March 17, 1974, Tiesa (Truth: Lithuanian version of Pravda— Translator's Note) published an article entitled "Whose Voice?", describing the trial in Vilnius of five persons. The article did not indicate when the trial occurred, or how the accused were sentenced, but only mentioned their alleged criminal offenses: They were supposed too have stolen typewriters, work of folk art, and church vessels. From the article it was apparent that the trial was political in nature.
March 27, 1973, security organs carried out a well planned action against ethnographers of Lithuania and Latvia, possibly comparable in scope and method to the analogous attack on the publishers and disseminators of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania. At eight o'clock that morning, over one hundred ethnographers and their associates were brought to the offices of the Security Committee. Searches were carried out and people were arrested. The most active ethnographers, R. Matulis of Vilnius, (Miss) J. Eitmanavičiūtė of Kaunas, and others, were forced to sign pledges "that in the future they will not engage in independent ethnography."
Younger ethnographers were forced to cooperate with security organs and were subjected to black-mail. The ethnographers were interrogated by Kontrimas, Radzevičius, Aleinikov, Rimkus, Žilevičius, Sujuta, and others. Those under interrogation were questioned about activities of the ethnographers, the expedition to the Šventoji River, connections with ethnographers in other republics, attitudes among young people, about the collecting of material from the period of the "Greenie" wars (Lithuanian partisan activity against the Soviets 1944-52 — Transl. Note), dissemination of leaflets, the organizing of the annual commemoration of Kalanta (Romas Kalanta, who immolated himself in 1972, protesting Soviet opression of Lithuania — Transl. Note), the reading and dissemination of anti-Soviet literature, the personality and attitudes of Žukauskas and others under arrest, relationships with them, connections with Father Mykolas Dobrovolskis of Paberžė and others.
Some of those questioned were taken to Vilnius several times, to confront the accused. Four of those interrogated: Šarūnas Žukauskas, Antanas Sakalauskas, Izidorius Rudaitis and Vidmantas Povilonis, were jailed.
Articles began to appear in the press, strongly demanding that research of the "feudal era" be discontinued, and explicitly emphasizing that ethnography is first and foremost the history of factories, varied by important incidents from the lives of retirees. This shows that this campaign was a link in the chain of the neo-Stalinist "cultural revolution", which had already manifested itself in other cultural fields.
Almost all editors of journals dealing with cultural questions, and directors of cultural institutions or societies were replaced by new people: such obscure functionaries as the editor of Literatūra ir menas (Literature and Art), V. Rudaitis; the editor of Nemunas, L. Inis; or by out-and out reactionaries like the current president of the Society for Lithuanian Ethnography, Uogintas.
Pressure is being brought on the "Vaga" publishers regarding further publications in the series Lituanistinė biblioteka (Lithuanistic Library). Censorship, a role carried out byGlavlitas, (Government publishing agency — Transl. Note) has been tightened, and translations of foreign works have been restricted. In the journal Komunistas, there has been dogmatic criticism of the editors of Kultūros barai and especially of Problemos.Ethnographic expeditions to the Byelorussian SSR and elsewhere have been cancelled.
Those arrested: Žukauskas, Sakalauskas, Rudaitis and Povilonis were imprisoned for almost a year, mostly in solitary confinement, where "night becomes confused with day, because a light burns constantly in the cell..." (testimony of a prisoner). The plight of those in prison can be surmissed from the fact that Povilonis, for instance, was hospitalized with a kidney malfunction due to the poor diet, while Žukauskas was thrown into a punishment cell for addressing the guard in German.
Interrogation methods are illustrated by the fact that they tried to convince Povilonis that Sakalauskas was working for the security people. Thrown off balance, Povilonis, by his own admission, told "all kinds of nonsense" about Sakalauskas. The trick came to light only when the two met in court.
Later, on October 23 (1973) Aloyzas Mackevičius of Mažeikiai, formerly a candidate to the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, was implicated.
The case was on trial before the Supreme Court of the Lithuanian SSR in Vilnius from February 18, 1974, until March 5, Judge Ignotas presiding, with associates (Miss) Kavaliauskaitė and Tamu-lionis. Prosecuting the case was Assistant Chief Prosecutor Bakučio-nis. The defendants were represented by attorneys Kudaba, Borvainis, Gavronskis, Vaicekauskas and (Mrs.) Matijošaitienė. Preesnt in court were only the closest relatives of the accused, soldiers, security agents, and court functionaries. Over ninety witnesses were called.
