CHRONICLE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN
LITHUANIA NO. 13
A Translation of the Complete Lithuanian Original Documenting the Struggle for Human Rights in Soviet-Occupied Lithuania
Translated by Jūratė Norvila Edited by Rev. Casimir Pugevičius
Published by the Lithuanian Roman Catholic Priests' League of America
64-09 56th Road, Maspeth NY 11378, U.S.A. ©Lithuanian Roman Catholic Priests' League of America 1976
In 1940, when the Soviet Union occupied Lithuania by force, 85.5% of the country's more than 3 million inhabitants were Roman Catholic, 4.5% Protestant, 7.3% Jewish, 2.5% Orthodox, and 0.2% of other persuasions.
In the two archdioceses and four dioceses were: 708 churches, 314 chapels, 73 monasteries, 85 convents, three archbishops, nine bishops, 1271 diocesan priests, 580 monks, of whom 168 were priests. Four seminaries had 470 students. There were 950 nuns.
Nuns cared for 35 kindergartens, 10 orphanages, 25 homes for the aged, two hospitals, a youth center, and an institute for the deaf-mute.
There were 18 Catholic primary schools and the same number of Catholic high schools. Religion was taught in all public schools.
Catholic organizations numbered about 800,000 members. In 1935, there were 28 Catholic magazines and newspapers, with a total circulation of 7,000,000.
On June 15, 1940, the Red Army marched into Lithuania; the independent government was replaced by a puppet regime.
On July 14-15, rigged elections were staged. On July 21, with the Red Army surrounding the assembly house, the new People's Diet "unanimously" declared Lithuania a Soviet Socialist Republic.
On June 25, 1940, the Church was declared separate from the state, and the representative of the Holy See was expelled.
Parish lands were confiscated, clergy salaries and pensions were cut off, and their savings confiscated. Churches were deprived of support. Catholic printing plants were confiscated, and religious books destroyed.
On June 28, 1940, the teaching of religion and recitation of prayers in schools was forbidden. The University's Department of Theology and Philosophy was abolished, and all private schools were nationalized. The seminaries at Vilkaviškis and Telšiai were closed, and the seminary at Kaunas was permitted to operate on a very limited scale. The clergy were spied upon constantly.
On June 15, 1941, 34,260 Lithuanians were packed off in cattle-cars to undisclosed points in the Soviet Union. After World War II, the mass deportations resumed and continued until 1953.
Vincentas Borisevičius, Bishop of Telšiai, was arrested on February 3, 1946, and condemned to death after a secret trial. Before year's end, his auxiliary, Bishop Pranas Ramanauskas, was also arrested and deported to Siberia. Bishop Teofilius Matulionis of Kaišiadorys and Archbishop Mečislovas Reinys of Vilnius were deported to a Siberian labor camp. Archbishop Reinys perished in prison at Vladimir, November 8, 1953. By 1947, Lithuania was left with a single bishop, Kazimieras Paltarokas, of Panevėžys. He died in 1958.
In 1947, the last convents and monasteries were closed, their communities dispersed, and all monastic institutions were outlawed.
After Stalin's death in 1953, there was a slight improvement in the religious situation. Bishops Matulionis and Ramanauskas were allowed to return to Lithuania, but not to minister to their dioceses or to communicate with the clergy or laity.
Bishop Ramanauskas died in 1959, and Archbishop Matulionis in 1963.
In 1955, two new bishops were appointed by Rome and consecrated: Julijonas Steponavičius and Petras Maželis. Steponavičius has never been permitted to administer his diocese.
Bishop Vincentas Sladkevičius, consecrated in 1957, is also under severe government restrictions. In 1965, Monsignor Juozas Labukas-Matulaitis was consecrated in Rome to head the Archdiocese of Kaunas and the Diocese of Vilkaviškis.
Relaxation of pressure on religious believers soon revealed that the Lithuanian people were still deeply religious. It was decided in the mid-fifties to resume the attack. The principal means of attack would be unlimited moral pressure, since physical terror seemed only to strengthen and unify the faithful.
In 1972, the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania,clandestinely published in that country, began to reach the free world at irregular intervals. Primarily intended to keep Catholics in Lithuania informed of the situation of the Church there, these Lithuanian samizdat also serve as a constant appeal to the free world not to forget the plight of a people struggling against overwhelm ing odds to defend their religious beliefs and to regain their basic human rights.Rev. Casimir Pugevičius
Vice President Lithuanian Roman Catholic Priests' League of America
CHRONICLE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN LITHUANIA
In this Issue: The Trial of P. Plumpa, P. Petronis, V. Jaugelis, J. Stašaitis, and A. Patriubavičius
CASE NO. 305
Case No. 395—concerning the publication and circulation of prayerbooks, religious literature andThe Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, was sent to the Supreme Court of the LSSR on September 3, 1974.
On October 11, 1974, five Lithuanian priests sent this appeal to the Committee on Human Rights in Moscow:
During 1973-74 the following people were arrested in Lithuania:
Nov. 19, 1973 P. Plumpa-Pluiras (LSSR Criminal Code par. 68.)
Nov. 19, 1973 Povilas Petronis (CC par. 162.)
Dec. 4, 1973 Jonas Stašaitis (CC par. 162.)
April 4, 1974 Virgilijus Jaugelis (CC par. 68.)
April 24, 1974 Juozas Gražys (CC par. 68.)
August 27, 1974 Nijolė Sadūnaitė (CC par. 68.)
The names of others arrested are not known to us.
If there were an adequate supply of officially published prayer-books and religious literature and no discrimination against believers, the above-mentioned persons need not have been arrested.
Those publishing prayerbooks were charged under LSSR Criminal Code par. 162 with engaging in illegal trade. As a matter of fact, those arrested were interested not in trading for profit but in providing the faithful with prayerbooks.
The others arrested were charged according to LSSR Criminal Code par. 68 with possessing and circulating literature libeling the Soviet system—The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania.However, The Chronicle is not libelous because it prints true facts, recording instances of Soviet officials' violations of believers' rights and Soviet law. The Chronicle has no intention of undermining the Soviet government but only of making public these violations so that they might be rectified. The Chronicle is not harming but actually aiding the public and the Soviet system. Therefore, application of LSSR CC par. 68 regarding charges of possessing and circulating The Chronicle is not appropriate.
According to LSSR CC par. 106, those arrested can be held a maximum of 9 months without trial. However, some of the aforementioned have been detained for almost 11 months.
Because the government officials detaining those arrested are in violation of Soviet law (LSSR Const, par. 125, LSSR CC par. 105) or are misapplying the law (LSSR CC par. 68), we feel any petitions to them by us would be useless.
For these reasons we are appealing to the Committee on Human Rights in the Soviet Union and to the conscience of the world: "Aid these guiltless prisoners! Do not allow them to be convicted!"
This petition was signed by 5 priests whose names were withheld by The Chronicle.
* * *
In early November, 1974, witnesses were subpoenaed to come to the LSSR Supreme Court on Nov. 21 at 10 a.m. for the opening day of the trial of Petronis and others. For unknown reasons the proceedings were delayed until Dec. 2.
On the evening of Nov. 27, 1974, delegated by the Lithuanian Security Committee, security officials in Moscow raided the home of A. N. Tverdochlebov. The search took all night. Present were A. Sacharov, Kovalev, Velikanova, Turčin, Orlov and Litvinova.
On Nov. 27, 1974, (Miss) Monika Gavėnaitė, of Kaunas, was directed to come to the Security Committee of Vilnius for questioning. The interrogation lasted three days and during this time she was brought face-to-face with the arrested Juozas Gražys and VI. Pi-golis, a Ukrainian priest. The security officers threatened to arrest Monika Gavėnaitė.
The trial of case no. 295 began on Dec. 2, 1974, in the Supreme Court of Vilnius. Only security interrogators and correspondents invited by them were allowed to take notes.
Dec. 2 — The First Day of the Trial
The following notice was tacked to the door of hall no. 101 of the Supreme Court (Vilnius, Lentpiuviu street 24): "The case against P. Petronis, P. Plumpa, J. Stašaitis, V. Jaugelis and A. Patriubavičius is being heard in this hall."
Only close relatives: children, brothers, and the like, were admitted to the hall. Plainclothes security officers guarded the door. Those entering the hall were asked to state their names and relationship to the accused.
The defendants were brought to the hall from security isolation prior to the admittance of relatives, correspondents and other security-invited observers. On entering and leaving they were guarded by 6-7 soldiers. The defendents, brought in singly, were led by two soldiers and flanked by a third. The accused were not allowed to look around the courtroom. Those brought in pairs walked on either side of a soldier. In the courtroom, they were seated several meters apart in this order: Stašaitis, Plumpa, Jaugelis, Patriubavičius and Petronis. Four armed guards stood next to the accused, preventing the defendants from looking back into the courtroom. The chairs of the first two rows, 3-4 meters behind the defendants, were pushed together and occupied by four soldiers. Farther back two rows were similarly occupied by four more soldiers and an officer.
The defendants' relatives, security interrogators, correspondents, and invited observers were each allowed four rows at the rear of the hall. A police officer and security man guarded the hall door during the proceedings. The interrogators: Markevičius, Lazarevičius and others mingled with everyone during recesses; they conversed with the prosecutor, attorneys, and gave the impression they were directing the trial.
At 10 a.m. the judge and two advisers entered the courtroom to open the trial. Presiding judge was A. Bataitis; the advisers — (Mrs.) Didžiulienė and J. Matiukas; the prosecutor—Bakučionis, assistant attorney general of the LSSR.
The accused stated their requests. Petronis had none. Plumpa preferred no defense lawyer because in past similar trials lawyers had been detrimental, not helpful. The lawyer's fees were needed by his family, and furthermore, God would defend him. Jaugelis also stated that his defender would be God.
The judge questioned each defendant about his nationality and citizenship. Petronis declared himself a citizen of the LSSR; Patriubavičius—a USSR citizen; Plumpa—a Lithuanian without citizenship; Stašaitis—a Lithuanian and LSSR citizen; Jaugelis—a Lithuanian citizen.
The judge announced that mitigating circumstances would be taken into account only in Patriubavičius' case, the other defendants showing no contriteness.
