From the Letters of Petras Paulaitis
"Even if the letters sent to me are allowed through by Moscow, Vilnius, Magadan, or some other major center of the Soviet Union, local administrations of all those minor centers in the periphery of Russia like Barashevo (Mor-doviya), Lesnoy, and other places of torment for people deprived of rights, cannot renounce a certain savage attitude toward other people. This is a matter of purely personal interest of every head of such administrations. Everyone wants an easy but profitable job. And one of those jobs is to stir the kettle of slaves, to see to it that the unfortunates who find themselves there have as little opportunity as possible to associate among themselves, that they be unable to freely correspond with anyone without outside administratory interference and be left in the dark about what is happening around them .... I did not receive seven letters in a row. Where did they go? The same thing happened to P. Zorian's letters and those of Česlovas Stašaitis and others. It is obvious that the'zealous defenders' of human rights intercepted those letters in order that I, their slave, exploited by them in every imaginable way for thirty-three years, oppressed and persecuted although absolutely faultless, should not know what my closest and dearest countrymen write me. The words of those unscrupulous and dishonorable'defenders' of human rights are very sweet in Madrid, but reality is completely opposite; it is horrifying .... Thousands of the best sons and daughters of our homeland, Lithuania, our finest youth, were deprived of their lives by the Russian 'liberators.' Others, myself among them, were denied a normal human life. The primary aim of the Russians, especially toward the smaller nations, is to assimilate them. We have our own beautiful history as an honorable nation; we have our own distinct face. We do not need foreign imports, especially the Russian sort, for they are backed at every turn by lies, cruelty, drunkenness, promiscuity. My wish, the continuance of the wishes of my brothers and sisters, is to bear all hardships for my homeland and its children, so that they may know with whom they are dealing and where they are being led . . ..
"During the Christmas season, and especially on Christmas Eve, we shall be together in our hearts with all our Brothers and Sisters who remember us."
December 2, 1980"
Petras Paulaitis Writes in His Letter of January 9, 1981
"We are existing similarly as we did before. Only Vaivada no longer works. On January 1,1981, he crossed the threshold of eighty years but is still holding on. There are nine Lithuanians here at the camp. Algis Žiprė, who has been behind bars for over twenty years, has joined the eight of us. But he has no complaints about his health; he is not that old (Algis Žiprė was held in KGB psychiatric hospitals for a long time — Ed.). And the others, though older, are still, thank God, holding on .... I say 'still' because there were two — Kolotka and Čiobatiuk, from Kaunas, who knew Lithuanian — who seemed healthy but are no longer among the living. The former was found rigid in his bed on the morning of December 25, and the latter died of a heart attack on January 7. But we want to — and must — return once again to our free homeland. We trust in God's blessing and his help, but 'fiat voluntas Tua, Domine!' "
Petras Paulaitis Writes in His February 26, 1981, Letter
"The new men, Vytautas Skuodis and Anastazas Janulis, have probably already become accustomed to our yard (labor camp — Ed.) and to our people. They are both wonderful and good. They were brought here on February 9. Skuodis arrived with a slight cold. He had to spend several days in our yard's infirmary. He's now on his feet, managing like everyone else. He's learned how to sew gloves quite well. Anastazas Janulis is even outpacing the experienced tailors ....
". . . Many letters disappear. I did not receive a single one of your letters from the eleventh through the sixteenth. I only received three of the first eleven . . .
". . . Since December of last year, I've received no news at all from Vincas, Danutė, or Leonas. In other words, nothing from those who used to write before. I don't know what has happened to them."
[Miss] Jadvyga-Gemma Stanelytė Writes
Letter no. 1: "I hope that this note reaches you. I thank everyone for their previous and continuing concern and help. Don't worry about me. I am, thank God, healthy and at peace. They brought me to the Vilnius prison again, and I only learned in transit that I am going to be taken in a prisoners convoy to Sverdlovsk. I don't know when this will happen, perhaps in several days or perhaps in a month. One only finds out the moment they come to get one. I will write to you immediately when I reach my resort' and will eagerly await your letter. I can feel that you have many worries and problems, and that upsets me also. But according to the apostle, 'everything is for the good for those who love God.' Here I have the opportunity to come into contact with such moral and spiritual destitution that it is difficult to imagine and impossible to understand without direct confrontation. I do not complain about my fate, for even Christ was included among murderers.
"Be strong; high ideals demand a high price.
