Gargždai (Klaipėda Rayon)
On January 26, 1983, in the apartment, garage and attic of the Associate Pastor of the Parish of Gargždai, Father Antanas Šeškevičius, a search was carried out, with A. Barasevičius, Klaipėda Investigator for Special Cases, in charge. During the search, the chekists looked for the archives of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, and for literature libeling the Soviet system. Seized were; two typewriters (one belonging to Father Šeškevičius, the other to the organist), ten audio tapes with recordings of sermons and hymn-singing, copies of correspondence sent to government organs and other documents, thirty-one in all; from the attic, Chronicle Number 55 was taken.
During the search, the chekists detained anyone who came to see Father Šeškevičius, including a parishioner who came to take the priest to visit a sick person. Father Šeškevičius was required to show what ties he maintained with Father Svarinskas. The search lasted five hours.
On January 26, 1983, a search was carried out in the home of Juozas Ardzijauskas. A militia official, Captain Tamkevičius, produced a search warrant, in which it was noted that they were looking for a stolen automobile, and Ardzijauskas was suspected of being capable of carrying out the crime. Ardzijauskas suggested that they search the garage. However, the officials, after conferring among themselves, began to root about books and drawers. To the residents' remarks that you can't hide a car in a drawer, no one responded.
They seized: recordings of sermons, tape recorders, some issues of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania and Solzhenit-syn's book Gulag Archipelago, Part II. The search lasted approximately seven hours. Of the ten individuals carrying out the search, not one, except militia official, Captain Tamkevičius, introduced himself or produced any credentials. After the search, Ardzijauskas was taken to KGB Headquarters for interrogation, from which they released him the next evening.
Father Vaclovas Stakėnas, a member of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights and Pastor of Kruokialau-kis, was interrogated for four days, February 10, 11, 15 and 18 at the Headquarters of the Vilnius KGB. The interrogation centered on (Mrs.) Jadvyga Bieliauskienė, who had been arrested, and on the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights. Carrying out the investigation was KGB Agent Gavėnas, who complained that Father Vaclovas Stakėnas had not been frank. During the interrogation, a chekist who called himself Antanas who had already tried to make Father Stakėnas his "friend", came forward with a suggestion that he cooperate.
On February 15, 1983, the Pastor of Josvainiai, a member of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, Father Leonas Kalinauskas, was interrogated at Vilnius KGB headquarters. The interogator, Major Pilelis, grilled the priest about the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights: its origin, activities, documents, etc. Father Kalinauskas would not sign the interrogation report, arguing that the answers had been formulated, not by him, but by the interrogator. To many of the questions, the priest replied absolutely nothing.
On February 17, 18 and 19, 1983, at Vilnius KGB Headquarters, the Associate Pastor of Telšiai, member of the Catholic
Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, Father Jonas Kau-neckas, was interrogated. Interrogator Pilelis twisted the questions in such a way so as to make Father Alfonsas Svarinskas responsible for all the activities of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, Father Kauneckas affirmed that all members of the Catholic Commitee for the Defense of Believers' Rights are equally responsible, and it is impossible to blame one more than the others.
On February 28 and March 1, 1983, at the Vilnius KGB Headquarters, Father Sigitas Tamkevicius, the Pastor of Kybartai, was interrogated. The interrogator, Major Pilelis, was interested in two questions: What the priest under interrogation could tell about the activities of Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, and the activities of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights. Among the many questions were the following: How Documents of the Catholic Committe for the Defense of Believers' Rights got abroad, into the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, etc. Father Tamkevidius refuse to provide information about activities of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, arguing that the Committee by its activities had not violated the Constitution of the USSR. He would not sign the interrogation reports.
On March 15, 1983, KGB Investigator Major Pilelis arrived in Skaudvile and questioned the Pastor of Skaudvile, Father Vincas Velavičius, about Father Alfonsas Svarinskas and activities of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights. Concerning the Pastor of Viduklė, Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, who had been arrested, the individual under interrogation spoke of him as being one of the verv best priests in Lithuania, and about activities of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, he said nothing.