P. Plumpa, born in the Region of Rokiškis in 1939. With a high school education. He was arrested on Nov. 19, 1973 and charged according to LSSR Criminal Code pars. 68 and 70.
P. Petronis, born in the Region of Kupiškis in 1911. With a technical high school education. He was arrested on Nov. 19, 1973 and charged according to LSSR CC pars. 68 and 70.
V. Jaugelis, born in Kaunas in 1948. With a high school education, he was arrested on April 4, 1974 and charged according to LSSR CC par. 199.
J. Stašaitis, born in the Region of Raseiniai in 1921. With a high school education, he was arrested on Dec. 4, 1973 and charged according to LSSR CC par. 199.
A. Patriubavičius, born in 1935. With an elementary school education, he was arrested on Nov. 20, 1973 and charged according to LSSR CC par. 246.
The clerk read the charges hurriedly and quietly, as though to prevent those in the back of the courtroom from hearing them.
The defendants were accused of reproducing and circulating anti-Soviet literature, particularly seven issues of The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania. This publication was described as fictitious and libelous, intending to discredit the Soviet system. Pamphlets reproduced by the defendants were given to emigrants, who in turn broadcast these libels over the radio. The Chroniclemaligned the character-building function of the Soviet school system.
The accused also reproduced and circulated anti-Soviet books: A Question of Insanity (Beprotybės Klausimas), Danguolė's Joy (Danguolės laimė), Mothers School (Motinos mokyklya), For You, Lithuania (Tau, Lietuva), Religious Education of Young Souls, (Jaunos sielos religinis auklėjimas), The Problem of Lithuanian Character (Lietuviuko charakterio problema), Oh, Solzhenitsyn (O Solženycine), Open your Eyes (Atverk akis), and others. Neither the authors nor the contents of these books was mentioned in the charges.
The most seriously accused was Plumpa, who at Petronis' request, assembled two "Era" copying machines. One was used to duplicate the 6th and 7th issues of The Chronicle and other anti-Soviet literature. Plumpa duplicated the 4th and 5th issues of The Chronicle. This was the second time he had come to trial. In 1958 he had been sentenced to 7 years of imprisonment under strict regimen for organizing, circulating petitions, displaying the Lithuanian flag at Petrošiūnai, etc.
P. Petronis duplicated religious and anti-Soviet literature, collected information for The Chronicleand circulated the 6th and 7th issues of The Chronicle.
J. Stašaitis assembled for Petronis several presses for printing prayerbooks and a mimeo machine on which he reproduced the 6th issue of The Chronicle and was preparing to reproduce the book / Seek Your Face (Ieškau tavo veido).
V. Jaugelis, together with Stašaitis, reproduced and circulated the 6th issue of The Chronicle.Moreover, he collected signatures for the Memorandum (17,000 — Ed.), which defies the Soviet government's decree "On separation of church and state and church and jchool."
A. Patriubavičius caused an automobile accident in which two girls were injured. Besides this, at Petronis' request he circulated anti-Soviet books and the 6th and 7th issues of The Chronicle.
After the clerk read the charges, the judge asked the accused whether they admitted to those charges.
Petronis stated that he admitted to them in part, but denied the motives and some of the activities attributed to him.
Plumpa admited to only some of the charges, the remaining having been fabricated by the Security Committee.
Stašaitis admitted in part to the charges but denied the motives attributed to him.
Jaugelis stated that he was not guilty.
Patriubavičius admitted to the charges.
The prosecutor submitted the following order of questioning: First the victims of the accident and then the defendants—Petronis, Stašaitis, Patriubavičius, Plumpa, and Jaugelis.
Plumpa protested this order on the grounds that he, being most seriously charged, should be allowed to speak first. Prior to the trial he had been told to be prepared to speak first. Jaugelis supported Plumpa's request.
The judge denied Plumpa's and Jaugelis' request and the order of questioning submitted by the prosecutor was accepted. Most likely it was feared that Plumpa's daring might affect the other defendants and cause them to change their defense.
The girls injured in the automobile accident, (Miss) Margevičiū-tė and (Miss) Juodgalvytė, testified they had asked Patriubavičius for a ride and during the trip the automobile had overturned. One had been injured slightly, the other more seriously.
The Accused Present their Defense
Petronis spoke at great length. Responding to the charge of lack of socially useful employment, he described how he had become a farm hand at the age of 8 and studied at various schools during his employment. He completed training and worked as a paramedic. By 1968 he had spent 41 years of his life working. Because of ill health he had decided to devote his remaining energy to the needs of the believers.
"Throughout my life I had one desire," spoke Petronis, "to be of use to my nation and Church and in some way to repay the faithful for all the good they had shown me. At the present there is a severe shortage of religious literature, particularly prayerbooks and catechisms. I don't consider myself guilty before the law for reproducing this type of literature because the law guarantees freedom of the press."
"Government presses print prayerbooks, so why should they be your concern?" asked the judge.
"Very few have been printed, yet there are many believers."
Petronis chanced to come upon The Chronicle in the summer of 1972. He found nothing of an anti-Soviet nature in the 6th and 7th issues. He is responsible for circulating about forty copies ofThe Chronicle.
Petronis and Stašaitis are old acquaintances; they worked together from 1968 to 1970. Stašaitis had built several printing presses for him.
In 1972 Petronis requested Plumpa to assemble an "Era" copying machine and to teach Patriubavičius to run it. Plumpa helped him on four occasions and was reimbursed.
Petronis has printed over 20,000 prayerbooks, of which about 16,000 were sold. The earnings were used to pay his helpers, to buy paper, etc.
Proof that Petronis' work was purely religious in nature is found in his notes, confiscated during the search of his apartment. They contain his plans and motives.
He circulated religious books because this type of literature was in great demand by the faithful. Petronis saw nothing of an anti-Soviet nature in these books.
Dec. 3 — The Second Day of the Trial Petronis continued his defense.
The books which he circulated were solely of a religious and moral nature. One must discriminate clearly between "criticism of atheism" and "criticism of the Soviet system". This his accusers failed to do, categorizing such literature as the 2nd volume of A. Vienuolis' Works (Raštai) and the journalŽidinys as anti-Soviet.
"The court is not trying you for these books", interrupted the judge.
Petronis denied he provided The Chronicle with information about the ban on administering the sacrament of Confirmation in J973-
To the prosecutor's query about why he had discontinued his paramedical employment, Petronis responded that since childhood he had dreamed of missionary work. Later he had realized that this type of work was necessary in Lithuania also. He felt absolutely no guilt for circulating religious literature because the state had printed very few copies of the Scriptures and of Prayers (Maldynas).
Charged with being the author of several petitions, Petronis explained that religious matters were the rightful concern not only of the clergy but also of the faithful.
He explained that he listened to foreign radio broadcasts irregularly because he had no permanent residence. He had wanted to know more than what was printed in the Soviet papers. "Mostly I listened to broadcasts from the Vatican, writing down the more important facts," he stated.
* * *
Stašaitis confirmed the fact that he had worked with Petronis and later had begun printing prayerbooks independently.
Responding to the charge of duplicating the 6th issue of The Chronicle and preparing to duplicate the book I Seek Your Face (Ieškau Tavo veido), Stašaitis described how he had met Jaugelis in the Cathedral of Kaunas and requested him to obtain The Chronicle's 6th issue. Together they mimeographed this issue at Rukas' place, but the copies were reproduced unclearly. He then requested (Mrs.) Ona Volskienė to retype the text, but this did not help. Soon after he was arrested.
Stašaitis condemned The Chronicle for printing only what was bad about people of an opposite ideological position. In his opinion it was necessary to search for the good qualities in others, so that people might come closer. He favors peace between parties and ideas. Communism attempts to improve man's material state, while Christianity upholds morality, therefore conflicts between them are to be avoided. In time Communists and believers will extend their hands to one another. By involving himself in the duplication of The Chronicle he had hoped to contribute to its demise, so that the continuing conflict among Catholics might be ended.
Stašaitis ended his defense with a poem he had composed while in security isolation about his 9 months' spiritual retreat.
Dec.4 — The Third Day of the Trial Patriubavičius described his automobile accident and how he had aided Petronis in reproducing some literature.
"My wife was acquainted with Petronis and considered him a fine person. After the accident Petronis visited me at home and suggested I help him in the printing of prayerbooks and other religious books. Politics would not be involved and there would be no risk. I agreed because I wanted to make some money. Petronis had said that it was possible to make up to 400 rubles a month. At the end of summer in 1973 Petronis brought an "Era" copying machine to Plumpa, who chose a room for the work. Plumpa assembled the machine and taught me to run it. I began duplicating the bookDan-guolė's Joy (Danguolės laimė). Copies of a second book were not coming out well, so I notified Petronis. Plumpa soon came to adjust the 'Era' and again showed me how to run it. Another time Plumpa brought the 7th issue of The Chronicle and, removing from the machine the book I had been copying, put this issue in for duplicating. Being uneducated, I thought this material was about religion also."
"Did you read this Chronicle}" asked the prosecutor.
"Why did you begin duplicating it without first having read it?" "I don't read well myself and I trusted these people," answered Patriubavičius.
"How many copies of The Chronicle were you to make?" "About 20 copies each of the 6th and 7th issues." "Who picked up these copies?"
"While I was copying The Chronicle Petronis came over and questioned why I wasn't duplicating his book. I explained that Plumpa had brought over this work and had asked me to make copies. Petronis took these copies with him."
Petronis, when asked by the judge what had become of these copies, responded that he had passed them on to others.
"Beginning my defense," spoke Plumpa, "I would like to stress that the charges here made are misdirected. I should be accusing the government, rather than the government accusing me. Since my return from the prison camp the government has been persecuting me continuously, frequently terminating my employment. While serving time at the camp in Mordovia I heard stories about the far north, where white bears live and the white wolf chases the white hare. . ."
"Please speak to the issue," interrupted the judge.
Plumpa responded that if he was not allowed to tell his story, the judge might as well question him.
"Why did you change your surname?"
"To answer this question I would have to continue my narrative about Khrushchev's time."
The judge again cut him off. There followed several minutes of embarrassed silence.
