On July 18, 1978 employees of the Lithuanian SSR Ministry of Culture noticed long-time ministry employee Henrikas Lanzbergas pacing nervously. No one could guess the reason. Only when the director of the science-metholology office arrived at the ministry, did the employees learn of the terrible event: an employee of that same department, 21-year-old Renata Gavrilenkaite had hung herself at the door of her lover Henrikas Landzbergas. The lover, it seems, did not even dare remove the rope for fear of leaving his fingerprints. And shortly ministry employees found a suicide letter in the deceased's office . . .
Landzbergas has lived in the Ministry of Culture building for many years. And this was not the first year that the shreiks of women were heard doming from his room. Rumors about the personal "escapades" of this dissolute man spread beyond the ministry, but this did not disturb even the office's management.
Perhaps it is useless to talk about the morals of Landzbergas, but let us see who his latest (and perhaps not last?) victim was.
Let the deceased speak for herself. In her suicide letter Renata writes that "the eyes of the murdered infant" would give her no peace ... In other words, the murder of infants legalized by Soviet morality had not yet succeeded in completely silencing the voice of conscience in the young woman. She had worked too short a time at the Ministry of Culture where such thorough efforts are made to instill atheist morality and fight against "religious superstition" . . .
Let us glance more closely at Renatas life. Her father, a Soviet official, ended his fatherly obligation to his three children by giving them life . . . The mother, whose sole aim in life was alcohol, carried the greater burden—giving birth. But this is where her "motherhood" came to an end.
The Soviet writer N. Sluckis once praised (in the novel Good Home) the Soviet homes for children. Unfortunately, reality is completely different. In our concrete example, this "good home" only succeeded in instilling Communist morality in the girl and speak of a "bright future." And later, the Molėtai Boarding School continued this task. Renata learned there that Christian morality and the murder of unborn children is the invention of ignorant priests, a means of making fools of people, that women have been liberated from bourgeois and religious superstitions. The boarding school until recently still provided such information to the deceased's sister, Eugenija.
Moreover, one homeroom teacher who came to the funeral remarked that she had foreseen Renatas future path, but "there was nothing she could do" . . . We believe it; the Soviet school has no means or reason to fight against moral downfall.
This is how Renata made her debut: She worked at the office of tin- Writers Society. Perhaps here, coming into contact with writers, she was able to pause a little and view more critically the morals instilled in her. Who if not writers must he the first to uplift man? Unfortunately, Renata did little direct work. Her most important duties were to take home drunk "engineers of the soul" and sleep with them. And the final stage was the Ministry of Culture. There she was confronted with the brothel established within the ministry building itself by the former Culture Minister, and now tolerated by Lithuanian SSR Communist Party Central Committee Secretary L. Scpccis. (Though, not too long ago, we all had occasion to read the lengthy articles by Šepečis on moral upbringing!* Nothing changed even with a change in the office management. So, the first thing new employee Renata came into contact with was Landz-bergas "apartment."
Renata's tragedy evolved gradually. Sensing that his new victim still had an understanding of real love, her depraved "lover" forced her, like others before, to shriek in the night. When he no longer needed her, he often pushed her out the door in the middle of the night. (Renata did not have her own room, although her relatives had no complaints in that department.) There is serious reason to believe that this is what happened on that fateful night . . .
Renata was pregnant. A rather large group of "advisers" immediately came forward at the Ministry urging her to get rid of the "inconvenience." There were some voices who pointed her in the right direction, but their words remained unheard. The murder of the unborn child was finally sanctioned by the "lover" who made it understood that the birth would destroy their "love."
This is not surprising—who, in such an office, could have strongly and authoritatively, honestly and courageously stated that abortion is actually murder, when Soviet laws legalize such a thing?
Renata was buried in the Rokantiškis cemetery. Someone remarked that one of the reasons for the tragedy was Renata's lack of ideals. That is true, but no one discussed why. Hardly anyone was distressed by her confession that she had murdered her child. And the ministry's main concern at this moment is to somehow cover up this incident. Of course, it is doubtful whether the ministry would have given it any attention, had it been possible to hide everything, as hundreds of similar incidents are hidden.
Some more typical details from the funeral:
The funeral was attended by Renata's "father", E. Gavrilenko and her "mother", as well as Henrikas Landzbergas. It is doubtful that those who did not know them would have suspected that these individuals had anything in common with the deceased: it is impossible to even imagine more indifferent people attending a funeral. The "father" only noted the order and medal ribbons, while the lover with his camera acted as an ordinary photographer. Well, that is a common trait of the Soviet way of life ...
There remains Renata's sister Eugenija . . . There remains thousands of Renatas and Eugenijas . . . There remains upbringing based on Communist morality in children's homes and schools. There remains the Landzbergas', Šepečis' and Gavrilenkos produced by the Soviet way of life . . .Isn't it time to draw some serious conclusions?