Believing youth actively participate in services at the Telšiai Cathedral and the little church: young boys serve at the altar, while girls sing or adore the Blessed Sacrament. The young people's enthusiasm and courage greatly disturb the atheists: Telšiai teachers have tried to "fight" the youth using the most brutal methods—they searched their pockets, confiscated prayerbooks, gave lower deportment grades, forbade attendance at the funerals of believers, publicly ridiculed students, forced them to fill out questionnaires, etc. When the secret police tactics used by the teachers did not produce any results, help arrived from Vilnius . . .
Raslanas, an aide to the Religious Affairs Commissioner, arrived in Telšiai on Dec. 12, 1977.
The Little Lithuanian Soviet Encyclopedia (MLTĖ) (Vol. Ill, p. 39) states that Raslanas worked in Telšiai as an administrative employee from 1940. What kind of work did he perform in Telšiai at that time?
The people of Telšiai recognize him as the former NKVD employee who participated in the so-called "Case of the Samogitian martyrs" the night of June 24-25, 1941. He is mentioned several times in the book Martyrs of Samogitia (Žemaičių Kankiniai) (see p. 13, 14, 15 and 20). The Little Lithuanian Soviet Encyclopedia (Vol. Ill, p. 657) also writes that Antanas Vaitkus, former Telšiai Prison warden at that time, was, like Raslanas, an "administrative employee in Telšiai, 1940-1941" although after he finished torturing political prisoners, even his pants and shoes used to be spattered with blood (see Martyrs of Samogitia, p. 17). Is Raslanas not a criminal of the same order?
It would appear that now they again think he is the only person capable of handling the believing youth of Telšiai. For he is experienced—in June 1941, he and other security agents directed the brutal murder of the 73 martyrs of Samogitia.
The unspeakable sadism—which it would be very mild to call bestial—was vented that night to the extreme (see Martyrs of Samogitia, p. 4). An international commission examined and described the corpses of the political prisoners tortured the night of June 24-25, 1941. Here are some of the marks which characterized all 73 martyrs: . . . skin peeled . . . brains smashed . . . brains splattered . . . skull crushed . . . scalded and scraped extremities (cabbage used for scalding was also found) . . . broken jaws ... an eye gouged out, from which brains oozed . . . scraped skin . . . sex organs badly mutilated, beaten, crushed . . . bones broken, crushed, chopped up . . . ears pulled off, cut off. . . hole at the base of the skull . . . eyes inverted . . . tongue cut off... no skull or brains . . . harnessed with horse reins . . . chopped with an ax . . . all skull bones broken into small pieces . . . disemboweled . . . protruding lungs . . . face lacerated . . . tongue torn . . . tongue missing . . . chest bones torn out. . . skin scraped off. . . throat slashed . . . eyes missing . . . etc. etc. (from the book Martyrs of Samogitia. Telšiai, 1942).
All 73 political prisoners were tortured in this way without any trial. One of the culprits and organizers of these tortures was Raslanas. But today he still handles the affairs of believers at the Religious Affairs Commission Office. All the torturers should be tried as were German criminals at Nuremberg. But the Soviet government did not try and is not planning to try a single such criminal. Is not the situation of Lithuanian believers so difficult because their affairs are handled by such criminals? Incidentally, Commissioner K. Tumėnas is only second in command; it is Raslanas who is in charge.
Because such bloody measures against the believers of Telšiai are currently impossible, the executioner Raslanas has devised other means. There is a campaign to prove that there exists in Telšiai some kind of underground organization of believers—Heroes of the Eucharist. The security police is not working alone. Security agents also receive active assistance from teachers. Instead of instructing children, teachers have changed their profession . . . they have become interrogators, they drag children from classes, they even forbid them to attend class, they shorten class time, threaten, claim that they know all, demand that students confirm the "information" the teachers confront them with.
Principal Jankauskas is especially active in this endeavor at the Third Middle School. He personally interrogated, tried to persuade and threatened llth-grade pupil Uksaitė and l0th-grade student Mėmis. He was assisted by his wife, Grade 8-C homeroom teacher (Mrs) Jankauskienė. She interrogated students Rudavičius and Sarutis.
