Father Josef Svidnicki, a priest of Novosibirsk, sentenced last year, is in prison at the following address:
Novosibi rsk Kuibyshev UF 91-12 ostr. 6 brigada 61 Ind. 632350
Friends who visited him February 2, report that although Father Josef is, as always, in good spirits, his health has significantly worsened; in their words, he looks as though he had been taken down from the cross. The food is very poor, packages are looted by criminals, and recently, the priest has had a heart attack. Formerly he worked in the kitchen, but now he has been transferred to other work; he is hauling lumber. He Is allowed to see visitors only through a glass partition, and to speak to them only in Russian.
On October 24, 1985, five militiamen came to see ethnographer Jonas Ruzas, and presenting a search warrant, proceeded to carry out the search for about three hours. After that, ten KGB agents came and once more pulled the whole room apart. The chekists concealed their names; it later became apparent that one of them was named Skudas. The KGB agents confiscated a small printing press, became interested in the officially published poems of Tvardovskl, and said that they had come to confiscate and destroy the memoirs of Vaidulis and threatened Ruzas that if he did not assemble all six copies of the memoirs, he would get five years in prison. Ruzas located one or two copies of the memoirs and turned them into the KGB. After the raid, they took Ruzas and his wife away for questioning. The next day, they were interrogated again.
V i d u k l ė (Raseiniai Rayon)
On November 30, 1985, Mrs. M. Saukienė, a resident of Viduklė, was summoned to KGB Headquarters in Raseiniai. An investigator accused Mrs. Saukiene of some sort of terrible crime committed in May, 1984, as she lay in the hospital of Raseiniai. It seems that this great "crime" was considered to be the fact that the patient had with her a rosary, a notebook with some prayers and in it, a photograph of Father Alfonsas Svarinskas. The chekists railed at the subject of the interrogation, demanding to know how she could carry about with her and even show to others the photograph of such a great criminal. "You're not even allowed to pray for him!" shouted the KGB agent who had not revealed his name.
The woman explained that the priest was not a criminal, but the victim of atheists' Iies and calumny. "We believers pray not only for priest-prisoners, but for all those astray, among them, you KGB agents," said Mrs. Saukiene.
The woman reminded the chekists that the govenment should amnesty Father Svarinskas for she herself had taken on the war against drunkenness which the priest had begun. Furious, the KGB agent accused Father Svarinskas of murder. The investigator considered it a crime that Mrs. Saukiene, while in the hospital, had publicly told of Father Svarinskas' trial in ViInius.
The chekist was interested in knowing how the subject under interrogation rated the pope's activities, and he said that the election of Paul II as pope had been a serious mistake and he guaranteed that in Lithuania it would never be the way it was in Poland. The interrogation lasted two hours.
On October 3, 1985, Miss Adelė Jucevičiūtė, a resident of Viduklė, was summoned to the rayon. The KGB chief asked how she had dared to pray aloud in church for the incarcerated pastor of the parish, Father Alfonsas Svarinskas, and for other arrested priests and prisoners. The chekist affirmed that it was not permitted in church to pray aloud for state criminals such as the arrested priests.
The girl explained that neither she nor the other parishioners know of any crimes on the part of Father Alfonsas Svarinskas or the other priest-prisoners. On the contrary, they saw only their self-sacrificing work, patience and struggle against drunkenness. Thanks to Father Svarinskas, most people in the parish do not use intoxicating drinks on the occasions of funerals or memorial services. And who can measure how much they have helped the faithful?
The KGB agent persisted, saying that the Constitution forbids audible prayer In church, and he demanded that she sign a pledge saying that she would not pray anymore. Miss Jucevičiūtė protested, saying that since childhood she had been praying at home and In church, that she would go on doing so, and that she would not sign any pledge.
The investigator was interested in knowing whether the young woman listens to Vatican Radio broadcasts. She said that she did and asked whether it was illegal. The KGB agent said that listening was permitted, only it was forbidden for two people to discuss the broadcasts they had heard or draw conclusions from them.
On March 25, Adelė Jucevičiūtė was again summoned to KGB headquarters. Once again, there were the same questions and threats, but the girl did not make any pledges, either verbally or in writing.