In the history of mankind, there have been many international treaties. Some of them have been honorable, opening the road to peace and independent life for nations; others were dishonorable, helping to incite war and suppress the freedom of other nations. We will probably not find a more dishonorable or deceitful compact in history than that between Stalin and Hitler which brought mankind to its most terrible catastrophe, World War II, which exacted millions of innocent victims.
By secret supplementary protocols to the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 23,1939, Stalin's Soviet Union and Hitler's Germany, trampling on international law, bilaterally blessed one another's imperialist aims, coordinated their up-coming actions and drew the boundaries for carrying out the seizure of the independent countries of Central Europe.
In this way the Soviet Union, which considered and still considers the free self-determination of nations as its propaganda vehicle, and which was the first country in the world to recognize the independence of the Baltic States in 1920, repudiated its international obligations and in 1939, occupied part of Poland and in 1940, part of Finland, all of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and part of Roumania.
During the very first year of the occupation, mass arrests and deportations to Siberia began. The Baltic nations will never forget the deportation of their people carried out by the occupying power, June 14,1941, which was tantamount to genocide. That day, about 40,000 people were taken away from Lithuania alone.
As paradoxical as it might seem, the destruction of the nation was held up by the war which broke out between the Soviet Union and Germany. The land of Lithuania was mercilessly trampled by the Red and the Brown Shirt reorganizers of the world. The occupation by Hitler exacted the blood of many innocent Lithuanians. However, in the number of its victims, it did not come near equalling that of the Stalinist occupation.
After the victory against Hitler, Stalin resumed the genocide of the Baltic nations. The prisons could not hold all those rounded up. Thousands of families, including even children and the seriously ill, were hauled off to Siberia in cattle cars. Some of them, unable to withstand the unsanitary conditions, died on the way. Others died of cold, hunger, and overwork in exile in the katorga, while those who survived returned many years later physically weakened or as invalids.
In those days, the Lithuanian nation, for reasons of self defense, engaged in the one-sided war imposed on it, not so much for the restoration of its national independence (although the thirst for independence was not diminished), as for the right and possibility for a person to retain his humanity.
The Stalinist occupational government presented the Lithuanians with just two alternatives: dehumanization or a struggle to the death. The odds were uneven. So Lithuania, bathed in blood, called for help from other countries. But it called in vain.
For the leaders of most states, overcome by their temporary victories and the thirst for peace, were deaf to our cries themselves and prevented that cry from being heard by the people in their countries. The Soviet occupational government therefore called the participants in the resistance and continues to call them "sell-outs" to foreign intelligence.
The death of Stalin put an end to the mass arrests and deportations. However, later Soviet governments also did not have the good will to condemn the Stalin-Hitler Pact of 1939, and to nullify its results. On the contrary, they continue to call the armed resistance of the Lithuanian nation of those days banditry and the attempt of any person to disobey the regime - a defection to imperialism and to foreign intelligence services.
The wounds inflicted on the Lithuanian nation by the Molotov-Rib-bentrop Pact, with its secret supplementary protocols, never healed. Hence, on August 23,1979, on the fortieth anniversary of the signing of the Molotov-Rib-bentrop Pact, a group of Baits appealed to the governments of the Soviet Union, the German Federal Republic and the German Democratic Republic, to the governments of the countries which had signed the Atlantic Charter and to the General Secretary of the United Nations with the request to acknowledge that shameful pact as invalid and to abolish its results: to restore to the Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians the right of free self-determination.
The request was not granted and many Baits who had signed the petition suffered from the KGB for "libelling the Soviet Union" and for "the distortion of history". For the Soviet government claims to this day that the Baltic nations, in 1940, chose the Soviet government in free elections and joined the Soviet Union of their own volition. But this claim is a boldfaced lie since the elections in question took place after the Soviet Army had occupied the Baltic States, and international law states that it is impossible to exercise the right of national self-determination while an army of occupation is deployed within a nation's territory.