Investigator Pilelis wrote down Father Velavičius' replies incorrectly, attempting so to distort them, that they would suit the purposes of the KGB. Father Velavičius did not sign the report of the questioning, and on March 22, he wrote the Prosecutor of the LSSR:
"I protest against such conduct on the part of the interrogator, and I request that you consider the written report to be invalid.
"Concerning Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, I can testify as follows: He has been a zealous priest of the Catholic Church, conscientiously
Father Vincas Vėlavičius
performing his priestly duties, and for this reason, he is now suffering in prison. All of the accusations against Father Svarinskas can only be characterized as efforts to get rid of a good priest, and thus, to help the atheists fight against the Catholic Church in Lithuania."
In February, 1983, the Pastor of Šlavantai, Father Juozas Zdebskis, received a summons to come for interrogation in the criminal case of Father Alfonsas Svarinskas. On February 17, Father Zdebskis sent the Vilnius KGB a telegram as follows:
"I have nothing to testify against the Faith. Before Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, as a new martyr for the Faith, I bow my head. Therefore, I see no point in honoring your request to come to KGB Headquarters to testify."
On February 28, 1983, Father Juozas Zdebskis was summoned to the Office of the Prosecutor of the Lithuanian SSR in Vilnius, to see E. Bičkauskas, the investigator assigned to the case of Father Svarinskas. The priest once again refused to go for the interrogation.
Investigator Bičkauskas ordered the Lazdijai Rayon Internal Affairs Section to bring Father Zdebskis in by force to the Office of the Lithuanian SSR Prosecutor.
On Sunday, March 20, Father Juozas Zdebskis drove in his own automobile to the church in Kučiūnai which he serves, to celebrate Sunday Mass. On the way he was detained and taken to Lazdijai KGB Headquarters, and from there, by government car, to the Office of the Lithuanian SSR Prosecutor.
Investigator Bičkauskas was interested in two questions: What could the individual under interrogation tell him about Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, and the activities of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights. Father Zdebskis refused to testify to either question. Asked what he could say about who had burned him a few years ago, Father Zdebskis advised the interrogator to inquire of the responsible organs, which have the necessary information about that crime.
On February 11, 1983, the Associate Pastor of Prienai, Father Antanas Gražulis, was summoned to the Vilnius KGB for interrogation. KGB Captain Rainys asked about Father Alfonsas Svarinskas. Father Gražulis explained that Father Svarinskas is a very good priest. Asked what he thought of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights, he replied that he evaluated them positively, and had decided, when the need arose, to to join it himself. The priest, after his interrogation, refused to sign the report.
On February 8, 1983, (Miss) Monika Gavėnaitė, housekeeper at the rectory in Viduklė, was summoned to Vilnius KGB Headquarters for interrogation. The interrogator, Lieutenant Colonel Zimb-lys, questioned her about underground publications which had been taken from her during a search in 1980: Tiesos Kelias (The Way of Truth), two copies and Ateitis (The Future). The KGB agent was interested in knowing whether (Miss) Gavėnaitė had not written Documents of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights for Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, where the pastor used to send them and what he used to speak about in his sermons. He claimed that she had drafted the text of a protest against the arrest of Father Svarinskas, he inquired about signatures of the faithful gathered earlier and about processions to Šiluva. He considered all of these things offenses against the state.
(Miss) Gavėnaitė stated that they would never be able to communicate, since they saw the same actions in a different light.
On February 9, (Miss) Gavėnaitė was interrogated by Lieutenant Colonel Urbonas. Investigator Vidzėnas took from the woman under interrogation samples of handwriting and typescript for analysis. Around noon, two chekists, Pilelis and Zimblys, took (Miss) Gavėnaitė to Viduklė where they picked up Father Svarinskas' internal passport, his draft registration and, at the pastor's request, English and Italian grammars.
