In Lithuania, atheist propaganda is increasingly being conducted from above. The Communist occupation apparatus is seeking ever newer and more subtle forms of action. Efforts are made to give the impression that there is no pressure from above in the atheist propaganda front, that atheist propaganda is only scholarly in nature and governed by Marxist methodology.
At the beginning of the 1977-78 academic year, middle school principals were ordered to review in detail the religious relationship of parents and children within and outside the family. To avoid
the impression of management from above, school authorities are attempting to implement the directives through atheist councils (such councils exist in every school; they are composed of several members, headed by a chairman appointed by the principal).
In implementing the directives, it is necessary to indicate not only the families and students who believe, but also to what extent they believe. The religiousness of parents can be gauged by the class leader from discussions with parents at the time of visits to their homes, according to the religious articles noted in the home and through other means. As for the students, they are either drawn into discussions or are given questionnaires to fill out, which include questions (which may vary) covering information on the following:
1) believing families;
2) families which encourage their children to attend church;
3) families which do not actually believe but attend church out of habit;
4) families whose children not only attend church but are also given religious instruction;
5) families whose children not only attend church, but also actively participarte in religious life, for example, serve at Mass, sing in the church choir and so on;
6) Carefully analyze the degree of religiousness of students and their parents: Do they practice their religion out of belief or only habit? Do they attend church of their own will or at their parents' urging?
All this information must be provided by classroom teachers who are forced to spy and perform work demeaning to a teacher.
To: The Lithuanian SSR Prosecutor
Copies to: Lithuanian Community Group Monitoring Adherence to the Helsinki Agreements
A Statement from:
Vytautas Bogušis, residing in Vilnius, Savičiaus 13-8 Julius Sasnauskas, residing in Vilnius, Garelio 15-15 Kęstutis Subačius, residing in Vilnius, Pionierių 6-1 Andrius Tučkus, residing in Vilnius, Šaltkalvių 68-6
In 1976, we, the undersigned, were tenth-grade students at the A. Vienuolis School in Vilnius. We were more than once forcibly taken to the Security police and the militia and otherwise persecuted for attending church, for our national and religious views and our acquaintance with former political prisoners. At the Security police we were pressured to give false testimony against our mutual friend Viktoras Petkus. We know Petkus as a fine, highly educated and cultivated man. The charges brought against him by the Security police were unfounded and we therefore did not endorse them.
Our persecution was also carried over to the school. We were frequently upbraided for so-called bad influence on the student body. A faculty meeting was held on June 17th at which the school principal called for our expulsion from the school. The faculty would not endorse the principal's suggestion. In spite of this, we were expelled from the school. No account was taken of the fact that 43 of our schoolmates signed a petition demanding that we be re-admitted to the school. We therefore feel that our expulsion is unjust.
Vilnius, 10/27/77 V. Bogušis, J. Sasnauskas,
K. Subačius, A. Tučkus
On October 6, 1977, 10th-grade homeroom teacher (Mrs) Petra-vičienė of the 11th Middle School in Šiauliai told student Dalia Judikavičiūtė to stay after school on some "important matter." The following conversation took place:
"So, Dalia, are you or are you not going to join the Communist Youth League?" asked the homeroom teacher.
"But look, my child, how will you gain admission to the university?"
"If I am not admitted, so be it."
"Why don't you want to join the Communist Youth League?"
"I am a believer and will not join. I cannot reconcile the Communist Youth League with religion."
The homeroom teacher then began to accuse the student of agitating other girls—as a result there are ten students in the class who have not yet joined the Communist Youth. Dalia denied this charge:
"They have heads on their shoulders, don't they?"
After a long discussion, the homeroom teacher (Mrs.) Petra-vičienė accompanied the girl home and tried to persuade her mother that Dalia should join the Communist Youth League, but the mother declared that she believes in God and her daughter would not join the Communist Youth League.
"Then maybe she'll join in the eleventh grade?"
