On January 26, 1983, about thirty KGB agents surrounded the
apartment of Father Jonas Kauneckas. Some of them stole into
the priest's study and presented the LSSR Prosecutor's order for a search in connection with the case of Father Alfonsas Svarinskas and the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights. The search began at 3:00 PM. Directing the search was Prose-
Father Jonas Kauneckas
cutor Jakavičius of the Republic Prosecutor's Office for Investigations. Witnesses to the search were: (Mrs.) Rima Pavlova, daughter of Česlovas, residing at Žemaitės 21 in Telšiai; Antanas Vidva, residing at L. Pelėdos g. 3-16 and Jurgis Parakininkas, residing at Laisvės 12-34.
Carrying out the search were KGB agents who would not give their names. They examined every bit of paper, and turned over every page in every book. They looked carefully for something even under the jackets of government books, went through all the old newspapers and scraps of paper found in the wastebasket. They confiscated everything written in Father Kauneckas' hand: un-mailed letters, sermons, sermon outlines, various notes and notebooks. In all, about ten thousand pages. Also seized were greetings from acquaintances, letters, telegrams, even envelopes received from soldiers.
They took books: Maceina's Niekšybės paslaptis (Mystery of Iniquity), J. Gedgauda's Lietuvos istorija (History of Lithuania) (pre-history), Grinius' Lietuviškojo charakterio problema (The Problem of Lithuanian Character), Bartkus' Psichologo pastabos (A Psychologist's Notes), Nacionologijos klausimai (Questions of Nationology), five small booklets about St. Casimir, Documents of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, Numbers 1-25, a songbook, three copies of Bernardas Brazdžionis' poetry, Svetimi kalnai (Foreign Hills) (all in typescript) — about twenty books in all.
Confiscated were the Chronicle of the Catholic Church Number 53, six copies of a letter from priests of the Diocese of Telšiai to Brezhnev, a statement by Fathers J. Paliukas and K. Velioniškis of Tverai (fifty pages) with a supplement to the Bishop of Telšiai, the Priests' Council and the Editors of Tiesa (Truth) and Father Gedvila's letter to the Administrator of the Telšiai Diocese concerning his refusal to participate in a meeting with Commissioner for Religious Affairs Petras Anilionis.
Also confiscated were many photographs: Members of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, a youth procession to Šiluva, one to the Hill of Crosses, and one of the funeral of Father Virgilijus Jaugelis, of demolished Wayside Crosses, etc.
From the housekeeper's room, the KGB agents took an Optima typewriter and issue number 32 of Aušra (The Dawn). Every scrap of paper was picked from Father Kauneckas' pockets, and from his coat pocket, the chekists confiscated three Czarist five-ruble gold coins which a woman had donated for gold plating the tabernacle and liturgical vessels at Žemaičių Kalvarija.
(Miss) Stasė Činskytė, who comes to cook, was detained throughout the search. Anyone who came to keep an appointment during that time was searched and questioned, (Father Kauneckas was on call at the time.) even a man who came to drive the priest to visit a patient. A woman KGB agent interrogated and practically stripped (Miss) Rita Bumbliauskaitė who had stopped by. (Miss) Genovaitė Šalkauskaitė who had stopped in to get a key from
(Miss) Činskytė was taken off to the Militia Station where KGB Agent Mrs.) Danutė Dapkūnienė, searched even her shoes.
During the search, the KGB agents repeatedly went out into the hallway to communicate via radio which they had brought. The search lasted until 1:00 AM.
On January 27, 1983, in all factories, offices, schools and even kindergartens of Telšiai, meetings were conducted on the theme: "Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, already twice imprisoned for cooperating with post-war criminals who shot people, has been arrested. Like him is Father Juozas Kauneckas of Telšiai so a search is being carried out at his place and he is being questioned. Do not believe anything else the churchmice or priests say."