"I will try to repay your kindness (at least in part) with prayer and sacrifices. And I ask you all not to forget me. I ask for your prayers, for they are the source of all consolation and strength.
"My sincere regards to all. Please pardon the fact that you have so many worries on my account, but I hope that these worries will link us more closely amongst ourselves and with God.
Grateful to you all,
"I was taken from Vilnius on February 4.1 spent three days in Smolensk and am now in Voronezh and expecting the prisoners convoy to leave for my destination at any time. The prisons and labor camps are overflowing. When you receive a letter from the Urals, write back quickly; I'll be waiting anxiously.
"I feel your prayers. I thank you sincerely and hope that you will continue to remember me. I will remember you in my prayers, for I know that even in freedom life demands many sacrifices; only I don't have the opportunity or the conditions here for contemplative prayer. I hope the good Lord will not reject my small sacrifice.
"Here I am seeing the stark amoral aspect of life. I am heartsick at the fate of the young people who must spend the springtime of their lives in labor camps and prisons. No one here longs for the Lord, and no one yearns for nobler ideals. I think I will also meet other kinds of people at the labor camp. My greatest comfort is to join my small sacrifice to Christ's great sacrifice and to humbly hope that the Lord will accept it. I pray to God now that I shall not oppose His will in any way and especially that the Sisters of the Eucharist and the Confraternity of the Most Blessed Sacrament grow in love and numbers and bring Lithuania a true rebirth. Let us not fear the future, whatever it may be. It is in the Lord's hands, precious and wonderful, especially when we support one another through prayer and sacrifice. You all live in my heart. I join you in spirit in the sacrifice of the Cross and the Eucharistic Feast. My Holy Mass and Holy Communion is to gratefully accept from the Lord's hands every moment, all happenstances, the ridicule, debasement, injuries, which are but small barbs from Christ's crown of thorns. This is good practice for the theory I was so nobly taught: to love humiliation and sacrifice, in other words, to be the last and the lowliest, and in all things to perceive the hand of God, who is merciful.
"I am, therefore, happy where I am and am grateful for everything.
"I am grateful to all. I place myself in the care of Divine Providence and your prayers.
February 14, 1981
Gemma-Jadvyga Stanelytė's address:
622020 Sverdlovskaja obi.
P/ja USC 349/6-la
Jadvyga Stanelytė, Beno
Vytautas Skuodis Writes
"I have finally reached my destination. I arrived here on February 9. I wanted to write you immediately, but there were new impressions, new concerns, and new acquaintances and, finally, the illness I brought here with me prevented my doing so. A combination of the flu, a cold, bronchitis, and some other unknown thing forced me to spend more time in than out of bed. I still cannot work.
"We left Vilnius on January 9 (I was arrested also on January 9). The journey was long but interesting. After my tiral I had regretted that I was not placed in the Lukiškės 'correctional labor institution.' To my great satisfaction, however, I had occasion to acquaint myself with this type of institution in Pskov, Yaroslavl, Gorkii, Ruzaevka, and Potma. While in the prisoners convoy, I had the opportunity to associate with thieves, robbers, murderers, and others like them. Since I myself am 'amoral' and 'especially dangerous,' I did not feel uncomfortable in such surroundings, especially since all those 'crooks' did not show me any disdain. One ruffian even suggested that I 'enlighten' myself with the nearly complete collection of the 1980 Mokslas ir gyvenimas (Science and life) he had pilfered from somewhere for its paper. I found very many familiar names in the magazine. I lingered over two large photographs: an academician-physicist and a Ph.D. in geology. I am pleased that my acquaintances continue to rise upward, but I don't envy them. Everyone is happy in his own way.
"I left behind my fellow trial-mates in Gorkii and continued my journey here with a man from Kaišiadorys, with whom I became acquainted on the prisoners convoy from Pskov.
"Conditions in this strict-regime correctional labor camp are, of course, very different. Here you can at least walk in the yard whenever you want. I really don't know what to write about my present living conditions; I truly want all my letters to reach you. Not only my letter, but also those sent to me, will be checked. I am permitted to send no more than two letters a month. So, one goes to you and another to Panevėžys. (Skuodis's mother lives in Panevėžys at 65-2 Gogol St. — Ed.). Theoretically, the number of letters I can receive is not limited, but that does not mean all the letters sent arrive here. I would like you to number your letters individually.... I await your letters very, very, eagerly.
"Your determination to visit me gives me a great deal of spiritual strength . . ..
