On June 5, 1975 (Miss) Broné Kibickaitè was dismissed from her position as computer center engineer at the Vilnius State University.
At the beginning of September 1974, (Miss) Kibickaitè was told by Mathematics School Dean Merkys: "We have to let you go." He slipped a sheet of paper towards her and suggested she write a statement that she was leaving work of her own free will.
"Why do you need my statement? Write an order," suggested (Miss) Kibickaitè.
"We have no basis . . . Please understand us. Write the statement and it will be better for both you and us. We will give you a good recommendation," explained the dean.
"I am not asking for mercy, if I have done something wrong, fire me."
"Please understand us," begged the dean.
Similar conversations took place not only at the dean's office but in the workroom and the director's office. When (Miss) Kibickaitè asked "Why am I being fired?" they all replied: "We don't know. Please understand us."
One month, two passed and Kibickaitè continued to work at her job. When the security police learned that (Miss) Kibickaitè had not yet been dismissed, they forced her superiors to hurry:
"What? We have dealt with worse cases. How do you operate, if you cannot deal with 'her kind'. Make the circumstances!" Party secretary Apynis told Miss Kibickaite:
"If you do not leave voluntarily, we will have to write reprimands for good work and you will still be fired." The computer center director added:
"And complaints will not help you in any way, we will come out winners everywhere."
Miss Kibickaite asked Apynis:
"Could you as secretary of the party organization explain what I have done wrong?"
"No! We are powerless. We are being pressured, we are pressuring you. Because of you we are being swamped with problems. Either you leave work, or we three: the dean, the director and I, must leave."
As (Miss) Kibickaitė was writing a statement in the director's office that she was leaving work "of her own free will" and again asked the reason for her dismissal, the director timidly murmured: "Religion."
Bronė Kibickaitė had worked seven years as engineer at the Vilnius State University computer center.
On December 11 and 12, 1975 an inter-republic scientific conference on "Catholicism and the Current Ideological Struggle" was held in Vilnius at the main building of the Academy of Sciences. It was sponsored by the Committee on Foreign Ideological Trends under the Community Studies Department of the USSR Academy of Sciences Presidium, the Academy of Community Studies under the Communist Party Supreme Soviet Institute of Atheistic Studies, and the Philosophy, Law and Sociology Department of the Lithuanian SSR Academy of Sciences History Institute.
Display cases in the conference hall contained exhibits of atheist books widely published in Lithuanian. However, they also included The New Testament. The Book of Psalms, The Ritual, and The Decrees of Vatican Council II, printed by present-day Lithuanian state printers. These books, which become collector's items from the very day of their publication, were meant to prove the existence of "freedom" of conscience in Lithuania to the ordinary conference participant.
The participants, who gathered in that same hall on the evening of December 11th for the solemn commemorative concert marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of M.K. Čiurlionis, were also treated to a similar display of "freedom" of expression in Lithuania.
The Museum of Atheism no longer has a visitors book. Whenever anyone asks about it, museum employees ask the visitor who he is and where he is from.
The official position on Father Ylius has been changed at the museum. Now it states that Father Ylius was responsible for the provisioning and medical care of armed bands, and that medicine and money were found in the hiding place under the organ (earlier it stated that weapons were hidden there.)
Employees of the State Library had been asked by the family of M.(indaugas) Tamonis to take pictures of the wake at their apartment and of the funeral. (Tamonis' father works at the State Library.)
Two days after the funeral, Library Director Jurgaitis demanded to see the funeral photographs. Because the photographs had not yet been developed, Director Jurgaitis took the negatives.
It was noted that an unknown individual was in the director's office at the time.
Although the family of Tamonis asked that the negatives be returned, they have not yet received them.
December 2, 1975 marked the start of the 6th World Handball Tournament held in Vilnius. Many teams of foreign athletes arrived in the city. The Vilnius Pergalė confectionary factory was assigned to see to the needs of one of them. Before the arrival of the guests, factory director Ugianskis suddenly received an order to remove all slogans, posters and other writings in Russian from the walls and leave only those in Lithuanian.
When this order was carried out, only one poster remained hanging in the entire factory.
At the crossroads of the road to Vydžius and Tverečius there stands a small church which has been served by the priests of the small Paringis parish ever since it lost its priest. In 1961,
when Paringis pastor Father Jašiukis (who later died in an accident) declined to serve the Kačergiškė parishioners, those duties were assumed by Pastor Balčiūnas. He built a rectory near the church. The Vice-Chairman of the Ignalina rayon committee summoned Father Balčiūnas and said: "I was thunderstruck when I learned you've become the curse of Kačergiškė." Father Balčiūnas was forbidden to serve the faithful of Kačergiškė in their church. The church committee was dismissed, taxes were refunded and the church was closed in 1962. Plans were made to demolish it, but when it was learned that this church was on the list of cultural monuments, it was not demolished. The closed church is used as a grain warehouse.
