees must be previously discussed and settled by the operative groups of townships and villages, so that there are no obstacles in issuing them.

After receiving the personal files, the senior member of the operative group acquaints himself with the personal files of the family which he will have to deport. He must check the number of persons in the family, the supply of necessary forms to be filled out by the deportee, and transportation for moving the deportee, and he should receive exhaustive answers to questions not clear to him.

At the time when the files are issued, the county triumvirate must explain to each senior member of the operative group where the deported family is to be settled and describe the route to be taken to the place of deportation. Routes to be taken by the administrative personnel with the deported families to the railroad station for embarkation must also be fixed. It is also necessary to point out places where reserve military groups are placed in case it should become necessary to call them out during possible excesses.

Possession and state of arms and ammunition must be checked throughout the whole operative personnel. Weapons must be completely ready for battle, loaded, but with the cartridge not kept in the chamber. Weapons should be used only as a last resort, when the operative group is attacked or threatened with an attack-, or when resistance is shown.

4. Manner of Executing Deportation

Having arrived in the village, the operative groups must get in touch (observing the necessary secrecy) with the local authorities: chairman, secretary or members of the village soviets, and should ascertain from them the exact dwelling of the families to be deported. After that the operative groups together with the local authorities go to the families to be banished.

The operation should be commenced at daybreak. Upon entering the home of the person to be banished, the senior member of the operative group should gather the entire family of the deportee into one room, taking all necessary precautionary measures against any possible excesses.

After having checked the members of the family against the list, the location of those absent and the number of persons sick should be ascertained, after which they should be called upon to give up their weapons. Regardless of whether weapons are surrendered or not, the deportee should be personally searched and then the entire premises should be searched in order to uncover weapons.

Should weapons, counter-revolutionary pamphlets, literature, foreign currency, large quantities of valuables, etc., be disclosed, a short search act should be drawn up on the spot, which should describe the hidden weapons or counter-revolutionary literature. Should there be an armed resistance, the question of arresting the persons showing armed resistance and of sending them to the county branch of the People’s Commissariat of Public Security should be decided by the county triumvirate.

After the search the deportees should be notified that upon the decision of the Government they are being banished to other regions of the Union.

The deportees are permitted to take with them household necessities of not more than 100 kilograms in weight:

1. Suit 2. Shoes 3. Underwear 4. Bed linen 5. Dishes 6. Glasses 7. Kitchen utensils 8. Food-an estimated month’s supply to a family 9. The money at their disposal 10. Haversack or box in which to pack the articles. It is not recommended that large articles be taken.

Should the contingent be deported to rural districts, they are permitted to take with them a small agricultural inventory: axes, saws, and other articles which should be tied together and packed separately from the other articles so that when embarking on the deportation train they are loaded into special freight cars.

5. Manner of Separating Deportee from His Family

In view of the fact that a large number of the deportees must be arrested and placed in special camps and their families settled at special points in distant regions, it is necessary to execute the operation of deporting both the members of his family as well as the deportee simultaneously, without informing them of the separation confronting them. After having made the search and drawn up the necessary documents for identification in the home of the deportee, the administrative worker shall draw up documents for the head of the family and place them in his personal file, but the documents drawn up for the members of his family should be placed in the personal file of the deportee’s family.

The moving of the entire family to the station, however, should be done in one vehicle, and only at the station should the head of the family be placed separately from his family in a railroad car specially intended for heads of families.

6. Manner of Convoying the Deportees

7. Manner of Embarking

The deportees should be loaded into railroad cars by families; it is not permitted to break up a family (with the exception of heads of families subject to arrest). An estimate of 25 persons to a car should be observed.

After the railroad car is filled with the necessary number of families, it should be locked.

After the people have been taken over and loaded in the echelon train, the commander of the train shall bear responsibility for all the persons turned over to him reaching their destination.

After turning over the deportees, the senior member of the operative group shall draw up a report to the effect that he has performed the functions entrusted to him and address the report to the chief of the county operative triumvirate. The report should briefly contain the name of the deportee, whether any weapons and counter-revolutionary literature were discovered, and how the operation went.

Having placed the deportees on the echelon of deportees and submitted reports of the results of the operations performed, members of the operative group shall be considered free and shall act in accordance with the instructions of the chief of the county branch of the People’s Commissariat of Public Security.

Source: Warren B. Walsh, ed., Readings in Russian History: from ancient times to the post-Stalin era (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 1965), pp. 752-756.


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