All those on trial, except Mackevičius, were accused of anti-Soviet activity according to the 68th paragraph of the Criminal Code of the Lithuanian SSR. How did such activity manifest itself?
1. Allegedly establishing an underground organization to inform the public of the criminal activities of the Soviet government against the Lithuanian nation: An oath was allegedly administered, and dues were allegedly collected.
2. Alleged dissemination of leaflets on February 16 (Lithuanian Independence Day —Transl. Note).
3. Allegedly editing the underground publication Naujasis Varpas (The New Bell).
4. Alleged possession and dissemination of contraband literature.
5. Allegedly supporting the family of Simas Kudirka financially. (The Lithuanian seaman who on November 23, 1970, sought asylum aboard the U.S. Coast Guard at Martha's Vineyard, was imprisoned by Soviet authorities, and released in 1974 to the U.S. with his family on the basis of his mother's U.S. citizenship. — Transl. Note).
Žukauskas was accused of establishing an underground organization, receiving the membership oath, duplicating (2 copies) of Volume XV of the Encyclopedia Lituanica,devoted to Lithuania (Published in the U.S. and banned by the Soviet government —Transl. Note), writing the text of the leaflet, aiding Sakalauskas in the theft of four typewriters, assisting him in the theft of folk sculptures, and providing an ERA duplicator.
Sakalauskas was accused in court of belonging to an underground organization, and concealing anti-Soviet literature. A search of his quarters allegedly produced: a copy of Hitler's Mein Kampf, Med-vedev's The Question of Insanity, two issues of the Cronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, Lietuvių archyvas (Lithuanian Archives), TSRS Užsienio politika 1939-1940 (The Foreign Policy of the USSR 1939-1940), Šapoka's Lietuvos Istorija (History of Lithuania), etc.
Sakalauskas was accused of planning to send a collection of his poems to the West, organized the theft of four typewriters. In 1957 he had been sentenced to two years' imprisonment for attempting to escape abroad by canoe over the Baltic Sea.
I. Rudaitis, M.D., was accused of supporting an underground organization, of helping to reproduce and disseminate anti-Soviet literature and petitions, and of raising funds for the organization by speculating in currency. The search of Rudaitis' quarters allegedly produced material for an underground publication still in preparation, which he was supposed to edit.
V. Povilonis was accused of belonging to an underground organization, disseminating appeals on the anniversary of February 16th, of keeping anti-Soviet literature at home, of helping in its dissemination, and of helping with the preparation of the publication Naujasis Varpas.
A. Mackevičius was accused of knowing about the activities of an underground organization, and not only concealing it from the security police, but joining in its activities. At the instigation of Žukauskas, he was alleged to have stolen works of folk art, burglarized the church of Tirkšliai, and to have passed stolen goods to Žukauskas.
It was no accident that Mackevičius was implicated in the political case. It is standard practice in Soviet courts to impute to political cases a criminal tone. Since Žukauskas was an acquaintance of Mackevičius, the attempt was made to convict him of theft, to undermine his credibility.
Except for contradictory statements extracted from Mackevičius, the prosecution offered no proof. This was emphasized by Žukauskas' attorney, Kudaba.
In this case, the court wished to appear as the unimpeachable guardian of religious statues and church property, visiting strict punishment on criminals. Perhaps it will also punish those who organized the destruction of the Hill of Crosses (See: "Popular Shrine"—Cron-icle No. 4 — Transl. Note), and the Stations of the Cross at Vilniaus Kalvarijos, desecrated many churches, etc. These culprits are known!
Žukauskas admitted that he was the leader of an organization whose purpose was self-education, the collection of literature. He had wished to act within the bounds of Soviet law, but had thought it necessary to correct mistakes made by the government.
"For indeed a great injustice was done to our nation: 36,000 Lithuanians were deported", said Žukauskas. He admitted having disseminated literature which, in his opinion, was not anti-Soviet; e.g., The Trial of S. Kudirka. He denied charges of crime—of stealing religious folk art. As for the typewriters, Žukauskas said he had been convinced they were discarded—that he had harmed no one.
