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Alla Kolton

After the war new arrests began. There were three people keeping watch on father - to see what he said, how he behaved and whether or not he was a spy. Two of those people were his closest friends, recruited by the KGB [9]. They were supposed to meet KGB representatives once or twice a week at the Finnish Railway Station and report to them what daddy had said, whom he had met. They couldn't reject that proposal from the KGB. Otherwise they would have been arrested. But none of the three ever told the KGB anything bad about father because he was not arrested. They couldn't hide it from father and told him that they were to 'report' on him. They were even paid for that.
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Etta Ferdmann

Before my trip to Israel I went to some former socialist countries. It was hard to get the trip vouchers, but I was given them as a bonus at work. During the work for the Construction College, I was given a voucher for Bulgaria. There were so many discussions whether I was worthy to represent the Soviet Union in Socialist Bulgaria! It was allowed to go there only in groups. The sightseeing was only with the group. Everybody knew that in every group there was always a stooge working for the KGB [32], who would report about your behavior, contacts etc. We also had a KGB informer at work. We knew that all of us depended on his reports, starting from salary increase and up to getting an apartment and trip vouchers. The whole Soviet system was built on squealing. Thank God all those horrors are gone.
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Anatoli Kraemer

It was the time when I got to know that the KGB [37] followed everybody, especially abroad. There was also somebody in our group who was assigned by the party committee to go with us on tour. He had nothing to do with our group, his only task was to follow the members of the group, eavesdropping on people and keeping a record on everyone. First, I was very naïve and I could not believe it when somebody told me about it. Then I believed that it was true.

Our symphonic orchestra was supposed to go to Berlin on an excursion. It was Eastern Germany, but still a foreign country to us. Suddenly, some musicians from the orchestra came up to me and told me that one of their colleagues would not go to Berlin as per order from Moscow, and a man and woman were sent instead of him. Those two people turned out to be from the KGB and they were supposed to report on our trip. Even in Berlin, when we went on a city tour, they stayed at the hotel and checked our things.

At times the KGB turned some of our musicians into informers. Once, I went to Finland with the ladies band. We were talking with the group leader, and suddenly I heard some sounds behind the door. We opened the door and saw a musician who was instructed to eavesdrop on us. His task was to follow what other people were doing. Those were unpleasant things, which made me feel despondent.
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Iosif Yudelevichus

I always had different interests. Being adult I learnt how to play accordion and I played classic repertoire pretty well. Music was my passion. I attended all opera performances. Another passion of mine is art. Having some penchant for that I have always painted some pieces, mostly landscapes of my native Kaunas. I have always traveled at lot. I was in many cities of former Soviet Union. I liked old cities most of all, where I enjoyed architectural masterpieces. Gradually I came to liking bells and I started collecting big, small and diminutive ones. Collectors are crazy with their hobby. I remember one story about it. I went on a tourist trip to Czechoslovakia in order to meet my friend collector who lived in Austria and give him some of my exhibits. In Soviet times KGB [28] agents were in every tourist group being on vigil to follow the morale of Soviet tourists. I had to exert my every effort to slip out from the group and to meet with the guy. Fortunately, the meeting with my friend was not noticed.
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Judel Ronder

