At the beginning of 1977, the apartments of the following individuals were searched:
1. Mrs. Ona Grigaliūnienė, resident of Kaunas
2. Leonardas Stovskis, resident of Kaunas, LTSR 25-čio g.
3. Jonas Petkevičius, resident of Šiauliai. Seized: a camera, The History of Christ by Papini, and other items.
4. Balys Gajauskas, resident of Kaunas, Spynu g. 3-8.
At the beginning of 1977, (Miss) Ona Pranckūnaitė was arrested in Panevėžys. TheChronicle has no further news about these raids nor concerning the arrest of Ona Pranckūnaitė.
Kapsukas, February 14, 1977. Four unknown men broke into the apartment of Janina Buzaitė. This apartment is under constant surveillance by Security. Many times, Miss Buzaitė's apartment in ' Kapsukas was searched in her absence. Persons acquainted with Miss Buzaitė were interrogated more than once. One of them was told by Security agents that Miss Buzaitė is a major offender who should be isolated from the public.
THE INTERROGATION OF K. GRINKEVIČIUS
On January 7, 1977, Kazimieras-Antanas Grinkevičius, a resident of the City of Prienai, was summoned to the VAI (the Department of Motor Vehicles — Transl. Note) with his driver's license and his registration fee receipt.
Arriving at the appointed time at the Department of Motor Vehicles, Grinkevičius was taken to Chief Bankauskas of Security. Grinkevičius was questioned for four hours about the living and the dead, those who had been or were in exile, relatives and acquaintances abroad. He was also asked whom he knew in Alytus, Vilnius, Kaunas; who his friends, relatives and acquaintances are in those cities, their addresses, occupations, etc.
The interrogator was particularly interested in knowing whether he was acquainted with Vladas Lapienis and with Father Kazimieras Žilys. They had allegedly met in Žilys' apartment in Alytus. When Grinkevičius replied that he did not know Lapienis, he was asked what priests he knew, what their attitudes were towards the government, and what they talked about.
They further asked whether he had read the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, and what his opinion was of the Chronicle. He explained that he had never read the Chronicle because, unfortunately, it is impossible tc subscribe to it. He had heard of it in radio broadcasts from abroad. Its editorial policy, in his opinion, was commendable, since the Catholics of Lithuania have no official publication, and the Chronicle defends the interests of the Church and of Catholics.
Bankauskas could not believe that Grinkevičius, as a good Catholic and a member of the parish council of Prienai, did not receive this newspaper. When Grinkevičius replied in the negative, he was again questioned: What priests does he know? Did he visit Father Zdebskis? (A well-known dissident, who once spent a year in prison for teaching children catechism — Transl. Note). What did he know about the publication of the Chronicle,about the attitudes of priests, about the parish priests of Prienai, activities of the parish council, etc?
Several times it was claimed that Grinkevičius must know Lapienis; they returned to his name many times, as they did to the name of Father Žilys.
Moreover, the commandant asserted that the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania is a publication inspired by foreign espionage organizations, with the purpose of calumniating the Soviet system. According to him, tourists from abroad did not see any oppression of Catholics in Lithuania.
Two or three times during the questioning, Bankauskas, locking his papers in his safe, went out into the next room to telephone, he said, since if Grinkevičius told him nothing, he would be sent to Vilnius.
Finally, he gave the prisoner some paper, and taking him to another building, told him to write a description of his life. The interrogator then left and did not return for a long time.
When Grinkevičius had finished his autobiography, he was taken back to Bankauskas' office, where the interrogator resumed his questions about priests' "girl friends", their drinking habits, and the like.
Finally the chief said, "Well, since you won't tell me anything, you'll have to go to Vilnius."
When Grinkevičius inquired when he would have to go to Vilnius, and whether they would take him there, they replied that he had the option of going on his own, or by some other means of transportation. Moreover, his expenses would be reimbursed.
Bankauskas made out a summons for Grinkevičius to report at io a.m., January 10, to Prosecutor Urbonas of the Security Committee in Vilnius, at Lenino prospektas 40.Releasing Grinkevičius, Bankauskas advised him not to get involved with the Chronicle,and to be prepared at all times to drop in on the interrogator, or to telephone him. He reminded him once again that the Chronicle is a publication inspired from abroad, in which facts are distorted.
