Lately, life has become much more difficult for prisoners as have their ties with their loved ones. It is three years now since Father Alfonsas Svarinskas has been granted a visit with his people. According to laws currently in effect, he is due one long (2-3 days) and two short (2 hours) visits. Letters from Father Svarinskas have not come since June. His family inquired of the camp administration why they do not receive letters from the prisoner. Camp administrators, as if wishing to ridicule, replied "Ask the prisoner himself why he does not write." Father Svarinskas' last letter to reach Lithuania was written June 25, received August 28 (1986).
From Father Sigitas Tamkevičius' letters:
'Today, my thoughts fly to the not too distant past. Three years have gone by since that day when on May 5, having offered the unbloody Sacrifice of the Lord, I left home... A long journey awaited me, on which God alone can accompany one. It is comforting to think that many join me in prayer. At all times, I feel at my side Him who called Himself the Way, the Truth and the Life. And for one who possesses the Truth, knows the Way and is on the way not to death, but to Life, the sky should be clear at all times. I am convinced that the road to life with God over the Urals is neither longer nor worse than other roads...
The spirit of May is with me even here. How precious were May evenings throughout twenty years of pastoral work. In spirit, I visit all those places where I worked, I visit the young and the old and wish for them all that their love for Mary, the Mother of God, be very lively in their hearts. I pray for all my former parishioners, that God would give increase to that which I once sowed imperfectly. I would like to bring many to Christ. I would like to share with everyone the joy, the spiritual treasure, to which I generously helped myself at the feet of our Heavenly Mother. How good it is today to recall those evenings when hundreds of voices like one single family would sing Sveika Marija, Motina Dievo (Hail Mary, Mother of God) ...
Once again, thank you for everything. How good it is to know that in our small nation, there are so many big hearts. God grant that this most Christian mark — doing good to one's neighbor, should be alive in the heart of every fellow countryman.
P.S. According to regulations, when a prisoner has carried out half his sentence, his case is reviewed. Ordinarily, if a prisoner has not transgressed against prison or camp regimen, his sentence is shortened or commuted, but that is applied only to criminal offenders. For political prisoners or those sentenced on account of their religion, the prison administration and KGB use this "resentencing" as another attempt to break a person's will, his personal convictions and to force him, after renouncing his views, to submit an appeal for clemency in writing. Such an attempt which people call "brainwashing" was carried out with Father Sigitas Tamkevičius. July 29- 30, he was delivered from Perm to the KGB office in Vilnius. Here he was held until August 29. According to Father Tamkevičius, the chekists treated him with courtesy and respect.
In an attempt to arouse a greater longing for liberty, Father Sigitas Tamkevičius was shown three videotapes of church life in Lithuania, one of which was a recording of the ceremonies in connection with the solemn inauguration of His Excellency, Bishop Juozas Preikšas, in the Cathedral of Kaunas. On August 19,20 and 21, Father Tamkevičius was allowed two hours each to visit with his brothers and with his former housekeeper, Miss Ona Dranginytė.
Duringthe visits with his people, FatherTamkevičius stated that he had refused to write a petition for clemency because it was ob -vious that he would go free only in the event that for some political reason or other, they "throw me out of the gates of KGB headquarters".
On August 29, Father Tamkevičius was sent by prisoner transport from Vilnius back to Perm, and after a journey which lasted two weeks, was brought to his earlier place of imprisonment; he was put to work just as earlier, in the kitchen.
Father Jonas-Kąstytis Matulionis writes:
I thank you for the letters — those which have reached me and those which have not and have been returned to you... The writer Chingiz Aitmatov writes in the magazine Literaturnaya Gazieta (August 13,1986), "The immortality of a nation lies in preservation of its language. Each nation treasures its own language. Each one of us must sense a filial obligation to the nation which has reared us to preserve the purity of the language it has given us, and to enrich it..."
After more than half a year of correspondence in my native language, the camp administration informed me that they do not have a translator and that henceforth, it would be possible to correspond only in the Russian language. I doubt whether this is the only reason which made the administration take such measures. (Father Matulionis refused to submit a request for clemency. — Ed. Note) I am sorry for my sister... she knows no Russian at all...
Fall is approaching... the scenery here is wonderfully beautiful. With God providing the strength, I have no complaints about my health — may His holy will be done! I know that our homeland is presently celebrating the religious festival of Šiluva. In spirit I am trying to take part in it myself. May the blessing of Mary, the Mother of God be with you at all times. My heartfelt greetings and best wishes to everyone, everyone who remembers me.
P.S. On July 31,1986, Father Jonas Kąstytis Matulionis was visited in prison in far-off Trans-Baikal-Chita by his sister, Albina Kibiltienė, his former housekeeper Miss Monika Galeckaitė and Miss Bronė Kibickaitė. Only his sister and Miss Kibickaitė were allowed to visit the imprisoned priest. Two days later, releasing them from prison, the camp administration searched the women who had participated in the visit. Miss Kibickaitė was forced to disrobe completely and directed to carry out certain exercises, even though prison personnel walked back and forth just beyond glass doors. This was terrible moral mockery. During the search, a prayerbook and other books were taken from Miss Kibickaite. They were not allowed to hand over any food to Father Matulionis. His spirits were cheerful, even though his health is poor and the conditions are very difficult.