On February 10, 1983, four militiamen stopped Kybartai church organist Birutė Briliūtė on the street, and accused her of violating "passport regulations". As a matter of fact, Birutė Briliūtė did not live in Kybartai permanently, but only came in to work. The officials took (Miss) Briliūtė to the Vilkaviškis Militia Department. Here she was met by chekist Kononenko, who tried to convince her that she was being detained justly. The militia chief was not there, and his assistant did not know what to do. Militiaman Kazlauskas consulted with the KGB and ordered (Miss) Briliūtė to come to the department the next day, bringing her work contract with her. When she showed him her work contract, the militiaman threw up his hands in hopelessness, saying, "Now I don't know what to do!" When he recovered, he ran to consult with the chekists.
On February 11, Birutė Briliūtė had hardly crossed the threshhold of the Chief of Militia, when she was met with a stream of profanity. After this introduction, the crudely cursing official demanded her passport and her work contract. (Miss) Briliūtė wished to know who this character was, cursing so expertly, and asked that he show her his personal identification. His face distorted with anger, the official made fun of (Miss) Briliūtė, saying that they should get rid of women like her.
After this, he summoned three women who carried out a personal search on (Miss) Briliūtė. Now there was not one, but there were four individuals ridiculing and insulting her. (Miss) Briliūtė decided that she would be unable to prove that she was neither a "toad" nor a "churchmouse" (as she was called by the officials) and therefore, it was better for her to maintain complete silence.
When he tired of ridiculing her, the Chief of Militia ordered Militiaman Kazlauskas to write up one complaint "for attacking the life, health and dignity of an official," and to sentence her to fifteen days under arrest; and a second complaint "for violation of passport regulations". When the summonses were finished, (Miss) Briliūtė was taken to court. Judge Slenfuktas began to hold forth, saying that all church workers are vagrants. When (Miss) Briliūtė asked to sign the court decision, the judge replied, "You're not going to get any document. Go and deposit twenty rubles to the government account in the bank. If you ask anything else you really will get fifteen days.
On February 14, (Miss) Briliūtė sent the republic prosecutor a complaint, but never received any answer. "No hawk blinds another hawk."
On February 4, 1983 (Miss) Regina Teresiūtė, residing in Kelmė, Laisvės 11, was summoned to Kelmė KGB Headquarters. Militia official Kornikas, who had been waiting for her, demanded that she turn over her internal passport and her work permit (Teresiūtė works in the Kelmė Rayon, at the Žalpiai church). When she showed her documents, the Militia Lieutenant, claiming that her work permit had been gotten by force from the Žalpiai Parish Committee, took them away and ordered her to write an explanation of why she works at the church.
(Miss) Teresiūtė explained that she picks her own place of employment, and so far, working at the church was not forbidden, so she was not about to write any explanations. When she refused to obey, Teresiūtė was taken to the second floor for interrogation. Here, Major Markaitis began to vilify and insult Father Alfonsas Svarinskas. The woman being interrogated was accused of getting tangled up in the snares of a priest-bandit, and of having done work detrimental to the Soviet public. Chekist Markaitis forced Teresiūtė to testify that Father Svarinskas used to send her to bring home the Documents of the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers'
Rights, and literature libeling the Soviet public. He told her that a criminal case had been opened against her, just as it had been against Father Svarinskas.
In the afternoon, Militia Official Komikas again presented himself to (Miss) Teresiūtė, and repeatedly demanded an explanation as to why she works at the church. For her refusal to write an explanation, he threatened to lock her up in a psychiatric hospital, or to put her away for fifteen days. Major Markaitis explained that Teresiūtė worked in Žalpiai, only so that she might be able to see Father Svarinskas, something for which a stern warning had already been written her. Teresiūtė refused to give any information about Father Svarinskas, and the Pastor of the parish in Žalpiai, Father J. Razmantas, or to sign the interrogation report or blank sheets.
At the end of the interrogation, Major Markaitis warned (Miss) Teresiūtė that if, within a month's time she did not get some government work, they would have to meet in prison. The interrogation took almost five hours.
On February 14, 1983, Regina Teresiūtė sent a petition to the Prosecutor of the LSSR, demanding that the Kelmė Rayon KGB return the work papers they had taken from her.