At 11:00 AM on January 27, 1983, Father Kauneckas was summoned for questioning by Prosecutor Jakavičius. During the interrogation, along with the prosecutor, a KGB agent took part, giving instructions. During the interrogation, questions were asked about "anti-Soviet publications" found. Father Kauneckas stated that during the search there were no anti-Soviet publications in his possession. "Books are produced privately because they are not allowed to be published by printing houses, and neither priests nor faithful can live without religious or historical books. There would be no Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, nor Chronicle, if no one violated the rights of the faithful," said Father Kauneckas.
During the interrogation, a KGB agent brought a judge who said, "Now your case will be considered," Father Kauneckas was led direcdy from the investigator's office to the courtroom, because he was fined fifty rubles by the Telšiai Rayon Administrative Committee, for "organizing" an All Souls procession in Viešvėnai. Seeking justice, Father Kauneckas went to court. The trial was announced for 10:00 AM, January 26; however, after services on the evening of January 21, Judge (Miss) Paulauskaitė summoned Father Kauneckas, announcing that the case was being postponed since the court had, at the time, many other cases and was unable to consider them all.
There was no one in court, but the judge proclaimed it a public proceeding. Father Kauneckas stated that this case concerns all the faithful and their rights, so that he would have agreed to participate in such a trial; but they would not allow him to leave the courtroom.
Charter Members of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights. From left: Fathers Vincas Vėlavičius, Alfonsas Svarinskas, Sigitas Tamkevičius, Juozas Zdebskis, Jonas Kauneckas.
Chairwoman (Mrs.) Liubinavičienė of the Telšiai Rayon Administrative Committee stated that the Committee consisting of Militia Chief Mickevičius, Financial Section Director (Mrs.) Raudonienė, Savickas and others had penalized Father Kauneckas justly, for this, after all, was confirmed by a statement received from Viešvėnai District workers, Mr. and Mrs. Bumbliauskas. Assistant Prosecutor (Mrs.) Butnorienė also supported the accusation. Father Father Kauneckas stated that he did not understand why the court gave no consideration at all to the arguments submitted in his complaint. The panel was embarrassed.The court affirmed that Father Kauneckas had been sentenced justly. Judge Paulauskaitė paid no attention at all to the Rule of Civil Proceedings, that the court must set aside the fine if the Administrative Committee imposes it for acts more than thirty days past. (Civilinio proceso kodekso komentaras — Commentary on the Code of Civil Proceedings, Par. 262, 18 and 33) In this case the Telšiai Administrative Committee fined Father Kauneckas fifty-nine days after the fact.
At 2:00 PM on January 26, 1983, a search was carried out at the home of Father Algimantas Keina, Pastor of Valkininkai, for the purpose of seizing Documents of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights and other material relevant to the case. Directing the search was Attorney Bičkauskas. The search was carried out by seven KGB agents with two witnesses present. Organist (Miss) Rita Lengvenytė and the pastor, Father Keina, were searched. In the course of the raid, two notebooks of Father Keina's sermons were seized, along with Documents of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, and a typewriter.
On January 27, 1983, Father Keina was interrogated at the offices of the LSSR Prosecutor. Investigator Bičkauskas asked Father Keina who the chairman of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights is, who drafts the documents, where the members meet, how the Committee Documents reach foreign countries, etc.
The priest explained that the Committee has no chairman. All members are equal, the documents are drafted jointly, and how they reached foreign countries he had no idea. The interrogation lasted four hours.
Garliava (Rayon of Kaunas).
(Mrs.) Jadvyga Bieliauskienė, arrested November 29, 1982, in Garliava, is presently being held in the KGB Isolation Prison in Vilnius.
(Mrs.) Bieliauskienė, in the words of Investigators Pilelis and Urbonas, is accused of organizing a religious group among high school students in Garliava, of collecting signatures under believers' petitions, of writing a complaint to the Kaunas City Prosecutor about the terrorizing of children, and illegal interrogations, etc. For such anti-Soviet activity, she is being threatened with seven years in prison.
