Vilnius. On February 15, 1976 there were special services in many of the churches of the archdiocese of Vilnius for Bishop J. Steponavičius in rememberance of his name day (February 16) and the 16th anniversary of his exile.
Vilnius. In May, 1976, a delegation of priests from the Soviet Union, organized by the KGB, visited the U.S.A. Taking part were priests from Lithuania: The Rev. Stanislovas Lydys, Pastor of the
Church of the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, in Vilnius, and the Chancellor of the Diocese of Panevėžys, The Rev. Vladas Rabašauskas. What mission they had to accomplish could best be judged by Lithuanians abroad.
Vilnius. On May 5, 1976 at about 10:30 p.m. (Mrs.) Jadvyga Petkevičienė, (residing in Šiauliai, Lenino 42-1) a nurse at the Šiauliai Maternity Home, was detained aboard the Kaliningrad-Moscow train in the Vilnius railroad station. The arrest was supervised by Major of Security J. Markevičius. Mrs. Petkevičienė was taken from the train to the Vilnius Department of Transport Militia. In the presence of two members of Security and Inspector of the Militia Children's Room, Angelė Purickienė, a minute personal search was made. According to the statement of Major Markevičius, the purpose of the search was to find literature with an anti-Soviet content, items and documents necessary for a case. Inspector Purickienė stripped the detained woman in the presence of two invited witnesses, G. Sklerova and A. Lozenko, and thoroughly checked her clothing, her shoes, looked even at the soles of her feet, but found nothing "anti-Soviet". Major Markevičius interrogated Mrs. Petkevičienė about her reason for going to Moscow, reproved her for her presence at the Vilnius Supreme Court during the days of Sergei Kovalev's trial, for her meetings with the people from Moscow, etc. He also expressed his disapproval of the detained woman's husband, Jonas Petkevičius, a former political prisoner, for his past and his present activities.
After the search, Mrs. Petkevičienė took the next train to Moscow, where enroute she was constantly accompanied by "guardian angels".
In Moscow, spies lurked around the apartment where she stayed, and detectives hung about. The next day, on her way home, she was again "tailed" all the way.
The Petkevičius apartment in Šiauliai as well as their workplaces are constant objects of Security "concern".
Vilnius. At an open Party meeting of the Zoology and Parasitology Institute, which took place on February 28, 1975, Director of the Institute P. Zajančauskas, in speaking about ideological work, noted that during the past year the conditions had worsened significantly. The name of Junior Scientific Assistant Alfonsas Juška was mentioned in the press in connection with anti-Soviet activity.
It seemed a question whether such a worker could remain to work in the Institute in the future.
On April 10, 1975, the Scientific Council of the Institute deliberated the question of re-appointing A. Juška as Junior Scientific Assistant for a new term. After Scientific Secretary Šemetulskis named the documents presented by Juška, Party member J. Kazlauskas asked: "What about the matter previously discussed concerning Juška?" The director replied: "Yes, comrade Juška had made a mistake. We cannot ignore this. It is our duty to educate comrade Juška. I move that the scientific council not reelect Juška as a Junior Scientific Assistant, but to put him to work as an engineer".
Kazlauskas, as well as the director, did not speak out clearly but only in vague references.
In his new duties, Juška's monthly salary was lowered.
The director of the laboratory, A. Skirkevičius, began in various ways to obstruct A. Juška from completing his planned scientific works, from publishing scientific articles in the press, etc.
Juška had read a paper concerning his scientific accomplishments at the All-Union Scientific Conference which took place in Vilnius June 25-27, 1975 and was very well received. However, Scientific Secretary Šemetulskis pays no attention, and will not let him publish the article until Skirkevičius gives his consent. This the latter refuses to do. A. Juška approached the director more than once but the director avoids speaking about this question and keeps putting off a decision.
At the present time, Juška is being assigned work below his qualifications, work properly belonging to a laboratory assistant.
Vilnius. On November 28, 1975, the Vilnius soccer team "Žalgiris" played the last game of the season at home.