In addition, the students were given questionnaires to fill out: "Do you go to church? Why do you go? Why don't you go? Do you believe there is a God? Do you celebrate religious holidays at home?" etc.
At the Fourth Middle School, Teacher (Mrs.) Raudienė interrogated 3rd-grade student Baškis, while upper grade students were interrogated by principal (Mrs) Adomaitienė as well as by the Rayon atheist leader, Teacher Andrijauskas. Classes were cut short, certain classes were not held at all, etc. The following students were interrogated: Meiženytė, Umblauskaitė, Riškutė in grade 8; Meiženis, Bružas in grade 9; Jurkutė, Misevičiūtė in grade 10; Stonkutė and others in grade 11.
At the Fifth Middle School, 9th-grade homeroom teacher (Mrs.) Juškienė intimidated (Mrs) Remėzienė because her son serves at the altar.
Fourth Middle school student Bružas was cruelly ridiculed in public.
On that occasion, the assistant pastor of Telšiai, Father Kau-neckas, preached the following in a sermon: "During the 60th anniversary of October, the song "I know no other country where man can breathe so freely" resounded everywhere, but can the believing students of Telšiai breathe freely when they are ridiculed here and brought to tears? . ."
Children are forbidden to wear pins depicting a wayside shrine which can be bought at newsstands. They are immediately asked where they obtained the pin, why they are wearing it, are they members of the Friends of the Eucharist (Eucharistijos Bičiuliai)?Interrogators assure them that the Friends of the Eucharist is a political organization which transmits information abroad smearing the Soviet government, etc. The youth is asked to identify the leader of the Friends of the Eucharist and attempts are made to prove to them that it is the Cathedral organist, who is known to be a dangerous criminal who has served time.
Members of the Cathedral choir are also harassed; (Mrs) Remėzienė as well as students Mėmis and Juškaitė were summoned by the security police.
All students are threatened that their letters of reference will include mention of their faith and they will not be admitted to any school. It is unimportant that Lenin's decrees forbid any mention of a citizen's belief in documents in the USSR. It is useless to expect justice from an agency with which Raslanas is involved: that experienced security agent is above the law.
As recently as December 9th, the Vice-Chairman of the Telšiai Executive Committee summoned the diocesan administrator and warned that if young people continued to attend church, they would be charged with responsibility for the anti-Soviet signs which cropped up in Telšiai during the celebration of the October holidays.
The pastors of both churches were also summoned for talks.
In other words, charges have been planned beforehand and they must now be proven. That, it would appear, is the purpose of Raslanas' arrival in Telšiai: the Žemaičiai martyrs were once even tortured to death without any trial . . . And now, it is irrelevant that the youth has no knowledge of this, but charges must be brought, "proven" and punishment imposed.
The atheists are astonished at the fortitude of the believing youth. Their most frequent reply is: "I believe and will continue to believe! If you do not allow me to enroll in schools of higher education, I will go to work." At the Fifth Middle School, 4th-grade homeroom teacher Ramanauskienė read to the entire class the names of the students who attend church. Then, student Latvinskaitė stood up and corrected her: "Teacher, you did not name everyone; I also go to church!"
On that occasion, the assistant pastor of the Telšiai Cathedral spoke as follows at Christmas: "Look around and see whether the number of youth has dropped in the churches of Telšiai after the rampage of the Godless? It has increased. Have their hymns become softer, have the responses of young voices at Holy Mass become sorter? They ring even louder! The youth of Samogitia is courageous, strong—like oaks. I would even go so far as to say that such an atheist sifting was needed: the weak have fallen by the wayside, the judases have gone over to the atheists, perhaps even joined the Communist Youth League, while the strong oak saplings and the straight young pines remain with us.
That is why the atheists are so weak, (at the atheist meeting held on October 18th in Telšiai, Jeselskis said: "There are many atheists in Lithuania, perhaps several tens of thousands, but real atheists can be counted on one's fingers.")
Atheists are weak because people join them forcibly or by selling their consciences.