Miroslavas (Alytus Rayon)
On March 29, 1983, Engineer Jonas Janavičius of the "Obe-lija" Collective Farm Security, was summoned to the KGB and questioned about Father Svarinskas. Under interrogation, he testified that Father Svarinskas is a good and zealous priest. Furthermore, Interrogator Apolinaras Tuchin questioned the engineer about the priest-brothers, Antanas and Juozas Gražulis. The investigator stated that Father Antanas Gražulis had come under the influence of bad companions, and if he did not mend his ways, he would be taken to court in the future. The KGB agent asked for help in reeducating this priest. Engineer Janavičius stated that the priest has his own convictions, and there was no need for him to interfere in his affairs. Moreover, the KGB agent, apparently wishing to recruit the engineer, suggested that they meet somewhere. Failing to accomplish anything, he did not even ask the engineer to sign the interrogation report.
Blinstrubiškės (Raseiniai Rayon)
On January 30, 1983, two militiamen and a chekist came to the Blinstrubiškės Home for the Blind and in the Raseiniai Rayon. Accompanied by the Party Organization Secretary of the Home, Head Nurse Irena Kybartienė, they visited the ward in which the invalid (Miss) Stasė Nevardauskaitė lives. From her, they took a petition-protest with signatures, written to the Prosecutor of Lithuania, concerning the arrest of Father Alfonsas Svarinskas. The officials arbitrarily examined (Miss) Nevardauskaitės personal things, read her notes and letters, and warned her that for collecting signatures, she should be throughly "reamed out". She just might have to leave the home for the blind.
On February 1, the Raseiniai Rayon Party Secretary vilified Father Alfonsas Svarinskas to residents, gathered for lunch in the dining room of the Blinstrubiškės Home, calling him a "terrible person", for whom a most suitable place was prison. After the "lecture", the Rayon Party Secretary, Director of the Home Eugenijus Zaikauskas and Head Nurse Kybartienė questioned patient Neverdauskaitė about where she had received the text of the petition-protest. He explained that the Church was separated from the state, and those living in government facilities have no right, without the director's permission, to write any petitions, and especially not collective petitions.
They tried to convince listeners that Father Svarinskas had libeled Soviet life, insulted people, etc. To (Miss) Nevardauskaitė's request for a specific explanation of Father Svarinskas' offense, since on the basis of the allegation that he was a detractor and insulting, it is impossible to understand a person's offense, the Rayon Party Secretary had no concrete answer, except that on All Soul's Evenings, Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, together with believers, went from the church to the cemetery in organized fashion to pray for the dead.
On February 3, 1983, (Miss) Nevardauskaitė, a resident of the home, sent a petition to the Central Committee of the Communist Party in Lithuania. Following is an abridged text of the petition:
"We were deeply shocked by the news that government officials had arrested the respected and beloved Pastor of Viduklė, Father Alfonsas Svarinskas. We all know well tht he is innocent. Thousands of the faithful witnessed by their signatures that he is a good priest. It is not understandable why he has the lable of 'anti-Soviet' attached to him, why he is called a calumniator, an insulter and an instigator . . . Why they are using legal procedures to get rid of him. If Father Svarinskas says that believing and non-believing citizens should be treated equally by the government, this is no crime.
"Why the truth displeases our government is impossible to understand, but it is also impossible to remain silent when a priest is put away in jail for speaking the truth.
"The insulting behavior of government agents in arresting Father Svarinskas, and afterwards, the pressure begun against resident shows how justice and humanity are respected among us . . ."
Kapčiamiestis (Lazdijai Rayon)
On the morning of February 16, 1983, over the Kapčiamiestis Middle School Building, the beautiful tricolor of freedom waved. On the faces of pupils gathering for class shone a holiday happiness and surprise. The pupils swarmed in the yard, and, not lowering their eyes, they joyfully admired the Lithuanian tricolor which for fifteen minutes, now, had been reminding them of the sacrifices of fighters in the past, their loyalty and inexpressible love for the Land of the Nemunas; it reminded them also of present-day martyrs for the cause of the Church and the nation.
