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The story of Lithuanian soldier

Leonas Cerskus

These are unique memoirs (first Lithuanian online-only book) of former Lithuanian army soldier Leonas Cerskus - survivor of Chervene massacre. He came from family with deep military traditions going back to the famous army of The Grand Duchy of Lithuania in 18th century. First started to serve as volunteer in Lithuanian army auto regiment in 1939. But after Soviet occupation and massive atrocities against Lithuanian civilian and ranked military, L.Cerskus was forced to fight, first against German in the very beginning of German invasion in occupied Lithuania, later against Soviets in Eastern front (Ilmen, Volkhov, Courland). At the end of Russian-German war he was seriously injured with “Panzerfaust” near Opotschka, but survived and after hospital in Bromberg (now Bydgoszcz) was sent to “Courland Pocket” (“Kurland-Kessel”), Latvia. After German capitulation he failed to escape from Courland to Sweden, 3 days and nights in the Baltic storms with the small motorboat (“sturmboot”) and finally reached the same shore of Courland. Captured as a German POW, he was kept in labour camp near Skuodas, Lithuania. After this he was brought to Soviet “filtration” camp for POW's in Riga, Latvia, where was questioned and tortured by Russian special forces – “SMERSH”. Later Leonas spent about one year in Riga military-labour camp. After few months of semilegal civil life in Lithuania, captured again in 1948 by NKVD in the downtown Kaunas, Lithuania and questioned-tortured by NKVD. After so called trial by “troyka”, as “national enemy” he was sentenced (25 years plus 5), to Soviet labour camps for political prisoners in Kolyma (Magadan, Vanino bay, Ugolj Elgen, Seymchan, Suksukan, Canyon) and later Chukotka (Severny, Vostochny). While being in Elgen camp, he barely survived from hard work in the coal mine and nearly starved to death. He saw such deaths of unknown Scottish sergeant (from special forces of UK) and another military - Branko Markovich from Yugoslavia, personal assistant of president Marshal Josip Broz Tito. Both men were captured in Berlin, by Russian “SMERSH”. Leonas Cerskus military service and WWII in Lithuania was finished, like for most Lithuanians only after last Russian soldier left the country, in 1993...





Civilian life / Service in the Lithuanian army / Treason / Service in the "Peoples" army / In the Lentvaris manor / "17 PTO" / At the Varena training grounds / "Otstupali s bojami" / Road to Cherven / Way to home / Survivors / Victims / The fate of the others / Vincas / At War Commandant's / The trap / 7th battalion / 9th battalion / 10th battalion / Bromberg / Danzig - Kurland / "Courland Pocket" / To Sweden / In the "Hamburg" boat / Zone / In the Juodiskiai / "Litsovchoztrans" / NKVD in Kaunas / "Etape" to Siberia /"Bukhta Vanina" / Magadan-Ugol Elgen / Seymchan / Suksukan / Canyon / Chukotka / Piskunovka / The list of survivors of Cherven masacre / To be continued.../


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Leonas Cerskus

Union of Lithuanian Political Prisoners and Deportees

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