At 10 a.m. the morning of January 10, Interrogator Urbonas led Grinkevičius through long corridors to his office.
Grinkevičius was offered a seat, and informed of his responsibility for false information, and with the Criminal Code; then the interrogator resumed his questioning, from 10:15 a.m. until 5:15 p.m.
At the beginning he was told, "If you tell the truth straightforwardly, our conversation will not last long, but if you try to conceal the facts or dissimulate, our conversations will be long—and many".
The interrogator inquired whether he knew Lapienis, who has by now been arrested on criminal charges for circulating the Chronicle. The answer was negative. Afterwards, Urbonas affirmed that they knew for certain that last winter Grinkevičius had met with him in Alytus.
Then they asked whether the prisoner knew Father Žilys. He replied that he did. He had met him in Jieznas, because the priest used to request to be driven on sick calls, funerals, and elsewhere.
The interrogator further asked whether Grinkevičius had seen or read the Chronicle,and what he knew about it. Grinkevičius replied that he had not read the Chronicle, had never seen it, and had only heard of it from Vatican Radio broadcasts, and from a Soviet film concerning the publication.
After this, he was asked once more about Vladas Lapienis. They claimed to have accurate information that one time, when Grinkevičius was visiting Father Žilys, someone had come in, and that, having placed something in the trunk, all three had driven off towards Prienai. Grinkevičius denied everything, claiming that he had never driven anyone from Father Žilys' place, except the priest.
The interrogator asked whether Father Žilys had not discussed the Chronicle with him, and whether he had not given him a copy to read.
Grinkevičius replied that when they traveled together in the automobile, there was little conversation, since the priest always prayed, while he himself paid attention to the road. Nor had he ever given him a copy of the Chronicle to read.
The interrogator inquired whether Father Zilys used to take anything along with him. Did he ever ask for the car trunk to be opened?
Grinkevičius replied that the priest used to take along a suitcase, that he once brought along from Vilnius some literature from the series Drąsiųjų Keliai (The Paths of the Brave), and that on one occasion, his landlord had helped him obtain some soup bones at the employees' store of the meat combine.
The interrogator returned to the subject of the Chronicle, asking his personal opinion of the publication. He replied that he had no strong feelings one way or the other because he had not read it, but had only heard of it from Vatican Radio broadcasts.
The interrogator further asked what specific facts he recalled from events described in the Chronicle.
To this the prisoner replied that he was best acquainted with the case of Father Zdebskis, which is directly tied in with Prienai.
The prosecutor, greatly interested, asked how he and others felt about that affair.
Grinkevičius said that Father Zdebskis had been falsely arrested and imprisoned for conscientiously carrying out his duties as a priest, and that the people had been quite shocked by this event.
Then the interrogator replied, "Ours is a large country, and there is no need to consider the opinion of a few thousand people."
The interrogator went on to ask Grinkevičius' personal opinion of the Chronicle and ofAušra (The Dawn): Did these publications profit the Lithuanian nation?
"I'm hearing about Aušra for the first time. The Chronicle is of some use, because it defends the affairs of Catholics and of the Church, since Catholics have no official publication."
The prosecutor asserted that only the Chronicle could be responsible for the repression of several thousand Lithuanians.
Urbonas did not want to believe that Grinkevičius did not get to read the Chronicle. In answer, Grinkevičius said that perhaps they did not trust him.
Interrogator Urbonas asked whether someone had coached him on how to answer questions during interrogations. The interrogator speculated that Grinkevičius could, from January 7 until January 10, have met with some priest, told him the problem and asked for his advice.
Grinkevičius denied these speculations saying that during that time he had had no contact with priests.
He had not even been to church on Sunday since he had been working. His wife, sister, or fellow-workers could not advise him at all, since no one knew just what was wanted of him.
Once again, he was ordered to admit that he had chauffeured Father Lapienis. Among other things, the interrogator reminded him that till then, their conversation had continued smoothly, one might say, in friendly fashion. But they had other methods, and that even though the prisoner Lapienis and others had not till then spoken out, in a short while they would.
