"Chief Judge of the Supreme Court, councillors, government employees, and prison guards, I will not delay these proceedings for too long.
"The indictment alleges that I organized illegal activities. No, I did not organize anything. I respect everything holy and noble in our nation.
"There is an old truism that says when you want to fight against crime — weeds — you must seek out the ground where it grows and destroy its roots.
"For some reason our society acts in the opposite way. The fruits of crime are harvested and stored or, more precisely, ripened and then taken to still uncontaminated ground to disperse their seeds of evil.
"On March 25 of this year I was arrested as being a man dangerous to society and put in the Lukiškės warehouse of criminal fruit.
"Today, standing before the Supreme Court, I would like to, at least briefly, describe the ground from which the roots of my 'crime' grew.
"I was born in 1930. At the time all of Lithuania was celebrating the 500th anniversary of the death of the noble Grand Duke Vytautas the Great. It was the year of Vytautas the Great. I bear the name of this noble man. Standing before you I can boldy state that during the fifty-one years of my life I have not defiled the name with either lies or deceit.
"To quote J. Marcinkevičius, I still remember the free-spirited Lithuanian songs: 'When the West summoned the Sun to bed, the downtrodden Lithuanians sang because their day's work was ended.' At that time, songs were free, not restricted within the framework of radio and television. At that time songs resounded from straw-roofed homes, from pure hearts, and together with the nightingale's singing and the lark's warbling, enriched our existence.
"I remember the Lithuania that is now called 'bourgeois.' I do not idealize that system. It had its faults, which I, the son of a sharecropper, had occasion to experience and endure. I know the taste of 'sold summers' not from books but from my own experience. But if I said only this much, I would have said only half the truth. Standing here before the Supreme Court, I can firmly state that if not for the footprints of the banned-Lithuanian-book smugglers, if not for the historic battle of the Lithuanians against the Polish Lords on this very spot, if not for the two decades now depicted solely in black colors, it is questionable whether the Lithuanian language would still resound in this chamber.
"I was the son of a rural laborer. That is why I welcomed the dawn of a Soviet Lithuania. I rejoiced in the banners proclaiming equality, fraternity, and happiness. I rejoiced that my 'sold summers' were ending and I would not have to watch over a stranger's flock but would watch over my own and that I would work on my own plot of land. Speaking in our terminology, the seeds of socialism were planted in me and began to sprout. I am accused of not nurturing them. They were sown in fragile ground and were drowned in the spring of 1941 by the tears and laments of my deported countrymen.
"The year 1941 is memorable for me also because it was the last year of my mother's journey here on earth, because when hiring me out to work that last time and sensing her approaching death, as payment she negotiated from my future employers the promise to allow me to complete the fourth grade of the Žvirgždaičiai elementary school. My employers kept their promise.
"At the end of that same year, as the Germans were already ruling Lithuania, she left this world. I say she left, because I live with the hope of meeting her again. She crossed the threshold of eternity, offering her four children, the youngest of them barely one year old, up to God. She completed her earthly journey, leaving behind a beautiful example of love of neighbor and of God. As I wept over my mother's remains, I understood the meaning of sacrifice and suffering.
"My'sold summers and winters' were especially difficult during the German occupation. I endured shortages and both physical and spiritual suffering, the fate of an orphan. After the war came the time to settle accounts, but I did not avail myself of it, for, as I have said, I understood the meaning of sacrifice and suffering. I understood that revenge and hatred only fueled the flames that burned in the nation before my very eyes sweeping away thousands of lives. I understood that in order to improve life, one must proceed with love and sacrifice.
"Last year I celebrated my fiftieth birthday. I am therefore ten years older than Soviet Lithuania. For over thirty years I worked on many of its construction sites and in its factories. Therefore I have not only the right but also the obligation to fight against existing evils, to make certain critical remarks. All the more so since Article 47 of the Lithuanian SSR Constitution obligates government organs and social organizations to react to criticism from citizens, to respond to it, and to take the necessary steps to correct the situation. When replying to the editors of the Raseiniai Rayon newspaper Naujas rytas (Newdawn), I appealed to First Secretary Dr. Griškevičius of the Lithuanian Communist party not on the basis of any theories, as the indictment charges, but presented concrete facts. I spoke about the increase in crime and demanded that crime statistics be made public.
