Lord Kilmarnock to Earl Curzon.—(Received February 24.)
Copenhagen, February 17,1919.
I HAVE the honour to transmit, herewith, translations of two further reports on the atrocities committed by the Bolsheviks in the Baltic Provinces which have been furnished me by the Esthonian Provisional Government here.
I also enclose seven photographs of the victims of the massacres by the Bolsheviks at Wesenberg and Dorpat from the same source.*
I have, &c.
* Not reproduced.
BOLSHEVIK ATROCITIES IN ESTHONIA.
Further Supplementary Reports.
ON the 25th December the Bolsheviks shot the steward, Karu, the foreman, and the housekeeper, Sitau, of the Kiltsi estate. Before death, the victims were cruelly tortured. Besides these, the author, Woldemar Rosenstrauch, and three other persons were shot.
According to the report from the leader of an attacking squadron, Lieutenant Jakobsen, the Bolsheviks murdered two brothers, Hendrik and Hans Kokamal, of Piksaare, on the 26th January. They crushed the head of the former by two blows of an axe, and shot the latter. Besides this, they robbed the victims of their clothes and boots and tore their linen, which, being bloodstained, was useless to them.
In Sagnitz, in the Walk district, the head forester, Hesse, and the book-keeper, Wichmann, were shot by the Bolsheviks. As well as the graves of these two victims, seven more were discovered at the same place.
The Blood-Bath in Walk.
Bolshevism raged more in Walk than anywhere else, as the Bolsheviks remained longest in power there. The number of persons murdered by them is great, but not definitely known. At all events they are estimated at from 350 to 450. Besides, 600 to 700 persons were carried off by the Bolsheviks. From the report of the inhabitants of the district, these unfortunates were murdered on the way.
The murders were committed in the same manner as elsewhere. The unfortunates, who belonged to different classes of society, were arrested on all sorts of pretexts, kept prisoners a few days, and then, in groups of twenty to thirty, led out of the town to the place of execution, where graves were already prepared for them. Every night, twenty to thirty persons were executed without examination or trial. Before being shot, the victims were tortured in every possible way. All the bodies bear marks of many bayonet thrusts as well as gun wounds. The skulls are shattered and the bones broken. Even after death, when the bodies were stiff, the Bolsheviks hacked off the arms and legs and broke the bones of their victims.
The Bolsheviks have instilled such terror into the hearts of the local inhabitants, that they dare not even talk of the Bolsheviks' deeds, and therefore it is difficult to obtain a true report of all their atrocities in Walk.
An Esthonian soldier of cavalry was taken prisoner by the Bolsheviks and was to be executed in Walk along with many others. The Bolshevik bullets, which killed so many of his comrades, did not hit him, and he succeeded after the murder to escape from the common burial-place. He describes one of those terrible blood-baths in the following manner :—
"They took our caps, coats, and cloaks. Thirty-five armed Bolsheviks surrounded us in order to prevent any attempt at escape. Our hands were bound behind our backs. Besides this, we were fastened in couples, and then each pair joined by a long rope, so that we marched all attached to the one rope. Thus we were led to death. As I protested against this barbaric treatment, the Bolshevik officer struck me twice on the head with a riding-whip and said, 'Shooting is too good for you, your eyes ought to be put out before death.' At the word of command, the Bolsheviks fired a volley. The bound group fell to earth. I also was pulled down by the others, though I had not been hit. The Bolsheviks fired four rounds on the fallen. Fortunately, I again was missed. Then the executioners fell upon us like wild animals to rob us. Anyone who still moved was finally killed by bayonets or blows from the butt-ends of rifles. I kept as still as possible. One of the Bolsheviks took my boots. Another looked at my stockings. 'Good stockings,' he murmured, and pulled them off."
It is reported from Werro :—
The rapidity with which the Esthonian troops occupied Werro saved the lives of more than 200 people. There were 183 persons in prison, for whom a similar fate was intended as befell those in Dorpat on the 14th January. The lists were already made out. But the Red Guard took flight at the approach of the Esthonian troops. Only the warders remained behind, and they opened the prison doors. Altogether some 100 people were to have been shot in Werro near the Russian cemetery, Kaseritzschen lake, and Kirrumpäh redoubt. On the arrival of the rescuers many of the graves were not yet filled in, and a number of bodies lay exposed in the snow. Several women were also shot, and especially ghastly was the murder of Frl. Irmgard Kupffer. The following are the names of people who are known to have been murdered in Werro :— Barber Kuns, Solicitor R. Pihlak, House-owners Kond and Wierland, Forester Matson from Erastwere, Pastor Sommer, and Hr. Wreemann. The names of most of the victims are unknown, for the greater number did not belong to Werro, but had been carried off there from the neighbouring villages and shot. The Bolsheviks also kept secret the number and names of their victims.
It has already been mentioned that, according to the Bolshevik newspaper "Tööline," a number of counter-revolutionaries were murdered in Werro on the 14th January. Now information is brought by Merchant P., of Pölwa, who was led to death with the above-mentioned victims, but who escaped the massacre. He reports the following: "The twenty-four men who were condemned to death were led to a lake. There they were ordered to undress and to run home. The victims obeyed, but scarcely had they turned their backs when the Bolsheviks fired a volley at them, P. saved himself by throwing himself on the ground in good time. The Bolsheviks, thinking he was dead like the others, went off. Then P. got up and went away. Three or four victims saved themselves in this way, whilst the others were fatally shot by the Bolsheviks."
A few days after the retreat from Dorpat the Bolsheviks shot three people, namely, Täkk, Waltin, and Antzow.
According to later news, the following people were shot by the Bolsheviks : Steward Hansen of the Arral estate near Odenpäh, with his son, and Herr Seen, the owner of Saarjerw, in Pölwe.
It is reported from Walk that, among others, the Bolsheviks shot Police Inspector Koch, and the former Ensign Rudolf. They carried away the following persons : Pastors Wϋhner, Uns, Jänes, Michelson, Priests Protopopow, Sirnis, and Merchant Wassili.