Grinkevičius once more denied knowing Lapienis, or having driven him. He requested to be shown a photograph, and suggested that they ask Lapienis himself whether the ride had taken place. The interrogator replied that he would probably do so.
"We know for sure that on March 16, 1976, three persons got into your car: you, Father Žilys, and Lapienis. The latter got out and went into Father Žilys' place while your car was in front and that he alighted in Prienai."
"Most often only Žilys and I went. I never picked up anyone at his apartment, unless it was some traveler stuck at the bus stop or at the roadside, in the rain or snow, whom I did not refuse to pick up. Besides, it is almost a year, and I don't recall having driven anyone at that time. I keep no diary and I have stated clearly—I picked up no one at the home of Father Žilys," Grinkevičius firmly stated.
Interrogator Urbonas still would not let up: "Perhaps you think that by telling us that you drove Lapienis from Father Žilys' place, you will hurt Father Žilys' own cause?"
"The thought never even occurred to me. Father Žilys is neither my friend nor my relative, and I see no need to hide anything."
The interrogator began to write his report of the interrogation. He worked on it for some time, filling about four pages. When he had finished, he gave it to the prisoner to read, saying that if anything was not clear, or if the prisoner did not agree, "We'll make corrections."
The report stated that the witness met Father Žilys in Jiezną, that they had been introduced by a mutual acquaintance, that they had driven with Father Žilys on a number of occasions to Kaunas and Vilnius, and that Father Žilys had stopped off at a number of addresses in Vilnius and in Kaunas.
Upon reading the report, Grinkevičius wrote the following remarks:
"1. I do not agree with the expressions: 'a number of times to Kaunas, a number of times to Vilnius.' I went two or three times, but a number of times could mean daily or even a hundred times.
"2. I do not agree with the expression, 'He used to stop by at a number of addresses in Kaunas and in Vilnius."
TO: The Minister of the Interior, Lithuanian SSR.
A STATEMENT BY CITIZEN BRONISLAVA VALAITYTĖ, DAUGHTER OF JERONIMAS,
A RESIDENT OF SASNAVA, RAYON OF KAPSUKAS
On December 17, 1976, I went to Gardinas and Druskininkai to shop. On my way back, a stranger in the uniform of a militiaman stopped the bus and ordered me to accompany him to the militia office. There three women in mufti, threatening me, stripped me by force and conducted a minute body search.
In spite of my demands, none of the above-mentioned individuals showed me any warrant for the search. Nor would they show me their personal credentials; they did not even tell me their names. During the search, three rolls of film were ruined, along with food items. One of the militiamen sarcastically told me that I could feed them to the birds. No one reimbursed me for anything.
Sasnava, December 23, 1976
Miss Valaitytė works as housekeeper for the pastor of Sasnava, Father Albinas Deltuva, who had been transferred by order of Security from the parish at Veisėjai.
Security forces at Lazdijai consider Miss Valaitytė a very dangerous person, because of her influence among school children. Whenever she comes to Veisėjai, the Security forces of Lazdijai go into action.
In searching Miss Valaitytė, the Security organs hoped to find incriminating material; otherwise they would not have stripped her, nor would they have searched her valise three times.
In response to Miss Valaitytė's complaint, the Ministry of the Interior of the Lithuanian SSR sent the following reply:
"On December 17, 1976, you were summoned to the Lazdijai branch of the Ministry of the Interior, and your effects were examined there, in connection with the fact that a woman riding next to you on the bus missed her purse, containing money, and suspecting you of stealing the money, lodged a complaint with Comrade A. Vaikšnora, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Soviet of Workers' Deputies of the City of Veisėjai.
"That your things were ruined in the course of the search has not been determined."
* * *
On an earlier occasion, Father Juozas Zdebskis had also been searched by a kangaroo court. In Ukmergė, a group of officials ordered Father Zdebskis out of his automobile, took him to the militia station and without any order from the prosecutor, carried out a search of his person. They counted all his money and read every scrap of paper. When Father Zdebskis demanded that they make the search a matter of record, the officials replied that it had been no search.
The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania knows other incidents in which Security people have searched individuals or their apartments, contrary to the Criminal Code. Illegal searches are not recorded, so Security agents leave less evidence of their criminal activities.