Nachman Dushanski (also spelled Nachman Dushansky, Nachman Dushanskiy, Lithuanian: Nachmanas Dušanskis, Russian: Нахман Ноахович Душанский; December 29, 1919 in Šiauliai – February 20, 2008 in Haifa) was a Jewish officer of Soviet security agencies (NKVD, NKGB, MGB, KGB) in the Lithuanian SSR for over thirty years. He was heavily involved in suppression of the Lithuanian partisans, who fought against Soviet occupation of Lithuania. In Russia he was regarded as a war hero and was awarded the Medal For Courage, Order of the Patriotic War, and Order of Lenin, while the Lithuanians perceived him as a war criminal. In 1989, Dushanski immigrated to Israel. After Lithuania declared independence in 1990, Lithuanian prosecutors began a criminal case, but Israel refused to extradite him.
Dushanki's father was blinded during World War I and could not provide for the large family. Therefore, after graduating from the 6th grade, Dushanski began working. This early exposure to manual labor pushed him into communism–socialism and, in 1934, he joined the illegal Lithuanian branch of the Komsomol (Communist Union of Youth) and helped distributing underground communist publications. For the communist activities he was arrested in June 1936. He first was jailed in a juvenile prison, later transferred to Šiauliai and Raseiniai prisons. While in prison, Dushanski joined the Lithuanian Communist Party in 1938. He was released when Soviet Union occupied Lithuania in June 1940 and was given a job as an assistant security officer at the NKVD office in Telšiai. His duties included securing Soviet Union – Nazi Germany border. He was involved in mass arrests of "enemies of the people" and June deportation. Conflicting witnesses testimony implicated Dushanski in the Rainiai massacre, one of the many NKVD prisoner massacres at the beginning of the German invasion of the Soviet Union. According to Dushanski, at the time he was returning from a vacation in Crimea and was attempting to evacuate his family from Šiauliai into Russia. However, the train did not leave the station and his parents and three siblings perished during the Holocaust; only his brother Jacob survived.
Soviet security officer
Dushanski evacuated through Pskov to Leningrad. He was stationed in Moscow during the Battle of Moscow and was put on firewood duty. Between spring 1942 and summer 1943, he attended intensive NKVD training courses on identification of spies, recruitment, interrogation, and other areas in preparation for work behind the German lines. He became a junior lieutenant of the KGB in January 1943, captain by 1945, and lieutenant colonel in 1956. He was deployed in the Smolensk area to capture German officers and other collaborators. Dushanski and other agents would dress in German uniforms, cross the front line, and arrest German officers. After the Minsk Offensive, Dushanski returned to Lithuania where he was assigned to the duties of suppression of the Lithuanian partisans, the armed anti-Soviet guerrilla fighters. He was involved in liquidation of commands of the Tauras, Dainava, and Prisikėlimas districts, murders of Juozas Vitkus-Kazimieraitis and Juozas Lukša-Daumantas, arrest of Adolfas Ramanauskas-Vanagas. He was also involved in apprehension of former Nazi collaborators, Holocaust perpetrators, and members of the Lithuanian Schutzmannschaft. In 1964 he graduated from Law Faculty of Vilnius University. He retired from the Soviet security agencies in 1971.
After Soviet Union collapse
He moved to Israel in 1989, just before the collapse of the Soviet Union. In 1996, now-independent Lithuanian prosecutors opened a criminal case. He was investigated for nine counts of repressions against the Lithuanian partisans. However, Israel refused to cooperate and did not respond to Lithuanian requests to question Dushanski as a witness or to extradite him on the grounds that the case stemmed from anti-Semitism. Israel argued that there were at least 20 KGB and NKVD officers, who were involved in similar reprisal actions and who lived in Lithuania, but were not prosecuted. Therefore, Israel conculed that Dushanski was being singled out because he was Jewish. Lithuania replied that the list contained names of people who had already died or who were born in post-war years and were to young to participate in the anti-partisan operations.
- Koifman, Gregory (2008-01-23). "Душанский Нахман Ноахович". I Remember. (Russian)
- Narvydas, Rytas (2010). "Dušankis, Nachmanas". Lietuva II. Mokslo ir enciklopedijų leidybos centras. p. 529. ISBN 978-5-420-01639-8. (Lithuanian)
- Tracevskis, Rokas M. (2001-04-12). "Court sentences Soviet butcher to life". The Baltic Times. ISSN 1407-2300.
- Baltic News Service (2002-07-18). "Izraelio argumentai N.Dušanskio byloje - absurdiški?". Delfi.lt. (Lithuanian)
- Zuroff, Efraim (Spring 2005). "Eastern Europe: Anti-Semitism in the Wake of Holocaust-Related Issues". Jewish Political Studies Review 1–2 (17). ISSN 0792-335X.