Jonas Kadžionis

* 1928

  • “I do remember when Lithuania was occupied by Germans. People were waiting for them and met like liberators. Girls were bringing flowers to them. Lots of people ran to meet them: they were throwing some food, some flowers. One young soldier was standing in the truck hitch, he was hit with flowers to the face and injured, and I pitied him very much. The village didn’t feel the pressure of the German occupation, they were doing nothing, and the church was not persecuted, Lithuanian flags were allowed to raise. There were some policemen with Germans. The Germans ordered to pay some tributes; the German soldier came to our house together with the local policemen. The soldier was sitting with the gun in his hands and the policemen were w carrying out a search. They were searching for the grain, wanted to find out the number of people living in the family and the amount of land owned. After the search policemen explained the soldier that there was no spare grain. They made a note and left. There was no reference made to extortion of property. Inquestor: “Were there any Jews? Were there any shootings? How many Jews were there in your village?” J.K.:” There were some Jews in each small town, in Kavarskas too. At the beginning I didn’t know, but later I learned that Jewish communists were ready “to drink glasses of our blood“. Inquestor: “But not everybody was like that? Were there any women, children? J.K.: “Outside Kavarskas I am not sure whether a German or an insurgent had shot some Jewish activists, and 2 Lithuanians who were infected with communist bacillus, but there were no families killed. People were talking that the Savickai were killed. According to natives they were not bad people, but they were spreading the communistic ideas. At the shooting Savickas’ wife raised her hand and proclaimed: ‘I am dying for Stalin!’ 16 people, mainly Jewish were shot. There was an insurgent in our village who nagged Jewish people; he wouldn’t let them walk on the pavement. The locals hated him and he was given a nickname “The king of Jews”. The Jews were shepherded for some time, there were no ghettos in Kavarskas, so they were closed in their own houses. The people were not allowed to communicate with Jews. Some time passed, the Jews were taken from Kavarskas, several families tried to hide in the woods. I know that a few families were caught and brought back to Kavarskas. Later they were taken to Ukmergė and fusilladed. There were some Lithuanians who took part in shooting. I know personally: Ganietis, Čiukštys, Mitašiūnas – I was in the labour camp together with him, he told me that he couldn’t even look at those Jew-shooters. I told him that he himself had shot some of Jews. He explained me: ‘Jonas, I was young and not experienced insurgent. We were ordered to gather in Kavarskas. We did as were told. We were taken to Ukmergė, picked up by the Germans, armed. I was young and really frightened and couldn’t resist anyway but I shot only once. Now I can’t look at the people who were shooting Jews.’ And these partisans were explaining that, ‘we have to wash the Jew-shooters guilt with our own blood’. At the beginning some of Jew-shooters joined partisans, but they were not eager to fight into the partisan war, but wanted to bluff it out and get hired by KGB. But when it came into the open that they were shooting, they were brought to the labour camp. Jew-shooters had been hated by everyone. Inquestor: “What was the ordinary people reaction when the Germans started killing the Jews?” J.K.:“Village people reacted really badly. I do not know any particular surnames of people who saved the Jews, but I know that there were such people. Those people helped them not for money, maybe grateful Jews gave them something, I don’t know. Personally I was on good terms with Jews in the labour camp. Being an old prisoner I explained them some wile how to get used to the prisoners life. We were on good terms with Jews.”

  • “I remember that in Kavarskas appeared Albertas Šiaučiūnas, he was a komsomolec. He was thought to be a bad man with the worthless soul. He shot his cousin and a schoolboy. The women were frightened to death of him and the others like him. If the house wives had to do some work at home on holidays like May Day, they would lock the door not to be noticed by anyone. It was forbidden to work during such holidays. When the first deportations started, we couldn’t understand what was going on. Two teachers were exiled from our village: Kostas Čiukšis and Petras Jurkėnas. I remember that before the “elections” some agitators came to our village. One of them very actively agitated to vote for Šupikov and Morozov. He was running around and shouting. The other one, the village commissary, was a little more reasonable. All the village people hated the reds.“

