On June 28, 1978 Miss Irena Dumbrytė received a notice addressed from Mordovskaya ASSR, Zubovo — Polianski r-on, pos. Sosnovka uc. ZX 385/1. The notice was signed by Camp Warden A.A. Satayev and Bureau Chief V.S. Davydov. She was being notified that her marriage to Balys Gajauskas will be registered on July 27, 1978. If unable to arrive at the appointed time, she is asked to write in advance.
On the appointed day, I. Dumbrytė arrived at Sosnovka accompanied by Rev. J. Zdebskis and her sister L. Šulskienė. Because Dumbrytė is a Catholic, she wanted the civil marriage ceremony to be strengthened by a church ceremony for which two witnesses are necessary. She was also carrying out Balys' request that a priest be present at this ceremony.
Upon arriving, she proceeded to the special bureau to inform them that she was prepared for the marriage. She was told that the time of the ceremony would be relayed by telephone to the dormitory where she was staying. She waited for the call all day, but it never came. The morning of the 27th, Miss Dumbryté again went to the special bureau. There she was told that they have no telephone contact with Yovas, and cannot make the call. She was again told to go back to the dormitory and wait. At 3:00 P.M. they were notified to come to the labor camp gate and wait. Dumbrytė with her sister Laima and the Rev. Juozas Zdebskis waited a half hour at the gate.
When Irena Dumbryté brought the documents for the marriage to the special bureau on June 5, 1978, she had been told that two witnesses may come with her and will be permitted to attend the marriage registration ceremony. But now the witnesses were not admitted into the marriage ceremony room.
The entire process of registering the marriage took 10-15 minutes. All the documents had already been prepared, they only needed to be signed. Dumbryté was led into the room first, then Balys Gajauskas. He came dressed in striped camp clothes, high-top boots, head shaved and stated that this was his "best suit." His finance came dressed in a white wedding gown . . .
When the documents were being handled at the special bureau, it had been promised that a three-day private visit would be granted the newlyweds after the marriage ceremony, but when Dumbryté came to the marriage registration, the camp warden notified her that she would not be granted a private visit because Balys had already had a two-day private visit with his mother (although he is entitled to three) on June 6th and would not be granted another. They would still consider granting a regular visit and would let them know the following day.
The morning of the following day Dumbrytė-Gajauskienė travelled to Yavas to see assistant camp warden Novikov. He sharply told Gajauskienė that she would not be granted a visit, and moreover the visit is granted to Balys and not her. Trying to hide her tears, Gajauskienė ran from the office.
Upon returning to Sosnovka, Gajauskienė again went to see camp warden Nekrasov about a regular visit. She wrote a statement and waited two hours at the camp gate until a camp guard condescended to come out and take her statement. Gajauskienė was notified several hours later that a two-hour regular visit had been granted. She was told to be at the special office gate at 3:30 P:M.
Gajauskienė was let into the visit room first and was told to sit behind the table which stood near the window and a guard sat down next to the table. Approximately 2-2 1/2 meters (6 1/2-8 feet) away stood another table near the door. Shortly, Gajauskas was led into the room and told to sit behind the other table and another camp guard sat down next to him. The doors to the room were kept open to the hallway and people kept coming in and out for the purpose of disturbing and interrupting the conversation. On her way to the visit, Irena took with her a handbag which was confiscated from her during the visit and returned at its end. Gajauskienė had hoped to be granted a private visit and had brought food products with her, but it was clear there was no chance of handing them to Balys. She told her husband she had food products but is not allowed to give them to him. The camp guard offered to act as go-between because such products are scarce here, but Balys warned his wife that if she were to hand these products to the guards, she would be charged with black-marketeering and imprisoned for several years.
During the visit, the Gajauskases were forced to speak Russian although both are Lithuanian. The guards assured them that a Lithuanian-speaking censor could only come to the camp in one or even several weeks. And so they were forced to speak Russian. The camp guards continually broke into the conversation. Neither at the beginning nor at the end of the visit could the newlyweds at least touch hands in greeting.
They will be granted a second private visit only in a year. The camp warden stated that Balys could receive demerits and not be granted a private visit even after a year. Such a spirit of humaness dominates the jungles of the present-day Gulag.
A civil marriage is not recognized by the Church. Due to the existing complicated circumstances, Father Juozas Zdebskis received permission from the bishop for the couple to exchange vows and themselves receive Holy Communion. They were able to exchange vows, but when Gajauskienė wanted her husband to receive the Blessed Sacrament, the camp guards ridiculed them and did not allow them to receive.
The long-awaited and dreamed-of "visit" came to an end. The guards shut the camp gate. Through a crack in the still partially open gate, she saw in the middle of the yard Balys' raised waving hand, and further behind him waved a group of his friends, proving the unbreakable spirit of political prisoners . . .