Gintautas Iešmantas Writes
"An Appeal to the Leaders of European Communist Parties
"During December 18-22, 1980, I was tried in Vilnius together with the Lithuanian-language scholar Povilas Pečeliūnas and university lecturer Vytautas Skuodis for propagating socialism with a humane face; for writing poems and poetic works praising goodness, freedom, truth, and friendship (the works are unpublished); and for yearning, on the basis of the Constitution, for Lithuania to secede from the USSR and become a free and independent socialist state.
"I appeal to all people of good will, especially to all the leaders of European Communist parties, to do their utmost to see to it that we are granted freedom by petitioning the Prosecutor General of the USSR to review, in the presence of attorneys from European countries, the case fabricated against our group."
"To: The Youth of Lithuania
"I thank you for the civil and moral support I felt during my trial. Your courage and determination to fight for freedom and truth makes me especially happy. You are our hope and our future! I wish for but one thing: may the movement for Lithuania's freedom and independence spread.
News from the Perm Labor Camp
Six kilometers from the Vsesvyatskaya Station there is a proliferation of strict-regime labor camps. Povilas Pečeliūnas and Gintautas Iešmantas, convicted in Vilnius on December 22,1980, are serving their sentences in one of them. Iešmantas works at a loom, and Pečeliūnas in the kitchen. Pečeliūnas works twelve yours a day without a break. Considering his poor health, such work completely drains his strength. The moral terror is even worse: the barracks are constantly searched, all means to create (creative work) are denied, literature contrary to the spirit of the enslavers is forbidden.
A Bible was confiscated from V. Poresh (from Leningrad) at that same labor camp. Protesting such treatment, he declared a hunger strike and fasted for seventy-seven days. He was force-fed intravenously, but his Bible was not returned.
Those who implemented Hitler's will used to order their victims to dig their own graves in order to mock them. The Perm labor camp guards once ordered the prisoners to repair their barbed wire fences, but the prisoners refused.
Similarly, on Holy Saturday, April 18, 1981, seven Lithuanians refused to work on the Saturday work crew.
The camp administration shows complete disregard for the health of the prisoners. The local doctor is either unqualified or deliberately withholds medical help.
To date, Pečeliūnas's teeth have not been fixed and Iešmantas was prescribed eye medication which caused an infection. It was only after long arguments that a doctor was summoned from the rayon center and prescribed the proper medication for Iešmantas.
Letter of May 1981 from Povilas Pečeliūnas
"Many wish me fortitude. I repeat, there is enough. Everything is determined by the spiritual world and that Light which shines most brightly during the Feast of the Resurrection. In addition, the words I myself quoted from the Holy Scriptures live in my heart, 'The truth shall set you free.' I said them publicly, I say them to you also. In truth I am free! That is the source of my fortitude. The values over which some worry so are insignificant. True values accompany man. The true Light went with me, and I took my homeland in my heart. Everything is alive and dear . . .. Oh, how I wish that the hearts of my dear ones were filled with as much peace as is present in my heart. If anyone were to look at things through my eyes, he would see the world in such a light where genuine values shine in their true nature.
"I see meaning everywhere, and that is of the utmost importance! . . .
". . . Light conquers darkness. That is the abundant source of my belief. But people must be loved, regardless of what they are! No one has yet improved the world either through vengeance or hatred, but love has already borne its fruit. And the future belongs to love! . . .
". . . God be with you! May He bless your every step and may He protect you from all danger!"
Julius Sasnauskas Writes
"The first days of spring are here. Although the sun still does not stray into our cell or into that exercise pit, it is still pleasant that the days grow longer. That patch of sky visible through the bars is so very, very clear that my eyes ache when looking at it . . .. Unfortunately, we won't see each other until April as the authorities have decreed ....
". . . Sending letters has become a real problem. The most meaningless sentence seems suspect. I have to rewrite them under the least 'pretext.' A letter to Zita has been going back and forth for nearly a month; it is unable to surmount all the barriers . . ..
". . . My cellmate frightens me with Siberia's phantoms. He predicts that all of my 'illusions' will be shaken from my head there."
Julius Sasnauskas Writes to His Family during Easter 1981
"Alleluia! My best wishes to all on this wonderful morning of the Resurrection! Although I cannot lift this cross from your shoulders as Simon did, I wholeheartedly hope that it will become lighter.
"The years will pass, and I'll return home. The holidays will be beautiful again. But somewhere deep inside there will always remain the memory of such days, the bitter sweetness of holidays in prison . . ..
"They will be taking me to the Tomsk Region. With God's help I will not perish nor allow Siberia to swallow me up. Just don't torment yourselves any more."
Julius Sasnauskas Writes in His Letter of May 6
"It's already May, my last month in the cellar. Although it is difficult during the last days in such a place, especially in the spring, but it is nevertheless wonderful that the end is near, the end which seemed so difficult to imagine seeing for the first time those concrete walls and the net overhead. Freedom is still far away, but one carries its image from place to place, and not merely as a painful memory but, primarily, as a sign of faith and hope.
"I planned to write you earlier, before Mother's Day.
"My best wishes to Mother and Granny. It is difficult to find the right words for this occasion. Here, by my bunk, I have a tiny Leonardo da Vinci's Madonna on a postage stamp, and it seems that life, love, and eternal spring have forced their way into this dismal place."
