The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania is publishing ideas being circulated in writing and reflect the thoughts and feelings of numerous Lithuanians.
"Thirty years have passed since the fires of war were extinguished. That should be cause for joy, but the Lithuanians have cause to be sad. The land of the River Nemunas, like a doormat, has been oppressed by both East and West. The latter proclaimed a "thousand year Reich," while now there is talk of an eternal one. The brown "liberators" planned to move the "unworthy Lithuanians" to the Urals, the reds set about to do even more—to scatter the Lithuanians throughout Siberia. It is difficult to find a family in our nation which does not have a relative who "voluntarily" went to "see the white bears". The families of the deportees of 1941 were scattered: the men were separated from the rest. The twentieth-century exploiters of slavery chose those able to work from among the deportees and gave them 400 grams of bread daily, while the others had to make due with 200. Infants die not only in drought ravaged Africa, but also in the land of communist humanism, where a certain category of people were turned into slaves. A Lithuanian deportee used to be told the following: "You were brought here to die!" That was not an empty phrase—the bones of children born to Lithuanian mothers are scattered from the Urals to Magadan, from the freezing areas of Archangel, Vorkuta and Norilsk to the heat of Kasakhstan.
There was a plan to establish a Lithuania without Lithuanians, who were to meet the same fate as the Kalmyks, Tartars and other small nations which were deported and disappeared in the "melting pot of brotherly nations." Fortunately, this "historical process" was interrupted by the death of Stalin, which resulted in a relative easing of the situation—coarse physical genocide was rejected and replaced by moral genocide.
Lithuania arose from the ruins of war, but not the Lithuania envisioned in the treaty signed on July 12, 1920 in Moscow. Soviet Russia does not observe its own treaties: 20,000 square kilometers were separated from Lithuania and given to Byelorussia and Poland. 40,000 Lithuanians, who had their own Lithuanian schools while under Polish occupation, are dead as far as the Lithuanian nation is concerned. These who attempted to fight for the right to an education in Lithuanian, experienced the heavy hand of Minsk.
During the course of the last war Lithuania lost approximately 540,000 residents. More than hall of them died after May 9, 1945. Even official statistics show that despite the arrival of a wave of colonists, Lithuania has 40,000 residents less than at the time of the census of 1897.
There is rejoicing over freedom, yet who will count the dead, the formerly and presently imprisoned, and the persecuted?
There is boasting about the new settlements, new houses, but no mention of the ruined farms, which were left without owners, of the architectural monuments destroyed or falling into ruin, of churches falling into ruin, which one is not allowed to repair, of the expensive organ pipes which children have carried away and the statues, which have been smashed.
There is boasting about the industrialization of the country, about the work force being brought into the country from other "brotherly republics" under that pretext; but no mention is made of the environmental pollution. Natural gas is sold abroad at inflated prices, while the thermal power plants of Lithuania are forced to burn highly viscous fuel oil and thus pollute the air.
There is talk about the thousands of litres of milk produced, but we are drowning in a million litre river of alcohol, which is destroying the physical and moral health of our nation. The flowering of culture and education is trumpeted, but education, public health and social welfare expenses are financed with profits from the sale of alcohol. Each year the government collects more than 150 rubles per capita from the sale of alcohol. The founding of temperance organizations is prohibited, as was the case in czarist times, after the closing of the organized groups which existed in the days of (Bishop Motiejus) Valančius.
The book market is dominated by Party works of little value, as well as translations and other publications of little value, all of which appear in large printings and are harmful to youth. For example, The Rabbit's Tales appeared with a printing of 50,000 copies, while Lithuanian literary classics (Baranauskas, Valančius, Pietaris) are published only in abridged form and in extremely small printings (5,000 copies), a good part of which are sent abroad for propaganda purposes, so that the people, keeping in mind the large number of students and teachers, never get these publications. Original works about the history of Lithuania are not published.
Russian schools are founded in Lithuania without any regard to the number of Russian residents in a particular locality, while the 170,000 Lithuanian residents of Siberia, Kazakhstan, Byelorussia and the Kaliningrad Rayonhave no Lithuanian schools. When the
last Lithuanian high school closed in America a few years ago, our press made quite a bit of noise over the matter but no one makes any noise about the fact that thousands of Lithuanians, who reside in certain areas, do not even have Lithuanian grammar schools. In the pre World War II years, much smaller Lithuanian ethnic units in the Vilnius area and in Latvia had their own schools, junior high schools (in Gervėčiai), and high schools (in Vilnius, Švenčionys and Riga). In some areas, like, for example, the Komi Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic, the Lithuanians attempted to organize their own sport clubs in the playgrounds, but Security forces quickly suppressed them. The Soviet Press expresses apprehension over the fact that the Lithuanians in America are losing their national identity. But how many Lithuanian families are there, whose children have trouble saying a word in Lithuanian and do not know the Lithuanian alphabet. In Lithuania itself, in curricula the Russian language is assuming a more and more important role, at the same time leaving less time for the Lithuanian language, literature and history. That is a sad prognosis for the denationalization of our nation.
