To: The Minister for Internal Affairs of the Lithuanian SSR From: Citizen Bronislava Valaitytė, daughter of Jeronimas, Residing in Sasnava, Rayon of Kapsukas
On December 17, 1976, in Lazdijai, I was detained by the militia and minutely searched. In its communication No. 2/13-V-8 dated January 27, 1977, the Cadre Section of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Lithuanian SSR informed me that the search was demanded by a woman who had sat next to me, and had complained to Chairman Vaišnora, of the Executive Committee of the Comittee of Deputies of the Working People of the City of Veisėjai that her handbag had allegedly disappeared and that she suspected me of theft. This was a vicious lie and a calumny, since the woman who sat next to me on the bus that day registered no complaint with anyone.
On February 1, 1977, I sent Chairman Vaišnora a petition, requesting him to reveal to me the name and address of the calumniator, so that I might take her to court. However, he has not replied to date. Although one would not like to believe that this whole calumny was invented by Vaišnora himself, nevertheless it seems to me that a responsible Soviet official should not have the right to conceal calumniators.
I request you to require that Chairman A. Vaišnoras, of the Executive Committee of the Council of Deputies of the Working People reveal the names and adress of my calumniator.
Sasnava, March 12, 1977
(Miss) B. Valaitytė
To this petition, Miss Valaitytė received from Assistant Chief of the Cadre Section Z. Kalinski of the Ministry of Internal Affairs on March 29, 1977, Communication No. 2/3-V-7 as follows: "We wish to inform you that the name of the citizen mentioned in your petition has not been determined." In reality, during the search they were looking not for a stolen handbag, but for so-called anti-Soviet literature.
Biržai. March 30, 1977. The faithful of Biržai sent Bishop R(omualdas) Krikščiūnas of Panevėžys a letter, in which they complain of constant problems on account of attacks by the local atheists. In October, 1976, atheists stole from the church vestibule an artistic crucifix and broke it to pieces. After a few days, another culprit in church cut up the picture of St. George. In school, atheistic teachers terrorize religiously believing children. Next to the churchyard, they have installed a plaza, where there is so much noise, that one cannot pray in church. Juveniles ridicule those who go to pray, throw stones at them and curse them. This is what happened March 25, 1977. The faithful of Biržai also complain that the propagandist (Mrs.) Blekaitienė is always denigrating priests and all the faithful with the most obscene inventions and calumnies. The letter was signed by fifty citizens of Biržai.
Molėtai. On March 8, 1975, Albertas Skebas, a teacher in the eight-grade school at Mindūnai came to the funeral of the mother of Kaminskas, in the Village of Paužuoliai, knelt down and prayed. Shortly afterwards, Skebas was discharged from his position as a teacher and forced to leave Mindūnai.
Kirdeikiai (Rayon of Utena). In November, 1976, Rimas Kavars-kis and Vidas Buivydis, pupils in the Sixth Grade at the Middle School in Kirdeikiai, began to serve Mass in the church at Kirdeikiai. The school principal, (Mrs.) V. Rastenienė summoned both pupils and asked them who had invited them to serve in church, how they were recompensed for serving—whether in money or with candy? The principal warned the mothers of the pupils not to allow their children to serve Mass, threatening that otherwise the children would have their conduct marks and other marks lowered, and Kavarskienė would be discharged from work (She works as a char-woman in the school dormitory.)
On December 24, without regard for the fact that on Christmas Eve priests have many things on their minds, and much work to do, their pastor was summoned to the Rayon. He was told that the Church did not have the right to interfere with children forming a true materialist, world-view, as long as they have not turned eighteen and cannot yet evaluate religion critically. Be satisfied with the old folks, and don't interfere with the children," Vice Chairman Labanauskas ended his remarks. Father P. Kražauskas replied.
Father P. Kražauskas replied, "And why do you not do so yourselves? Why do you not wait until the children reach eighteen before you enroll them in the Spaliukai, the pioneers, and you constantly ply them with atheism, which they do not understand, and are unable to handle critically?"
Kavarskas and Buivydis were still serving Mass after the New Year. Then the repressions against them began: Their conduct and subject marks were lowered.
Vilnius. In October of 1976, Vladas Lapienis was arrested. Up to this point he has been incarcerated in the interrogation isolator (Vilnius, Lenino pr. 40). His health is poor, he does not expect an early trial, and he asks people not to retain a lawyer, who would be of no use to him.