(Švenčioniai Rayon) Father N.(ikodemus) Jaura served the Pabradė and Karkažiškis churches until 1963. Using this as a pretext, the Švenčioniai executive committee refused to confirm the church committee of the large and beautiful Karkažiškis church, and ordered it annexed to the Pabradė church committee. When this was done, the government closed the Karkažiškis church, which was left without a separate church committee. Father Aliulis, then deacon of Švenčioniai, was ordered by Religious Affairs Commissioner Rugienis and other government representatives who participated in the closing of this church, to carry out the Blessed Sacrament wrapped in a cloth. Father Aliulis somehow succeeded in getting permission to carry out the Blessed Sacrament in the ciborium.
The faithful of this parish are still unsuccessfully begging Vilnius and Moscow bureaus through various petitions to give them back their church. The church itself still stands empty.
On the evening of November 18, 1975 a student returning from school was detained near the Hill of Crosses. The security agent asked where the boy was coming from. When he replied that he was coming from school and that his home was nearby, he was released.
As he passed the Hill of Crosses,y he saw a group of people uprooting the crosses on the hill and loading them on trucks. One truck had already been loaded with crosses brought from the hill and another had been started. And several other trucks were still standing empty.
The enraged atheists of Meškuičiai were not content with taking the crosses which already numbered close to four hundred, not counting the small ones, most of which had been hung on a beautiful maple growing at the top of the hill. Countless times atheists had built bonfires of crosses, statues and other religious articles near that beautiful maple standing on the hill. But the maple remained green and a cross shone in its crown. This time the atheists acted even more brutally: they cut down the tree hung with crosses, rosaries and pictures.
Some of the destroyers of crosses are beginning to wake up: Some did not attend this latest destruction of crosses. One of them stated: "My wife is very religious and is upset at the desecration of crosses. She is sick now and I will not be her murderer." Another fell ill as he was preparing for this dishonorable work. The most vehement planners of the destruction of crosses are Stepas Česnauskas, secretary of the Communist Youth League, the Communist driver Simanavičius and security agent (Mrs) Dimskienė. They are all from Meškuičiai.
Perhaps this time the atheists were disturbed by that beautiful maple growing on the Hill of Crosses because it had been planted in 1918. It was planted by young people on the occasion of the re-establishment of Lithuania's independence.
In October 1975, the author of this article witnessed the following scene at the Meškuičiai hill.
At eight o'clock in the morning a bus approached the hill and a large group of young people—students and high school students—emerged from it. The young men took a cross from the bus and assembled it at the foot of the hill, while the girls decorated it with rue. Then they all carried it up the hill, each trying to at least touch this honorable burden. Candles were lit around the tall cross and all knelt down to pray:
"Lord, grant us the strength to courageously profess our faith and show that we love You!
"Lord, help us overcome our nation's present-day evils: disbelief, incontinence and drunkedness!
"Lord, be merciful to those who demolish with sacriligious hands the crosses we erect and destroy the holy places of Lithuania!"
In the Old Town, at Santakos g. 14, funeral home facilities have been established. Regulations governing their use have been posted. Among other things, it contains the following:
"At the funeral parlor facilities, it is forbidden:
to change the existing decor;
to use religious pictures or other religious articles;
to sing religious hymns;
to use the services of cult servants;
to arrange for burial ceremonies with religious rites within the facilities."
These regulations were endorsed by the Kaunas City Executive Committee on February 21, 1975.
The Kaunas City Executive Committee has most strictly forbidden the monument workshop "Ąžuolas" (near Atramos g.) to cut the image of the cross into the monuments on order. Since November 1st various inspectors have been making daily visits to check how the rules are being carried out.
Workers are forced to finish the monument, that is cut the cross, outside the workshop gates.
For over ten years now the Church of Igula in Kaunas has been closed. In 1965, in broad daylight, many Kaunas residents witnessed how hired workers removed the crosses from the church. For ten year the remaining metal posts stood bare. In the fall of 1975, for one week, the Church of Igula was again adorned with small crosses. Then the crosses were again removed and some time later globes were put up, supposedly symbolizing the world and space ship. This is totally inconsistent with the principles of restoration, which demand authenticity. Thousands of Kaunas residents remember how the crosses of the Church of Igula looked.
During the night in the spring of 1975, militiamen surrounded the woods located in the village of Baubliai and used a bulldozer to demolish and level a wayside shrine repaired by the people and the graves of Lithuanian partisans near the shrine.