  • “After the arrest for partisan activities and on the way to prison I was telling my wife, Malvina that very bad times are waiting for her. The KGB officers had been listening to my words and asked: ‘Why is she going to be so bad?’ I answered: ‘She had been sitting in the dugout and she knows nothing, but they will demand.’ And they told me: ‘You are not being taken to any prisons. You are being taken to meet the minister’. We were taken to the KGB building in Vilnius. In the KGB yard I was asked to come close to the truck board and jump out. Everything happened so abruptly, I was not able to say good bye to my wife. When I was jumping out, Malvina managed to utter: ‘Jonukas, don’t fall apart’. So, we were separated. Inquestor: “Were you sentenced?” J.K.:”We were sentenced later together, we were given 25 years in Gulag camps, but it was no difference for us 20 or 50 years. Inquestor: “Were you sentenced immediately after the arrest? How many days did the trial last?” J.K.:“No. The trial took place in three months after the arrest. I was not beaten. Nothing bad happened. Our living conditions were very good. Only now I found in historian Arvydas Anušauskas’ book that on the 4th April 1953 Beria released the decree of abolishing all the torture cells, tools and all the torture. Of course, if they knew that you could tell something, they didn’t shy away from beating. If the information coincided with theirs, they didn’t beat. My wife was not beaten too.”

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Don‘t get lost in the woods and in your own conscience

789.jpg (historic)
Jonas Kadžionis

Jonas Kadžionis was born in 1928 in Piktagalis, Anykščiai district, Lithuania. His parents Aleksas and Petronėlė Kadžioniai were farmers. There were 11 children in their family. In 1936-1940 Jonas went to Pieninių primary school (Anykščiai distr.), he finished 4 grades. Jonas lived and worked in a family farm. At the beginning of the second Soviet occupation in the spring of 1948 part of his family were exiled to Siberia. Jonas Kadžionis wanted to avoid military service in the Soviet Army so; he joined Lithuanian Freedom Fighters Movement and became a partisan. In 1948-1949 he was fighting in Tigras troop, Šarūnas pick of the army, Algimantas district. His nom de guerre was Bėda (adversity). In 949-1953 Jonas Kadžionis- Bėda was fighting In Laisvės (Freedom) district, he was one of three the last partisans in that district, he was hiding in different dugouts in Kavarskas - Dabužiai - Traupis area. In 1949 Jonas Kadžionis got married to Malvina Gedžiūnaitė. His wife Malvina Gedžiūnaitė-Kadžionienė-Sesutė (little sister)(1923-1992) was a Freedom fighter, volunteer and an exile. In 1950 while Jonas and Malvina were hiding in the dugout, their son Antanas was born. On the 22nd of May in 1953 Jonas Kadžionis -Bėda and his wife, partisan, Malvina Gedžiūnaitė-Kadžionienė -Sesutė by guile were ensnared into an ambush and caught by the exterminator agents. In 1953 by the Baltic Tribunal Jonas Kadžionis and his wife were sentenced to 25 years imprisonment and to 5 years exile. Jonas Kadžionis refused to appeal for pardon or admit that he was deluded, so he was in prison in Russia the whole time of his punishment. At the beginning he was kept in Omsk where he worked in the wood manufacturing factory, later he was building oil conversion factory in Taishet, was in prison in Mordovia and in Perm, worked in the timber mills. After fulfilling his sentence in May, 1978 Jonas Kadžionis returned to Lithuania and settled at his wife in Pajūris, Šilalė district, he worked as a cleaner in the church. The Soviet authorities started pursuing him, he had been hiding for some time, was accused of freeloading and in 1983 exiled to Kaliningrad area, Russia, worked in the timber mill, in 1989 he retired. During the years of Lithuanian Revival Jonas Kadžionis was allowed to come back to Lithuania and in March 1989 he returned home. On the 14th of April 1998 Jonas Kadžionis was recognised as Lithuanian volunteer, on the 13th May 1998 he was granted the degree of lieutenant. Presently Jonas Kadžionis is the commander of the revived Algimantas district, retired captain and takes care of partisan war monumentalization. He initiated the creation the memorial for Traupis district freedom defenders, and marking partisan battle, death and burial places in Kavarskas area. He managed to find the place of his former dugout in Dabužiai forest and in 2009 together with the other enthusiasts reconstructed it. Nowadays the dugout is used for educational purposes. Jonas Kadžionis was awarded the Cross of Commander (Third Class Order). In his free time Jonas Kadžionis writes reminiscence, poetry and songs.