From Docent Vytautas Skuodis, confined in the Mordovia camp, his relatives have not received any letters since June. (Vytautas Skuodis has since been released and arrived in the United States on September 8,1987 — Trans. Note) According to information available, Docent Vytautas Skuodis on September 8, 1986, Lithuanian National Day, sent the Attorney General of the USSR a petition in which he indicates that he considers the exile into which political prisoners are sent to be murder-genocide.
Balys Gajauskas is incarcerated in Perm, in special regime Camp BC-389-36. His term ends April 20, 1987. Irena Gajauskiene, his wife, had her last personal visit with her husband in 1984 and a general visit in June, 1985. Since June, 1986 (almost five months), relatives have not received any letters from Balys Gajauskas. To questions concerning undelivered letters and visits, the prison administration responds: "...We inform you that for infringement of camp rules, visiting privileges have been suspended for Citizen Gajauskas. Regarding questions about correspondence, please address Citizen Gajauskas." It is signed by Camp Chief Domatov; sometimes the signature is illegible.
Recent news has reached Lithuania that Balys Gajauskas has been seriously injured, stabbed in the chest near the heart, and he has been hospitalized for two months. Mrs. Gajauskienė, wishing to find out more details about the condition of her husband's
health and the misfortune which occurred, sent a telegram to the camp administration. The inquiry was answered as follows: 'The state of Balys Gajauskas' health is satisfactory."
From a letter of Povilas Pečeliūnas:
This year, I am receiving very few letters, not only from abroad but also from Lithuania..
The ending is uncompromising: here is the guiding star which will not allow one to lose one's way, and from this flows per-severence. I have nothing more interesting that I can write. What can be special in this gray loneliness, almost an island among forests, swamps and water. And this in the north of Siberia.
What do I need most? Oxygen! For me, with my low blood pressure, this is truly not much, but is it not the most important thing? Patience, perseverence and as little thinking about oneself as possible. After all, it's worse for others.
Vladas Lapienis writes:
There is no need to fear for the future because like this day, so all others come from God. If days of unpleasantness, trouble, humiliation and suffering come, let us be calm: The Lord is coming! He brings the chalice of suffering, and with it He brings even more grace, light and great strength to do all things with love: to suffer, to thank and to win.
From Algirdas Patackas' Biography
Algirdas Patackas was born on September 8, 1943, in Trakiai. In 1965, he completed studies at the Polytechnic Institute, Department of Chemical Technology, worked a few years in industry and afterwards, went to work as a junior scientific associate at the Vilnius Institute of Chemistry where he did research for his doctoral dissertation. Constantly persecuted by the KGB, Patackas became persona non grata to the institute administration: it was suggested that he transfer to the Geological Institute and from there, he was released after less than a year on account of budget cut-backs.
In 1976, a raid was carried out on Patackas, the pretext for which was the ties he maintained with Lithuanians living in Byelorussia. In 1982, dismissed from work, Patackas found employment cutting hay with a scythe and clearing ditches in the woods. During the winter, he cleared the city streets. In this way, Patackas worked right up until his arrest July 29,1986.
On May 22, during a raid, much religious and national literature was taken from Algirdas Patackas: J. Cicėnas' Paskutinė auka (The Final Sacrifice), the pamphlet „Kunigui A. Jakavoniui" ('To Father A. Jakavonis"), the article — a letter to the bishops, „Krikščionybė ir sąskaita" ("Christianity and Purity"), a collection of articles, „Ethos — baltų kultūra ir savisąmonė" ('The Culture and Self-image of the Baits"), typescripts of poems by Kazys Bradūnas, a manuscript Lietuvos krikštas kaip esminis baltų istorijos posūkis (Baptism as the Decisive Turn in the History of the Baits), a samizdat book Seinių Suvalkų kraštas (The Region of Seiniai Suvalkai), a map of Lithuania, seven tape cassettes, various photographs and small pictures and an old crucifix by Svirskis.
From Algirdas Patackas' father, Antanas Patackas, forty various publications were taken, among them: Birštono-prelato K.
Olšausko byla (The Birštonas-Monsignor K. Olšauskas Case), Motiejus Gustaitis, Šeini Suvalkų kraštas, Palaimintasis Mykolas Giedraitis (Blessed Mykolas Giedraitis), Vyskupas Mečislovas Reinys (Bishop Mečislovas Reinys), a typewriter, many photos, etc.
Algirdas Patackas was indicted on the basis of criminal code Par. 199, Art. ID, accused of producing and disseminating 'libelous" underground literature, organizing lectures on topics concerning Baltic culture and religion, gathering material concerning "bourgeoise nationalists", organizing a reception for political prisoner Petras Plumpa in his apartment, etc.