Kaunas resident (Miss) Petruškevičiūtė, a college graduate assigned by the ministry to work as specialist at the Utena knitting mill, was urged to join the party. Later she was told that if she did not join the party, she would be dismissed from work. When she refused to join the party, she was dismissed from her position as specialist by order of the director and was replaced by partymember (Mrs) Jankauskienė, a high-school graduate. When her co-workers learned of (Miss) Petruškevičiūtė's dismissal, they all went to see the director and protest her dismissal from the position of specialist. The director explained to the workers that (Miss) Petruškevičiūtė was not qualified to work as specialist. The workers, angered by the director's order, wrote a complaint to the Ministry of Industry signed by all (about 60 persons). The complaint stated that (Miss) Petruškevičiūtė had been unjustly dismissed from her position because her work shift not only carried out the work plan, but surpassed it. The workers are now waiting for a reply and hope to keep Petruškevičiūtė in her position of specialist for a whole year, because she has been working for only two years and, under Soviet law, workers appointed by the Ministry cannot be dismissed from their position for three years.
On November 30, 1975 Marijona Balaišienė was being buried in the Salos parish cemetery with religious rites The funeral procession left the church and turned toward the cemetery. Salos District Chairwoman Raugalienė ordered Stukas, who was carrying the Cross, to walk not in front of the procession but in the midst of the people. Then the pastor, Father Petras Nykštus, loudly observed that the person who carries the cross belongs in the front of the procession. Stukas tried to go to the front but chairwoman Raugalienė stopped him and ordered him to go behind the casket. The pastor did not give in.
"This funeral is being conducted with religious rites and, therefore, the cross must be carried at the front of the procession. When a funeral is conducted without religious rites, you can then leave out the cross. If you do not carry the cross, I will not escort the decedant to the cemetery. No one has the right to interfere with a funeral procession."
The funeral participants began to hazard guesses about who would win, the chairwoman or the pastor? After the pastor repeated his warning, the carrier of the cross, disregarded the chairwoman's order and went to the front of the procession, and two hundred people escorted the decedant to the cemetery.
In the summer of 1975, the Salos churchyard was being renovated. Two drivers, Isakov and Repšys, brought the gravel. Rokiškis Road Department Supervisor Žukauskas wrote a report to Road Department Director Dilis asking that the above-mentioned drivers be punished. Chief Krištapavičius of the Rokiškis Rayon road maintenance department fined the drivers ten rubles each.
The evening of October 22, 1966 was dark. A wagon stopped near the Žaiginiai church. Juozas Mockus was bringing a sick baby to be baptized.
When the parents left the church after the christening, they noticed that the wagon was missing. The men began to search for the wagon and found it in the yard of Party Secretary Vincas Montvila. Paying no attention to either the men's requests or the mother's tears, Montvila unharnessed the horse and said, "Because of the christening I won't return the horse." On a dark rainy night, the poor people with a sick baby in arms sloshed home five kilometers over a muddy road.
Joniškis (Molėtai Rayon)
Alfonsas Seibokas, an old man classified as a second-degree invalid, receives a pension of only twenty eight rubles. To support his family, he decided to acquire some religious articles and sell them to the faithful.
In October 1975, devotions in honor of St. Therese of Lisieux were being held in Joniškis. Alfonsas Seibokas set up his display of religious articles in the Churchyard: rosaries, medals, photocopied picture cards. Militia Agent Ramanauskas immediately approached and arrested Seibokas. He took him to security headquarters, searched the old man's pockets, took seventy-eight rubles and all the religious articles. Then he began to beat him on the head and, pushing him to the ground, began to kick him shouting: "This is for spreading religious superstition!"
On October 20th Alfonsas Seibokas was taken to the Molėtai security headquarters. Again his pockets were searched, again he was interrogated, berated and threatened with punishment for spreading religious superstition. Asked where he obtained the religious pictures, Seibokas explained that he had photographed them himself. The officials threatened him with two years imprisonment. After the interrogation, the security agents told the old man to walk home, since all his money had been taken. When they released him, the security agents told him to return the following day and bring bread, because he would have to be imprisoned for several years for making and selling religious articles.
The battered old man barely made ir home where he suffered a heart attack. The ambulance took him to Ukmergė hospital. The following day, his wife informed the security police that her husband was in the hospital.
After leaving the hospital, Seibokas went to see a lawyer. The latter refused to write a statement to the court and advised him not to take any legal steps because he would not get the religious articles or the money back: "The court will certainly not find in your favor, but will charge you with speculation and will punish you," explained the lawyer.
(The author of this report makes the following conclusion: If the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania were not read on foreign radio broadcasts, such bandit-employees would skin us alive." — Ed. Note.)
On September 25, 1975, (Mrs) Emilija Gelumbauskienė (see The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, No. 19), a resident of the town of Mažeikiai, wrote a complaint to USSR Chairman of the Council of Ministers Kosygin, with the purpose of protecting from the government a cross erected near her home. Mažeikiai government officials intercepted the complaint at the post office and ordered (Mrs) Gelumbauskienė to demolish the cross.