Julius Sasnauskas Writes in His Letter of May 11
"This month is called the month of Mary, so dear to us, with her heart pierced with the sword of sorrow, or standing at the foot of her Son's cross. It is not mere sorrow, however, for we know nothing happened there in vain . . ..
"They mentioned that they would move me from prison to prison only until June 11 and would then change my status (internal exile begins on june 11 —Ed.). I will manage to drag out these few weeks somehow. My best wishes to everyone. God be with you!"
Julius Sasnauskas's address in exile:
Tomskaya oblast, s.
Parabelskoe Sovetskaya 147a
Julius Sasnauskas lives in a dormitory and is employed as a sanitation worker.
[Missl Genutė Navickaitė Writes in Her Letter of April 17
"In these first few lines of my letter I wish to express greetings and best wishes to you on the occasion of this beautiful newly-arrived spring and the approaching Easter. April 19 is a collective workday here, and we will have to work as on an ordinary day, except that no one will be paid. I will write to you later about how this precious holy day passed.
I earn about 50 rubles per month. The cost of the food is deducted from this. That leaves approximately 35 rubles. One is allowed to buy 9 rubles' worth of food from this money, if one fulfills one's quota. The remainder is left for the future; that is, it will be returned when I am set free. From today I have exactly one year left in this place . . ..
"I offer up my every difficult moment for you and all who live by the truth . . ..
"We are not liked here, for we are slightly different. We don't curse, and we don't fight with anyone. As I understand it, some consider believers worse than any criminal here . . ..
"One thing is clear: God is Truth, and it is possible to offer up not only these years but all of life as well for him . . ..
"I am grateful for your prayers and concern. God be with you!"
[Miss] Onute Vitkauskaitė Writes in Her Letter of May 3
"Today is the first Sunday of May, Mother's Day. There is much to think about, to remember, but let's leave all that in the care of our beloved Mother, Mary. She taught our mothers love, sacrifice, and goodness. May the humiliation and scorn we suffer act as a prayer of thanksgiving for all that. I would also like it to be a form of atonement for those so-called mothers who, without the least twinge of conscience, murder the bodies and the souls of their infants. Having scorned the Mother of Love, they have lost the source from which they could draw love, kindness, and strength on the road of maternal sacrifice .... In this labor camp I have come to understand how terrible man's fate is without God, without eternal Love.
"Please convey my sincerest thanks and best wishes to those who pray for us. God be with you!"
Onute Vitkauskaitė Writes in Her Letter of May 17
"There is nothing new under this patch of sky, but my friend Genutė received a sad telegram from those in freedom about her sister's death. Of course it was a terrible shock, the most painful news. Genutė, being spiritually strong, accepted even this pain calmly but hoped to be able to say farewell to the deceased. She made many efforts in vain. (In freedom, Father Zenonas Navickas, Genutė's brother, and her family did their utmost to secure her release, as the law specifies, to attend her sister's funeral, but the prosecutor objected and did not allow her to go — Ed.). I was distressed to see her silent grief. Her pain found an echo in the great Love of God . . ..
"It is very unfortunate that letters nos. 10,11,12, and 13 did not reach me, and the Easter greetings in no. 14 were delayed somewhere. They are on their guard so that we would not see Christ even on a card. Christ's tomb too was guarded by armed men to prevent him from rising and yet . . . today we celebrate Easter.
"Once more, thank you for your prayers, for everything, everything. I will pray for you as much as I can. A happy and joyous Easter!"
Vladas Lapienis Writes in His Eastertime 1981 Letter
"One who can sacrifice everything for love, happiness, freedom, health, and even life, is one who truly loves, seeking neither glory nor personal gain. That is how Christ loved people.
"Thomas a Kempis said that not a single hour of Christ's earthly life was without pain. But do we not seek a road other than that of suffering? Do we want to take a road other than the one our Redeemer followed?
"If we perhaps will not don the robe of martyr, then according to the Apostle James, let us consider it a real joy to have experienced various trials. Let us understand that the test of our faith gives rise to fortitude, and fortitude comes of age through works in order that we might become perfect and entire (James 1:2-4).
"It is said that we must bear all hardships patiently because this gains us great joy in heaven. Yet even here on earth those hardships become light for a Christian who sincerely loves Jesus and carries his cross together with him. For it is only we who can experience that carrying our cross with Jesus is happiness; the world does not know it. We are on Calvary, but are already celebrating victory in Heaven!"
(V. Lapienis's exile in Siberia ends on July 20,1981 — Ed.).
P. Lukoševičius Writes (excerpts)
"The cruel and treacherous hand of the security police has once again come down upon me. Early on the morning of January 22,1981,1 was taken from my apartment (21-62 Tulpės St.) and driven to the Naujoji Vilnia Republican Psychiatric Hospital. This time, I have no idea why and for how long. You can't learn anything because everything is done in secret. The psychiatric hospital obediently serves the interests of the security police. It prescribes 'treatment' as the security police orders; it detains as long as the KGB commands. There is no law that can be cited in seeking the truth. Of course, there is the Constitution, but its sole purpose is foreign propaganda and misleading people there.
"I await spring. It is much easier when the weather turns warmer. We are allowed to exercise outdoors; we have more breathing space. Of course, we are allowed outside even now, but because we lack proper clothing, we can't stay long.
"I wish everyone good health and many blessings from God."
March 12, 1981.