There are even those who dare talk about the sovereignty of Lithuania, when 85% of the industrial plants of Lithuania depend on Moscow, with only plants of local industries being left in the hands of the local republic. The Foreign Ministry of Lithuania limits itself to supplying Lithuanians living abroad with propaganda material. The Military Commissariats function only as recruiting agents. The recruits are scattered throughout the Soviet Union, since there no longer is a "16th Lithuanian Division," which was formed during the Second World War for propaganda purposes, and disbanded after the war. The "sovereign" state does not even have the right to keep political prisoners in its own territory.
The Village of Pirčiupis is included on all tourist itineraries, but few people know that this tragedy was the result of provocative acts by Sniečkus, Zimanas and Šumauskas, on Moscow's orders. [In June, 1944, the Germans burned the entire hamlet of Pirčiupis killing 119 persons, in retaliation for an earlier attack by Red Army partizans on a German convoy traveling nearby. Trans Note]. Do many people know how many villages of Pirčiupis there are in Lithuania. Moscow permitted a commemoration of Ablinga only a few years ago. [A small hamlet in western Lithuania burned by the Germans on June 23, 1941, killing forty-two people, in retaliation for the murder of two German soldiers by communist fighters. — Trans. Note]. How many Pirčiupis are there where the perpetrators were not Germans! Rainiai, Pravieniškės, Musteikis [in the Marcinkonys area of the Varėna Rayon],where on June 24, 1944, all fourteen men present in the village at the time were gathered and shot. [The instances mentioned are places where the Soviets carried out mass executions. Trans. Note] There is silence about this matter, just as other matters, even unimportant details, are passed over in silence daily, on those occasions when they are not in accordance with the Party line. No one even has the courage to tell the truth about a derailed train, or a collapsed bridge, not even permitting the publication of condolances in the newspaper, when similar occasions abroad would lead to the proclamation of a period of mourning. When attempts are made to bring out the truth, when abnormalities and deficiencies are brought to the fore, slander is charged. For example, the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania is accused of being a collection of slander.
In other socialist countries the number of priests increased after the war, new churches and seminaries were being built, (at this time there are 18,000 priests in Poland. That is 4,000 more than in the prewar period.) Meanwhile, the number of our priests is decreasing. One priest is ordained to replace two or three who have died. The new priests are trained under abnormal conditions, since the suitability of both teachers and students is determined by the Security forces and the Party.
Teachers who believe and practice their religion are fired. The people lack prayerbooks: their manufacture is officially prohibited, those manufactured secretly are confiscated (either at the church door, or during searches). The number of crimes among teenagers and the youth is on the increase, as is the number of illegitimate births. Venereal disease is spreading. The number of abortions is increasing, as is the number of divorces. The moral situation is really sad. An interest in the past of one's country is considered a crime. Students of folklore are closely followed and interrogated. The Lithuanians are being spiritually smothered.
Abundant harvests are being announced. But such harvests can be produced not only in liberated, but in occupied territory as well. If today we do not lack bread and other needs, the credit belongs not to the "liberators" but to that part of our nation, which preserved its high moral qualities—of industriousness, honesty and persistence. The Lithuanians had these qualities when they lived without the "liberators." It is hard to believe that the new generation, which has been raised "in modern fashion" will be more industrious and more honest. The bad signs are already evident.
In evaluating the past, anything that was good, the remains of which are still in use today, is passed over in silence, if not slandered. Alas these healthy origins are being smothered by new currents. Feelings of national identity and moral strength are fading. A common form, lacking individual content, is being adopted. Moscow's pincers are striving to smother the spirit of the Lithuanians, and to destroy the Lithuanian outlook. Are we going to succumb? Are we going to permit the East wind to cover up our small country? Is it possible that our fate will be similar to that of the Prussians?
NEWS FROM THE DIOCESES
Vitalij Ocikevič, a Ukrainian from the Vinitsa area, arrived in Vilnius three years ago to learn Lithuanian, in the hope of entering the Theological Seminary. (The Ukrainians don't have a seminary.) Vitalij served Mass at the Churches of St. Nicholas and St. Theresa. He was frequently interrogated by the Security forces. It was suggested that he become a security agent. In return he was to be permitted to enter the Theological Seminary without having to complete his military obligation. He celebrated his 18th birthday on March 24. On May 14, he was found dead in his little room on Gardinas Street, severely beaten about the face.
On May 25, 1975, a woman was selling religious articles near the church of Druskininkai. Suddenly she was surrounded by auxiliary policemen and a militiaman. The militiaman attempted to detain her by force. The woman was able to slip away from them and into the church, where services were in progress. The attackers disappeared with her bag of religious articles. A group of vacationers, which witnessed the incident, loudly expressed its indignation at such hooliganism. The woman's arms were bruised as a result of the actions of the militiaman.