After a successful game (3:0 in favor of "Žalgiris") the crowd of thousands of spectators sang "A fortress on a mountain", "An oak tree grew in the forest" and other Lithuanian songs, and in various ways expressed their enthusiasm. In order to curb this, the militia and members of Security in plain clothes began to use force. However this merely incited the crowd, which spontaneously organized, and about 2,000 people, mainly youths, paraded twice around the stadium whence they turned to the center of the city cheering "Žal-gi-ris!" and singing Lithuanian songs. Even though the pretext for this parade was the inspiring victory of "Žalgiris", it later became a kind of protest and a demonstration of the mood of the Lithuanian youth of Vilnius.
The parade, after continuing along the main street of the city (an attempt to disperse it near the Dzeržinski bridge failed.), and circling the block where the building of the Security Committee was located, and having "honored" with whistles and shouts the Security agents hiding behind the draperies, it was dispersed by large militia and security forces and special army forces of the Vilnius garrison. Some participants in the parade were arrested.
Vilnius. In the early part of May of this year, Representative Daunoras of the Administration of the Professional Union House of Vilnius, called the representatives of the Folk Song Club (Miss) Aldona Katkauskaitė and (Mrs.) Virginija Ašmantienė, and demanded that they write an article for the press of the republic, denying an announcement by Vatican Radio concerning persecution of the Folk Song Club. Daunoras promised to get costumes for the club, to allow the members to take part in the Baltic Folk Ensambles Festival in Vilnius, etc. The members of the club refused to write the article. It is interesting that after the above mentioned announcement by the Vatican, the "Evening News" and the radio made announcements about the club activities and presentations every weekend, even though none were organized.This ruse was discontinued when people who came to the non-existent programs in response to the notices in the newspapers, began to display their indignation.
Kaunas. During the Easter vacation of 1976 many of the seminarians did not have any peace. Security agents questioned them about where they got the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania and The Dawn. They were also questioned how they commemorated the 16th of February. The seminarians were interrogated about some of the priests whom the Security agents considered reactionary; for instance the Rev. K. Žilius, the Rev. V. Cukuras and others. After the conversations, the seminarians were forced to promise that they would keep quiet about their meeting with the Security people.
Kaunas. On April 16, 1976, the Director of the Kaunas Industrial Training Union for the Blind, Antanas Ruginis, and Director of the Inter-District House of Culture of the Kaunas Association of the Blind, Smalogys, called workers and members of the amateur cultural group, Antanas Jonušas and Feliksas Sinkevičius and asked them:
"How much does the priest pay you for playing in church at Easter? We will pay you an equal amount if you do not go there to play."
"I never lie to my friends. Therefore, if I promised, then I will go to play there," answered Jonušas firmly. Sinkevičius added an explanation:
"I go to church to sing every Sunday, so I'll be sure to go there to play on Easter."
The director tried threatening to take away their horns, but since there is a shortage of musicians in the amateur ensemble, he was afraid to decrease their number.
On April 19, the conductors of the orchestra were summoned by Director A. Ruginis. The director berated them for not taking care of their collective, and for not warning orchestra members that they were not to play in church. A list of ten people was read, and every one marked "delinquent" had to go explain himself.
The Director of the Musical Collective J. Kairys explained that playing music in church is not allowed to anybody. In his opinion, thought should be given to the following year, so that the misdemeanor would not repeat itself. The best way would be to take the musicians to another district for their concerts.
The members of the orchestra were very insulted by the interference in their leisure time on their days off.
Kaunas. Vidmantas Povilionis, returning from the Mordovian Prison Camp on March 27, 1975, finally found work after a long search. On September 13, 1975, he started work as a laborer at the Kaunas union of bread baking institutions.
After a few months, he was promoted to the duties of engineer-technologist, and later he worked as the Union's senior engineer — technologist of quality control, for all purposes performing the duties of the head of technical control.
On March 26, 1976, Povilionis was summoned by the director general of the factory, who announced that certain officials were demanding that Povilionis be relieved of his duties, as one who has no right to work with people, that is, to be in a position of leadership. (A previous entry in his work booklet: "Released from work V SSP MI Lithuanian subsidiary, per letter from the KGB).
In this way, Povilionis after six months again became unemployed.
Kaunas. On May 4, 1976, a search was made at the home of sculptor Rimantas Šulskis, residing in Kaunas, V. Kuzmos g. No. 29a-2. The search was headed by Capt. Markevičius. The Security agents searched for the hiding place of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania and for other anti-Soviet literature. In the course of the search, Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago was found.
