Transcript of Criminal Case No. 68/1963
DECISION in the name of the Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic.
On May 7, 1963 , the People's Court of Kėdainiai, consisting of the chairman, People's Judge Olšauskas, and spokespersons for Laščinskas, Public Accuser Žukus, K. Ptašinskas and Attorney Š tarka participating, (Mrs.) Stanevičienė as secretary, having fully considered in a public trial which took place in the auditorium of Middle School No. 2 the criminal case in which Algimantas Anastazas Šaltis, son of Vytautas, born May 2, 1944, in Kėdainiai, L.S.S.R., Lithuanian, non-member of the Party, with a ninth-grade education single, recruit, with no previous convictions, unemployed (he was taking a vocational course at night school, in the tenth grade), born of white-collar workers, residing in the City of Kėdainiai, Vilniaus g. No. 12, was accused according to Paragraph 144. 1. d, of the Criminal Code of the L.S.S.R.
Having considered the material from the preparatory and the trial interrogations, having questioned the accused and witnesses, having listened to the presentations of all parties and the final word of the accused, the people's court has decided: that the accused Šaltis, being a student in the tenth grade of the working youth middle School of Kėdainiai, having done no work useful to society (even though he is a physically well and mature young man), regardless of the fact that back in 1960 he had been warned by security organs about recruiting young students in to the so-called "Living Rosary", i.e., the proclaiming of belief in god and teaching of religious ceremonies, nevertheless failed to make the necessary conclusions from this and continued his criminal activities.
Thus, the accused Šaltis in 1961 taught a group of young students religious ceremonies and prepared them for communion. Not content with that, in the summer of 1961, during school vacation time, the accused Šaltis, under the pretext of proclaiming belief in god, organized nine groups of high school students in the Rayon of Kėdainiai. Included in this group were some Pioneers and Little Octobrists, whom he taught catechism, and prayers, distributed religious literature among the children, carried on correspondence with the goup which had been organized, urged some of the schoolchildren not to enroll in the Pioneers' organization, and not to believe in Communism.
The accused Šaltis taught the above-mentioned group of nine persons about two weeks, and accepted in return one or two rubles per person. During the questioning in the course of the trial, the accused Šaltis did not acknowledge himself to be guilty and explained that he had quizzed the group of nine persons, taught them prayers and prepared them for first communion, but that he had accepted no money from the pupils, and that he never knew that he was not allowed to engage in such activity.
In 1960 he was warned by security organs about teaching school-children religious superstitions and ceremonies, but he pleaded innocent on these counts also. However, the people's court looks skeptically on protestations of innocence by the accused, for they do not coincide with the truth, with the testimony of witnesses, and the evidence.
The witnesses: N. Sinkevičius, C. Kupčinskas, (Miss) A. Zub-rickaitė, (Miss) V. Argustaitė, (Miss) V. Mimonskaitė, B. Argustas, J. Trinkauskas, J. Argustas, Z. Vyšniauskas, confirmed that the accused Šaltis had examined them during the summer of 1962 and had trained them for religious services and taught them catechism. This circumstance was confirmed also by the parents of the above-mentioned school-children.
That the accused was involved in such criminal activity back in 1960 and 1961 is confirmed by notation No. 1058 (b.1.82) of the Deputy of the Council of Ministers for the Committee on Internal Security, of the Rayon of Kėdainiai, dated April 12, 1963, and the witnesses (Miss) Vasė Mimonskaitė and Bronius Argustas The accused Šaltis himself confirmed that he had been involved in such activity under the influence of the ministers of religious cult (the pastor and priests) Labonis and Braknis, that he used to receive from them and from the Rev. Paškevičius religious literature, some of which was found in the possession of the accused Šaltis in the course of the search: 144 religious books, 2 booklets, 69 sheets of various notes, 6 notebooks, and 85 photographs.
The above-mentioned evidence shows that the accused Šaltis drew therefrom religious information which he disseminated to the schoolchildren, and that he cooperated closely with the priests. The innocent plea of the accused is contradicted by testimony given by himself during preliminary interrogation. On February 16, 1963, the accused Šaltis in voluntary testimony showed that during the summer of 1962 at the request of (Mrs.) Augustienė and some other woman, he taught children in the Village of Bubliai about God, taught them prayers and similar things (b. 1. 32-33).
He gave similar testimony on February 27, 1963 (b. 139-41). Šaltis explained that he used to assign the children prayers to learn, and afterward he would question them, giving them appropriate marks for their command of the material. This teaching lasted about two weeks. The last day of the lessons, the children brought him a few rubles each, about ten rubles in all.
This testimony by Šaltis agrees with other information in the case, and essentially with the testimony of all the children taught by Šaltis. The fact that the children were taught religious superstitions is attested by the letters sent by Šaltis to B. Argustas, B. Zubrickaitė, J. Argustas, V. Argustas, A. Zubrickaitė, H. Sinkevičius, Z. Vyšniauskas, and C. Kupčinskas.