It is said that there is freedom of the cult, but those manufacturing the necessities for practice of the cult are harassed. In this regard, bootleggers feel safer, since the militia is not as eager in searching them out as in its efforts to catch those selling prayerbooks and rosaries.
The atheists laugh in the press that rosaries and crucifixes are ugly. Is there any possibility of manufacturing any better?
A Decision of the Executive Committee of the Council of Working
People's Deputies of the Lazdijai Rayon of the Lithuanian SSR. July 1, 1975 No. 227 Lazdijai
For the struggle against construction without permission in the Meteliai Fish Farm, Village of Buckūnai,Rayon of Lazdijai:
The Executive Committee of the Council of Working People's Deputies of the Lazdijai Rayon having considered the material presented concerning the construction without permission of a cross on the Meteliai Fish Farm in the Village of Buckūnai, and according to Decision No. 1 of January 2, 1967 of the Council of Ministers of the Lithuanian SSR and Artice 114 of the Civil Code of the Lithuanian SSR
It is Decided:
1. The cross erected without permission in the yard of Ignas Klimavičius, son of Kazys, on the Meteliai Fish Farm in the Village of Buckūnai must be removed by July 15, 1975.
2. If Article one of this decision is not carried out, the task of removal should be turned over to the volunteer fire department, with the expenses being charged to Ignas Klimavičius, son of Kazys, according to the bill presented by the volunteer fire department.
3. The Office of the Rayon Architect and the Rayon Office of Internal Affairs are charged with supervising the execution of this decision.
J. Adrijanovas, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the
Z. Giedraitienė, Secretary of the Executive Committee of the Lazdijai Rayon
On July 1, 1975, Aloyzas Liesis, the rayon architect of the Lazdijai Rayon, accompanied by Mikelionis, the chairman of the Žagariai Area, Danbauskas, the director of the Meteliai Fish Farm, and V. Liesienė, the chief engineer of the Lazdijai Rayon, prepared charges with regard to Construction "without permission" in the yard of Ignas Klimavičius. The charges state:
"A green cross, facing the Miroslavas-Simnas Road, has been constructed on a cement base with several steps near the front entrance. The builder has no documents, concerning the construction."
The Deputy of the Council for Religious Affairs K. Tumėnas came to Pakuonis on June 4,1975, to visit Rev. Pranciškus Lingys. However, not finding the pastor at home, he went ot the offices of the Chancery in Kaunas. Rev. B.(ernardas) Baliukonis, the chancellor of the Diocese of Vilkaviškis, and Rev. (Juozas) Uleckas, the dean of Prienai, soon arrived in Pakuonis and began trying to pursuade the pastor to paint over the Columns of Gediminas [the emblem of the Lithuanian Grand Duke Gediminas (1316-1341) and Lithuanian national symbol,—Trans. Note] on the inside wall of the church. According to Chancellor Balukonis, it isn't worth fighting over with therayon authorities.
Father Lingys had earlier suggested that the rayon officials themselves remove the Columns of Gediminas on the walls. One official explained that they are unable to do this, because the people would then blame the authorities.
The deadline for removing the Columns of Gediminas was extended until July 1, 1975. The chairman of the Pakuonis area occasionally comes to church to check wheter the pastor has carried out the government orders.
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On May 27, 1975, Rev. P.(etras) Orlickas, the pastor of Santaika, was summoned to the administrative offices of the Santaika Area. Upon arrival, he found Jančiauskas, the deputy chairman of the Executive Committee of the Alytus Rayon, Aliulis, the chairman of the Santaika Area, and the principal of the local grammar school waiting for him. Deputy Chairman Jančiauskas explained that the Rayon authorities had received a complaint to the effect that the pastor of Santaika doesn't observe Soviet law and permits children to serve Mass. Father Orlickas advised the grammar school principal to cease complaining about him to the rayon authorities and to worry more about hooligans than about a few children who serve Mass.
In February 1975, Tverbutas, the deputy chairman of the Executive Committee of the Širvintos Rayon ordered Father P.(etras)
Guobys, the pastor of Širvintos, not to permit any priest to say Mass in
the church without permission of the rayon authorities.
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In May 1975, Father J.(uozas) Vaicekauskas was summoned to the office of the Deputy of the Council for Religious Affairs, who expressed his disapporval over the statement by Father Vaicekauskas on discrimination against students at Krakiai High School. (See the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, No. 15. Eds.) In the opinion of Deputy K.(azimieras) Tumėnas, the student s conduct mark was reduced not for attending church but for visiting the pastor.
On May 28, 1975, unknown criminals broke into the tabernacle of the church of Vaškai and removed a ciborium with the Most Blessed Sacrament.