"If we allow you to have a cross, you'll build a church next to your home!" shouted the officials.
"I will not demolish the cross and I will not allow you to demolish it!" asserted the old woman.
When they saw the old woman's determination, the government officials decided to use trickery. On December 3, 1975
(Mrs) Gelumbauskienė received a summons to come to the Executive Committee and bring her registration book and her homeowner's book. While (Mrs) Gelumbauskienė was at the executive committee, four individuals (two security agents and two civilians) cut down the cross. Neighbors witnessed the following sight: After the cross was cut down, it was dragged to the bam and thrown into the mud, the trunk was chopped into pieces, and the small fence which had surrounded the cross was broken up.
(Mrs) Gelumbauskienė who has suffered many hardships in her lifetime, said that this desecration of the cross had been the greatest blow.
"I would wash the cross not only with water, but with my tears," said the old woman crying. "Lord, forgive those executioners!"
Several days later (Mrs) Gelumbauskienė received from the Mažeikiai Rayon maintenance department office a bill for fifty rubles for the demolition of the cross.
In January 1976 (Mrs) Gelumbauskienė again addressed Chairman Tomkevičius of the Mažeikiai RayonExecutive Committee requesting the return of her complaint and the photographs of the cross which she had sent to Kosygin. The chairman replied that (Mrs) Gelumbauskienė should look for her complaint and photographs where she had sent them.
On the night of October 13, 1975 an old oak cross, erected in 1928 to commemorate the tenth anniversary of Lithuania's Independence, was demolished in Šaukėnai.
The local pastor had long been ordered to get rid of this cross, but had refused. Local Communists demolished the cross under the cloak of night.
On October 31, 1975, Father A(ntanas) Šeškevičius wrote N(ijolė) Sadūnaitė a registered letter, return receipt requested. Only when the sender asked the Gargždai post office to inquire why the labor camp had not notified him whether the letter had been given to Sadūnaitė, did the labor camp post office give notice by telegram that Father Šeškevičius' letter had been received on November 5th, not by (Miss) Sadūnaitė but by Camp Censor Devajeva.
On October 31, 1975 Valakbūdis pastor Father Antanas Lu-košaitis was visited by Šakiai District Chairwoman (Mrs) Žeman-tauskienė and Šakiai Rayon Security Agent Bakšas, who demanded that the pastor not conduct a funeral procession the evening of All Saints Day, in either the churchyard or the cemetery. (Mrs) Žemantauskienė threatened that if the pastor did not obey, he would be evicted from his apartment. Pastor Lukošaitis remarked that if beasts have dens and birds have nests, the pastor also needs a place to rest his head. (Currently Father Lukošaitis has a very wretched apartment: a kitchen and one small room in the basement. Earlier he lived in a tent.)
Disregarding the warning, Father A. Lukošaitis conducted a solemn procession to the cemetery. Women dressed in national costume placed a wreath at the cross with the following inscription: "Let us honor the dead, for we also shall die."
That evening Šakiai area atheists came to the cemetery. Most, as last year, were drunk.
THE HARDSHIPS OF LITHUANIANS ANNEXED INTO BYELORUSSIA
Slabodka (Breslau Rayon, in present-day Byelorussia.)
After countless requests by the faithful, the Rayon government granted permission to repair the church, but when the outside was finished, repairs to the inside were forbidden.
Druya (Breslau Rayon)
Several years ago crosses were removed from church spires in Druya. Because they were firmly cemented in, the tops of the spires were also damaged. Currently the spires are deteriorating further and bricks are falling into the yard of the former convent (now a school) where children play during recess.
Poliasa (Present-day Byelorussia.)
At the end of 1975 state farms were reorganized to include Lithuanian-speaking villages. These villages were split up by ones or twos and annexed to state farms composed of mostly Byelorussian villages. The results of this reform were quickly felt. The reformed Zhdavov State Farm was placed under the direction of Lucia Bernardovna Zhilinska, whose family mansion still stands near Poliasa. Just before Christmas, farm worker Stasys Lysaus-kas informed the chairwoman that farm worker Karolina Paula-vičienė had said the following in Lithuanian: "Now that the Byelorussians have overrun the farm, there will be no living with it." The following day the chairwoman summoned the farm workers and stated that the farm was a state institution where speaking Lithuanian is forbidden. (Mrs) Paulavičienė, who had spoken Lithuanian, was fined five rubles. The next person to speak Lithuanian would be fined ten rubles. The chairwoman personally collected the money from (Mrs) Paulavičienė and pocketed it. Farm tractor drivers were also punished with similar fines. A deputy helped the chairwoman impose the punishment.