Students in all Lithuanian schools, from the seventh grade on, are annoyingly urged to join the Communist Youth League. Forgetting their nation's misfortune—the occupation—career teachers, under pressure from the school administration and the Rayon Education Department, use all kinds of methods to persuade students to join the Pioneers and the Youth League. They advise that parents not be told, even permit them to attend church in secret, and lament that if they do not join they will be the cause of their (the teachers) perdition and so on.
Musninkai (Širvintai Rayon)
During the summer of 1977, students from Vilnius were brought to the rest and work camp in the town of Musninkai. The local cemetery was ravaged during the night of July 3rd: Sixteen headstones were broken, others were overturned, many figures of Christ Crucified were smashed. The militia determined that the crime had been committed by tenth-grade students Bradauskas and Reimeris.
Širvintai Rayon Executive Committee Vice-Chairman D. Tverbutas several times begged the pastor to calm down the believers to whom the vandalized headstones belonged. The people of Musninkai would like to draw Vice-Chairman D. Tverbutas' attention to the moral upbringing of the youth, since the daily activities of Musninkai Communist Youth League members consist of drinking wine and obscene curses.
Teachers at the 5th Middle School began to check whether students wear medals.
Teachers (Mrs) Šiluvienė and (Mrs.) Povilonienė and Inspector (Mrs) Matūzienė summon children one by one, order them to admit that they attend church and betray their friends.
Similar incidents are occurring at the Žemaitė Middle School. Teachers (Mrs.) Bartkienė, (Miss) Šerelytė, (Miss) Austytė and (Mrs.) Karnishova order students to fill out atheist questionnaires, threaten to punish those who attend church, and Karnishova even pulls their ears. After seeing a student serving at the altar, she threatened to drag him from the altar by his ears.
Parents informed the principal ot this action, but he stated that they are free to withdraw their children from school; let the pastor teach them.
Videniškiai (Molėtai Rayon)
The former Videniškiai Middle School store attendant (Mrs.) Apalonija Rimšienė was killed in an auto accident on November 30, 1977. Her husband Ignas had died on December 30, 1976. The Children Sigitas (4th grade), Vida (7th grade) and Valentinas (11th grade) were left orphans. The Rimšas family were believers and the children were exemplary pupils.
(Mrs.) Rimšienė was to be buried at the Videniškiai cemetery on December 2, 1977, with religious rites. Middle School principal
A. Marcinkevičius strictly forbade the pupils to attend the funeral of (Mrs.) Rimšienė. He told the pupils of grades four, seven and eleven that "since (Mrs.) Rimšienė is to be buried from church, the pupils are not to attend the funeral; I don't want to see a single pupil at the funeral."
The ban issued by Principal Marcinkevičius is not an isolated incident in Lithuania. Students are either completely forbidden to attend religious funerals, or they are ordered to stay in the churchyard during services and only on the way to the cemetery are they permitted to join the funeral procession.
Dubičiai (Varėna Rayon)
At the end of the first semester of the 1977-78 academic year, the following students received lower deportment grades because they attend church: Alfredas Avižys (2nd grade), Virginija Adama-vičiūtė, (7th grade), Marytė Skaramakaitė (7th grade), Rita Kirk-liauskaitė (7th grade), Marytė Avižinytė (8th grade) and Danutė Skaramakaitė (8th grade).
When the teacher asked which students attend church, they admitted it fearlessly. The teacher then explained to them: "Those who attend church cannot be exemplary in conduct."
During December 1977, Raseiniai Middle School students Šatas (son of theRayon Second Secretary), Stankus (son of the editor of the newspaper Naujasis Rytojus), Jonyla and Jakubauskas (both 11th grade students), emptied the donation box at the Šiluva church. Charges were not brought against them because they gained little: They found only a few rubles.
On November 14, 1977, Tauragė 4th School teacher (Mrs.) Elena Bakutienė was checking whether all grade 4c students were wearing a Pioneer necktie. Seeing that Arūnas Lorančas was not wearing a tie, the teacher asked: "Why aren't you wearing the tie?" The boy explained that he is not a Pioneer.
"Little priest! . . ." the teacher scoffed.
It is not fitting for a Lithuanian teacher to ridicule a Lithuanian boy, even were the USSR Constitution to allow it.