Sakalauskas admitted having participated in the organization and having paid membership dues. "We organized for self-education," the accused said.
Sakalauskas' wife, asked about her husband's views, said that they are normal, like any decent person's. Her husband had worked all his life. "Let everyone work as hard; it will be a great contribution to the building of Communism. He taught young people, contributing much time to their training. However, my husband could not condone the short-comings in our way of life, which exist."
"What short-comings?" asked the judge.
"I'll begin with our living conditions.. . We finally obtained an apartment, but there was nothing in it." "What should there be in it?"
"It seems to me that if there are radiators in an apartment, then they should give heat; if there are faucets, they should have running water. All these things my husband repaired with his own hands, giving his time, which should have been devoted to scientific work..." Sakalauskas' wife said.
The judge interrupted her with questions about listening to foreign radio broadcasts.
Rudaitis said that he had heard nothing of any underground organization, nor had he ever supported any with money. He had received foreign currency by accident. He had also heard nothing of any publication in preparation. He had read all sorts of books, because an educated person must also be knowledgeable about "anti"-literature.
Mackevičius admitted having stolen folk art, and having broken into the church at Tirkšliai. He had done all this to get money, since he likes to dress well. In the thefts, he said, Žukauskas had also taken part. Later Mackevičius said that he had burglarized the church single-handed, in an attempt to show Žukauskas that he could work alone.
Žukauskas told Mackevičius in court, "Alius, speak for yourself and let me answer for my own actions. I'm not about to speak for your misdeeds."
L. Mackevičius characterized his brother as follows: "When everyone sings, he sings; when everyone is silent, he keeps quiet."
Povilonis would not admit belonging to any underground or-ganizatoin, nor disseminating any books, but only to having some at home. He knew nothing of any underground publication, and was associated with Žukauskas only by common ethnographic interests.
Prosecutor Bakučionis called Žukauskas the instigator of the organization and asked the court to sentence him to seven years (the maximum sentence, according to Paragraph 68).
For Sakalauskas, the prosecutor suggested five years' imprisonment. Having accused Povilonis and Rudaitis, the prosecutor proceeded with all his might to defend Mackevičius, saying that he was a victim more sinned against than sinning, and that he had been led astray by Žukauskas and others like him.
Defense attorneys in political cases can say little, except to raise some of the defendant's merits. Attorney Kudaba tried to exonerate Žukauskas of any criminal offenses, Attorney Borvainis mentioned Sakalauskas' services to the public, and Attorney Gavronskis mentioned that Rudaitis was a good physician, and that he had been an anti-fascist. Attorney Vaicekauskas called Mackevičius a "straying sheep", who could be completely rehabilitated. Attorney (Mrs.) Ma-tijošaitienė spoke of Povilonis' services to the Communist Youth Organization, and his poor health. Some of the defense attorneys tried to blame everything on Žukauskas.
All four of the accused asked the court to find them not guilty, while Mackevičius asked for leniency.
The atmosphere in court was oppressive: In the room sat the worried relatives and the passive attorneys. The accused were not even allowed to look at the audience. If anyone tried to write anything down, a militiamen would step up and confiscate the notes. During the trial the leaflet distributed on February 16 was not read; it was merely noted that it began with the word "Lithuanian" and ended with the words, "Division of Kaunas". The contents of the leaflet should have been analyzed during the trial!
During the trial they spoke of an underground publication in preparation, but the prosecution did not exhibit the contents of that publication. Nor was anything specific said about the underground organization. Thus, the most serious counts on which Paragraph 68 of the Criminal Code of the Lithuanian SSR was cited, went un-mentioned.
This was the nature of the trial intended to calumniate and paralyze the ethnographers' movement in Lithuania.
The final statement by Žukauskas took about an hour. He said that he did not oppose the socialist system, but that he thought the Soviet government was not the government of the people, since it had been brought on by ooccupation. The "Revolution" of 1918 in Lithuania had not risen from the masses, but had been prepared in Moscow and brought from there to Lithuania by the Red Army, together with Kapsukas and Angarietis. (Communist agitators—Transl. Note).