These thoughts were reinforced by one pupil's shouts of, "Lithuania lives and will live!" Arriving at school at 9 o'clock, the Principal, Zenonas Sabalius, immediately telephoned the Lazdijai Militia and the KGB, who ordered the flag torn down at once. Teacher J. Subačius, and the Business Manager of the School, Ališauskas, tore down the tricolor and brought it to the Teachers' Room.
With astronomic speed, the Lazdijai Rayon KGB Agent Algis Gilys showed up in Kapčiamiestis. With Kapčiamiestis District Representative Vladas Kavoliukas, District Chairman J. Lapinskas, and other auxiliaries, he called on Kapčiamiestis resident Juozas Sedeckas, where he examined all the rooms, the yard, stable, store room, and asked to be shown the keys. After questioning briefly the School Custodian, (Mrs.) Sadeckienė, they left.
On February 17, Kapčiamiestis Communal Farm worker, Romas Žibūda, was summoned to the District Militia Department. However, Romas replied, "Anyone who wishes to talk to me can come here. I'm not going."
Immediately, a car arrived at the communal farm workshed, and drove Romas off to the Militia Department.
KGB Agent Gilys asked his assistants to leave the office, and began the conversation.
First he reminded Romas that he would soon have to leave for the Soviet Army. Gilys offered to help have Romas assigned to a better location, nearer home, on condition that the latter would help uncover who had raised the Lithuanian Flag. If, however, he refused to help, he would be sent to perform his military service somewhere in the far north.
He asked whether he goes to church frequently, whether he associates with priests, and whether he had recently visited Vytas and Gintas Sakavičius. Gilys told him when he met these two young men, praised them for their audacity and valour in being able to raise such a flag so high, and to watch how those two would respond and react.
The KGB agent, taking out a piece of the tricolor, gave it to Žibūdas, and carefully asked whether he perhaps had seen one like it somewhere in church.
When Romas denied everything and refused all of his "gestures of good-will", he said he was going to Romas' home to look around, but he did not go. Taking his leave, the KGB agent, as usual, told him to say nothing to anyone about the conversation. He promised they would meet again, and if Romas was successful in gathering information, he was to hand it over to V. Kavoliukas, or to him, in person.
The same day, Linas Sedeckas was summoned to the Lazdijai Militia Department to see Jarmalas. There he was interrogated and an attempt was made to recruit him as an informer.
Eigirdžiai (Telšiai Rayon)
On January 31, 1983, three KGB agents came to see Father Ferdinandas Žilys, the Pastor of Eigirdžiai and Nerimdaičiai, and looked over the books. The KGB agents warned the priest about his sermons delivered in Telšiai, January 30, in which he spoke about the imprisonment of Father Alfonsas Svarinskas. The officials said that Father Jonas Kauneckas had an influence on Father Žilys.
On February 1, 1983, in Middle School III, two KGB agents came to see Seventh Class Teacher Rasa Kačinskytė, and grilled her, asking who in the cathedral supervises the girls who come for adoration. What (Miss) Ona Lazdauskaitė, who looked after the procession, said when speaking to the children, etc. (Miss) Lazdauskaitė, as well as Father Jonas Kauneckas, were calumniated, and called criminals.
The Militia Lieutenant, (Mrs.) Dapkuvienė, (not Dapkunienė as reported in the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, No. 56) who had participated in the search of Father Kauneckas' quarters, ridiculed in all sorts of ways, some girls who came to visit the housekeeper, (Miss) Činskytė, during the search.
Taking one girl to the kitchen, the militiawoman demanded that she remove her dress. When the girl refused, Dapkuvienė reached beneath her underwear. She was taken to the Militia Station, interrogated for a long time, and released only at two o'clock in the morning. They offered to drive her home, but the girl refused, "I'm not going to ride with those who humiliate people like that."