"Why did you state that you have no citizenship*" the judge began again.
Plumpa confirmed that he indeed had no citizenship because after returning from the prison camp he was fired from one job after another, and as an anti-Soviet criminal was unable to register. "If
I have no right to employment," spoke Plumpa, "then by the same token I have no right to livelihood and I cannot consider myself a citizen of a country which denies me all rights."
The question regarding the surname change came up again.
Plumpa explained: "When I left prison the Interior Ministry of Mordovia (VRM) gave me my passport. Because of the contents of this passport I was being fired from my jobs so I went to the chief of police of Vilnius and stated:
'If this persecution continues, I shall be forced to commit a crime for which I will serve several years and then return to society and be accepted even with certain privileges.'
"The chief was angered and threatened to beat me over the head with his stick. I responded, that if I broke his windows, I probably would be sentenced for no more than 2 years.. . Then our conversation took a turn for the better and the chief promised to help me. On his recommendation I went to the chief of police of the Spalis region but was turned away."
Continuing, Plumpa described how he had wanted legally to change his surname to Gasiūnas, that of his great grandfather. "In czarist times my great grandfather was master Gasiūnas' serf. The master did not want a serf to use this same surname. For this my great grandfather was severly beaten and deported to Siberia. His family was given the surname Plumpa from the word 'plumpinti'— to pummel (to beat soundly). My great grandfather returned to Lithuania after 25 years, using the surname Gasiūnas. The master had a change of heart and gave him 2 hectares of land (about 5 acres — Tr. Note), sown with rye. The area where he lived is known to this day as Gasiūnas' place. . ."
The passport department of the Kaunas police rejected Plumpa's request because there were no witnesses to corroborate his story.
"Later, preparing to marry," continued Plumpa, "I was obliged to register. For peace of mind for myself and my family I changed Plumpa to Pluiras. I believed that if this falsification were revealed, I would get two years, and having served them, would be left alone."
"Why didn't you report this falsification to the proper authorities?" questioned the prosecutor.
"I saw no reason to hasten the inevitable," noted Plumpa. "Later I corrected the spelling on my passport and sent it, together with my autobiography, prison report and explanation as to why I couldn't use the passport, back to Mordovia. Thus I was left without documents and without a job.
"In 1972 my wife was unable to work because of our two small children," continued Plumpa, "and I decided to take on some kind of job to support my family. Receiving a request to build a duplicating machine, I agreed."
"Who made this request?" asked the judge.
"I have no moral right to answer because I might incriminate that person."
"According to what plans did you build that machine?"
"I was given about 30 sketches. They were for a copying machine of narrow range and specialized construction."
Plumpa described how he built this machine at the home of Semaška-Semaškevičius, where he rented an attic room.
"Who brought you the necessary parts?"
"The one who ordered the machine."
"Did you finish the project?"
"I completed about 70% of it."
"Did you receive an answer from the Mordovian VRM regarding your documents?"
"No. However, judging from certain comments made during my interrogation, I believe the response is being delayed by the Security Committee."
"From Patriubavičius' testimony we know that you came to his home in Ežerėlis the first time to choose an appropriate room for the copying work, and a second time to assemble an 'Era' copying machine and to teach Patriubavičius to run it. On your third visit you adjusted the machine and corrected Patriubavičius' technique. On your fourth visit you brought the 6th and 7th issues of The Chronicle and, replacing a religious book then being duplicated by the machine, had about 20 copies of The Chronicle made."
"Who gave you those issues of The Chronicle}" "I have no moral right to name those persons." Plumpa denied the charge that he duplicated 19 copies each of The Chronicle's 1st, 2nd, and 3rd issues.
"Where did you get the issue of The Chronicle found during the search of your apartment?" asked the judge.
"I cannot answer because I might incriminate that person."
Plumpa denied assembling an "Era" for Gudas and giving another "Era" to Petronis. "I neither owned, nor gave, nor rented any 'Eras' " the accused stated firmly.
Plumpa described one incident: "I myself have experienced how people are persecuted for having religious literature. During the search of my apartment one woman happened to come by, and she was also searched. A prayerbook was confiscated from her handbag and she was taken away to security. I don't know what became of her."
The judge requested concrete proof that anyone had ever been punished for possessing religious literature.
Plumpa mentioned Rezbickas, who had been in security isolation for 4 months because of his prayerbooks.
"But he was eventually released?"
"Yes, but detention in security isolation is the same as imprisonment. I get a constant headache in your 'fortress'."
The judge explained that during Rezbickas' detention officials were investigating whether he was involved solely in the reproduction of prayerbooks.
"For what were you tried earlier?"
"For political reasons."
"Explain this further."
"It was during Khrushchev's time. I had participated in the riots that occurred yearly on All Soul's Day in the Kaunas cemetery. (Police used to round up youths for lighting candles by the tombs of the Unknown Soldier and the flyers Darius and Girėnas — Ed.) I was arrested on one occasion and a search was made of my home, where they found one knife for pig slaughtering, a gun barrel with a rusty lock, and a grenade without a pin. During my trial these were presented as 'weapons for overthrowing the Soviet government.' I was sentenced to 7 years. At that time I was 18 years old and not unlike any other youth who collects such hardware purely out of curiosity.
"While in prison my nationalistic-chauvinistic attitudes changed. I saw many bad examples there. Imprisoned with me were several nationalists who had earlier been involved in the shooting of Jews. In the prison camp they outdid one another informing on the other prisoners. They wore the trustee's red arm bands. I understood then that persons without a firm ideology seek only the gratification of their lower instincts: power, money, career. I yearned to develop an ideology for myself, so I began reading philosophy, works of Diderot, Rousseau, and others. I was also teaching myself French. While reading the philosophers I realized that atheists are waging a constant battle against God, and I began to ponder: 'If God does not exist, why all these polemics about something non-existent? — But if He exists.. .?' Desiring to learn another view, I began reading religious books. That is how I discovered God and religion. Until 1961 I had been doubtful about religion, did not attend Church, and had no idea of God. From 1961 to the present my faith has not disappointed me."
"Upon your release from prison you wanted to live in Vilnius. Why not in your hometown?" asked the prosecutor.
"I was planning to enter the University to study French."
V. Jaugelis began his defense in a very quiet tone of voice. The judge immediately interrupted him, asking why he spoke so angrily.
"I am grieved that believers are not allowed the same rights as atheists, that believers have neither freedom of speech nor press. The very fact that I am on trial here is proof enough that they lack these freedoms. As a matter of fact, the situation should be reversed, with the prosecutors sitting in the prisoners' row."
The judge interrupted Jaugelis and requested that he respond to the charges.
"What proof have you that believers are not allowed the same rights as atheists?" asked the judge.
"Churches are closed and turned into warehouses and movie theaters. Priests are prosecuted for teaching religion to children. We have no prayerbooks, lack religious books, and publication of a catechism is not allowed. There are few priests, and candidates to the seminary are harassed by security."
"What proof have you that security interferes with entrance to the seminary?"
"While employed as a driver in Kaunas I applied to enter the Kaunas Seminary. After several days I was called before the police board and from there I was taken to Security. The officials of the
Security Committee told me it was up to them whether or not I entered the Seminary."
"So from this you assume that your acceptance into the seminary was held up by the State Security Committee?" asked the prosecutor.
"What would you think, if you had been told the same?"
"You were detained in Šakiai for collecting signatures under the so-called Memorandum?" asked the judge.
"Did you read people the Memorandum or speak your own opinions?"
"I only read the Memorandum to them."
"Which was your primary goal: to collect more signatures or to publicize the contents of the Memorandum?" "Both were goals." "Who gave you the Memorandum?" "I don't remember."
"We have information that one family member would sign for the other members. Was this true?"
"No. I collected the signatures fairly."
"Stašaitis testified that you and he duplicated the oth issue of The Chronicle." "Yes."
"How many copies?" "About ioo." "Who circulated them?" "I did."
"Where did you circulate The Chronicle!" "Everywhere. I don't remember exactly." "Did you do this on your own initiative?" "Yes."
Stašaitis had testified that he was the initiator. Patriubavičius' lawyer questioned Jaugelis: "How old are you?" "Twenty-seven." "Are you ill?"
"Yes, I have polyps in the large intestine." "Is this curable?"
"No. Improvement of living conditions helps somewhat."
Constitution Day is celebrated on this date in the Soviet Union.
Paragraph 125 of the USSR Constitution states: "In accordance with the interests of the working people and to strengthen the socialist system, USSR citizens are by law guaranteed:
a) freedom of speech, b) freedom of the press..."
This is what is written in the Constitution, but in reality...
Dec. o — the Fourth Day of the Trial The court was to question 12 witnesses on this day. Three were not present.
Juozas Gražys was brought into the courtroom. "With which of the defendants are you acquainted?" asked the judge.
"With Petronis, Jaugelis, and Plumpa." responded Gražys. "Have you in any way helped Petronis?"
"I don't remember. I believe he asked me to bind about 20 copies of The Problem of Lithuanian Character." (Lietuviškojo charakterio problema)
"During preliminary questioning you stated that Petronis brought you about 20 copies of The Chronicle, and after you bound them he picked them up."
Gražys responded that he had bound some copies of the 6th and 7th issues of The Chronicle but could not recall whether this was done for Petronis or someone else.
"Perhaps (Miss) Gavėnaitė picked up the copies?" asked the judge.
"I don't remember."
"During preliminary questioning you also stated that V. Jaugelis had brought you about 20 copies of the 6th issue of The Chronicle in mid-1973.
"I stated so, but if Jaugelis denies it, then I question whether it really occured. Perhaps it didn't. After all, I'm 40 years older than he and possibly forgot."
When asked what his relationship with Plumpa was, Gražys explained that (Miss) Gavėnaitė had introduced them in 1972. Plumpa had then requested Gražys to find a room, because he had some work to do, but no facilities. Gražys found him an apartment on
Kalniečiai Street in the home of Semaška-Semaškevičius.
"During preliminary questioning you had stated that (Miss) Gavėnaitė and Plumpa came to you requesting you to find a place for Plumpa to print religious literature on an ' Era' machine," the judge reminded him.