Rimantas Šulskis, born in 1943, is a member of the Union of Young Artists of Lithuania.
Kaunas. On April 9, 1976, at the Security Committee offices in Kaunas, books seized in a search on November 26, 1974, were returned to (Miss) M. Gavėnaitė. Some of the books were not returned by Security. When asked to return The Great Crossroads by B. Brazdžionis (a typed copy) and the unfinished, typewritten Problems of the Lithuanian Character the Security agent replied:
"These are political; therefore, we will not return them!" The Security agents for reasons of their own were especially polite when dealing with Miss Gavėnaitė.
Kaunas. Henrikas Klimašauskas is presently being held not at the Kaunas but at the Vilnius Security facilities.
Tauragė. Montvila, operator of a newspaper stand in the city, sold a few photo-copied Christmas cards before Christmas 1975. For this he was immediately discharged.
Telšiai. On January 15, 1976 (U.S.S.R. Deputy for Religious Affairs) Murnikov from Moscow and Deputy (for Religious Affairs in Lithuania) K. Tumėnas, came to the conference of the deans of the Diocese of Telšiai.
Tumėnas expressed his concern over the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuaniawhich is increasing tension between the state and the Church. If there were no Chronicle,conditions would be much more leniant. The publishers of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania are mistaken in thinking anything can be gained with the help of the Chronicle.They will not let anything be gained by it, therefore he urged the deans not to contribute to its publication. The deputy demanded that the publication of the Chronicle cease.
The deans, on the other hand, insisted that the publication of the Chronicle does not depend on them, but not one of them promised the deputy to act against the Chronicle. (At least this much was good.)
Among other topics, the catechization of children came up. In the opinion of the deputy, there would be no concessions in this matter. Priests have the right only to examine the children's knowledge, but under no circumstances to teach them. The question of religious literature will be taken under advisement. New Missals and breviaries have been received.
Tumėnas was proud of the fact that the care of the needs of the sick in the hospitals is now guaranteed.
"There is the greatest freedom of conscience here. If anyone should interfere, give me a call," stated K. Tumėnas.
Mažeikiai. The government officials of Mažeikiai do not cease persecuting an old woman, (Mrs.) Gelumbauskienė, because she had erected a cross next to her house (Aušros g. 7) (seeChronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, Nos. 19, 21).
When (Mrs.) Gelumbauskienė refused to pay for the destruction of the cross, the Bureau of Work Performance, Rayon of Mažeikiai took Gelumbauskienė to the people's court.
To the People's Court, Rayon of Mažeikiai
Plaintiff: Bureau of Work Performance, Rayon of Mažeikiai
Defendant: Gelumbauskienė, Emilija, Juozo.
Desired settlement: 50 rubles
Statement of the Plainfiff
In accordance with Decision No. 180 of the Executive Committee of the Council of Deputies of the Workers of the Rayon of Mažeikiai, the Bureau of Work Performance of the Rayon of Mažeikiai on December 3, 1975 forcibly wrecked a constructed object built without a permit by Citizen Gelumbauskienė, Emilija, next to her house, Aušros g. 7, and presented to her bill No. 111432 in the sum of 50 rubles, for the finished work (the finished work — destruction of the cross). However, Citizen Gelumbauskienė did not pay. We ask the People's Court of Mažeikiai to find in favor of the Bureau of Work Performance and to order defendant Gelumbauskienė to pay 50 rubles for the work and court costs.
Signed: Head of the Bureau of Work Performance, Rayon of Mažeikiai, Makota Bookkeeper, BWP (signature illegible)
"The delinquent" E. Gelumbauskienė was taken to court three times: The first hearing took place on March 11. The old woman refused to pay since she had not asked that the cross be torn down. The case was postponed until March 23. Mrs. Gelumbauskienė was told to produce witnesses that a cross and not some other structure was demolished.
On April 22, Mrs. Gelumbauskienė was not allowed to speak in court.
"Who tore down Gelumbauskienė's cross?" the representative of the Bureau of Work Performance was asked.
"To pull down the cross we had to take people from the street, since our workers would not do it," explained the representative of the BWP.
It was true. Of approximately 400 workers employed at the Work Bureau not one agreed to pull down the cross. Drunks from the street had to be hired to do it.
"So, how much did you pay for the wrecking of the cross?" asked the judge again.