Lenin declares the same thing in his Peace Decree: "If a nation is not granted the right in free elections, without the slightest coercion to determine the form of its government after the withdrawal of the army of the annexing or generally more powerful state, its union constitutes forcible annexation."
Life does not stand still. In the Soviet Union, ever bolder voices are heard demanding that the policy of openness be not just proclaimed, as it is now, but implemented in reality - bringing the whole truth to light. Perhaps it will finally be understood that in the world peace and democracy are inseparable;
where there is no democracy, there is no freedom, and without freedom, there is no peace.
However, the forces obstructing the process of democratization in the Soviet Union are still very strong. Here are a few examples to confirm that fact:
— Our noblest priests, Alfonsas Svarinskas, Sigitas Tamkevičius and Jonas-Kąstytis Matulionis are still prisoners (Father Matulionis has been released since this was written. — Trans. Note).
— The Lithuanian patriots Viktoras Petkus, Balys Gajauskas (who has already served thirty-five years), Gintautas Iešmantas and Povilas Pečeliūnas are still being tormented in exile (Pečeliūną has been released since this document appeared. — Trans. Note).
— Bishop Julijonas Steponavičius is still prevented from performing his duties as a bishop.
— Raids are still being carried out at the homes of individuals suspected by the KGB of involvement in the publication of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania.
— In the Soviet Union, so relentlessly tracking war criminals hiding somewhere in the West, not a finger has been raised to punish or at least expose a single one of those many sadists, who organized and carried out mass killings and torture of innocent people during the Stalin era, and who still live here, even enjoying privileges.
— In connection with the August 23 commemoration in Vilnius, Riga, and Tallinn of the victims of Stalinism and Hitlerism, a flood of threadbare lies and slanders has been poured out in the Soviet press, on radio and television, aimed at that commemoration and its participants (e.g., Nijolė Sadūnaitė, who has an official twenty-year work contract, is said never to have worked, etc.).
KGB agents continue to use terror and violence, for example, August 28-29, 1987, Robertas Grigas and Father Rokas Puzonas were beaten; Nijolė Sadūnaitė was driven around in an automobile without license plates for thirty hours. All three were threatened with violence.
These and a host of similar examples show that lies and force have sunk their roots in the Soviet Union very deeply, that much effort will still be required not only of Soviet citizens, but also of the people in lands throughout the world, in order for openness and democracy to win out.
Hence we turn to people of good will of all nations of the world requesting:
— Do not hesitate in the face of injustice and the suffering of others!
— Publicize the plight of the Baltic nations with all the means of information at your disposal.
— Petition your governments to take up the question of the incorporation of the Baltic States by force into the Soviet Union for consideration in the next session of the UN General Assembly.
- Ask that the right of free self-determination be restored to the citizens of those states.
May God aid your endeavors!
Father Juozapas Razmantas (Žalpiai)
Father Jonas Kauneckas (Skaudvilė)
Father Vaclovas Stakėnas (Krokialaukis)
Father Jonas Danyla (Bijutiškis)
Father Antanas Gražulis (Alytus)
Father Leonas Kalinauskas (Josvainiai)
Father Kazimieras Gražulis (Šiauliai)
Father Vytautas Prajara (Garliava)
Father Petras Kastytis Krikščiukaitis (Čiobiškis)
Father Rokas Puzonas (Kiaukliai)
Docent Vytautas Skuodis (Member of the Catholic Committee for the
Defense of Believers' Rights - Vilnius) Liudas Simutis (Kaunas) Nijolė Sadūnaitė (Vilnius) Liudas Dambrauskas (Kaunas) Vytautas Vaičiūnas (Kaunas) Robertas Grigas (Kiaukliai) Kazimieras Kryževičius (Kaunas) Jonas and Jadvyga Petkevičius (Šiauliai) Vidas Abraitis (Kaunas) Petras Gražulis (Sasnava) Saulius Kelpšas (Garliava) Bronė Valaitytė (Sasnava) Aldona Raižytė (Garliava)