"No. Plumpa requested a facility where he could print material, by hand or typewriter, as I understood, not with an 'Era'."
"During preliminary questioning you stated that you went to the apartment rented for Plumpa at Semaška's place and saw the 'Era' duplicating apparatus."
"Not exactly. I never saw the entire machine because it was covered with cardboard."
"Did you see Plumpa using it?"
The judge asked what Gražys had given to Plumpa for duplication. Gražys named the publicationFor You, Lithuania (Tau, Lietuva). Plumpa had made four copies of some excerpts from this book.
"Did you give Plumpa The Problem of Lithuanian Character (Lietuviškojo charakterio problema) to duplicate?"
"No, I gave him that to read. If he made copies, that was his business."
"Did Plumpa ask you to rewrite the foreword to R. Medvedev's book A Question of Insanity (Beprotybės klausimas)!"
"To type several pages from it, not the foreword."
Under preliminary questioning Gražys had said that Plumpa had brought him the 4th and 5th issues of The Chronicle to be bound, but at the trial he could not remember who had brought these issues. When asked by the judge why he had named Plumpa initially, Gražys explained that the interrogator had convinced him that since Plumpa had an "Era", then undoubtedly it was he who was duplicating The Chronicle and had brought it for binding. Gražys explained the interrogation as taking place for three hours before and another three hours after lunch. "A person becomes so tired he doesn't always describe things the way they were."
After Gražys, Rezbickas was called to the witness stand. He was acquainted only with Petronis. Rezbickas admitted that in the fall of 1973 he had printed about 3,000 pages of the prayerbook Jesus and I (Jėzus ir aš).
(Mrs.) Melerščikienė was called as the next witness. Of the defendants she knew only Petronis, and him by the name of "Antanas". She had printed the prayerbook Jesus and I (Jėzus ir aš) for Petronis.
"What were the terms of your agreement with Petronis?" asked the judge.
"We agreed that I would receive five to six kopeks for every unit of 16 pages."
The witness stated she had received about 400 rubles from Petronis. While living in Kaunas she did the printing at Rezbickas' place.
The witness Vytautas Vaičiūnas was called. He was acquainted with Petronis and Stašaitis. His relationship with Petronis had been very close. They had attended religious services together and discussed various questions about life.
"How did you help Petronis?" asked the judge.
Vaičiūnas explained that there was a discarded "Era" at his place of employment. At Petronis' request he collected all the parts, took them to a home in a nearby village, assembled the parts, and left the machine there.
During the trial Vaičiūnas denied several statements he had supposedly made about Petronis during the preliminary interrogation, even though he was threatened with reprisals by the court. Vaičiūnas explained that when security officials came to his home on Nov. 19, 1973, arrested Petronis and also took Vaičiūnas and his wife for questioning, he was so agitated he could have admitted all kinds of nonsense.
When questioned what he knew about The Chronicle, Vaičiūnas explained that he had heard about it on the Vatican radio broadcasts.
The witness Jonas Gudas, living in the Kaunas region, was acquainted only with Petronis, whom he knew by the name "Antanas." Petronis had brought him some prayerbooks for safekeeping. In the fall of 1973 Petronis brought the prayerbooks and some pieces of machinery. The men with him assembled a machine, but did not run it. During the raid on his home everything was taken. When asked again whether he knew any of the other defendants, Gudas denied this. He was then shown some photographs and he singled out Jau-gelis as being familiar.
* * *
The witness Jonas Špokas, from the Kaunas region, admitted that he had printed prayerbooks for Petronis. The printing press was provided by Petronis. Besides prayerbooks, he also printed the booklet Ideology for Youth (Jaunuolio pasaulėžiūra).
"Did Petronis talk to you about political matters?" asked the judge.
"Did he speak about the lack of religious freedom in Lithuania?" "We did discuss that."
* * *
X (Jonas Špokas' son) said he had driven Petronis around Kaunas. Petronis would "leave the car and take something with him and bring other things back with him. . ."
"What books did Petronis give you to read?"
"Danguolė's Joy (Danguolės laimė) and The Way of Youth (Jaunuolio būdas)."
After the luncheon recess Juozas Gražys was brought back to the courtroom. He was asked whether he was familiar with several pamphlets duplicated on an "Era": What Tourists See in Lithuania (Ką mato turistai Lietuvoje) and Throughout the World (Visame pasaulyje). Gražys confirmed that these pamphlets belonged to him, but he could not remember where he got them.
* * *
Next the witness Kulikauskas, who had himself been convicted of printing prayerbooks, was brought into the courtroom. He explained that Petronis had asked him for help. From a printer's employee, Ivanauskas, he had obtained the letters and put together the texts for the prayerbook Jesus and I (Jėzus ir aš) and a booklet World-vieiv of Youth (Jaunuolio pasaulėžiūra).
* * *
The witness (Mrs.) Stražinskienė admitted that she had several times typed ten copies of The Problem of Lithuanian Character (Lietuviškojo charakterio problema) and several other books for Petronis. He had brought her the typewriter. She had received twenty kopeks for every ten copies of a page.
(Mrs.) Marčiulionienė told the court that she had printed the prayerbook Jesus and I (Jėzus ir aš)for Petronis. She could not remember how many copies. Petronis had left with her a list of addresses of those people who owed him money and whom he owed so that she could take care of this, if necessary.
"Were there many names?" asked the judge.
"I don't remember."
"Where is the list?"
"I burned it when I heard that searches were being conducted."
(Mrs.) Veiverienė said that she had bound the prayerbook Jesus and I ("Jėzus ir aš") for Petronis. Because she was unskilled in this, her neighbor helped her. A man had come to teach her neighbor the binding.
The judge stated that this man had most likely been Plumpa. Mrs. Veiverienė, after looking at Plumpa, affirmed that she did not know him. For each bound prayerbook she had received forty kopeks from Petronis.
The witness Pocius admitted that he had bound the prayerbooks Raise Your Hearts ("Aukštyn širdis") and Jesus and I ("Jėzus ir aš") for Petronis. An unknown man had taught him the binding technique.
* * *
The witness Juozas Urbonas refused to sign a statement swearing he would speak the truth, explaining that he would do so anyway. He stated that he was acquainted only with Plumpa and that on one occasion they were both employed in stacking bricks by the Kaunas Cathedral. He had had no other contact with Plumpa..
When asked whether he had bound prayerbooks, Urbonas explained that he had devised some binding tools and worked on the prayerbooks brought to him by several women. "I cut down the pages and put on covers." During the raid on his home the prayerbooks were confiscated.
In response to Petronis' supposed statement that he, Urbonas, had taught binding to Pocius, Urbonas stated that he had never seen Petronis before.
"Juozas, remember me!" pleaded Petronis.
"I don't know this old man," responded Urbonas angrily.
The judge asked Plumpa: "Do you know Urbonas?" "Even though I knew everything, I would not betray my Catholic friends to their enemies!" Plumpa declared.
On December 10, 1948 the General Assembly of the UN ratified the Declaration of Human Rights.It was signed by the government of the USSR.
This Declaration states:
"Every person has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion; this right includes the freedom to change one's religion or beliefs and the freedom to profess one's religion or beliefs either privately or in assembly with others, teaching publicly and privately, participating in services and performing religious functions, (par. 18)
"Every person has the right to freedom of his beliefs and the right to freely express them; this right includes the freedom from all obstacles in maintaining one's beliefs and the freedom to seek, obtain and circulate information and ideas by any means and independently of national borders." (par. 19)
The government of the USSR signed this document, but in reality.. .
December 10 — The Fifth Day of the Trial
Thirteen witnesses were questioned on this day. Two were withdrawn from the list and sent home.
The witness Vaitiekūnas admitted to knowing only Petronis, for whom he had bound prayerbooks. In all he had bound about five hundred prayerbooks. He had received forty kopeks for each bound book. The binding instruments had been provided by Petronis.
Tamošiūnas admitted in court that he had bound the prayerbook Jesus and I (Jėzus ir Aš) for Petronis, about 2,000 books in all. Later Petronis had brought him more prayerbooks, but hearing of the raids, Tamošiūnas burned them.
(Mrs.) Jasienė admitted that she had known Petronis for ten years and had bound prayerbooks for him. Someone by the name of Andriejus had taught her the binding. The judge pointed to Plumpa, but (Mrs.) Jasienė denied it was he. In response to the judge's question, Petronis said it had been Urbonas.
The witness Cesonis was not acquainted with any of the defendants, but the one on the end (Petronis) he may have seen somewhere. Questioned by the judge about his services to Petronis, Cesonis said that he had bound about 1,500 prayerbooks for someone called Antanas. This Antanas had provided the binding tools. He had received forty kopeks for each prayerbook. However, Cesonis did not confirm that this Antanas was really Petronis.
The judge asked where he had obtained the 6th issue of the Chronicle. Cesonis explained that his mother-in-law had gotten it from some old woman and had brought it home.
Cesonis asked the judge where he should appeal for the return of the books Ideology of Youth (Jaunuolio Pasaulėžiūra), Religion of Youth (Jaunuolio Religija) and others, and the prayerbooksRaise Your Hearts (Aukštyn Širdis) and Let Us Pray (Melskimės), which he had bought and which had been taken from him during the raid.
The judge directed him to write a request, and if the books were not material evidence, they would be returned.
(Mrs.) Šatiene did not know any of the defendants. Someone by the name of Petras had brought her some large and small prayer-books for binding. He had paid her 180 rubles for the work. The remaining unbound prayerbooks, about 150, were taken by security during their search.
The witness Girskis was not acquainted with any of the defendants, but had seen Petronis somewhere. Petronis had written two letters to this witness after the publication of his book Beyond the Convent Walls (Už Vienuolyno Sienų). Petronis explained that this witness had been his teacher in Italy. Girskis responded reluctantly to Petronis' questioning. The judge ruled Petronis' questions unrelated to the case and released Girskis.
(Miss) Vantelytė admitted an acquaintance with Petronis and Stašaitis. The latter had asked her to bind some prayerbooks for Petronis, which she did—500 in all. She accepted no money for the work. Some man had taught her the binding. The judge pointed to Plumpa, but the witness denied it was he. Stašaitis, upon questioning by the judge, said that Plumpa had taught (Miss) Vandelyte the binding.