"We paid 50 rubles," replied the representative of the BWP.
"How long did the work take?"
"15 to 20 minutes," broke in Mrs. Gelumbauskienė, "To cut down the cross, to tear up the little fence, to chop up the remaining upright does not take much time."
Mrs. Gelumbauskienė was told to keep quiet.
"You pay well for the destruction of a cross — in 15 minutes 50 rubles can be earned. I'll have to come to help you," spoke the judge. "And if they had asked for 100 rubles for the cutting down of the cross, what would you have done?"
"We would have paid even 100 rubles."
It is not yet clear what sum Mrs. Gelumbauskienė will have to pay for the desecration of the cross.
Palanga. Tourists from abroad, visiting Palanga, missed a masterpiece of art which had been located in Tiškevičius Park; a statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.
We would like to tell the faithful about the fate of this monument created by a French artist.
For many years, the extraordinarily beautiful statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus used to attract large crowds of people. Some knelt to pray, some stood deep in thought, others decorated the statue with flowers. Only the old atheists of Palanga could not pass it by in peace.
When the Red Army came, the time of destruction and wrecking of monuments began. The soldiers, atter shooting up the statue of Our Lady of Lourdes on the Mount Birutė, conspired also against the statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Once a few Red Army soldiers fired a burst from a machine gun at this work of art. Even though the bullets damaged it somewhat, the statue withstood the attack.
The atheists continually littered the surroundings, trampled and destroyed the flowers, but in the morning the faithful put everything back in order and again planted flowers. Thus for some time a silent battle between the atheists and the believers went on.
One night in 1948 the statue disappeared from the park in Palanga. The conspiracy was organized by the Chairman of the Executive Committee of Palanga Vilnius, assisted by his co-workers Aksijo-naitis and Kuršys. They hooked up a tractor to the statue pulled it down and broke it up with hammers. Then they took it to a scrap yard. Even today there are many witnesses surviving who remember these terrible events. Some cried at the time; others reproached the officials: "Could it be that you don't even fear the wrath of God?"
After some time, the Chairman of the Executive Committee, Executioner Vilnius either bothered by his conscience or having lost his mind, hanged himself. Akcijonaitis was killed by the partisans, and the third executioner — Kuršys — is still alive.
Viekšniai. On December 5, 1975, hoodlums using rocks broke the windows of the Viekšniai church. One of the rocks landed on the main altar in fron of the tabernacle. The old invalid priest took the rock from the altar and said:
"I will take this rock as a souvenir. It is worth noting, because this is the fruit of an atheistic upbringing."
In the cemeteries of Mažeikiai and Viekšniai, the monuments have been damaged and the corpuses have been taken from the crosses. Why does the government not notice the hoodlums, while it persecutes children who attend church?
Ceikiniai. At the beginning of 1976, the people of the village of Didžiasalis, of the Parish of Ceikiniai, wrote to their pastor The Rev. K. Garuckas asking the pastor to call on them. (Each family wrote individually). Father Garuckas fulfilled the parishioners' wish on February 25.
The next day, Chairman Sorokin of the Council of Workers'
Deputies of the Rayon of Ceikiniai, and the Vice Chairman A. Vaitonis, of the Executive Committee of the Ignalina Rayon, warned Father Garuckas by telephone to discontinue these visits.
On March 3, Father Garuckas was summoned before the Executive Committee of Ignalina, where A. Vaitonis and Chief of State Security Paškevičius, of the Rayon of Ignalina, repeated the same order: "You may not make parish visitations." When the pastor repeatedly asked to be shown the law forbidding these visits, Vaitonis showed him some piece of writing, but would not let the priest read it properly, or copy it.
For visiting parishioners, the chief of security threatened to forbid Father Garuckas to perform his priestly duties for three years; this to be done not by him but through the deputy of the Council for Religious Affairs, K. Tumėnas.
In the morning, before work, Pranas Rakštelis using his own car, drove Father Garuckas to the Village of Didžiasalis, and in the evening when he had finished his work at the collective farm, he drove the pastor home. Rakštelis is a believer but because of circumstances and lack of principles he had joined the Communist Party. For driving the priest, the chairman of the collective farm "New Life" promised to punish him and to throw him out of the Party.