In that same security prison is (Miss) Ona Pranckūnaitė, whose health is also very poor.
Varėna. On March 22, 1977, the priests of the Rayon were invited to Varėna (Just about three came.), and they were warned not to teach religious truths to the children, and not to urge them to go to church.
On March 23, 1977 Chairman Baliukonis, accompanied by a militiaman of the internal section of the Rayon of Varėna, checked the Church of Nedingė.
Kabeliai. In February, 1977, in the Rayon of Varėna, a worker at the state farm of Kabeliai, (Mrs..) Birutė Kibirkštie-nė was being urged to join the party. She refused. Soon afterwards, the Party Organization Secretary of the farm, Viktor Shcherbakov, told her, "Make a choice — It's either the Church or your job." He then accused her of negligence at work; alleging that through her fault, many ducklings perished. And just recently, Shcherbakov had recommended her as an exemplary worker for Party membership.
Perloja. April 18, 1977, in the evening, the automobile of the new pastor of this parish, the Rev. Kazimieras Žilys, stood in front of the rectory. About 9 P.M. a window of the car was broken and a search was made. A briefcase was checked. All articles and books were left. On February 22, Father Žilys was interrogated at the Vilnius headquarters of the KGB. The interrogations centered around Vladas Lapienis. The Security agents regretted that they had not raided Father Žilys' home while Lapienis was visiting there.
Kaunas. Warden A.G. Zhurakov, of Permė Camp Vs-389/36 informed (Mrs.) Aldona Pluira, that her husband had his right to a short-term visit taken away "for transgressing the regimen".
Pociūnėliai (Rayon of Radviliškis). Chairman Meilus, of the Communal Farm Tiesa,learning that Vatican Radio had broadcast his blameworth behavior with communal farm workers, is interrogating people to discover who transmitted the information, and threatening them in various ways.
Some communal farm-workers: K. Vainauskas, Kovoliūnas and others, who did not always go to work on Sundays, were denied by Meilus the right to purchase corn from the communal farm. Others, who in the estimation of the chairman are good people, he allowed to buy 200 kg. of barley. For a communal farmer that is a great source of support.
The people fear the chairman and are quietly wondering when his arbitrariness will end, and saying that they do not know where to turn for justice. They all recall how, a few years ago, they took a complaint to Moscow, and later that petition complaint ended up with the chairman. For that they had to suffer much. Chairman Meilus is bold, because his nearest friend used to be M. Šumauskas, who used to let him treat the communal farm workers as his own vassals.
Slabadai. On March 23, 1977, Correspondent (Mrs.) Birutė Pavilionienė, introducing herself as correspondent for Vilnius, interrogated people about the chapel at Slabadai: whether anyone from the government interferes with people visiting the chapel. They especially questioned those belonging to the parish council. In a similar deceitful fashion the correspondent of Pergalė introduced herself to (Miss) J. Bušauskaitė, a pupil at the Arminai middle school. The faithful complained that the government took away the apartment, and when the priest came he had no place to change.
Arminai. March 21, 1977, in the Middle School at Arminai, representatives of the Department of Education of Vilkaviškis scolded pupil Ričardas Radzevičius for serving Mass. The pupil said that he would continue going to church, and serving Mass it is an honor for him. One teacher promised to come to church and chase the boy from the altar.
School-children in Arminai have begun to go to church more boldly. Not a small group of them actively takes part in processions and other religious ceremonies.
April 3 and 10, Teachers Jūratė Pėveraitienė and Kazimiera Kačergiūtė,of the Middle School in Arminai, disregarding the anger of the faithful, publicly wrote down the names of school-children who were in church in Didvydžiai. In the Arminai elementary school Teacher Aldona Matijošaitienė, an old atheist, is especially disturbed by pupils' going to church; she checks on them herself and organizes teachers to do likewise.
On April 4 and 5, 1977, in the Middle School at Arminai, the principal, (Mrs.) S. Mikelaitienė, tried in all kinds of ways to force the pupils (Miss) J. Bušauskaitė to join the Communist Youth League. She threatened the girl, saying that without joining the Communist
Youth League, the pupil would not be accepted for any school. According to Principal Mikelaitienė, pupils who are not members of the Communist Youth League have no right to go on to further studies after completing Middle School. The eleventh-grader categorically stated that she would not join the Communist Youth League because she is a religious believer and wants to go to church.