Plumpa, asked by the judge whether he knew this woman, declared that, as he had already stated, he would not incriminate any people before the court.
(Mrs.) Volskienė testified that she had typed the 6th issue of the Chronicle on a stencil for a duplicating machine and the book / Seek Your Face (Ieškau Tavo Veido), on paper. She did not know the person for whom she had typed these items.
The judge asked Stašaitis to clarify (Mrs.) Volskienė's testimony. Stašaitis was unable to confirm without a doubt that she was the same woman with whom he had discussed this work. The stencils for the book / Seek Your Face (Ieškau Tavo Veido) were black and the typist could have mistaken them for plain carbon paper. Stašaitis himself had provided the typewriter. He did not know the woman's address, only how to reach her house.
Rūkas knew Petronis, Patriubavičius and Jaugelis. In the spring of 1973 Stašaitis brought him some kind of duplicating apparatus, but he was unable to work it. Stašaitis and Jaugelis began printing something on one occasion. Later it became clear that they were printing the 6th issue of theChronicle. Jaugelis came several times afterwards. After finishing the printing he took everything except the duplicating machine.
(Mrs.) Rūkas gave a testimony similar to her husband's. Stašaitis and Jaugelis had said they were going to duplicate religious literature. She learned later that the Chronicle had been printed.
(Miss) Verbickaitė described how Jaugelis had solicited signatures for the Memorandum. Her mother had signed it, but she had not, because she did not believe in God. Jaugelis had tried to convince them that little truth was available through the newspapers, radio and television.
Miss Kazlauskaitė also said that Jaugelis had asked for her signature on the Memorandum, but she had not signed.
Kazlauskas said he had signed the Memorandum but by now could not remember what was written in it. He recalled only that the Memorandum cited unjust treatment of the clergy.
After questioning, the witnesses were allowed to remain in the courtroom.
December 11 — The Sixth Day of the Trial
Questioning of witnesses was continued on this day. Semaška -Semaškevicius said he knew only Plumpa, who had lived in his house from the fall of 1972 until July of 1973. Gražys had recommended
Plumpa to him. Because his tenant was a very private person, they hardly spoke to one another. Semaška affirmed that he did not know how Plumpa was employed. Also, he did not see Plumpa's visitors, nor did he see Gražys visiting Plumpa.
Puodžiukynas stated that he knew Petronis and Stašaitis. In the spring of 1973 he had driven Stašaitis from Kaunas to Vilnius.
Once in 1973 Petronis asked him to transport some medical instruments. Early in the morning he drove to the agreed place and, aided by an unknown man, loaded his car with small wrapped items which he drove to some point past Kaunas. He was unsure of the location. The judge reminded him that during interrogation he had said that the material may have been an "Era", but Puodžiukynas said he could not confirm this.
Garbstąs testified that he had chauffeured Petronis several times. In the fall of 1973 he had transported some material to the Biliūnas collective farm, unloaded it, and driven home alone.
The witness (Mrs.) Aldona Pltdriene stated she was acquainted only with her husband. She described how after their marriage she lived in a dormitory, raising three small children. Her husband was not employed because security interfered with his jobs, so he had to earn a living privately. The last two months her husband was home continuously with the children because she had been working long hours.
The judge requested the witness to describe her husband as a person. She stated that Petras was a unique individual. He was good, sensitive, and interested in everything. He could converse on any topic. He was very interested in literature.
Asked by the judge whether they shared the same views, (Mrs.) Pluiriene affirmed this.
Plumpa reminded the court that during interrogation the interrogators poked fun at his family and called his wife a loose woman. The judge interrupted Plumpa, stating that there was no reason to make public what was not contained in the summary of charges and that publicizing the process of interrogation was prohibited.
The ivitness G. testified that she had just moved in with Urbonas' housekeeper when the home was raided and so she knew nothing. When asked by the judge how the Chronicle had come into the housekeeper's possession, she described how the woman had bought it from was too young.
Patriubavičius (the defendant's son) said that he knew Petronis and Plumpa by sight. Petronis had once brought a printing machine and Plumpa had assembled it. His father used the machine, but he did not help, and furthermore, warned his father that it would lead an unknown man but had not allowed her to read it, saying that she to no good.
Jurkšaitis spoke about Patriubavičius' automobile and accident.
The witness Jarmalauskas, when asked by the judge if he had read the Chronicle, stated he had not. Then the judge read from the ist issue of the Chronicle that on Dec. 9, 1971 Pastor Lygnugaris of Akmenė Church was ousted from a hospital and not allowed to administer the sacraments to a seriously ill elderly man. Jarmalauskas told the court that he had been seriously ill and had requested a priest. His wife, without consulting hospital personnel, asked the Rev. Lygnugaris to come. He was only able to confess his sins before the doctor drove the priest out.
The next witness was Kalkys, director of a collective farm. The judge read him an item from theChronicle's 6th issue, stating that Kalkys, director of "The Golden Sheaf" collective farm, had called in the president of the Nemunėlis-Radviliškis parish committee, Šimukė-nas, to insist that he and two committee members pay a visit to His Excellency Bishop Sladkevičius and accuse him of preaching against the government, of sending news abroad, of catechizing children and administering the sacrament of Confirmation. Kalkys had threatened to withdraw Šimukėnas' grazing rights if he failed to do this.
Kalkys explained to the court that Šimukėnas is retired and sometimes helps his wife, a postwoman, but when delivering papers also delivers Christmas wafers. Šimukėnas also drove the pastor, Sladkevičius, to one home to baptize an infant. That is why the director of the collective farm had called Šimukėnas in and warned him about using the horses for private business. Kalkys said he had read in the paper that priests are not allowed to baptize children at home, and that is why he had told Šimukėnas to warn the pastor not to do this. However, he had made no threats about grazing rights.
(Miss) Buivydaitė and her father were brought into the courtroom together. The judge read from the 7th issue of the Chronicle that (Miss) Buivydaitė, while a pupil in the eighth grade, was coerced to join the Pioneer organization, and when she refused, was hit over the hands with a ruler by her teacher.
The girl quietly denied this account. Her father, upon questioning by the judge, said that his daughter had never spoken to him about any coersion at school. He had not forbidden her to join the Pioneers, but his wife was against it.
The three aforementioned witnesses were chosen by security organs to demonstrate the slanderous nature of the Chronicle. It is not surprising that people who are faced with security personnel sometimes testify as the latter wish them to do.
The witness Kinčinas was not acquainted with any of the defendants. He described how in the winter of 1971 an unknown man had come to his home, asking whether there were any believers in the family, and requesting them to sign the Memorandum.
"Did you read the Memorandum entirely?" asked the judge.
"Did you sign it?"
"Yes. And so did my wife and son."
The witness remembered reading only about the persecution of priests and of the Seminary.
"Which facts do you personally know?" "That it is difficult to enter the Seminary." Two witnesses were excused from questioning.
December 12 — The Seventh Day of the Trial Five people testified on this day. Several witnesses did not appear in court.
Bukauskas was chairman of the Kaišiadorys region professional union 1967-69. He described Petronis very favorably. Petronis fulfilled his obligations very responsibly. In early 1969 he wrote a pamphlet Knowing When to Stop ("Žinoti, Kada Gana"). He was especially respected by the women for his energetic campaign against drunkenness. For his good work and active social involvement Petronis was awarded a letter of commendation. To this day his reforms are practiced in the Kaišiadorys region.
In the fall of 1969, without notifying his superiors, Petronis left his job. One night he climbed through a window to retrieve his belongings (the doors had been locked by the president), and disappeared. Afterwards people speculated that he was circulating prayer-books.
Collective farm chairman Vasiliauskas described how Petronis had worked on his farm 1965-67. He did his job very well and campaigned against drunkenness, however, he sang in the church choir and for this the chairman had wanted to reprimand him.
Witness B. (a Russian woman) described how she had worked with Petronis for half a year in 1955 at the Vievis epidemiology center. At that time working conditions were very difficult, epidemics were spreading and people had no money for medicine. Petronis bought medicine and food out of his own pocket and distributed them to people. He behaved humanely with people of all nationalities, was an educated and sincere person. He never accepted payment for his help. He was a man with "soul".
The witness (Mrs.) Černiauskienė (a Russian) had worked with Petronis in Semeliškis 1956-64. She claimed that he was very educated and a good worker, that he was sincerely concerned about helping those in need.
The judge announced that a number of witnesses had not appeared in court. The court gave out the explanation of only those who had not appeared for serious reasons. The judge read these explanations so quietly, that even the secretary frequently had to request that they be repeated.
In this, as in similar judicial proceedings, usually only those witnesses who will testify favorably for the prosecution are subpoenaed; others are either not subpoenaed or are excused from testifying if it becomes clear that their testimony would be favorable to the defendants. However, security is very often disappointed even by their hand-picked witnesses.
After questioning the witnesses, the judge introduced documentary material to the court: the conclusion of various court experts, summaries of the searches, character references from employers, medical statements, etc.
The judge attempted to prove that the proceedings of the trial of the Rev. J. Zdebskis and P. Bubnys were incorrectly described in the Chronicle and that the defendants had not given arguments attributed to them. (The 1st issue of the Chronicle contained Rev. J. Zdebskis' defense, written while in prison, which had been checked by the interrogators prior to the trial. During the trial he was not allowed to complete his defense; the judge interrupted him several times — Ed.)
The judge pointed out that included in the defendants' files were those transcripts of Vatican radio broadcasts and clippings of the U.S. based newspaper Draugas which contained excerpts from theChronicle.
Court adjourned at 1:30 P.M.
December 13 — The Eighth Day of the Trial The court checked on some of the details from the defendants'
Patriubavičius, when asked wether Petronis told him to duplicate the book God Today (Dievas Šiandien) and in what quantity, answered that he was told to duplicate 100 copies of the book with no deletions.
Plumpa was asked why the same markings from Patriubavičius' "Era" machine were found on scraps of paper confiscated from Plumpa during the raid, as on pages of the Chronicle. Plumpa explained that there were actually separate reports in his file clearly showing that he did not use an "Era", but for some reasons the court was not making those reports public. The fact that similar markings were found on some papers and on pages of the Chronicle simply means that someone used that "Era", but why are they implicating him in this?