During the era of Stalinist repression, (Mrs.) Bieliauskienė was sentenced to ten years in prison.
On December 8, 1982, with Lieutenant Colonel Vilimas in the lead, KGB agents broke into the apartment of (Mrs.) Irena Skuodienė (Vandentiekio 44-4) carried out a search with the purpose
"of seizing literature with libelous content and other documents pertaining to the case."
Seized during the raid were: a visitor's card with the inscription "Edward Wayne Merrylecend, Secretary, Embassy of the United States of America", a visitor's card inscribed, "Daniel Prid, Vice Consul, USA", and a pocket calendar with various entries.
On December 17, 1982, (Mrs.) Skuodiene wrote the Prosecutor of the SSR a complaint as follows:
"On December 8, 1982, a search was made of my apartment under rather dramatic circumstances, with the purpose of finding libelous literature. Directing the search was Investigator Vilimas, participating were Vlacov Kondrasevsky, N. Bozk and Mickus, with witnesses Sheshtakov and Ribakov.
"I consider this incident to be but one more act in the chain of persecution of the family of Vytautas Skuodis, beginning at the end of 1979.
"Elements of this constant persecution are: surveillance, phone tapping, accusations at work, confiscation of mail and its delay. Occasionally the routine is varied by more drastic measures: For example, in 1981 I was summoned for a semi-official talk about the family, in which I was obliged to accept responsibility for any information concerning Vytautas Skuodis and his condition in his place of punishment.
"On April 2, 1982, they threatened to take me to court on Par. 68 of the LSSR Criminal Code for my statement and conviction that my husband is a conscientious man who has served the public, has firm beliefs and is in no way a criminal. I reject this threat as unreasonable, even though legal "arguments' were used, especially since in the first warning (1981) we find the sentence: 'We do not punish people for their beliefs.' Thus it is my deep conviction that Soviet officials completely disregard the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
"I protest against the constant persecution of Vytautas Skuodis' family, capped by breaking down the door of my apartment.
"On the morning of December 8, some woman rang the door bell, desiring to 'deliver' a telegram. I asked her to give it to me through the crack in the door, leaving the chain on. However she demanded that I allow her in, ostensibly for me to sign . . . Suspecting a trick I slammed the door but when she would not stop ringing the door bell I was forced to disconnect it. Then I
heard knocking on the door. A man's voice shouted, 'Open up, bitch, or I'll break the door down!"
"Frightened I summoned the militia. However by the time someone came, Lieutenant Colonel Vilimas was already raging in my apartment, 'I'm the boss here!' I don't think any comment is needed . ..
"The KGB has been interfering in one way or another in our apartment, my family's places of employment, and consider themselves the masters of our fate, while I, the powerless victim of persecution dare to call your attention to such brutal actions on the part of police officials."
On May 6, 1982, as she was getting off the train in the Riga railroad station, Šiauliai resident (Mrs.) Stasė Tamutienė was detained. At the militia station the chekists, without showing or presenting any search warrant, carried out a detailed search of the things she had with her and of her person. Nothing except a rosary and prayer book were found in the course of the search. After the search, which took an hour, Mrs. Tamutienė was allowed to go.
On December 8, 1982, a search was carried out in Mrs. Tamutienė's apartment (Šiauliai, Ežero 65-35), storage space and garage. Directing the search was a KGB investigator from Vilnius, Major Valaitis. Three chekists from the city of Šiauliai carried out the search in the presence of two witnesses. During the search, looking for anti-Soviet literature and for documents, the local chekists were most disturbed. Finding photographs of prisoners or exiles, they tried to prove that they were reprinted in order to send them abroad. They carefully read Christmas greetings written to relatives and acquaintances living abroad. Members of the family quipped that after such censorship the letters and greetings would surely reach the addressees.
Confiscated in the course of the search were: the book Ąžuolai vėtroje (Oaks in the Gale) (two copies), a notebook and addresses in Belgium.
