Petras Paulaitis writes: My dear brother,
Just a few words to you from hell.
I'm afraid to write anyone officially or in greater length because such letters are confiscated, our letters just disappear. Besides, I feel that those who receive my letters are followed more closely and persecuted. And yet we would like to be less completely isolated, less separated from our Homeland and her Sons and Daughters. But our opportunities to correspond are quite markedly decreasing and disappearing. As long as my heart beats in my breast I categorically refuse to cede any position to the enemy. The fact that our ranks are thinning out makes matters more difficult. There are no more people about whom we could still say:
I am truly a vortex,
I am truly fire,
I am truly heaven's spark
People have grown old, are worn out. And only those remain who concerned themselves with little else before. We are only 12 Lithuanians, and in all only 130 remain in our yard today. Political prisoner labor camps are being liquidated (imperceptibly): every week a small group is taken north to the Perma labor camps and a place is being prepared for the rest in Barashevo 3-5 from where we were moved last year.
I've missed Leonas for a long time now, and Vincas and many others. Could something bad have happened to them? The regime is becoming ever more strict. And those little steps toward more strictness are taken according to plan, slowly. They try to affect everyone from inside, to have us fear and avoid one another. All internal rules, laws, regulations are vague, ambiguous, contradictory: regardless of how seriously a prisoner is wronged and in the right, he is always at the administration's mercy. It is with pity and anger that we hear and see those poor souls who still believe in their humanity. Everything and everywhere, even down to the smallest detail, is consistent and deliberate lying and deceit. And they can no longer do otherwise.
But we solemnly and sincerely believe and dedicate ourselves to God's will. Only He knows the need for a road of suffering and I thank Him for allowing and granting people the strength to tread that road.
My love to you, my dear brother, and through you to my dear Homeland and all her good sons and daughters!
This year, Petras Paulaitis is celebrating his 75th birthday in the Gulag.
We take this occasion to congratulate this noble son of Lithuania who has withstood the nightmare of the labor camps, radiates heroic love of God and Country and summons everyone to join the battle for Truth. The bloody sacrifice he offers on the altar of the Homeland's freedom will tell future generations how a Lithuanian knew how to keep the faith, cherish freedom and sacrifice everything for her.
We pray the Lord to grant Petras Paulaitis countless blessings!
Nijolė Sadūnaitė writes:
"Today I broke my letter writing record: I'm writing my 37th letter. My debts are getting smaller. I write briefly, just a few words. Everyone is in the best of spirits. It is evening, 10:00 P.M. here. I will take a 15 minute walk around the yard. I will pray and then to bed! And tomorrow back to my post."
Nijole tries to answer all the letters she receives. On her days off she writes an average of20-30 letters. She works every other day. After a brief rest, she devotes all her free time to writing letters. If you do not receive a letter from Nijolė, you should know that Nijolė has either not received your letter or the letter she wrote you was confiscated by the security police censor. The censors very infrequently allow Nijolė to have letters from Ireland, England, Australia, Spain, Holland, Portugal or France. Nijolė received one, two or several letters form each of the above-named countries. Nearly half of the letters she receives from abroad are from West Germany, although even most to them are confiscated.
Michaela Baumann, who lives in the German Federal Republic, wrote Nijolė in an April 15, 1978 letter: "Haven't you received letters from Josef Stimpfle, bishop of Augsburg? The bishop has written you many times! He is very concerned about you. A letter from you would give the bishop much joy." Exactly a year passed after Michaela Baumann's letter to Nijolė, but not a single of His Excellency Bishop J. Stimpfle's letters to Nijolė was given her. "I have not received a single letter from Poland, though I know that many Poles have written me. Neither have I received the letters Polish tourists sent me from Vilnius. I received two letters from Washington, but those were more than enough for me to understand their concern and desire to help me. I am very grateful to everyone!"
"I had begun to worry when for a long time I received no letters from my family living in Vilnius. But today I am celebrating! The mail came, and among other letters there were five letters from my brother Jonas Sadūnas. Apparently a letter finds it sad "to travel" by itself, so it "waits" for companions: it's more fun when there are five!
"Many of my notes of only a few sentences do not reach many labor camp inmates, prisoners, exiles, inhabitants of Moscow . . . Many of my letters disappear during the long journey to my homeland Lithuania ..."
From a June 15, 1978 letter:
"The customs duties imposed on gifts received from abroad are very high. Chocolate is the most expensive food item: 1.20 rubles per bar. A package of cocoa is 3 rubles. Fees for claiming clothing are very high. (It doesn't matter whether the clothes are new or used.) An ordinary, synthetic sweater is 25 rubles, a chiffon scarf 20 rubles, stockings 5 rubles. Prices are the same as in the stores or even higher And my basic pay is 75 rubles per month. I pay 20 ruble* for a small six square meter room . . .
"I received a parcel from M. Iseried in West Germany with two identical sweaters. One sweater, based on tariff 108, was valued at 25 rubles, even though it was used and darned. They were supposed to deduct 50 rubles from me, but the Tallin customs appraised the first sweater at 25 rubles and the second at the same rate of 25 rubles, right there totalled the cost of both and wrote down 50 rubles. At the bottom, the total sum came to 75 rubles; in other words, 25 rubles more than they had assessed. I wrote a statement today to the Tallin customs demanding that they return the 25 rubles that do not belong to them ... It would seem improper for our "humanists" to engage in robbery for used articles! ..
The July 5th reply from the Tallin customs reads as follows: "The customs duties on the parcel were calculated accurately. According to customs regulations, duties on identical articles sent above the quota are calculated double." It is signed by Customs Chief V. Arusaar.
For a ring costing $10.00 which she received from Jerusalem Nijolė had to pay 70 rubles, and for a chiffon scarf from West Germany, customs relieved her of 20 rubles. Furthermore, many of the articles sent disappear from packages, and to make it harder to verify, the itemized list is also stolen from the package."
All criminal and political exiles who are granted regular vacations are allowed to return home. According to the latest news received from Nijolė, we know she was granted a vacation in August but will not be able to come to Lithuania: the security police will not allow it. Many people are concerned whether Nijolė will be permitted to return to Lithuania even when she completes her term of banishment?