Petronis, when asked why he quit his job so unexpectedly and whether the confiscation of Paulauskas' prayerbooks influenced him to leave, answered that he had thought of quitting for a long time, but that the incident with Paulauskas had hastened this decision.
The prosecutor asked why Petronis duplicated the Chronicle. Petronis responded that he considers the Chronicle an anti-atheistic publication in which the mistakes of atheists and Soviet officials are made public. He had no reason to circulate anti-Soviet literature.
"Your notes contain frequent references to 'red terror', 'oppression', 'the bolshevik era', etc. How do you explain this and how do you view the present system?" asked the judge.
"Many painful events touching my countrymen, the Church, and myself influenced me negatively. Collectivization, constitutional 'free-
doms', etc. were looked upon with suspicion." "And what are your present views?" "They have changed somewhat now."
Here Petronis described how, living on a wealthy collective farm, he began to understand that it is possible to live well even under collectivization.
"So your attitudes have changed regarding economic matters. How else?"
"Well, free medical care, education.. ." "What else?" pressed the judge.
It was felt that the judge was pressuring Petronis to laud the present system and denigrate the past.
"For what purpose do your notes contain so much information about the Hill of the Three Crosses, about the destruction of crosses near Šiauliai and similar matters?"
"When I wanted to erect a cross on my sister's grave," explained Petronis, "I requested permission from the Executive Committee, but they responded that no cross may be erected except for one with a sun motif. That is why I began collecting information so that I could write to the Deputy for Religious Affairs and to the Cabinet of Ministers about the destruction of Lithuanian cultural statuary, artistic crosses, and the ban on erection of new ones. The nation is being pauperized by this."
Petronis was questioned how Simas Kudirka's defense speech, notes about demonstrations on the anniversary of Kalanta's immolation and other anti-Soviet literature had come into his possession.
"You affirm that your opinions have changed since 1961, however, such material as notes about Kalanta's anniversary demonstrations, S. Kudirka's speech, transcripts of foreign radio broadcasts and other things show little evidence of change."
"A person is not a pancake that can be flipped over," explained Petronis. "Everything about him does not change 100%; some things remain for a lifetime."
Asked again about the Chronicle, Petronis admitted that it does contain some information not related to the Church, and that some facts are presented in a rather angry manner, however "the roots of the evil which is hurting us must first be removed, and then there would be nothing to write about."
"What is the meaning of your letter written to Girskis?" Petronis explained that he wanted to inform Girskis that he and Jauniškis in their book Beyond the Convent Walls (Už Vienuolyno Sienų),had written falsehoods about the Italian Salesian religious order. "I myself spent time with Girskis in those places in Italy and saw with my own eyes what he described unfairly. One cannot spread lies in the name of truth," spoke Petronis.
Petronis described how he had always been upset by such events as the coercion of pupils to join the Communist Youth Organization and coercion of workers to join the party. He has always been for complete freedom.
He took notes on the events of Kalanta's anniversary because on this occasion the secretary of the Communist Youth Organization was distributing proclamations. That meant that the young people were searching for something, yearning, and this was very interesting to Petronis.
The judge stated that the money Petronis received for prayer-books was used for the distribution of anti-Soviet literature. Petronis responded that sometimes there was not enough money to pay for the work done and there was no surplus fund.
Jaugelis informed the court that he would not answer the judge's questions. "If I responded to your questioning, I would be acknowledging the validity of this trial," stated the accused.
Plumpa, asked whom he considered enemies of the Faith, answered:
"Those who persecute believing people for the printing and binding and distributing of prayerbooks. This is evidenced by the fact that witnesses were subpoenaed from all of Lithuania and questioned about the printing, binding, and distribution of prayerbooks even though the defendants are primarily accused of distributing anti-Soviet literature. You have frightened the witnesses to such a degree that I have no desire to name any in my own behalf and subject them to a similar fate."
Stašaitis, asked by the judge why believers are distributing nationalistic literature, gave a long philosophical speech about how Lithuania has lived through many crises, how the youth are espousing ideals not completely appropriate in the present social order, etc.
"Please explain once more your motives in printing the Chronicle," requested the lawyer Sadreika.
Stašaitis answered that the book / Seek Your Face (Ieškau Tavo Veido) is very appropriate to the times and many readers desire such books. He duplicated the Chronicle because he found many positive elements in it, for example, it contained the text of the Memorandum, which he had signed. This was the first communication of the faithful with representatives of government requesting equal rights. Stašaitis continued, stating that presently Lithuanian Catholics are taking the wrong approach, that they should give in more, that the facts contained in the Chronicle are exaggerated and spiteful toward Communists. They should request religious literature in a peaceful manner and seek a dialogue. Such publications as the Chronicle turn the government against Catholics. "By printing theChronicle I wanted to hasten its inevitable demise, after which a dialogue would be sooner in coming," spoke Stašaitis.
Stašaitis also affirmed that it was not Jaugelis who suggested he duplicate the Chronicle but that he himself was the initiator.
December 16 — The Ninth Day of the Trial
The trial proceedings were filmed on this day.
Defense lawyer Šadreika asked Stašaitis what he would have done if he would have found anti-Soviet statements in the book / Seek Your Face (Ieškau Tavo Veido). The defendant answered that he would have deleted such parts.
The prosecutor suggested that several documents be included in the court record, e.g., the notification by Deputy for Religious Affairs Tumėnas that Bishops J. Steponavičius and V. Sladkevičius are not deported, as reported by the Chronicle, but are fulfilling their priestly duties: one in Žagarė, the other in N. Radviliškis.
Plumpa requested that he be allowed to use in his defense speech Nr. 3 and Nr. 4 from the court record because it showed that it was not he who duplicated the Chronicle's 4th and 5th issues. Although the prosecutor protested the use of this material, the court allowed it.
Prosecutor Bakučionis' Speech The prosecutor began speaking of the October Revolution and its immeasurable worth, of the infallible leadership of the party and
Soviet government and of the gigantic progress made in all areas.
"We are obliged to be proud," spoke the prosecutor, "that we live under a socialist system and can build the dream of all people-Communism."
Further the prosecutor explained that there exist two camps in the world, and that the capitalist camp has used the Church in its battle.
The prosecutor did not forget to emphasize that we have full freedom of conscience and beliefs. The world's most humane constitution, continued the prosecutor, guarantees the right of citizens to the profession of any kind of faith. This right is protected by the laws of the Criminal Code. However, there are people who wish to harm the Soviet system. They feel the provisions of the Constitution are not adequately carried out.
The Chronicle, stated the prosecutor, is a means to disorient the people, to turn the public against the Soviet school system and its character-building function. Facts are misrepresented in theChronicle and slanderously and prejudicially imbue people with anti-Soviet, nationalistic opinions. "It is clear to us on whose water wheel the water is being poured," continued the prosecutor, "and who is benefiting from the favors of these calumniators."
Here the prosecutor named several witnesses who, in his opinion, had proven the libelous nature of the Chronicle.
"It is not enough that the Chronicle publishes fantasies about church life, but it also includes events unrelated to faith."
"Of course," spoke the prosecutor, some facts show that individual party and government officials, misunderstanding their goals in atheistic activity, have made some mistakes. But this is not typical; this cannot be attributed to the entire system, as is done in the Chronicle. If an event occurs, it cannot be reported prejudicially or exaggerated. Such a publication, if it fell into the hands of a person unfamiliar with what is going on, could turn him against our system."
The defendants Petronis and Plumpa, working together, duplicated the Chronicle. They both have substantial life experience, having completed the "school of hard knocks." Petronis, at age seventeen, traversed Europe to reach Rome, is educated, has literary talent. Plumpa learned about life during his imprisonment, having seen both the good and the bad.
The prosecutor charged Plumpa with assembling an "Era" for Petronis and duplicating anti-Soviet literature in Semaška-Semaškevi-čius' apartment. Besides that, Plumpa had falsified his documents. "Therefore, for Plumpa, one who has served time for political activity and who organized and duplicated a libelous publication, the Chronicle, contrary to par. 68 of the LSSR Criminal Code, I recommend 5 years loss of freedom, the sentence to be served in strict regime colonies", recommended the prosecutor, "And 3 more years loss of freedom, sentence to be served in strict regime colonies, for falsification of documents contrary to Criminal Code par. 212. In all, 8 years loss of freedom."
According to the prosecutor, Plumpa failed to respond during interrogation and spoke objectively only after familiarizing himself with the case against him.
The prosecutor charged Petronis with organizing the duplication of anti-Soviet literature. He duplicated the 6th and 7th issues of the Chronicle, A Look at Life (Žvilgsnis į Gyvenimą), arranged the duplication of God Today (Dievas Šiandien) and other books. Besides that, Petronis collected materials for the Chronicle and participated in its publication. According to the prosecutor this was proven by the notes found in Petronis' possession, which were very similar in contents to theChronicle. According to LSSR Criminal Code pars. 68 and 70, the prosecutor recommended for Petronis 5 years loss of freedom, sentence to be served in strict regime colonies.
The prosecutor charged Jaugelis with duplicating and circulating the 6th issue of the Chronicle,with collecting signatures for the memorandum, and spreading lies about the Soviet system. According to LSSR Criminal Code par. 1991, he recommended for Jaugelis a three year sentence to be served in general regime camps.
Stašaitis was charged by the prosecutor with the duplication of the 6th issue of the Chronicle and with the intention of duplicating the book / Seek Your Face (Ieškau Tavo Veido). However, Stašaitis should receive a lighter sentence because of his frankness during interrogation and admission of guilt. According to Criminal Code par. 1991, the prosecutor recommended a two-year sentence, to be served in general regime camps.
For Patriubavičius, on account of his accident, in which two pedestrians were injured, the prosecutor recommended imprisonment for 1.5 years in general regime colonies. (Criminal Code par. 246).
Petronis' lawyer, after lauding the achievements of the USSR and citing Lenin's thoughts about religion, began to argue that his client never engaged in anti-Soviet activity. Petronis had found nothing of an anti-Soviet nature in the 6th and 7th issues of the Chronicle, and the information he had gathered was never published. Petronis, having experienced much good from other believers throughout his life, wanted to repay them in some manner, and feeling that there was a lack of prayerbooks, catechisms, and religious literature, began to produce these publications. Petronis had done much good in his battle against alcoholism.