Their government was controlled by Poles, Russians, and Jews, who had nothing in common with the Lithuanian masses yearning for freedom. The Lithuanians had organized a volunteer army in order to drive out the new occupants of Lithuania, the Bolsheviks.
Žukauskas went on to mention the Ribbentrop-Molotov pact on the division of the Baltic area. By means of it, the Soviet government of 1940 was brought to Lithuania by the Red Army. The so-called Revolution or revolutionary situation in Lithuania is nothing but a common lie. In 1940 arrests and deportations were carried out, and during the post-war years they were worse: expropriations, partisan activity, "red guards", massive deportations, resulting in the sacrifice of about 300,000 people. To say nothing of arrests, imprisonment, concentration camps, various repressions, the shooting of innocent people and the "cult of Stalin"!
After the War (World War II — Transí. Note), people were hauled off to Siberia not on the basis of class, but of nationality. There are still people deprived of the right to return to their homeland. This has caused great harm to Lithuania. To this day there are signs of Russian chauvinism, and a policy of forced acculturation. Russians in Lithuania get somewhat better treatment than Lithuanians.
The increase of Russian inhabitants in Lithuania is explained by saying that there is a shortage of workers, while meantime Lithuanians are drafted to Kazakstán and other places in the Soviet Union. And so colonization proceeds. The Russian empire is still the prison of nations. All nations of the world are struggling for freedom, and all progressive forces support them. How are we Lithuanians worse than the others?
Žukauskas does not consider his activities a crime against the people or the nation, nor does he ask for a mitigation of sentence, but demands simply that he be released. He addresses the court:
"This is no trial, buft a frame-up. . . Why is it not public? Does the court really fear that an angry public would tear it to pieces? Are you afraid because you have 'gathered for a piece of gold, or a spoonful of fancy food' (V. Kudirka, Lithuanian patriot and author of the national anthem — Transí. Note).
"Although you are Lithuanians in name, the old folk saying applies: 'Your own dog's bite hurts more.' "
Žukauskas ended his speech with the words of Mykolaitis-Putinas (One of the greatest Lithuanian writers, — Transí. Note): "The enemy oppresses us with iron hands, and yet the dearest word is— freedom!"
On March 5, 1974, the decision of the court was announced: S. Žukauskas, born 1950, student in the sixth year of the Kaunas Institute of Medicine, fluent in English, French, and German, is sentenced to six years of strict regimen concentration camp, and all his property is confiscated.
A. Sakalauskas, born in 1938, instructor in German at the Polytechnic Institute of Kaunas: five years of strict regimen concentration camp.
V. Povilonis, born in 1947, engineer-technologist: two years of strict regiment concentration camp.
I. Rudaitis, born in 1911, physician: three years of strict regimen concentration camp, and confiscation of property.
A. Mackevičius, born 1949, student at the Kaunas Polytechnic Institute: two years of standard regimen concentration camp.
Site of serving sentence: Solikamsk (Area of Perme), except for Mackevičius, who will serve his sentence in Provieniškės.
Žukauskas was left in the security prison until autumn.
ARCHDIOCESE OF VILNIUS
A few years ago the monument erected on Kryžkalnis (The Hill of Crosses) began to deteriorate, and steps were taken to have it restored. Mindaugas Tamonis, born in 1940, a graduate student in technical sciences working in the chemical laboratory of the Institute for the Conservation of Monuments, was sent to examine the monument.
Report by Senior Scientific Collaborator M. Tamonis to the Director of the Institutefor the Conservation of Monuments
On April 5, 1974, I did not go on my assigned mission to inspect the monument to the Red Army—the liberator of Lithuania—standing on the Hill of Crosses, for reasons not pertaining to the competency of the Institute for the Conservation of Monuments: I do not recognize the present status of Lithuania. It is my firm conviction that every serious citizen is obliged to seek all his life that mistakes, both those which are personal and those made by the state, be rectified. Unless the mistakes of the past are condemned and completely taken to heart, it is impossible to build the future.
Among the most serious mistakes of the period of personality cult (the Stalin era —Transl. Note), and either completely or partially left uncorrected, I place:
1. Mass deportation of innocent citizens,
2. The incorporation of the Baltic states into the complex of the former Russian Empire at a time when throughout the world the striving of nations for independent statehood had grown extraordinarily.
