At the end of March, 1973, four persons were arrested in Kaunas:
1. Povilonis, Vidmantas, engineer
2. Sakalauskas, Antanas, instructor at the Civil Engineering Department of the Polytechnical Institute
3. Žukauskas, Šarūnas, sixth-year student at the Medical Institute
4. Rudaitis, physician.
In mid-April Juozas Rugys was arrested. Type was found during the search.
Viktoras Kruminis, a fourth-year student at the Polytechnical Institute, was expelled from the Institute.
The mother of V. Povilonis appealed to the secretary of the Central Committee of the Lithuanian Communist party requesting the release of her son. The LSSR Procurator's Office informed her that V. Povilonis had been arrested and was being prosecuted for committing an especially grievous offense. He had allegedly belonged to a group anti-Soviet in nature and in February, 1972, had distributed anti-Soviet proclamations in Kaunas.
With the approach of the 1973 Easter holiday, it was announced in the schools of Kaunas that on April 22 would be held a Communist bee. The students rebelled. They offered to work on other days, only not during Easter. In some schools this bee was moved to an earlier date, but in others—
On April 20, 1973, [Mrs.] Stanionienė, a teacher at Kaunas Eight-Year School No. 2, threatened the children: "Don't any of you go to church on Easter Sunday because policemen will be standing there and will arrest all of you." One girl answered: "I'll go to church with my mommy and daddy—they'll protect me from the police!"
On Easter morning, 1973, a Leninist bee was organized in the schoolyard at the A. Mickevičius Secondary School in Kaunas. The children were forced to dig in the school's garden and to clean up the area around the school. Believers coming back from Resurrection services, tried to shame the teacher: "Aren't you ashamed of forcing children to work on such a day? If you don't respect our holy-days, then at least honor your Lenin. After all, today is his birthday."
At Secondary School No. 25, not one pupil from the eighth class showed up at the Communist bee on Easter.
In the showcase at the Young Communist League School No. 1, an announcement was displayed for an entire week to the effect that a bee was scheduled for Sunday, April 22. When teachers and students objected, the bee was moved up to Holy Saturday.
Flowers were not taken to the Lenin Monument from Eight-year School No. 2 on April 22 since very few students showed up.
At Salomėja Nėris School, the teachers who had dismissed students early from the bee were rebuked by the principal.
When it was announced at Secondary School No. 12 that a bee was to be held on April 22, the upperclassmen said they would not come; thus only students of classes five to seven had to "assist" during Easter. In some classes teachers threatened the children that those who would not come to the bee would be turned over to the authorities, that they would receive Unsatisfactory as their conduct grade, etc. Those who did not participate in the bee on Easter Day had to bring written explanations from their parents. The teachers tried to excuse themselves by saying that the order to organize the bee on April 22 had come from higher up.
At Secondary School No. 30 teachers and students objected to the bee that was being organized for Easter Day. The principal explained that the order had come from the Department of Public Education. At first she threatened to "deal with" recalcitrant students, and when this failed to help matters, she asked them in a friendly way to show up at the bee. A remark was entered in students' daily journals to the effect that the son or daughter had to be present at the bee on Sunday. Those who did not take part in the bee had to present written explanations, and their parents were asked to come and explain why they had not let their children participate in the bee.
Stašaitis, the inspector of the Panemunė District Department of Public Education, retorted to those teachers who had suggested changing the date for the Communist bee: "What? Are we going to accommodate ourselves to their holidays? Let them accommodate themselves to ours."
The committee of the Kaunas city Party organization sent pedagogues-spies to observe the students who came to church on Easter and to record the sermons of the priests. The observers had to make written reports.
This tactless organizing of a Communist bee during Easter once again demonstrated how powerless atheists are and made the students reflect on the values of ideas which are urged upon them in such a manner.
As the first anniversary of the tragic death of Romas Kalanta neared, uneasiness could be felt in Kaunas. The streets are full of policemen and civil patrolmen. Security officials are constantly on guard at the city park. Students have been ordered not to be seen on the avenue Laisvės Alėja on May 14. Plans are afoot to send a number of students out of Kaunas during the anniversary.
On December 19, 1972, a parents' meeting was called at Kaunas Secondary School No. 12. A lecturer from the Polytechnical Institute presented an atheistic lecture in which he rebuked parents for teaching religion to their children. Unable to bear the tactlessness of the lecturer, some parents declared out loud that the lecturer should stop lying and speaking nonsense. A commotion arose in the hall. The lecturer continued to speak, saying that some parents hold backward views and are incapable of raising their children properly. He praised the children who "come to their senses" and consider their parents ignorant and mistaken. A storm of indignation arose in the hall.
"Who gave the school administrators the right to set children against their parents?" asked one father.
"I don't believe in God, but I was filled with disgust upon hearing a speech like that," spoke one mother.
The lecturer continued to "enlighten" the parents, telling them that husbands find it impossible to live with believing wives, and wives, with believing husbands. Once again a great uproar arose in the hall. Principal V. Kamaitis could endure this no longer and suggested that anyone who did not like what he was hearing could leave. When the commotion would not subside, the "enlighteners" had to depart from the hall. As the principal was leaving, he declared that in the future he would continue his all-out efforts to turn the students into atheists. If he found it impossible to re-educate some of the students, then he would note in their school records that they were atheistically unenlightened.
In this school the students are "enlightened" in other ways also, for instance, Mačys, the art teacher, gave his students the assignment to draw something antireligious, such as priests blessing soldiers going off to Vietnam or collecting contributions from pensioners, etc. During his next lesson with these students, he gave nearly all those students who had not drawn something illustrating this topic a failing grade, but a prize was promised for the "best" drawings.