The lawyer recommended that the notes confiscated during the raid on Petronis' apartment be excluded from the material evidence because citizens have the right to possess personal notes, as long as they are not used for evil purposes. During the course of the trial it was not proven that Petronis' notes had been made public.
The lawyer stressed that Petronis regretted his part in the duplication of the Chronicle. Besides, he had openly testified about his activity in producing prayerbooks, catechisms, and religious literature and even showed initiative in getting witnesses to admit their part in this activity.
Completing his defense the lawyer reminded the court of the defendant's old age and ill health and asked that the court apply par. 1991 rather than pars. 68 and 70 to Petronis.
Plumpa refused the services of a lawyer and spoke in his own defense.
He pointed out that during interrogation he had been threatened that his case would be "fixed" and that he would receive a ten year sentence. It was clear from the trial proceedings that such a "fix" was intended. "One can 'fix' a cannon, but not a court case," spoke Plumpa. "The very word 'fix' means that the case will be fabricated and the truth will not be sought."
The prosecutor had accused Plumpa of remaining silent during interrogation, but, as Plumpa explained, he had reasons for this:
a) the interrogators had ignored his written explanations since 1966;
b) he had not wanted to cause unpleasantness to other people;
c) during interrogation his wife, in whom he believes, who is a source of pride and happiness for him, was slandered.
Further Plumpa described in detail how, after returning from prison in 1965, he was persecuted by government organs: he was not allowed to register, his employment was terminated and for several weeks he was literally homeless.
The prosecutor had charged that Plumpa, while working in a pre-fabricated concrete manufacturing plant had earned 160 rubles a month, but he had transferred to the Institute of Agricultural Planning, where he earned half as much. According to the prosecutor, Plumpa had wanted to learn how to operate the "Era" there. Plumpa explained that he had been working two shifts at the plant and had to quit because of hypertension. Besides, at the Institute he worked only as a loader. Only after the police had ordered Plumpa's dismissal did the foreman, not wishing to lose a good worker, terminate his responsibilities as a loader and take him on as a records keeper, and later as an apprentice with the "Era". He worked in the latter capacity barely two weeks because the employees of the Institute were required to fill out questionnaires, which included questions about previous arrests. On police orders Plumpa was dismissed from his job within one week.
Continuing, Plumpa described at length the reasons for his change of surname.
Having lost his right to employment, explained Plumpa, he had not lost the right to marry. Wishing to live a quiet married life, he had decided to change his surname. If the police thought it dangerous to allow Plumpa's employment at the Agricultural Planning Institute, where pig pens and barns were being planned, they would all the more fear his wife's employment in an agency where other kinds of buildings were planned. Therefore he decided that his wife would not be dismissed from her job if she were not (Mrs.) Plumpienė, but (Mrs.) Pluirienė.
A second motive leading to the surname change was the opportunity to assume guilt for a criminal offense, for which he would serve time and after which he believed he could live as a citizen of the Soviet Union with all rights restored. Criminals who had served their time were not only not persecuted, but cared for.
In 1971 he returned to his original surname because he wanted to live like all other people, and he sent his documents to Mordovia.
Plumpa pointed out that he had not gone into hiding without his documents. For example, in 1973 by chance the police of Rietava stopped him for questioning, and he gave them his correct surname and address. The Kaunas police ordered him to obtain his old documents. "Write to Mordovia for the return of your original documents," a policeman ordered. However, Plumpa did not comply because the same old story would have begun with those documents. He had expressed a desire no longer to be a citizen of the USSR, because with this citizenship he had only duties and no rights. Plumpa had requested a permit to emigrate to Argentina where his aunt lived or else to receive a Lithuanian passport. He had begun to organize the rest of his documents but was arrested. "If I were libel to court action for falsification of documents," explained Plumpa, "then a passport would not have been issued me."
Plumpa explained that after his marriage he had worked wherever he could find a job. During four years of married life his wife was able to work for only one year, and as head of the family, he was responsible for its maintainance. The interrogator wanted Plumpa to name his employers. "Should I name those, by whose favor I was able to support my family, so that they would be raided, interrogated and subpoenaed as witnesses? Does anyone find that pleasant? I don't have the moral right to do that."
Responding to the charge of anti-Soviet activity, Plumpa noted that he had no reason to harm the Soviet government. After his 1958 trial his life took a sharp religious turn and he harbored no nationalistic ideas. In the prison camp his best friends were a Jew, a Georgian, a Latvian, and two Russians. That shows that he was not fettered by narrow nationalistic bonds and he considered people of all nationalities God's children.
He was unable to organize anti-Soviet activity, spoke Plumpa, because he lacked both time and funds. During five years of marriage he was unable to buy his wife a coat, so where would he find money to duplicate anti-Soviet literature? He did not duplicate the Chronicle. The interrogators and prosecutor's assistants completely ignored his arguments that fingerprints on the 4th and 5th issues of the Chronicle proved that it was not he who duplicated them.
The Chronicle is not an anti-Soviet publication and has no intent to spread nationalistic opinions. As to the truthfulness of facts printed in it, Plumpa said he had no firm opinion, because he had neither collected nor verified them. A commission of atheists and believers should be set up to verify the information in the Chronicle.
Plumpa explained that he could not have worked with an "Era" while living in Semaška's home because the latter, visiting his room on several occasions, never saw the machine. Furthermore, an "Era" would never have fit into his attic room.
It was not on his own initiative that he set up the 6th and 7th issues of the Chronicle on Patriubavičius' "Era", and he did not need to pick up the copies. However, he would not name the initiator because he had no moral right to do so.
December 17 — The Tenth Day of the Trial
The defendants were filmed on this day also.
Stašaitis' lawyer, Sadreika, began his defense, as is customary, by lauding the progress of the Soviet people. However, he spoke, there is no house without smoke. And one occasionally finds people who fan that smoke...
The lawyer pointed out that Stašaitis had read only the first part of the book / Seek Your Face (Ieškau Tavo Veido), and had noticed nothing of an anti-Soviet nature. Having found any anti-Soviet statements, Stašaitis would have deleted them, and the contents of the book would not have suffered for this. Therefore the book should be excluded from the material evidence. As for theChronicle, in Stašaitis' opinion it is of questionable value and he has admitted that in duplicating its 6th issue he made a painful error.
It should also be taken into consideration that Stašaitis helped the interrogators determine the circumstances of the offense.
Ending his defense the lawyer requested that Stašaitis be allowed to meet the New Year with his family.
Patriubavičius' lawyer expressed surprise that his client had been a defendant in this trial. His client's primary offense was an automobile accident in which two girls were slightly injured.
The lawyer asked the court that in sentencing Patriubavičius, the thirteen months he spent in security isolation be considered punishment enough.
Jaugelis spoke in his own defense. He stated that in the Soviet Union, religious believers are the poorest of proletarians...
The judge cut off Jaugelis' speech, explaining that in his defense Jaugelis had the right to justify his actions, but this speech would have to wait until his closing statement.
Jaugelis then stated that he would not speak in his defense.
The Defendants' Closing Statements
Petronis spoke very quietly and with difficulty. He was obviously physically broken. He reminded the court that it had been "an entire year since they had seen more than a patch of sky. . . and look at Jaugelis—he looks like a man already in his coffin. .."
Petronis emphasized again that he had not acted in an anti-Soviet manner. In his opinion, he had erred in duplicating the Chronicle because he had thus hurt his own work. "However, in what publications are polemics with atheists possible?" asked Petronis. "How are we to defend ourselves from attacks against all that is central to our faith? The Chronicle is a shield against atheistic attacks and blows." Furthermore, he had duplicated the Chronicle not on his own initiative, but at the request of someone named Juze, who had asked him to keep her "Era" and duplicate the literature she brought.
Petronis stated that the letters he had written to various agencies, informing them of present day injustices, did not constitute anti-Soviet activity but reflected a desire to rectify these mistakes.
The prosecutor had named Petronis as a reporter for the Chronicle. "But I began collecting information over twenty years ago. The Chronicle did not even exist then," Petronis pointed out.
Petronis regretted that he was charged with the systematic dissemination of known falsehoods, libelous to the Soviet system, because such dissemination had certainly not taken place.
The defendant reminded the court that his primary goal in life was apostolic—to bring good to others. "I was the poorest of proletarians," spoke Petronis, "and so pars. 68 and 70 are completely misapplied to my work."
Petronis also described his poor health and asked that his sentence be reduced—that he at least be allowed to serve his time in general regime camps where he could practice his profession and be of service to people. The long year of interrogation had been punishment enough. He explained that before he died he wanted to bid farewell to his birthplace, live freely, and prepare for eternity.
Stašaitis spoke at length, beginning with his youth, about the formation of his worldview, about his dreams of doing good. "Sometimes our good intentions bring only pain to others," he spoke.
In the defendant's opinion the Chronicle adds nothing of value to people's religious life. It contains subjective, exaggerated facts. Now efforts should be directed not to the Chronicle but to living according to Christ's words: "Render to God what is God's and to Caeser what is Caesar's."
While in security isolation Stašaitis began to understand that what was necessary now, was not an exaggerated battle but an appeal, which was more appropriate to Christians and which would aid them in coming closer to atheists. During his long detention he came to understand his errors; regarding his punishment he would be satisfied if the court complied with his lawyer's recommendations.
He ended his statement with a poem written during his imprisonment.
Plumpa asked how much longer his sentence, which he had served after his first conviction, would drag on? Ten, fifteen years, or for a lifetime? "Is not the sentence I received and served enough punishment?" asked Plumpa. "Or perhaps the words spoken to me by the Vilnius police, that I had ruined my whole life, should be considered as true? Perhaps during interrogation they were justified in asking why I married and why I had children.
"How could I have harmed any ideological activity by my employment in Vilnius in the 3rd sanitary district where I carried buckets of clay and was assigned to the most dangerous jobs?" asked the defendant.
The state's attorney mentioned that Plumpa had not gone to the rural areas to work and had not earned the public's trust.
