On October 19, 1973, a questionnaire was distributed to the eighth-class students of the secondary school in Kuršėnai, with the following questions:
1. Are your parents religious?
2. Do your parents force you to take part in religious rites?
3. Do you take part in religious rites (attend church, pray, observe holy days) ?
4. Have you begun to doubt yet that our lives are ruled by supernatural forces?
5. Do you consider yourself a believer of religious dogma or a nonbeliever?
6. Are you convinced that religious superstitions are harmful, that explanatory education is necessary, and that . an atheistic world view should be fostered?
7. Have you ever had to explain the antagonism between science and religion? How successful were you? Do you have the necessary information?
8. Have you read any scientific-atheistic literature, and what do you remember about it?
9. Do you think that religious superstition will disappear spontaneously, that no one will be interested anymore in such questions?
THE DIOCESE OF VILKAVlSKIS
On September 23, 1973, K. Tumenas, the commissioner of the Council for Religious Affairs, gave permission to H.E. Bishop L. Povilonis to bless five new altars at the church in Šakiai.
When they learned of the bishop's forthcoming visit, government officials of ŠakiaiRayon discussed how they might interfere with the ceremony. They were especially concerned with preventing the attendance of schoolchildren at the ceremonies. It was decided to keep the pupils occupied in some way when the bishop came to Šakiai. At one school they proclaimed a forester's day, at others field trips were organized, etc. Pupils were given strict instructions to come to school on Sunday and to take part in the planned activities.
The more knowledgeable students realized the true purpose of the planned activities and failed to show up. Only about half of the students came. Some "disobedient" ones were obliged to present written excuses from their parents, while others were threatened with work on collective farms after school. The teachers told the children to bring food, saying, "We're going to keep you until dark!"
People joked that the atheists of Šakiai had fled to the woods in fear of the bishop.
In September, 1973, the principal of the Skriaudžiai eight-year school, [Mrs.] Albina Rinkauskienė, summoned from their classes to the teachers' room those pupils who had sung in the church choir.
"Children, write down who organized the children's choir, and where and when rehearsals are held. Write clearly since your writing is going to be read by someone. Write the truth, for if you lie, I'll call the police. Instead of cawing like crows in the choir loft, you would do better to spend your time watching television," the principal said.
The principal then addressed eighth-class student [Miss] Rasa Orintaitė, "You, Rasa, are a sanctimonious granny. Whenever there is a religious festival in the church, you scurry about like a ninny with flowers, avoiding me."
"Why did you go to sing in church, Nijolytė?" the principal angrily demanded of pupil [Miss] Nijolė Griciūtė. "You've disgraced the school. For this you are going to get a bad characterization in your school records. Tell me, who asked you to sing?"
"My mother," replied Nijolė.
Some of the children wrote down on their papers that their mothers had told them to sing in the choir; others wrote that it was their fathers: still others wrote they had simply joined their friends. Being fearful of the police, two girls wrote that the organist had organized the children. Taking [Miss] Danutė Naujokaitė alone to a room and closing the door, the principal threatened her, saying that her parents would suffer if she did not tell who taught them and how many children there were. Now the girl no longer goes to school because other children tease her maliciously.
The principal's husband, Viktoras Rinkauskas, is the chairman of the Skriaudžiai Collective Farm. On Sundays he goes to the post office and observes who is coming to church. Later, he makes use of every opportunity to ridicule them, especially the youngsters. He harasses people and makes mean retorts. Collective farm workers complain that ' Rinkauskas is more concerned with ridiculing believers than he is with running the farm. The chairman of the collective farm is partial to unethical persons, tolerating their unconscientious work, and yet he ought to remember that the majority of people on his farm are believers.
On September 28, 1973, [Mrs.] Kazė Kairiūkštienė visited the principal of the school.
"Why do you threaten my children with the police?" asked the woman. "One of my girls wakes up in the night crying, 'The police, the police!' I'm going to take her to a physician. What have the children done that you should harass and frighten them 90?"
"You turncoat! You bamboozler!" shouted the furious principal, calling Kairiūkštienė the worst possible names.
Then the woman asked the children, "Children, did the principal threaten you with the police?"
The bolder ones confirmed it, while others said they hadn't heard clearly. Using intimidation, the principal learned the surnames of the children who had made their First Communion during the summer, not only those from the Skriaudžiai Collective Farm but also from Leskava. On September 28, taking with her all those children's "writings," the principal went to Prienai. There, at a meeting of atheists, she reported on the "offense" committed at Skriaudžiai. The participants discussed how to punish those who were trying to "ruin" children.
Soon afterward the interrogation of the children's parents began, increasing the feelings of disgust among the people against the "Red sanctimonious grannies." That is how people call fanatical atheists.
At the secondary school in Kybartai, with the approach of the commemoration of the October Revolution, there was a plan to increase the number of the Little Octobrists. Some of the pupils and parents objected. The mother of [Miss] Zita Menčinskaitė gave her daughter a note to take to school, directing the teacher not to enroll Zita in the Little Octobrists. Disregarding all excuses the homeroom teacher of the first-class students enrolled her entire class in the organization. For those who demurred, she even purchased the badges. Some of the pupils came home from school crying. The more timid parents kept quiet. The mother of the Jurienis girl went to [Mrs.] Česnienė, demanding that her daughter be dropped from the membership of the Little Octobrists.
"If you don't want your daughter to be a Little Octobrist," retorted homeroom teacher Česnienė, "take her to a capitalist country. Here, everyone must be a Little Octobrist!"