During a lecture to sixth-class students [Miss] M. Babeckaite, a teacher, recounted that Christ was a legendary person and that in the past priests used to frighten children by threatening them that God might pull out their tongues through the top of their heads if they would not obey the priest.
Here are the results of the upbringing provided by the secondary school headed by Principal V. Kamaitis: a pregnant eighth-class schoolgirl was expelled from school. In that same year, one evening in November after classes, the parents themselves discovered an entire group of sixth-class students—boys and girls—behaving indecently in the art room. Similar instances are nothing new in this school.
Parents are greatly concerned and wonder whether such teachers should be entrusted with the education of their children.
The Rev. V. Pesliakas received a reply from one bishop to his letter which had been sent to H.E. Bishop J. Labukas and several other bishops.
This reply is presented here, but the bishop's name will not be publicized:
"Dear Father Vytautas,
"I received a copy of your declaration to Bishop J. Labukas on October 10 of this year. I am convinced that you, as an exemplary priest and faithful son of the Church, are not reproaching your Bishop or expressing your disobedience to him with this declaration but are only seeking to elucidate the distressing situation of our bishops, ecclesiastical administrators, priests, and the faithful because of the flagrant interference by governmental organs, namely by Rugienis, the commissioner of the Council for Religious Affairs, in the internal life of the Church in our country and into its administrative matters.
"In his articles and statements, which of course are mostly intended for foreign countries, the commissioner of the Council for Religious Affairs attempts to portray himself as an innocent lambkin. According to him, the hierarchy of the Church handles the clerical appointments, and he does not interfere in this at all.
"Your case is new and supplementary proof that all such statements by him are only propagandistic lies and hypocrisy.
"By whose will, if not Rugienis' was Father Šeškevičius, who worked in the Kaišiadorys Diocese, banished to the Telšiai Diocese? Father Juozas Zdebskis of the Vilkaviškis Diocese is also being banished to the Telšiai Diocese, not because the bishops will it, but due to Comrade Rugienis' ominous ruling that he would not be permitted to work anywhere else.
"It will be interesting to see how Comrade Rugienis will try to justify himself in his desire to cover up his brazen interference in the internal matters of the Church now that the facts of Fathers Šeškevičius' and Zdebskis' banishment are evident and Bishop Labukas has clearly affirmed that "Rugienis demanded that you be removed from your duties and appointed to Viduklė.' Bishop Krikščiūnas has also confirmed this: 'You do your work well, but you should realize that Bishop Labukas will not leave two dioceses and travel to Žagarė on your account.'
"Dear Father Vytautas, it can be argued whether you should or should not have written this declaration, but I think it serves the cause of the Church at least insofar as it reveals the unjustifiable interference of government organs in the internal life of the Church. These things are very painful for us all, and especially for you since they affect you personally. But let us not lose heart. Let us continue to hope the time will come when they themselves will realize that in this manner they are harming themselves and thus deign to normalize their relationship with the Church, as has happened in Poland, Hungary, and in other socialist countries.
"I pray for you. I wish you spiritual perseverance, strength, and every possible grace from the Lord.
November 2, 1972"
THE DIOCESE OF TELŠIAI
On April 18, 1973, the Tauragė Rayon procurator summoned [Miss] Agota Savickaitė, the church vestment launderess, and confronted her with the following accusations: that she catechizes, that she dresses girls for processions, that she even distributes churchly veils out on the street and invites people in to worship. "If this continues in the future, we'll see that you're provided with governmental bread for the rest of your life," threatened the procurator, and he forced her to sign a pledge that she would reform.
On April 14, 1973, the English-language instructor at the Vaitimėnai eight-year school summoned all the students to a meeting. Although she had said she would tell them about spring work in the fields, nevertheless, when the students had gathered, she began to speak against God and the faith. After she finished speaking, she told students to raise their hands if they attend church. All the students raised their hands except for the forester's daughters. The atheistic teacher flushed and was at a loss for words, but one student spoke up: "Your God is Lenin—go to Moscow, but we have been going to church and will continue to go."
On December 24, 1972, when the eleventh-class students at Klaipėda Secondary School No. 4 were forced to come to class in the daytime on Christmas Eve (a Sunday), each one of them placed a little Christmas tree on his desk. Learning about this, the school administration ordered the Christmas trees to be removed immediately. The students were upbraided and called ignorant and backward. After the administrators had left, the students again pulled out the little Christmas trees from their desks and, as they were leaving for home, asked their friends from the second shift not to touch them.
In February, 1973, in the parish of Kretinga one J. Daukša died. The children of the deceased decided to bury their devout father with Catholic ceremonies, however, Ke-corius, his son-in-law, head of the Kretinga education department, wanted an atheistic funeral and denounced his own relatives to the Kretinga city authorities. Summoning the pastor of the parish in Kretinga, the Party committee forbade him to participate in the funeral procession to the cemetery.
THE DIOCESE OF PANEVĖŽYS
On March 27, 1973, Kalkys, chairman of the Auksinė Varpa Collective Farm, summoned N. Radviliškis Parochial Committee Chairman Petras Šimukėnas, and commanded him to take two other parochial committeemen and go to see H.E. Bishop Sladkevičius, who presently lives in exile in N. Radviliškis, and accuse him of preaching sermons against the authorities, of passing information abroad, of catechizing children, and of administering the sacrament of confirmation. The chairman even threatened Šimukėnas that if he would not carry out this order, he would not be provided any pasture for his animals.