"What better way to earn public trust than by working the meanest of jobs?" asked Plumpa.
Responding to the prosecutor's charge that he, Plumpa, had written the introduction to Medvedev's book A Question of Insanity (Beprotybės Klausimas) the defendant pointed out that this was illogical. In 1972 the defendants Žukauskas and Sakalauskas were accused of duplicating this book with that same introduction, whereas
Plumpa is being charged for this action in 1973.
Plumpa described how during interrogation he was called a bandit and counter-revolutionary, even though this had not been proven to this day.
"According to the paragraphs with which I am charged, it would seem that I agitated, libeled the Soviet system and organized. Permit me to ask: Where? When? Why? Where is the proof? Where are the witnesses?" said Plumpa.
Security personnel let slip that his parental rights would be terminated and that the state would raise his children as atheists, described Plumpa.
Completing his statement, Plumpa requested that his family not be persecuted.
Jaugelis' closing statement charged the Soviet government and atheists with the persecution of Catholics.
"Who are we in the eyes of the atheists?" asked Jaugelis. "Fanatics, ignoramuses, out of step with life. The peasants have a saying: if a man is told 100 times that he is a dog, then after the 101st time he will bark. Probably that is why the majority of the faithful cannot even imagine the possibility of a religious press, of sending their children to religious schools, of electing their representatives to government.
"Who will speak for us; who will aid us, if all government positions are filled by atheists, and we, the faithful, are left at the very bottom of the proletarian class?"
In Jaugelis' words, only those "whose brains have been dried out from fear" can claim that there is freedom of religion in Lithuania and that believers are not persecuted.
Jaugelis spoke about how people were afraid to act according to the dictates of truth and conscience, but rather obeyed the orders of government officials. However, "we are not a herd of cattle, with whom you can do as you please."
"How do you understand the word 'freedom'?" asked Jaugelis. "Perhaps as the closing of churches and their conversion into warehouses and concert halls? Perhaps as the imprisonment of priests for catechizing children? Or perhaps as the turning of children against their believing parents? Why are our natural rights ignored?
"Lies, cheating, coercion, and injustices are perpetrated on innocent people everywhere," continued Jaugelis.
"All this is happening in a country where freedom, equality, brotherhood, truth, and other noble-sounding words are loudly proclaimed.
"However, today there are numerous people who are concerned only with truth, freedom, and the well being of others. How many such people have died on the tundras of Soviet Russia, having suffered hunger, illness, torture? They died enslaved, as martyrs, but they were not vanquished. To this day some of the most noble hearts, the brightest minds are decaying in prisons. How many of them are being 'treated' in psychiatric hospitals?
"And here we stand before the highest tribunal. Here should be the fairest people. And what do we see? Betrayal, lies, and coercion. The thought occurs that perhaps some are born to be slaves and others to enslave.
"Millions of martyrs died or suffered for Christ, for the truth that he preached. Let not the atheists think that there are none today who are unafraid to suffer for the truth, for their faith and needs of the Church."
Jaugelis expressed the desire of all the faithful that they be considered equal with atheists, that parents be allowed to raise their children according to their own beliefs and that churches not be closed.
Jaugelis ended with a poem about Lithuania, the Martyr, which we repeat:
"Lithuania, our homeland, our birthplace. How many times have foreign feet trampled you? How many times have you been washed in blood? Yet you never lacked noble hearts Who would shed tears for you? They did not fear suffering and death for your sake. And now such hearts will be found." The trial recessed until December 23.
December 23 — The Eleventh Day of the Trial Patriubavicius made his closing statement. He regretted that the automobile accident had occurred through his negligence. Completing
his statement of several minutes, he requested the court to allow him to celebrate his twenty-fifth wedding anniversary in freedom.
The judge announced that his decision would be given tomorrow.
The Supreme Court had not had enough time from December 17 to decide what sentences would be given the defendants.
December 24 - The Twelfth Day of the Trial
At 1 P.M. the Supreme Court pronounced sentence on the defendants. We repeat here the most important facts.
All the defendants are sentenced for the duplication and circulation of anti-Soviet literature, especially the seven issues of the Chronicle, which is a slanderous publication.
Petronis periodically duplicated and circulated anti-Soviet literature, namely, the 6th and 7th issues of the Chronicle, The Problem with Lithuanian Character (Lietuviškojo Charakterio Problema), A Look at the World (Žvilgsnis į Pasaulį), For You, Lithuania (Tau, Lietuva), etc. He was preparing to duplicate the book God Today (Dievas Šiandien), which contained many anti-Soviet statements.
Plumpa and Petronis, working together, assembled two "Era" machines. Plumpa also taught others to bind prayerbooks.
Petronis duplicated religious literature, and with his profits acquired more duplicating equipment to use for anti-Soviet literature. (This false and unproven charge was repeated three times in the court's decision. Ed.) This activity of Petronis was punishable according to LSSR Criminal Code par. 70.
Petronis' and Plumpa's collaboration was proven by the fact that Plumpa helped assemble the "Eras", brought Patriubavičius the 6th and 7th issues of the Chronicle, set them up for duplication, and regularly came to check on the "Era's" performance.
Petronis collected information for the Chronicle. He provided the material about (Miss)Bičiušaitė's trial for the 1st issue and about destruction of way-side crosses for the 6th issue. Found in his possession was information and notes that had not yet been published in the Chronicle, but which, judging from their contents, were obviously meant for this publication. All of these charges had been proven in Court.
Plumpa was charged according to LSSR Criminal Code par. 68 part 2, par. 70, and par. 212 part 2. He aided Petronis in organizing anti-Soviet activity and himself duplicated and circulated anti-Soviet literature. Plumpa duplicated the 4th and 5th issues of the Chronicle. This had been proven, despite Plumpa's denials and attempts to convince otherwise. According to J. Gražys' testimony, it is clear that Plumpa kept an "Era" at Semaška-Semaškevičius' home, the same one that was found at Patriubavičius', and that he duplicated anti-Soviet literature on this machine. Plumpa denied this but, from the testimony of Petronis and the chauffeur Puodžiukynas, it is clear that the "Era" found at Patriubavičius' was taken from Semaška-Semaškevičius' apartment. The 4th and 5th issues of theChronicle were duplicated on this machine as well as the books For You, Lithuania (Tau, Lietuva), andOh, Solzhenitsyn (O Solzenycine).
Plumpa was also incriminated in the duplication of the 1st and 3rd issues of the Chronicle and the pamphlets What Tourists See in Lithuania (Ką Mato Turistai Lietuvoje) and An Atheist in Church ("Ateistas Bažnyčioje"), however, because of lack of evidence these charges were dropped.
Plumpa is charged with giving Gražys the introduction to the book A Question of Insanity (Beprotybės Klausimas) to type. Even though the defendant denied this, the guilt has been proven. Experts have determined that the books found at Gudas' and (Miss) Kriaučiū-naitė's included the introduction which was typed by Gražys on Martinaitis' typewriter.
Plumpa is also charged with changing his surname in 1970 and marrying with falsified documents.
Stašaitis and Jaugelis duplicated the 6th issue of the Chronicle and prepared stencils for the book / Seek Your Face (Ieškau Tavo Veido). This book includes anti-Soviet ideas and is therefore classified as anti-Soviet, and its duplication is considered an offense. Stašaitis was charged according to LSSR Criminal Code par. 1991 because he duplicated the Chronicle although aware of its anti-Soviet nature. These charges had been proven.
Jaugelis aided Stašaitis in duplicating the Chronicle. He also collected signatures for a libelous petition—the Memorandum. Four witnesses testified that Jaugelis had spoken about priests who had been beaten.
Patriubavičius was tried for an automobile accident according to LSSR Criminal Code par 246 part 1. Two girls had been slightly injured in this accident.
In sentencing Petronis the court took into consideration his old age and ill health.
Plumpa had been tried a second time and could be considered a recidivist, dangerous to the state. But since he had been 18 years old during his first trial, and emotions rather than reason had been responsible for his offense, this was not considered.
Stašaitis and Patriubavičius had admitted their guilt and repented.
The following sentences were issued:
1. To P. Petronis, according to Criminal Code par. 68, part 1 and par. 70, four years loss of freedom, sentence to be served in strict regime colonies.
2. To P. Plumpa, according to CC par. 68 part 2 and par. 70, seven years loss of freedom, and according to CC par. 212 part 2, three years loss of freedom. Consolidating the two sentences, according to CC par. 42, eight years loss of freedom, sentence to be served in strict regime colonies.
3. To J. Stašaitis, according to CC par. 1991, one year loss of freedom and release.
4. To V. Jaugelis, according to CC par. 1991, two years loss of freedom, sentence to be served in general regime colonies.
5. To A. Patriubavičius, according to CC par. 246 part 2, one year and one month loss of freedom and release.
Court case Nr. 345 is not yet completed. Juozas Gražys and Miss Nijolė Sadūnaitė are still in security isolation. New raids and arrests are awaited.
On Sept. 18, 1974, the Supreme Court of the LSSR heard the criminal case of Boleslovas Kulikauskas and Jonas Ivanauskas. Kulikauskas kad alegedly obtained a large amount of printing type from Ivanauskas and had printed prayerbooks. For pilfering of state property Kulikauskas was sentenced to three and one half years loss of freedom, sentence to be served in strict regime colonies. J. Ivanauskas was sentenced to two years loss of freedom, sentence to be served in general regime camps.
On Nov. 20, 1973 the apartment of B. Kulikauskas was raided. He was arrested immediately after. He had been printing the prayer-books Hail Mary (Sveika Marija) and Let Us Pray (Melskimės).Kulikauskas was tried a second time for the printing of prayerbooks.
At the present time the agencies of the state's attorney and security have destroyed almost all the centers where prayerbooks and catechisms were being produced. All this was done by charging people not with the production of religious literature but with "anti-Soviet activity," "pilfering of state property," etc. Close watch is kept that the religious nature of such trials does not become public.
* * *
To Help the Church in Communist-Occupied Lithuania Send your tax-exempt donation to: Lithuanian Catholic Religious Aid 64-09 56th Road Maspeth LI NY 11378 U.S.A.