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Dr. WOLFF. I would like to say a word now about the KGB organization and who are the interrogators. The interrogator is usually a young man, somewhere between 20 and 30. It is not a job that is particularly sought for. The state police senior, so to speak, looks around and tries to find a suitable person. The suitable person may have to be, so to speak, drafted for the job or he may volunteer. He is usually an individual with strong convictions about communism. He is apt to be a person with no more than 2 years of secondary school education. He is exposed to training on the spot. He gets a certain amount of formal education in the practices we are going to talk about, but this is largely at the elbow of a senior officer. He has no special training in psychology, psychiatry, neurophysiology, neuropharmacology or any of the other so-called scientific procedures that might be relevant to this. This is an apprentice system imposed upon a not too well educated young man, who is not very enthusiastic about the job, but who is an avowed Communist.
From the start it must be appreciated that the KGB interrogator has his own vulnerabilities. In the first place, he is obliged to get a confession from his prisoner. In the second place, this confession must have certain elements of plausibility. It can't be absolutely ridiculous or absurd. It has to have a certain substance. It has to hold together in a certain way. This is particularly true of the Russian and less true of the Chinese system.
In the third place, he must not allow his prisoner to commit suicide or be pressed to the point where he becomes psychotic. He can press and press short of an irreversible mental change. A certain number of people do become psychotic and I don't believe that has special relevance to this method but only the fact that prisoners in jail often in the past have become psychotic.
At all events, he loses his prisoner when the prisoner becomes psychotic. He loses face, also, so to speak.
The prisoner may not be mangled or allowed to die of disease relevant to the treatment. He must do this all within a limited time, 3 months usually being the outside limit.
Lastly, he must not let himself get so involved in the prisoner's case and in his own personal relations with the prisoner as to become oversympathetic or so disturbed as to become himself ineffective and no longer capable of pursuing the purpose of the state. So he carries a number of hazards in presenting himself to his prisoner.
If we assume that that is the kind of young man who gets started on this, I need only to say that under special circumstances when a high-ranking official or a prince of the church or some important personage is under consideration, a correspondingly schooled and experienced person of the interrogation force will be assigned, but for the average run of cases it is unlikely that one will receive a specially experienced or sophisticated or knowledgeable interrogator.
I have put before you an oversimplified-
Often the interrogator knows that the confession that he is trying to obtain is false, is that correct?
Dr. WOLFF. Yes.
Mr. KENNEDY. Would you explain to the committee why, even though he knows it is false, he attempts to get the confession, what the reason or the explanation for that is in his own mind?
Mr. WOLFF. I would be glad to, Mr. Kennedy. The interrogator realizes that the prisoner is guilty of something. He also realizes that he is probably not guilty of the severe crimes with which he is likely to be charged. On the other hand, he feels in applying his pressures and in devoting himself to this task that he is serving communism and the party and that he therefore will rationalize his behavior for the good of the party, and not necessarily for the validation of the evidence.
The CHAIRMAN. Does he have the prospect of advancement or favors from the party if he becomes proficient in the art of obtaining confessions?
Dr. WOLFF. Quite so. He has a skill and a pride and his own opportunities for advancement depend upon the type of evidence he turns in and in some instances the number of cases that are reported by him.
The CHAIRMAN. In fact, he is on trial himself more or less.
Mr. KENNEDY. And also communism being a type of religion to him, he feels that the suspect should make the sacrifice of confessing to the crime for the good of the party and for the good of the country,
Dr. WOLFF. Yes, being convinced and he is of the cause and of communism, he feels free to try to persuade the prisoner of his criminality and to extract a confession which will indicate his attrition and reform him so to speak, and make him a better citizen. All of that can be very
The CHAIRMAN. All right.
The CHAIRMAN. That will be made exhibit No. 5 and printed in the record at this point.
(Exhibit No. 5 follows:)
EXHIBIT No. 5
SCHEMA OF TIME TABLE
Dr. WOLFF. The vertical line at the left-hand side of the chart indicates the degree of disorganization of the person. Along the bottom, along the horizontal line, I have indicated in weeks the time involved in the process from the moment the individual is supposedly under suspicion officially until he is a prisoner.
The first part, the period of surveillance usually lasts about 4 weeks
The CHAIRMAN. You mean during that period he is under suspicion. In other words, they are building up a case against him.
Dr. WOLFF. Yes. He is not informed.
The CHAIRMAN. He is not informed, but during that period he is a suspect.
Dr. WOLFF. Quite. The party has decided for one reason or another that this man is a potential enemy of the state and they are trying to collect evidence about him.
That in itself has effects, as you will see later, because he becomes aware of it secondarily and wonders what is going on and what he is guilty of and what his friends are saying about him. This is all a build-up in the process which will ultimately
The CHAIRMAN. You say he is not informed, but because of certain treatment or attitudes of his friends he becomes conscious that something is developing against him, that he probably is under suspicion, and he begins to wonder and to try to rationalize to himself what it is, What have I done? That puts him in a state of anxiety.
Dr. WOLFF. Quite so. He is not officially informed but it is very likely that he knows something is going on.
The next period beginning at about the fourth week with his arrest begins the period of detention. A part of the communist philosophy is that the individual who is suspect or prisoner or arrested is supposed to be taken to a house of detention where he and his interrogator can sit down and talk this over and consider what has been done and how he deviated from the true faith and how this could be corrected. That was the philosophy behind it. But as you will see, this has become perverted and other steps have been introduced.
This detention usually lasts from the fourth to the twelfth week, let us say, or eleventh week, which would be about 6 to 8 weeks. He still has not come to trial. At the end of that time, as you will see, during the pressures which have been applied, he has become a more and more disorganized person and finally makes a deposition, makes a confession, that is, and then comes to trial.