When she refused to sign it, the chekists did not leave the search order.
After the search, (Miss) Dalia Tamutytė was taken to the Šiauliai City KGB for interrogation. Major Valaitis was interested in knowing why Dalia went to Moscow, what she had passed on to foreigners working in Moscow, where and what she had heard about events in Vilnius after the football game in the fall of 1982, etc. The investigator demanded that no one be told about the interrogation which took about six hours.
On December 17, 1982, (Miss) Tamutytė was once again summoned to Vilnius KGB Headquarters to see Investigator Valaitis. The chekist asked the woman whether she had not noticed any psychological aberrations in the behavior of (Mrs.) Edita Abrutienė. (She had been arrested December 8, 1982, and Criminal Case No. 105 had been filed against her according to
Par. 199 of the LSSR Criminal Code for allegedly disseminating deliberate calumnies defaming the Soviet government and system.) She was asked why she had been to Moscow, whether she knew certain foreigners,. Whether she or her mother had not met with foreign correspondent and other foreigners. The investigator was interested in knowing what (Miss) Tamutytė knows about the Chronicle and other underground publications.
Investigator Daugalis, arriving during the interrogation, was dissatisfied with (Miss) Tamutytė's answers, and threatened that they would meet elsewhere and talk in another fashion. The interrogation lasted approximately three hours.
On November 23, 1982, (Miss) Bernardeta Mališaitė was forcibly taken by militia to Vilnius KGB headquarters. Investigator Vili-mas asked her what she knew about Ukrainian exile Zorian Po-padiuk, where she had obtained his address, whether she had sent him packages, etc.
She refused to sign the interrogation report.
After the interrogation, (Miss) Mališkaitė was questioned by yet another chekist (who called himself Major Sasnauskas). The chekist was interested in knowing why (Miss) Mališkaitė had quit teaching, praised her teaching skills, told her to reconsider and to go back to work at the school. He offered his own recommendation, since without it, it was doubtful whether anyone would hire her. Most recently, (Miss) Mališkaitė has gone to work for the church in Virbalis.
At 10:00 AM on November 29, 1982, (Miss) Ona Šarakauskaitė was summoned to see Investigator Kovalev at Vilnius KGB Headquarters.
At KGB Headquarters, a chekist presented himself to (Miss) Sarakauskaite, and stating that Investigator Kovalev was occupied and would be able to receive her only after noon, said that therefore he would like to have a friendly chat with her. To (Miss) Šarakauskaitė's demand that the next time they be more accurate in telling her the appointment time, and that she be allowed to leave the office because she was in no mood to listen to the chekist's lecture — no one paid attention.
During the talk, the chekist, making himself out to be a good Communist, said that he had been assigned to concern himself with (Miss) Šarauskaitė's future, and so he knew the members of her family and her friends well. The subject replied that she was satisfied with her life, and asked him not to inconvenience himself for her future. When (Miss) Šarakauskaitė said that she was going to tell everyone young and old about the KGB agents who had dared to speak to her sister, (Miss) Zita Šarakauskaitė in the most vile and libelous terms about priests, the KGB agent became terribly angry, and warned her that for this, she could be punished. The chekist expressed regret that in post-War Lithuania, all convents had been closed, since now it was difficult for the government to keep them under control. He mentioned that in the near future, the KGB would begin showing more concern about religious communities working underground, assigning each young woman religious an overseer like him, and summoning them and their parents for talks with the KGB.
In his talk, the chekist emphasized that he was worried about the environment in which Onutė lives and works (she lives and works at the church in Kybartai), and he tried the whole time to convince her that she is out of touch with life, blindly stubborn and exploited, but just did not feel it so far. He suggested that she change her way of life and her work; he tried to convince her not to bury her talents, and to go on to higher studies.
During the interrogation after lunch, Kovalev asked (Miss) Šarakauskaitė where she knew Ukrainian Zorian Popadiuk from, and what she knew about him. (Miss) Šarakauskaitė refused to sign the interrogation report.