"Our press writes a great deal about raising calves and piglets, while I wrote about people but received no reply. Then I was arrested. I therefore have the right to ask the Supreme Court, Was this arrest in response to my criticism? But it is forbidden to persecute anyone for criticism. On June 5 of this year, Izveslia printed an article, 'Pod pressom prestupnosti' (Under the weight of crime), criticizing crime in the United States. The statistics are: one murder every 24 minutes, one rape every 7 minutes, an armed robbery every 70 seconds.
"After one reads these terrifying lines, the question imperceptibly arises, is the situation any better here? Unfortunately, I do not know and do not have the right to know. But experience has shown that our situation is no better. Here are several examples: Vytautas Grigonis, soon after graduating from our correctional labor school, killed four people within two weeks' time. I once was in a cell with Kęstutis Novikovas, all of whose brothers are behind bars.
"I don't know if we have reached the point Izvestia calls critical, but the examples mentioned here prove that our criminals are not napping either. Legal administrative measures are inadequate to battle these evils. 'Punish and provide a haven' states a folk saying.
"Punishment without love does not reform. It repels a person and makes him even more brutal. If you look at a man as at a beast, he will turn into a beast.
"At the Lukiškės prison the people are guarded more strictly than animals. Steel shutters, which the prisoners call 'muzzles,' cover the windows. What is the result? Crime is not decreasing but increasing. Beasts of prey locked up in zoos require sun and air, for they cannot live without them. Human beings cannot improve without love, without humane treatment. By teaching a person only through punishment, we repel him. We make him animal like and he becomes more savage than a beast.
"The penal code does not encompass the entire person. It cannot replace the laws of God. It is powerless where the eye of the guardian of the law does not see.
"This is very obvious as soon as you cross the threshold of the Lukiškės prison. People are robbed of their clothing, and their parcels are taken from them, but the vigilant eye of the guardian of the law does not notice this.
"Where is the ground in which the roots of crime grow? I would like to direct your attention to the spiritual vacuum into which man has been plunged by those who do not have the answers to the questions that worry mankind (Why are we living? Why do we die? What is the meaning of sacrifice and suffering?) and who dared to destroy the authority of God, to take away the hope of eternal life.
"Empty promises of earthly happiness only acted to excite the passions of bestialized man. Man began to create a microparadise in his environment by both legal and illegal means, to pursue personal happiness. Scheming and speculation are among the products of attempting to achieve personal happiness. This happiness is obtained only through the twisted paths of blat (clout). Others, who have been disappointed, seek happiness at the bottom of a bottle. Drunkenness is the cause of many misfortunes.
"Of course, the production and selling of alcoholic beverages is very profitable, but the time lost from work, the resulting production shortages and traumas produce considerable losses. A glance at auto accident statistics reveals that the majority of them occur because drivers and pedestrians are drunk. But that is just the material side of the coin. And what of the moral? — insane asylums, venereal disease clinics, prisons, and juvenile colonies.
"Intoxicated by alcoholic fumes, we blindly wade into the quagmire of crime.
"Therefore publish crime statistics, remove the blindfold from people's eyes while it is not too late. When people see the impasse we are headed for perhaps they will understand and turn back.
A patient, if he wants to get well, must know about his illness; this is only concealed from those condemned to die. Perhaps there are among us those who no longer believe in the nation's vitality and are therefore pumping its organism full of increasing doses of intoxicants while they await her death. I believe that the nation has many living cells able to combat the germs of evil. It is necessary only to draw the whole of society into this battle, without excluding religious believers, who are obligated by the law of love of neighbor to fight against the evils which destroy both man's spirit and body.
"I am accused of organizing processions, i.e., of battling these evils. Our young people have started the nation's march to sobriety and morality and have made a good beginning. Out of 1,500 people, not one had been drinking.
We marched 8 kilometers and did not leave behind a single empty bottle.
"Honorable court, before you stand scales. On the one side there is the fight for a return to sobriety and morality and on the other the prosecutor's authority, which demands, without any proof, the highest punishment under the applicable article.
"I was arrested like a thief on my way to work. Two men, who did not identify themselves, ordered me into their automobile. The report written during the search was not left with my wife though she requested it. Not one of my acquaintances was admitted into this trial. You can either acquit or convict me. Therefore, you must decide which you consider more important: the prosecutor's authority or justice and the struggle for the sobering and purifying of the nation. Am I guilty? If I am, it is only because I did not love enough, I did not suffer enough, I did not fight enough for the good.