In these letters he urges and teaches the children to join their hands nicely every morning and pray god that he give them health, to pray at the same time for Šaltis, as their former teacher. He explains to the children that if any difficulties or questions arise concerning the faith, they should turn to him, and he would give them the answer, (b. 1. 10). Thus it can be seen that the accused Šaltis not only taught this group of children, but that he hurts and misleads them, actively working even after teaching this group.
Šaltis has done and continues to do great moral harm to the aforesaid group of pupils, their beliefs and their rights, and the formation of their materialistic world-view. Šaltis' explanation is untrue also in that he declares that he taught the children at the request of the mothers of these children. However, in the people's court only (Mrs.) Vlada Augustienė and (Mrs.) E. Kupčinskienė affirmed that they had requested Šaltis to teach their children prayers and to prepare them for first communion, while all the other mothers and fathers and the children themselves did not request the accused and expressed no desire in this matter. The accused Šaltis did all this on his own.
All the children, questioned thoroughly, expressed to the people's court that they had not wanted Šaltis to teach them and to misguide them. During preliminary questioning, witness C. Kupčinskas confirmed that Šaltis had told them not to believe in communism (b. 1. 17-18), while H. Sinkevičius and A. Zubrickaititė and Kupčinskas indicated that Šaltis had told them no to join the Pioneers (b.l. 15-16/23-24).
During the trial, at the urging of the mother of the accused Šaltis, the aforesaid witnesses partially changed their testimony. That (Mrs.) Elena Šakienė exercised this influence and asked the schoolchildren to change their testimony, was confirmed by the witness Jonas Trinkauskas. Under the circumstances, the people's court places credence in that testimony of the witnesses (the children), which was submitted in the course of the preliminary interrogation. All of the schoolchildren questioned during the preparatory interrogation were questioned in the presence of an educator and of the teacher of these pupils, (Miss) A. Atkečiūnaitė, who confirmed that the interrogation was carried out in objective fashion.
The accused Šaltis has perpetrated a crime dangerous to the public. His criminal activity is especially dangerous to the younger generation, upon whom Šaltis has a great influence. He tries to mislead them and to steer them on the wrong path. Šaltis' danger to society is confirmed by his fanatical beliefs, which he expressed even in the people's court. Since Šaltis does not understand the degree of his dangerousness, and does not submit to reeducation (Much effort was expended on him at school, he was criticized even in the press and by members of his collective, he was warned by security organs, etc.), he did not reach the necessary conclusion, and therefore Šaltis must be isolated from society long enough to be re-educated.
On the basis of the facts set forth above, the people's court, guided by Paragraph 331 and 333 of the Criminal Code of the Lithuanian S.S.R. has decided:
To judge Algimantas Anastazas Šaltis, son of Vytautas, born 1944 guilty according to Paragraph 144.1 d. of the Criminal Code of the L.S.S.R. and to sentence him to two years of confinement without extra punishment, the punishment to be carried out by placing him in a corrective labor colony of ordinary regiment. The status of the case to be changed from parole to arrest, by taking him into custody in the hearing room. Sentence to begin from May 7, 1963. The material evidence (the literature found in Saltis' possession during the search, his notes and photographs) to be destroyed. The sentence can be appealed to the Supreme Court of the L.S.S.R. within a period of seven days from its being passed by this people's court.
People's Judge (signed) Olšauskas
People's Consultants (signed) Čaplikienė and Žaludienė This is a true copy (signature)
The Supreme Court of the L.S.S.R. on May 28, 1963, decided in favor of the appeal of Šaltis' attorney, to re-classify the decision of the people's court of the Rayon of Kėdainiai dated May 7, 1963, and the criminal acts of Šaltis, from Paragraph 144. 1 d. of the Criminal Code of the S.S.R. to Par. 143 and to reduce the sentence to one year of deprival of freedom.
The People's Judge
Notes by the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania
A. Šaltis never testified to his interrogators that he had taught the children at the instigation of Fathers Labonis and Braknis.
During interrogation, the children were often treated harshly and threatened that they would be taken off to a colony. During the trial the mothers were threatened with abrogation of their rights as mothers.
The accused Šalčius was treated harshly both during interrogation and during the trial.
At his trial Šalčius was not allowed to make a final statement. After the first sentence the judge shouted, "Enough! Don't speak nonsense here !"
In the decision of the court it is noted that neither the parents nor their children had wanted Šaltis to teach them the truths of the Faith. This is a classic example of Soviet lying. If neither the parents nor the children wanted Šaltis to teach the truths of the Faith, then why did children come to Šaltis from various villages?
The attitude of the faithful is reflected in the letter of one youngster, written to Šaltis after the trial:
"If this letter reaches you, know that not only I, but also those with whom I associate, all admire you. . . From the bottom of my heart I hope that you, my dear Brother, will continue to carry the banner of the Faith courageously . . ."
The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania No. 21, in the article, "The Trial of Sergei Kovalev", mentioned the "teacher" —Security Agent Žebrauskas. The real name of this "teacher" is not Žebrauskas, but Zajančauskas.