On March 9, 1976, Father Garuckas sent a statement about this matter to the Deputy for Religious Affairs, K. Tumėnas of the Lithuanian Council of Ministers, with copies to the chancers of the Lithuanian dioceses.
TO: Minister of Health Care
Statement of citizen Antanina Norkutė, residing in Biržai, Basanavičiaus 6
On December 28, 1975, I suddently fell sick and found myself in the 1st Internal Diseases Department of the Biržai Hospital. On January 3, 1976, Dr. Janulis came into my ward and said, "Since you called a priest yesterday, Chief Physician Dauguvietis has ordered you signed out of the hospital." This was heard by the women who were in the ward with me. During the night my condition deteriorated.
I found myself at home. Treatment was discontinued. My health became worse. There was no help. This shook me. After all, even the worst criminals, when they are sick, receive medical help. What have I done? I myself worked for many years in medical offices. Now I receive a pension. And now there are doctors who disregard human rights and even dare to play with one's life. Chief Physician Dauguvietis did not even ask me whether I had really called for a priest before he threw me out of the hospital. As a matter of fact, I did not ask any priest to come. But supposing some one asks a priest to come, is that a crime?
Such conduct on the part of the doctor is not an accident. It is characteristic of the general personality and activity of Dauguvietis. The sick suffer because of this, they are indignant, and if they are silent it is because they are afraid of even sadder consequences. Some do not know what to do or where to turn.
It is hard to imagine what threatens the medical workers if they would dare to let in a priest to see the sick or even the dying. Much unpleasantness awaits those sick who dare to ask for religious care. That this is the truth few arguments are needed. I am a living example. Everyone understands that this is done in fulfillment of atheistic directives. But is the hospital an office for reeducation for sick and dying people? Do the other offices know what goes on in the Biržai hospital? Why are some people allowed to do as they please?
I am writing this statement in order to explain why I sent you a telegram on January 3, 1976, to find a cause for my ill treatment. I understand that you have received the telegram, because on January 4, 1976, I was visited by a physician, and my treatment was continued at home. I thank you for the help given me, I doubt that I would have stayed alive without it. I hope that the other existing evils in the hospital will also be taken care of.
Biržai Gratefully yours,
January 12, 1976 A. Norkutė
Gulbinėnai. The Control 'Commission of the Rayon of Pasvalys, for the Observance of the Laws regarding Cult, received tips that the pastor of the religious community of Gulbinėnai, S. Uždavinys,ignoring Soviet laws, organized religious instructions for minors. Moreover, minors regularly assist at religious services in the Church at Gubinėnai.
The tips were checked out and found valid.
At a meeting of the Rayon Control Commission for Observance of the Cult Laws, after the consideration of the illegal action of the pastor of the religious community of Gulbinėnei, S. Uždavinys, it was decided to warn him. (Excerpt from the rayon newspaper of Pasvalys,Work,May 13, 1976).
Father Uždavinys was present at the meeting of the above mentioned commission on May 6, from 11:00 am to 2:00 pm. After the meeting he was summoned by Security Agent Agent Ivaškevičius, who promised the priest a better parish and a promotion if he would be loyal to the Soviet government.
Šiauliai. On March 27, 1976, the church of Aukštelkė was broken into again. The intruders, it appears, were not so much thieves as searchers. They looked over the music sheets in a closet, apparently looking for forbidden literature.
Kybartai. At the beginning of May, 1976, unknown persons broke into the Kybartai rectory, which was being renovated, and examined all the church records. Without doubt, the intruders were not ordinary thieves. They were concerned not with money, but with literature.
Varnavo. (White Russian SSR). Local Lithuanians in the Village of Smilgiai, Rayon of Varanavo, were visited by etnographers from Vilnius. The local people enthusiastically received Lithuanian booklets and listened to the songs and tales. Suddenly, the rayon deputy appeared, and demanded the passports and names of the ethnographers, ordering them to leave immediately and to cease encouraging nationalistic inclinations, or else they would all be arrested. At the same time, District Chairman Cironka, assaulted two girls who were taking pictures of old homesteads, forcibly seized their cameras, and exposed the film.
Intimidated, the local Lithuanians did not dare to defend the ethnographers. When the militia broke in, one of the women even knelt and begged that no fine be imposed for receiving the guests.
After the officials left, the hosts described the arrogance of the local government, whose aim is to break all ties with Lithuania.