Slabadai. In 1976, from the First Sunday of Advent, services began to be held in the chapel at Slabadai. The people gathered joyfully in their humble but beloved shrine. The people's happiness aroused the hatred of the local atheists. The Director of the Slabadai section of the state farm, a former fighter against the partisans Julius Strimaitis, said, "I will come to the chapel and shoot them all."
On December 16, 1976, J. Urbonas, Vice Chairman of the Rayon of Vilkaviškis, notwithstanding his verbal permission earlier to hold services in the chapel at Slabadai, scolded parish representatives for the services and said that he would not confirm the Executive Committee of the Parish, and that he would board up the chapel. The Vice Chairman demanded that every time they wanted services in Slabadai, they were supposed to write a statement to the rayon government.
On January 5, 1977, four representatives of the Parish at Slabadai: (Mrs.) Ona Bušauskienė, Antanas Lukšys, (Mrs.) Pranė But-keraitienė and (Mrs.) Valė Katkevičienė went to the Committee for Religious Affairs at Vilnius. They demanded that the Parish Executive Committee be confirmed. Those who went complained that Vice Chairman Urbonas made matters difficult for them and interfered with the services; e.g., he drove from his office people who had brought along a petition to allow services to be held. The agents of the Committee for Religious Affairs, K(azimieras) Tumėnas and Raslanas explained that they would inquire through the rayon government whether there are enough people to ratify the charter and to open a chapel. The people of Slabadai immediately presented a long list of those who had signed the expression of the desire to pray in the chapel at Slabadai. The people explained that it was far for them to go to churches which are open, since the nearby parishes of Žvirgždaičiai and Žalioji are closed. The officials tried to convince the faithful that if they opened the church, it would be necessary to pay insurance, high taxes and would be difficult to maintain. When the people demanded it repeatedly, Tumėnas said he would leave the chapel at Slabadai to the supervision of the local government for an interval of trial.
On January 13, 1977, the people of Slabadai, gathered at their chapel to await the arrival of Tumėnas and Urbonas, the Vice Chairman of the Executive Committee of theRayon of Vilkaviškis, but it was in vain, because although Tumėnas came to Vilkaviškis he hesitated to come to Slabadai.
On February 28, 1977, (Mrs.) Janina Naujokaitienė took to the Rayon offices a petition to allow the Rev. A. Lukošaitis, pastor of Didvydžiai, to hold services in the chapel at Slabadai on the Wednesdays of March. Rayon Vice Chairman Urbonas allowed him to celebrate only two Sundays, and then crossed off the rest.
"You do not have the right to celebrate every Sunday," said Urbonas, "There is an order to allow you only two times a month."
"Where did you get that order?" asked the representatives of Slabadai.
"It's my order!"
On March 1, the people of Slabadai went to Vilnius to Commissioner for Religious Affairs K(azimieras) Tumėnas and complained that Vice Chairman Urbonas of the Rayon of Vilkaviškis is interfering with services. Moreover, they requested him to confirm the Parish Executive Committee. Tumėnas said that he would not confirm the committee, but that they could celebrate all Sundays.
The people asked Tumėnas to give the permission in writing, but Tumėnas would not agree. "Celebrate the way you have celebrated, "Tumėnas reassured them, "a nd no one will interfere with you."
Recently the faithful of Slabadai have renovated the chapel and every Sunday services take place, but the future is unclear, because the parish remains officially unregistered.
Lithuanian, do not forget!
P.(etras)Plumpa, P.(ovilas) Petronis, N.(ijolė) Sadūnaitė, S.(ergei) Kovalev, O.(na)Pranck0naitė, V.(ladas) Lapienis, and J. Matulionis are wearing the chains of imprisonment, so that you might believe and live in freedom!
In the 26th issue of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania a few mistakes occurred: 1. It is stated that in 1976, nine seminarians were ordained to the priesthood. As a matter of fact, nine seminarians were ordained in the Cathedral of Kaunas, and two in Panevėžys. 2. The author of the verses, "Nor print nor writ..." is Bishop A(ntanas) Baranauskas, not V(incas) Kudirka.