I find it impossible to participate in the memorializing of events which annihilated Lithuanian statehood and resulted in so much injustice. I agree to honor the wars fought alongside neighboring nations against German fascism, by restoring and conserving monuments built for this purpose, only when there is a complete guarantee that:
1. In the most important locations of the death of masses of citizens on account of the so-called "personality cult", memorials be erected, showing our people's culture, respect for others, and decency.
2. The freedom of choice guaranteed in the Constitution (formally, so far) be strengthened by additional legislation, providing a mechanism for its implementation; i.e., periodic universal referenda in every republic. The Baltic republics, as well as others, if their citizens so desire, must regain true and complete statehood, and the same kind of cultural-economic independence as the other socialist nations have.
3. The threat of the rise of a new period of personality cult be done away with. This would be attained by introducing a multiparty system; i.e., by allowing the establishment of the Social-Democratic, Christian Democratic, and other parties with appropriate press organs, carrying out truly democratic elections, enabling a diminution of the influence of that party which has hurt the interests of the people. These measures would increase the democracy and effectiveness of the government of states within the frame-work of socialism.
Universal progress demands the constant democratization of society in socialist countries, and energetic movement forward in all areas of life. It will not be poossible to accomplish the ideal of a socialist-communist world if the countries which created this order have no great authority, if they are not renowned world-wide for respect for human rights, toleration for differing opinions, a serious regard for them, for honor and for justice.
April 5, 1974
ARCHDIOCESE OF KAUNAS
At 8 o'clock on the morning of April 9, 1974, in the Basilica of Kaunas, Bishop Juozas Labukas ordained to the priesthood six members of the fourth year class of theology Taking part in the ordinations was the Commissioner for Religious Affairs, K. Tumėnas. Simultaneously, in the Cathedral of Panevėžys, Bishop R. Krikščiūnas conferred the prieshood on the other two members of the fourth year of theology. The Cathedral of Panevėžys was full of people for the ordination, because since 1945 no priest had been ordained there.
Catholics regret that ordination to the priesthood is conferred on a workday and would like it to be celebrated on a day free of work—Saturday—and at a somewhat later hour.
The priests of Lithuania are very dissatisfied that they receive almost no information about the theological seminary. Most priests do not even know how many seminarians are studying there, how much is paid the government for use of the seminary building—4500 rubles— or in what conditions the seminarians live, since most of them become ill in the course of their studies.
The seminary premises have been occupied by the military since 1944, and the seminary church has been turned into a warehouse. The present seminary is housed in the facilities of the (former) Sa-lesian monastery. The main building of the seminary requires capital repairs, which the government will allow only for government buildings—the cost will be great, and the work will proceed at a snail's pace. For some years it will be necessary for the seminarians to pray in the basement of one of the buildings, and to attend lectures in dormitories, unless the chancery of the Kaunas Archdiocese would allow the seminary the use of two large, empty halls.
Zenonas Mištautas, studying at the Šiaulių K. Didžiulio Polytechnic Institute, was long harassed by a teacher for his faith. Convinced that talk was useless, she took more subtle measures.
In the course of completing his pre-graduation practicum in the VI Board of Construction, Mištautas was assigned to give an atheistic lecture to the workers. When he refused, he was deprived of his stipend for failing to do his "public duty".
On January 11, 1974, Class Director Pučkus summoned Mištautas, told him that his conduct mark was to be lowered, and read him Director Zumeras' order.
"For not carrying out public duties and for failing to give an atheistic lecture in the Sixth Board of Construction, Zenonas Mištau-tas' conduct mark is to be lowered to 3."
When Zenonas appealed to the Director, the latter explained that the setting of conduct marks was the prerogative of the teachers' committee. For his "willful refusal to carry out his public duties" the defense of his diploma was postponed for a year.
Mištautas requested Zabulis, Minister of Higher and Special Studies, to let him defend his diploma, since his parents were expecting him to contribute to their support. By the time he came back from the army, he would have forgotten many things, and would have to return to his studies.
Minister Zabulis allowed the decision of the teachers' committee to stand, because he was informed that Mištautas was a believer, that he had carried a cross to the fortress-hill of Meškuičiai in honor of Kalanta, etc.