Several years ago I found out that one of the murderers of the Jews lives nearby. He is healthy and wealthy. I was aware of his testimony at one of the postwar trials, when they could not prove his participation in the actions and executions. Then I started writing letters to the murders for them not to sleep quietly. Once I wrote a letter to the man, where I describe his and others malefaction in detail. The letter was written by the daughter, who loved father very much and asked him to say if it was true. Father said that he was a good man, and the letter was tosh and even tried to turn it into a joke. The lady did not calm down and went to KGB. She asked for the truth. They did not tell her anything as his guilt was not proved. When she came home she found him dead. He hung himself in the bathroom. I do not have any compunction as I think it was a fair punishment for his crimes.
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n 1960s I was fond of amateur art. There was a Jewish amateur theatre in Kaunas, which was about the only one in the USSR. We staged the plays of Sholom Aleichem, learnt and sang Jewish songs. In 1963 we gave a large concert devoted to the 20 year anniversary of the mass execution of Kaunas ghetto Jews. After that active members of that theatre were called in KGB and threatened that it would be closed down and repressed. I did not fear anything. It must have been hard to make me submissive.
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I did not have to deal with KGB any more after than. My last call there was in late 1950s. My cousin Chaim and his wife were going to leave for Israel via Poland. My cousin was very nervous as it was pretty problematic at that time. Ten days before departure Chaim had infarction and died. He was buried in Kaunas and I personally designed his tombstone. There was a Mogen David on it. In a while I was called in KGB and asked who instructed to put Zionistic symbol on it. I said it was my idea and I would not let it removed from my cousin’s grave.
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In 1959 I went to Vilnius to another semester of the graduate year. I was supposed to write a diploma paper. It was the period of centennial jubilee of Sholom Aleichem and there was a postal stamp was dedicated to that even. I went to the post office to buy it. A lady who was in front of me in the line caught my attention. She was a well-dressed Jew. She did not look like a local. She spoke neither Russian nor Lithuanian to explain how many stamps she would like to get. I started speaking Yiddish to her and found out that she was born in Kaunas and currently living in Israel. She came to Lithuania from Moscow, where her husband Eliva was working as the second secretary of the Israeli consul. I enjoyed talking to her an she invited me to the hotel. I came there, but I did not go in the room. I asked Israeli lady for some souvenir from her country as it was sacred for me. The lady came down in the lobby with Israeli newspaper and gave it to me. We talked a little bit. We mostly spoke of Israel. After that we said good bye to each other and I went to the train station. Two men of mediocre appearance came up to me and pushed me in the car. I was taken in Vilnius committee of national security. I had been interrogated all night long asking me what information I gave to the Israeli woman, blaming me in the treason, threatening with arrest and trial. They took the paper that the lady gave to me. I still surprised how I was not arrested. Those were different times- if Stalin was alive, I would be in the camp for that. They let me go in the morning. When I came in Kaunas, I was not admitted to work. They had all the information here and I was found. In couple of days I was expelled from the communist party for loosened party vigil. I was shocked. Of course I was hurt for being expelled from the party, but the worst thing was that I was jobless and unable to provide for my family. I decided that I should write my diploma paper and graduate from the university. When I was defending my diploma, there was a person who started asking questions for me to flunk, but still I succeeded. I came back in Kaunas and started looking for a job.
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In 1953 I quitted my work in municipal authorities and was employed as HR manager at the factory. I entered extramural legal department of Vilnius university. I went to Vilnius several times a year. My trouble started at that time. I did not keep Jewish traditions and marked no holidays, but I never forgot that I was a Jew. I met other survived Lithuanian Jews and we went to the places of execution and collected donations for the monuments in their honor. My idea was to make a so-called archive of the people who rescued Jews and those who murdered them. I have been doing it from the moment of my return in Lithuania and until now. Probably my peculiar hobby was found out by security and I was called in KGB, interrogated and threatened. There was no imputation for me as I did well, was the member of party and my reputation was not marred.
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Anatoly Lifshits

There I needed an access permit (I lost it in Moscow) and received it rather quickly. I understood that that person from KGB helped me.
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About a year later I was suddenly deprived of the access permit. They gave me no explanations, but I was sure that the point was in the state anti-Semitism (at that time it flourished everywhere). I felt annoyed with all that, called KGB [25] (Navy representative) and asked for an audience. I met there a polite naval officer. I showed him the list of my scientific articles and he said ‘You are a research worker, why do you work at the Navy Staff?’ I explained that it was not my idea: I had to work there because of my father-in-law’s illness. The officer agreed that it altered the case. Finally I managed to return to the Krylov Academy. There were also some difficulties with accommodation, but the problem was settled.
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Alexander Grin

This subject was a progressive direction and at the conference of geodesy and physics in Germany I was elected chairman of our working group. At that time it was necessary to obtain permission of the Central Committee of the Party to become chairman of an international committee. I couldn’t tell them that I needed this permission and pretended that it wasn’t quite what I wanted. What else could I do, when respectful people wanted me to become their chairman? Our interpreter was a KGB [29] informer, and she wrote in her report that I refused indistinctly, when they wanted to elect me and our organs closed the issue of my traveling abroad for six or seven years.