After the interrogation, the KGB agent mentioned above came in to finish his "friendly" chat. Failing to "communicate", he promised that they would meet more than once in the future.
On November 11, 1982, Zita Šarakauskaitė, a student in the fourth class at the O. Suchackienė Normal School, was summoned to see Investigator Kovalev at the Vilnius KGB Headquarters. The investigator explained that the girl had been summoned as a witness in the case of the Ukrainian Zorian Popadiuk. He asked where she had obtained the address of the prisoner, what she wrote in her letters, whether she had been to visit him in exile, etc. (It is customary in Lithuania for people to send greetings, letters and packages to prisoners of conscience, in prison or in exile.)
(Miss) Šarakauskaitė refused to sign the interrogation report. After the questioning, a chekist who did not give his name tried to recruit (Miss) Šarakauskaitė as an informer. He wanted to know where her sister, Ona, worked, whether Zita visited her frequently, and whether she received illegal publications to read. He explained that her sister, getting mixed up with (Miss) Ona Vitkauskaitė and (Miss) Genovaitė Navickaitė, kad gone astray.
During the talk, the chekist denigrated active priests with libelous inventions and taking his leave, promised that she would have to see him again.
Joniškėlis (Rayon of Pasvalis).
The pastor of Joniškėlis, Father Benediktas Urbonas, was questioned on December 6, 1982, at Pasvalis Rayon KGB Headquarters as one having ties abroad. The KGB agents especially wanted to know to whom and where the priest had sent copies of the petition in which Father Urbonas complained about being fined for teaching children. (See Chronicle, Number 54 — Trans. Note) "Say that you gave the information to Father Antanas Balaišis, pastor of Saločiai, and everything will be alright," demanded the chekist. Father Urbonas refused to have any part in such contrived testimony.
On July 19, 1982, KGB Agent Jonas Matulevičius delivered to (Miss) Daiva Tamošiūnaitė a summons to go to the KGB on July 20. Going to the KGB, the girl found the same agent, Matulevičius. The chekist was very pleasant to the girl, saying that he wanted to see how "little Daiva" is getting along, so he had delivered the summons himself. In an effort to win the schoolgirl's acceptance, the agent told her about himself, asked her about school, and gave her advice on how to choose a career.
However, Daiva was uncommunicative. Then he began asking where she had obtained prisoner's addresses, why she was writing letters, and who had put her up to it. The girl stood her ground. The chekist began threatening that he would inform the school and the ministry and there would be much unpleasantness. He told her to think it over quickly and to come to the public library on July 27. Daiva did not keep the appointment.
On August 31, 1982, Arūnas Kavaliauskas was summoned to the Military Commissariat. There, after the usual preliminaries, an officer told him to go into an office which was entered simultaneously by KGB agent G. Matulevičius. The KGB agent told Arūnas to write an autobiography including his religious beliefs. The questioning began. The KGB agent asked whether the young man went to church of his own will, or did his parents pressure him. Arūnas said that he went of his own accord. The chekist further asked whether he knew Fathers Svarinskas and Kauneckas, and whom he knew from among those who went to the church in Petrašiūnai, especially among the youth.
Arūnas said that he did not know anyone. Then the KGB agent tried to recruit the young man to work for them, offering him money, an apartment and an exemption from military service. If he did not agree to their proposal, he could expect much unpleasantness. Arūnas refused to sign on. At the end of the interrogation, KGB Agent Matulevičius warned the young man to say nothing to anyone about the meeting, and made two appointments: September 6, at 2:00 PM, he was to come to the Girstupis Store, and if anything prevented him — on September 7 at the same hour. Again he was warned to come to the meetings alone.
On the agreed date, the KGB agents did not see Arūnas. They phoned him at home, but not finding him, they stopped looking.
By such methods, promises and threats, the KGB recruited other young people and did not hesitate to suggest to some of them specific assignments. Special efforts were made to recruit the young people attending church in Petrašiūnai.