". . . My present state of health and mind are good and will improve even more when I recover completely. Even here I have no complaints about life. My only worry comes from not having any news about you. I will always eagerly, but patiently, await letters from all of you. I will answer all of them, even if only with one letter meant for all of you.
"My address (write in Russian):
Barashevo ucr. ZX 385/3-5
Skuodis, Vytautas, Petro
"Always with you. Goodbye!
Anastazas Janulis, son of Juozas, has also been brought to this labor camp.
Gintas Iešmantas Writes
"And so I have reached my destination. The journey was long and tiring but strangely interesting. Everything was new, unseen, unheard of. Actually, we did not really see anything because we did not even set foot on the ground, going from a train directly into a car, from a car into a train, and so on. We travelled through Pskov (we stayed two weeks in Jaroslavl, Perm), where we again stayed one week.
"We left Vilnius on the evening of January 9 and arrived at our destination on February 10 at 1 a.m. In other words, we travelled an entire month. I've never rambled about so much before ....
There are two of us (I and Pečeliūnas). The windows are half-covered with snow. You look outside and remember a snowy, windblown childhood. A forest surrounds us. They say there are many raspberries. Of course, not for us . . ..
"I can only write two letters per month but can receive an unlimited number. In other words, the more you write, the happier I will be.
"I am well. I did get sick in Pskov; more accurately, I had a relapse because I caught a cold in Vilnius after the New Year. Later, on the train to Jaroslavl, it went away. (By the way, in Jaroslavl we were separated; one went south to Mordoviya). I am still haunted by his eyes . . ..
"Be healthy and happy. Don't worry about me. I am content with my fate; it could not have been otherwise."
618810 Perm Region Chusovskij Rayon
st. Vsesvyatskaya, ucr. VS-389/35
Povilas Pečeliūnas was also brought to the same labor camp.
On February 11, 1981, it was announced that Povilas Buzas, son of Juozas, reached the labor camp on February 10 at the following address:
618801 Permskaya obi., Chusovskij Rayon
pos. Polovinka, ucr. VS-389/37.
An Excerpt from Povilas Pečeliūnas's Letter
"The journey from Vilnius through Pskov, Jaroslavl, and Perm took an entire month (I reached my destination on February 9). On February 161 was finally settled in, but I was only given work yesterday (February 21). For the time being I'll be working with a rag and a broom. I was told I'll be doing this work until March 1 and then I'll work in the mess hall. But, I don't know how things will really be.
"Because I've come to realize I have many specialties, I can work anywhere. Gintautas Iešmantas is working at weaving and Vytautas Skuodis said farewell to us in Jaroslavl and went to Mordoviya.
"You are probably worried about my health. Of course, it cannot be good after such a journey. But it is improving now; I get medication . . ..
"Please reassure my mother; there is no need for her to worry .... My regards to everyone, and I wish everyone the best. On the whole, I have no complaints about my fate. Nothing else matters when one's conscience is clear and one's heart is calm. It is important to be always and everywhere a human being."
February 22, 1981.
Petras Plumpa Writes in His Letter of October 9, 1980
"I am writing you from my new place of rest, Chistopol prison. I arrived here on October 5 and, according to the decision of higher organs, am to stay here until the end of my sentence on November 19,1981 . . ..
"I've received no letters from [Miss] Nijolė Sadūnaitė for a long time — since June. One of the supervisors explained to me that I have no right to correspond with her and, therefore, her letters will probably no longer be arriving."
Genovaitė Navickaitė Writes
"I received your fourth letter several days ago. I did not receive the third; it probably got lost on its way. [Miss] Onute Vitkauskaitė received your third letter, but it was only an empty envelope and a white sheet of paper. Our 'guardians' probably think we know how to read even from a blank sheet of paper .... I reread the letters I receive several times. I reflect on the deeper thoughts. They can be compared to medicine which relieves the pain .... We are slowly becoming accustomed to our surroundings. Even the noise no longer seems as unbearable as during the first days. Everything will quickly pass, and only memories will remain. We must only rejoice and say with a calm heart: 'Yes, Father!' "
Ona Vitkauskaitė Writes
"I received your fourth letter. I don't know what happened to the third. I only received an envelope and a white sheet of paper (the letter was removed by the labor camp censor — Ed.) . . .. Winter is coming to an end, spring is almost here, then summer, and then . . . (freedom — Ed.). And if God were to require a greater sacrifice, I would be happy to be able to contribute to the Great Sacrifice. When one is sustained by love of God and of neighbor, no hardship seems terrible; it only makes you even more inured."