There was a special procedure of traveling abroad at that time. There was a special commission in a Party district committee which checked the reliability, looked closely into people’s biographies and asked idiotic questions related to the course of scientific communism. We had interviews. Now these interviews seem crazy. They instructed us: ‘You can only walk in groups of three or more’ fearing that the agents of the world imperialism were on guard and would not miss a chance to drag to their side or kill the star of Soviet science.

They also gave other instructions like: ‘do not make soup in a sink’: our actors brought boilers with them and since they didn’t have plates or mugs they plugged the sinks to boil soup or pasta to save money to buy clothes and gifts for their families. They also asked us whether we knew the words of the anthem by heart. There were old Bolsheviks in those commissions who were even crazier. So, after the report of this interpreter I wasn’t allowed to go on trips for six years. I could only communicate with my American colleagues, when they visited me.

My former supervisor, Grigoriy Ovsyuk, helped me a lot. He was working in the presidium of the Academy of Sciences and was well respected there. He was also chairman of the housing commission of the Academy. This was an important position at that time considering the deficit of dwellings. He was the one to decide whether to give an apartment to someone or not: to academicians, not common employees! He pressed on our foreign department to have their KGB representatives make the necessary arrangements for me with the relevant KGB office, and they allowed me to travel again.
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Once, when our unit was deployed near Leningrad we bombed Finland calling this action ‘to drive Finland out of the war’. This operation started after the blockade of Leningrad [19] was broken. We bombed Helsinki and Turku port in the Gulf of Finland. A shell hit our plane there, broke through the engine and fortunately exploded somewhere higher. It was a two-engine plane and there was one left. We managed to fly to the area between the towns of Porokhov and Dno in Pskov region [about 500 km from Moscow]. We landed in a field at night without releasing the landing gear. We survived.

This was the territory of partisans. The front line was somewhere near. The partisans helped us to cross the front line. We returned to our unit leaving the plane behind. Its propellers and engine were damaged. Later we repaired the plane and moved it to our unit. When we returned to our units we had to write to a number of explanatory units about what happened and how. The special department [this department dealt with the work of employees with sensitive documentation containing state secrets. This department reported to the KGB] was shaking the information out of us, particularly because we had landed behind the front line. They wanted to know whether we had had contacts with the Germans, transferred any secret information to them or intended to surrender. It was stupid and humiliating, but it was their job. They were responsible for security. We described the situation referring to partisans who witnessed the circumstances and the special department believed us.
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Blyuma Perlstein

Stalin took revenge on Jews for their perceived lack of patriotism: [The State of] Israel was being established at that time and Jews supported the idea very much. A lot of Jews were subject to repressions. KBG [16] officials visited various enterprises, even factories and plants, hunting Zionists, especially among the management and engineers.
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Eta Gurvichuyte

I was fond of reading. It was hard to get books. Usually people gave people to one another and they became dog-eared. We were subscribed to magazines, got some novices. Later on independent publishes appeared, where we could read the books censored by Soviet regime and information about Israel. I started retyping the books illegitimately brought from abroad. I made one copy for me and for my friends. I was mostly interested in the objective information about Israel as it was the period of six-day war [23], and Soviet mass media stigmatized Israel. Besides, I collected quotations of great people about Jews. It was the period when I had to take my final exams in the University and write my diploma paper. I took a vacation for students and got ready for the exams with my Lithuanian friend. Suddenly, somebody ran on the door and I saw two men on the threshold who showed me their KGB IDs [24]. They rather politely invited me to come with them. My friend was shocked. I had been interrogated for couple of hours. It turned out that there was a stooge from one the arrested readers. Since adolescence I had known the word ‘no’. I persistently denied that I was not involved in dissemination of anti-Soviet literature. I confirmed that I collected the quotations of famous people about Jews as I being a true Jew was interested in everything connected with my nature. I was lucky that there was no search at home. I stored a lot of banned literature. If it was found, neither I nor my son would be spared. I was taken home in the morning. Then I had no wish to study and take final exams. Thus, five years of studies were futile – I had not defended my thesis.
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