Upyna (Šilalė Rayon)
On January 31, 1983, (Mrs.) Stefa Radzevičienė, the wife of the District Chairman, summoned Tenth Class student Vilma Kinderytė from the school dormitory. Not far away from the dormitory stood a KGB trickster.
Inviting the girl to get into the automobile, the KGB agent (who did not give his name); asked whether in Church on Sundays, the Pastor had not spoken about Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, the Pastor of Viduklė, who had been arrested. Then the chekist dictated to Vilma Kinderytė, the following text:
"The Pastor of Upyna, Father Vytautas Skiparis, spoke from the pulpit about Father Alfonsas Svarinskas. Signatures were taken up, requesting that Father Svarinskas be released." The girl wrote what was dictated, and signed it.
On February 4, 1983, (Miss) V. Kingerytė (sic), was summoned to the Šilalė Rayon Communist Youth Organization Committee. When she arrived, Vilma was greeted pleasantly by the same KGB agent. The agent, among other questions, asked (Miss) Kingerytė, "Why do you go to church? Why did you join the Communist Youth Organization? . . ."
The girl replied that religion is not forbidden in the Soviet Union, and that she had joined the Communist Youth League on one condition: "When I want to, I will go to church".
The KGB agent, seeing that the schoolgirl had not been shaken, warned her: "I wanted to have a civil talk with you. You'll be sorry!"
On February 25, 1983, in the office of the Principal at the Vitkauskas School in Vilkaviškis, Chekist Kononenko interrogated Vilma Brazauskaitė (Eighth Class) and Arvydas Juška (Ninth Class), about signing a petition regarding persecution of youth. The pupils were interrogated about who gathered the signatures, and whether they themselves had signed the aforesaid petition. Both pupils refused to answer the questions, or to sign the interrogation report. Assistant Principal, (Mrs.) Kurmienė, called Vilma Brazauskaitė crazy, and threatened to take her to a psychiatric hospital.
On February 26, pupil Brazauskaitė was again interrogated, and again she refused to tell anything.
At 11:00 AM on March 10, 1983, (Mrs.) Monika Savilionienė, a resident of the Village of Ingavangis, and (Mrs.) Anelė Liniaus-kienė, a resident in the Village of Kleboniškis, were summoned to the Prienai Rayon KGB Substation. KGB Agent Liutkevičius asked the women why they signed a petition defending rights of the youth, since the petition was libelous. The women explained that it is the duty of the leaders to defend youth.
On March 5, 1983, in the Prienai KGB Substation, Investigator Liutkevičius questioned (Mrs.) Regina Buzienė about a petition in which the persecuted, believing youth of Lithuania is defended. He asked who collected the signatures. Then he explained that in the petition, Soviet reality was smeared. He mentioned, for example, that the petition stated that one student, on account of her religion, was not allowed to receive her diploma of higher studies, when in reality, she did receive it, and is presently working in Kaunas. (Mrs.) Buzienė explained that when the petition was signed, the student in question was a victim of discrimination and now, perhaps the mistake has been corrected.
Investigator Liutkevičius said that (Mrs.) Buzienė was questioned as a witness in the case of (Mrs.) Jadvyga Bieliauskienė. (Trans, note — Sentenced in May, 1983 to four years loss of freedom and three years internal exile.)
March 1-5, 1983, a chekist from the Tauragė KGB Substation, together with a few militiamen from Skaudvilė, poked around the apartments of Skaudvilė residents and terrorized people, demanding that they write statements about signing a petition concerning the persecution of the believing youth of Lithuania. Those who refused to write statements were threatened with three years of imprisonment.
In February, 1983, chekists from the Vilkaviškis Subdivision of the KGB questioned many faithful from Vilkaviškis, Kybartai and elsewhere, asking whether they had signed the petition in which the believing youth of Lithuania was defended. The KGB agents claimed that, on account of that petition, a criminal case had been initiated. Questioning the faithful, the KGB agents had photocopies of pages, with signatures; some of the signatures which were readily legible were underlined in red. The faithful responded variously to the question whether they had signed the aforesaid petition: Some would confirm their own signature, others would deny it, and still others would make no statement at all.