On June 17, 1982, pupil (Miss) Vilija Masytė of Kaunas Middle School XXI was called to school for a talk with KGB Agent Jonas Matulevičius. The girl came to the meeting with her mother, but the chekist ordered the mother out of the office. With exaggerated politeness, the chekist questioned the student about her graduation farewell party and about her plans for the future, of which he seemed to have been informed by someone or other.
Afterwards, he began to inquire whether she read underground literature. The girl answered in the negative. Then the KGB agent pulled out a few letters which she had written to prisoners and began to question her: Why had she written to political prisoners?
Where had she obtained their addresses?, etc. The girl acknowledged that she had written and explained that everyone has a right to correspond with whomever they wish, and that that she had learned of the addresses through Vatican Radio broadcasts.
The KGB agent boasted that he knew everything, but that he wanted her to acknowledge everything herself. The chekist wasted much time trying to convince the student that political prisoners have been justly sentenced, since some of them are real murderers. He knew some of them himself, and spoke mostly of Docent Skuodis, Balys Gajauskas and Paulaitis. Vilija paid no attention to his tales, because she felt that they were routine lies.
The chekist complained that litters and holiday greeting cards intergere with a prisoner's "rehabilitation".
KGB Agent Matulevičius demanded that the student write a statement telling why she wrote letters to prisoners, what she plans to do in the future, and where she obtained the addresses. The girl did not write an explanation; what she plans to do later is her own business.
The KGB agent, as usual, began to intimidate the girl, saying that she would not get into any institution of higher learning, and besides, she might even end up in prison. After a long talk, the chekist once more tried to get a statement out of her, saying that when he returned, it would be necessary to show what he had accomplished.
The interrogation lasted three hours.
When all the graduates were being given their reports, Vilija Masytė received none. Her homeroom teacher explained that her report did not yet have the entry, "She consorts with political prisoners."
To: The Prosecutor of the LSSR From: Henrikas Ratautas and Janina Ratautienė Residing at Kaunas, Komunos 8-1
We address you, Prosecutor, regarding the following matter. Our son, Henrikas Ratautas, is being intimidated and forced to sign up to work as a KGB agent-informer.
On October 13, 1982, at 10:00 PM, our son was leaving Vilnius on family matters. At the 27km. point on the road from Vilnius to Kaunas, an accident happened. It was dark, raining, and my son ran over a drunken citizen, who had already been struck mortally by a preceeding car. Since he was very close, the driver of the other car tried to stop my son, but the latter, blinded by oncoming headlights, failed to stop his car in time.
KGB Agent Jonas Matulevičius, taking advantage of this unfortunate incident, is threatening my son with five years in prison.
On May 7, 1982, our son reported to the Soviet Army, but was exempted by the Republic Medical Commission on the basis of his medical history. According to the Judgement of the Republic's Medical Commission, the military Commissariat of the City of Kaunas, the Rayon of Panemunė, issued a certificate acknowledging that he was unsuitable for military service.
On January 13, 1983, my son was summoned to the Military Commissariat where KGB Agent Matulevičius was waiting for him. He began to warn my son about avoiding the Soviet Army, and threatened him with five years of prison — obviously, if he did not sign on as a KGB agent-informer.
The next day (January 14, 1983), after the summons to the Military Commissariat, my son and I had to go to the Trakai Militia Substation. There the same KGB agent, Matulevičius, met my son. He said, "If your medical history is confirmed by the military hospital (there we terrorized you more) then under cover of an accident, it will be easier for us to do a job on you." The only out was to sign up to work as a KGB agent-informer.
We are surprised that without force and blackmail, the KGB cannot recruit cadres for itself on a free-will basis.
Honorable Prosecutor, we ask you to explain why the same laws apply unequally: in one way for those who do not sign up, and in another way for those who do. We ask you, Prosecutor, to give directions to the appropriate agencies, to leave our son in peace.
We await your reply in writing. January 28, 1983