"I saw the nation oppressed by pain and suffering. I saw it kneeling in the blood of unborn children. I saw a huge crowd, probably over a million men and women, teenagers, children, and infants, white and blue collar workers, engineers, doctors, and scientists. They were all gathering on the other side of life's threshold and were stretching their arms toward us. I saw them, and more than once I wept in sorrow like a child, but I did not shout, 'Open the doors! What are you doing, you heartless people? Can't you see that we are short of working hands? We lack youthful resolve, we lack childish joy!' No one opened the doors, and I remained silent. I am guilty. Punish me!
"Our mother is guilty, she gave us life,
She taught us to walk along our homeland's paths,
Anyone else could only be a stepmother; she's not concerned with the nation's fate,
If we were deprived of our language we would become miserable mutes.
Let us therefore decorate the grey-haired heads of our mothers with the green wreaths of words,
She is forever a bride. She'll teach our children to walk as well.
"These are E. Mieželaitis's words. I saw how this gray-haired mother still had her own schools in Lithuanian colonies in Byelorussia under a Polish stepmother but has lost them now. By the banks of the Nemunas River this gray-haired mother, spit upon by foreign curses from the lips of her very own, has become timid and avoids public places. O my aged mother! A living monument to the world's ancient languages. Is it possible that you will share the fate which befell your younger sisters, the Latin and the ancient Greek languages? I saw that danger, I carried the silent pain deep in my breast, but I remained silent. I am guilty, punish me!
"A tear fell. Someone shrugged it off — what of it?
Perhaps a Schliemann will unearth that tear like Troy,
Or in a century or two it will be studied thoroughly by scholars:
What were its roots and why and how it fell.
Someone within that tear will find the guilty, without doubt.
Will men then understand us, or, men, will we be shamed?
"The author has said that this poem of his is unfinished. I hope it will not anger him too much if I supplement it with some thoughts.
"In antiquity, a building was erected on the rock of the hope of eternal life, and it was called Lithuania. It survived the disasters of history because the foundations were reinforced by the laws of God.
"Now, 'in the name of science,' we want to dig under this rock and blow it up.
"This is being done by those who have nothing on which to support the nation's morals. If the Criminal Code is powerless where the vigilant eyes of the guardians of the law do not see because it does not encompass the entire man, is it wise to erase the following words from people's consciences, 'Whatever you do to the least of my brothers, you do unto me'?
"If the rock which supports the nation's moral foundation is blown up, if we run out of hands capable of brushing away a tear, the poet's prophecy will come true: 'After a century or two, after unearthing the nation's grave, historians will investigate the nation's tears and accuse us of shortsightedness and selfishness, and we will feel shame.'
"Whoever believes in God's omnipotent Providence,
Does not know the weak fear of children.
Throughout the ages unhappy was our fate,
But no one knows what tomorrow will bring.
"I believe in God's omnipotent Providence. I believe that even my small sacrifice, the journey upon which I embarked with my wife's blessing of the Sign of the Cross, will not be in vain. Intertwined with Lithuania's martyrs and saints, in union with Christ's sacrifice on the cross, I believe it will sway the outcome of the battle for Eternal Justice. I am proud of those who participated in this procession, especially the youth. They are the firs t buds of spring which burst into bloom in the still-frozen earth, the harbingers of the coming fertile summer."
A Copy of Criminal Case no. 8-4, 1981
"In the Name of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic
June 24, 1981
"The Lithuanian SSR Supreme Court Collegium for Criminal Cases, made up of Presiding Judge A. Jankauskas, People's Councillors S. Masiukas and L. Ražinskas, Secretary [Miss] G. Jablonskaitė, with Prosecutor J. Murauskas participating, in court proceedings examined the criminal case in which Vaičiūnas, Vytautas, son of Antanas, born on March 9, 1930, in Šakiai Rayon, village of Tupikai, a Lithuanian, a citizen of the USSR, not a party member, educated, married, formerly employed as an engineer at the Kaunas Distribution/Coordination Board, born into a small landowning family, no service record, no previous criminal record, residing in Kaunas at 46 Hipodromas St., apt. 35, accused of an offense proscribed by Article 199/3 of the Lithuanian SSR Criminal Code, has decided:
"On August 24, 1980, V. Vaičiūnas assisted in organizing group activities in obvious disregard of the legitimate demands of government representatives and which grossly violated public order and disrupted traffic.
"Lacking an appropriate permit from government organs and taking advantage of religious feelings, he urged people to participate and organized believers who had arrived at the Tytuvėnai church into a procession to Šiluva. He himself actively participated, disobeying the legitimate demands of government representatives to stop such actions. Holding a small flag in his hands, V. Vaičiūnas acting as an organizer stopped traffic on Tarybos Street in the city of Tytuvėnai for some time, directed the procession, and urged through his actions that the procession which violated public order and disrupted the flow of traffic continue.
"The defendant pleaded innocent, explaining that he had participated in the procession but that his actions were not those of an organizer. He had stopped traffic with a flag because he was concerned about the safety of the pilgrims. He had given a speech to the people gathered at the church which was directed against drunkenness and other vices.
"That Vaičiūnas helped organize group actions in Tytuvėnai which involved an obvious disregard of legitimate demands of government representatives and which disrupted traffic and grossly violated public order has been proven by the testimony of witnesses, material evidence, and photographs.
"It can be seen from the documents of this case that the executive committees of the Soviets of people's deputies of the rayons of Kelme and Raseiniai did not consider the question of granting permits to organize and hold processions from Tytuvėnai to Šiluva because such a request had not been submitted (t. 1, b. 1.8,12). Thus, in the absence of consent from the appropriate executive committees of the Soviets of people's deputies, the organizing of the procession was illegal because it grossly violated articles 50 and 51 of the Regulations for Religious Associations.
The witnesses J. Juzeliūnas and S. Sturys testified that they, as government representatives, had warned the participants by loudspeaker, ordering them to disperse, for they were aware that the procession was organized without a suitable permit from government organs. The witness S. Sturys also testified that Vaičiūnas, whose name he learned later, marched at the head of the column and stopped traffic with a red flag, giving the procession the right of way and directing the column toward Šiluva..
"The witness C. Janušonis testified that the defendant addressed the crowd assembled in the churchyard, urging them to participate in the procession. Afterwards, he regulated the progress of the procession with a flag and stopped traffic in the street. The witness photographed the scene and handed over the film to interrogation organs.
"Janušionis's testimony is fully corroborated and supplemented by the photographs, from which it is apparent that the defendant was not simply an ordinary participant either in the churchyard or during the procession (t. 1, b. 1, 30-44).
"Similar testimony and photographs were submitted by the witness S. Ramoška. They corroborated Vaičiūnas's guilt of the crime of which he is charged, (t. 1, 1. 52-60).
"The witness [Miss] I. Gaubšaitė testified that Vaičiūnas, whom she saw after the procession had begun, was actively involved. He waved a red flag, stopped traffic in the street, and directed the procession toward Šiluva.
The witnesses V. Lukonas and [Mrs.] V. Černikienė testified that before the procession started out, a man in the churchyard wearing a brown raincoat (the defendant Vaičiūnas as established in the case) addressed the crowd, urging them to participate in the procession. Following his speech, the people began to form a column. The witnesses testified that the column impeded vehicular traffic a great deal (t. 1, b. 1. 45, 49).
"The witnesses V. Mišeikis and A. Gecas testified that Vaičiūnas, waving a flag, halted all traffic in Tytuvėnai. They saw cars stopped in the street waiting for the road to clear.
"The witness J. Daniliauskas testified that the procession disrupted traffic and he, as a scheduled-route bus driver, could not keep to the designated schedule for that reason.
"Therefore, from the testimony it follows that the defendant, V. Vaičiūnas, contributed to the organization of group activities which caused a disruption to traffic, grossly violated public order, and were in disregard of legitimate demands of government representatives. Thus the defendant's actions correspond to the offense proscribed by Article 199/3 of the Lithuanian SSR Criminal Code.
"In passing sentence consideration has been given to the nature of the offense and to what degree it has endangered society and to the personality of the defendant.
"His last place of employment, where he worked with one interrpution since 1976, favorably describes Vaičiūnas as a good and disciplined worker who knew his job well. As a staff member, he kept to himself and was not talkative (t. 2, 1. 155).
"No aggravating or attenuating circumstances have been established in the case.
"On the basis of articles 331 and 333 of the Lithuanian SSR Code of Criminal Procedure the Collegium for Criminal Cases has decided:
"To find Vaičiūnas, Vytautas, son of Antanas, guilty of the offense proscribed in Article 199/3 of the Lithuanian SSR Criminal Code and to sentence him to two years and six months imprisonment in an ordinary-regime correctional work colony.
"In view of the time served awaiting trial, the beginning of the sentence will be considered to be March 25, 1981.
"All material evidence is to be left in the case file, except for the flag, which is to be destroyed.
"The decision cannot be appealed or protested.
Presiding Judge: (signed) A. Jankauskas
People's Councillors: (signed) S. Masiukas
This is a true copy: Court member A. Jankauskas"