At the trial about a week or so after the confession, his punishment begins. Under the Russian system indoctrination doesn't play much part in this first period of detention. There is not much in the way of instruction or indoctrination except secondarily.
As you will see with the Chinese this will change. They start their indoctrination right from the start. This period of detention is one of extracting information by one means or another.
Then finally with the assignment of a punishment the case is closed and the man goes off to Siberia or is shot or is sent to some remote corner of the state for reeducation or reform or what-not.
So the process in general is 1 of 3 months. I like to emphasize that it has a certain timetable about it.
If you switch your eye to the next chart to the right you see the same data in an upright position. The time is on the side. The operating
steps are in the second column, and at the extreme right are the reactions of the prisoner.
As you suggested, Mr. Chairman, the first part of his period of surveillance arouses suspicion in him, and the accumulation of evidence makes him very uneasy and the reports of informers he is sure are beginning to be accumulated and his friends begin to avoid him and he becomes uneasy and uncertain. Then the arrest process. When sufficient evidence has been collected by an interrogator and presented to his superior if his superior accepts this as sufficient for potential criminality or for arrest, then the arrest is made. The arrest is made, as you know, usually in the middle of the night. The original idea was to avoid embarrassment for the prisoner and for the community, but this has changed. It is actually another way of terrorizing the individual. He may actually be arrested on the street or he may be sent to a distant city and arrested on the train. When he is arrested he is not told the reason. He is not given a specific offense. He is told that he has committed some crime against the state, and he knows what he has done and no statement of specific guilt is made.
When he is brought to the police station or to the detention house, as it is called, in a very legalistic manner, all his property is indexed and filed away and if he comes out 20 years later it is likely to be in a most meticulously well-kept form, with every detail and every stitch of garment returned. The legalistic aspects of the practice are very striking in contrast to the completely arbitrary nature of other procedures.
He is given an initial interrogation in some manner. He is already so disturbed that he tells much of his story at that time. They will get what evidence the individual is willing to give about himself at that moment when he is already so shaken.
If we take a man who has a reasonably serious offense or one who is potentially a serious criminal, we would take him through this difficult program.
First, the period of 3 to 6 weeks is one of complete isolation. This sounds benign enough to us in this room, but yet isolation under the circumstances is a very fearful experience. The individual is completely uncertain as to his fate. He enters the period of isolation in a small room, 6 by 10. The light is apt to be kept burning in the ceiling at all times. He has no opportunities to consult anyone about his
He is out of contact with his friends and with his influential associates. He may have various pressures applied at this point. He may be a little too cold or a little too hot. He may sleep with his hands exposed outside the covers, lying rigidly on his back. He is not allowed to sleep except at fixed hours. The food is adequate and exceedingly simple. His 6 by 10 chamber usually contains a receptacle for urine and feces which is shocking to many people, perhaps not to the members of the Russian state.
If the individual has behaved in an uncooperative way according to the interrogator, this privilege may be withdrawn and he may be allowed toilet privileges at arbitrary and fixed and rather brief times during the day. He may be obliged to stand in one position if it is considered desirable to further bring pressure upon him.
What is the effect of all this? He goes through a period of being bewildered and demanding explanations and wanting to see people,
and trying to understand what it is all about and how strange it is that he should be so abused. Actually during this next period he passes into a second phase known as one of adjustment during which he quits this overactivity and no longer tries to get from his jailer any statement of his fate. He becomes more and more depressed and humiliated and uncertain. He becomes dull and his frustration certainly mounts.
At the end of the third to the sixth week of this complete isolation and utter loneliness and boredom, this individual is in a state of wishing, above all else, to talk to another human being and at least to make some contact witli anyone who will talk to him. A person who then comes in the capacity of a friend or someone who would act as his counselor, finds him in a very ready state to talk, much more than he was in the beginning, and much more ready to comply.
Now the work of the interrogator begins. He may never have appeared until this moment when he comes as his friend. During the next 6 weeks the relations with the interrogator are developed and, as I will show you in subsequent charts, he comes out with a deposition somewhere along about the fifth or sixth week, and so on.
Now if we will turn to the next chart I think we can take these steps up in a little more detail. The CHAIRMAN. The chart will be printed at this point. (Exhibit No. 6 follows:)
EXHIBIT No. 6
PERIOD OF SURVEILLANCE
Reaction of subject 1. Under suspicion--
Anxiety, suspense. 2. Accumulation of evidence.
Awareness of being avoided. 3. Reports of informers.
Feelings of unfocused guilt. 4. Seizure of associates.
Fearful and suspicious. Seizure
Complete uncertainty as to fate: Dr. WOLFF. Without pausing very long to review this, the first portion of the curvilinear arrangement on the extreme left, the first 4 weeks, the period of surveillance during which he is increasingly anxious and becomes already filled with unfocussed guilt and wondering what it is going to be all about and certainly uncertain as to his fate. He already is being prepared for what follows. Then the arrest. Now we come to the period of detention. Some of these I have touched upon already: the kind of cell, the routine of the day. Attempts are made to disconnect him from his civilian status, to make him fully aware of the fact that he is under complete control. Many of the pressures that are of a slightly painful or painful nature are more designed to bring home to him his helplessness and isolated state than indeed they are designed to damage him or to injure him.
The CHAIRMAN. Let the record show that the chart from which you are now testifying is exhibit No. 7, and may be printed in the record at this point.
(Exhibit No. 7 follows:)
EXHIBIT NO. 7
Tue DETENTION REGIMEN
1. Total isolation : No communication of any sort with any person. 2. Cell: 6 by 10, barren; no view outside ; light in ceiling burns contantly. 3. Rigid regimen-strict timetable. For example: