THE KOMSOMOL CONVENTION
In mid-February, 1974, the Eighteenth Convention of the Komsomol Leninist Young Communist League of Lithuania, held in Vilnius, devoted particular attention to the Communistic education of the young. First Secretary of the Central Committee of the League, V. Baltrūnas, boasted of the results that have been achieved in educating the youth in the spirit of patriotism and internationalism. According to Baltrūnas, the all-Union campaign to mark and preserve places of note relating to the revolutionary battles and deeds of the Soviet workers had produced favorable results. During the three-year campaign, the participants dedicated about 150 obelisks and memorial tablets, and furnished a total of 678 museums, memorial rooms, and smaller sites honoring those who had participated in the struggle. In the future the special task of the Komsomol and Pioneer organizations would be to instill in the youth a respect for and loyalty to their multinational homeland.
In his address Lithuanian Communist party Central Committee Secretary A. Barkauskas stated: "Each collective must plan for the internationalistic and patriotic education of its youth, making more intelligent and inventive use of the examples of the revolutionary movement and of the Great War of the Fatherland, of museum exhibits, exhibitions, meetings with Red Army soldiers, veterans, former members of the underground, and of organized trips to historical sites of past struggles and triumphs."
Both speakers condemned so-called nationalism. Experience shows, however, that it is useless to attempt to vilify or eradicate the history of a nation while attempting to legitimize its occupation as a "heroic achievement of the populace." For example, the youth and students of Lithuania never neglect to mark in some way February 16 [Lithuanian Independence Day—tr.]. As many as three of the yellow-green-red flags of independent Lithuania were flown in Alytus; in Jonava proclamations were distributed, etc.
A. Barkauskas said that "the enemy is stubbornly trying to maintain a torrent of lies about alleged violations of human rights in the Soviet Union and attempting to arouse national discontent and encourage religious fanaticism."
For two years the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania has been documenting the violations of human rights in Lithuania. If these are lies, then why have the Soviet propagandists not denied any of the facts which have been cited in this publication?
The Lithuanians respect people of other nationalities, but they cannot remain detached when the past of their nation is derided under the guise of the evils of "nationalism," or while denationalization is carried out under the guise of "internationalism."
The Secretary of the Central Committee of the Lithuanian Communist party did not overlook the opportunity to denounce once again Nobel Prizewinner Alexander Solzhenitsyn, whom he called a traitor, a renegade, and a degenerate.
As for the Catholics of Lithuania, they salute and pray for this fine author. Solzhenitsyn's work The Gulag Archipelago reminded many Catholics of Lithuania of the sufferings they themselves or their parents had endured in prison camps, prisons, or during exile. Solzhenitsyn serves as an example to the Catholics of Lithuania of how one should love one's country and truth, and refuse to surrender to violence.
The participants of the Komsomol convention were urged to devote more attention to antireligious activities.
"It is essential," exhorted Baltrūnas, "to use all the means at the Komsomol's disposal to deal with the clergy's attempts to influence youth, and essential to struggle as a matter of principle against every example of religiosity on the part of youth."
"It is most annoying that some young people about to be married still avail themselves of the services of a clergyman," complained Barkauskas. "Of course, what is even more disturbing is that Party and Young Communist League members also avail themselves of these services."
The Catholics of Lithuania would salute the members of the Young Communist League if they directed their efforts to the struggle against what is truly evil. For example, at the present time about 10 liters (10.56 quarts) of whiskey, 14 liters of wine and 30 liters of beer, as well as entire rivers of moonshine are consumed by the average resident of Lithuania.
"We have something to show," Barkauskas boasted. "We have strong arguments for each and every discussion. Truth is on our side."
For some reason this "truth" must be upheld by force and violence. Since November, 1973, the broadcasts of Radio Vatican have been severely jammed in an effort to prevent Lithuanian Catholics from hearing any other kind of truth. During searches, the security agents confiscate even prewar magazines in an effort to keep them from impairing the Soviet "truth." Believers have been arrested, interrogated, and charged with the propagation of non-Soviet truth, i.e., Pliuira, P. Petronis, and J. Stašaitis in late November, 1973.
GROMYKO VISITS THE POPE
In our times it is very fashionable to talk about dialogue. Both Communists and Catholics strive for it. Some time ago the papal nuncio visited Moscow, and on March 24 of this year USSR Foreign Affairs Minister Gromyko called on Pope Paul VI.
What do the Catholics of Lithuania expect from any future dialogue with the Communist government?
The Catholics are convinced that dialogue is necessary, but they are not yielding to any illusions. Dialogue can be useful only when both sides demonstrate good will. The "good will" of the Communist government is evident from the trials of priests charged with the catechization of children, from the incarceration of the believers P. Pliuira, P. Petronis, and J. Stašaitis for producing prayer books and religious literature, from the interrogations of those found with religious literature in their possession, from the prohibition against the filing of complaints with the government in cases where administrative measures have been used to persecute believers, and from the lies to the rest of the world about the situation of Lithuanian Catholics. To date, in dealing with believers the Communist government has made use solely of lies and force. It seems to need this dialogue with the Church only as a means of convincing the Vatican to remain silent about the religious persecution that exists in the Soviet Union in the hope that conditions might eventually be eased for the believers. The purpose of this dialogue is to mislead the world's public opinion into the belief that there truly is religious freedom in the Soviet Union.
(Continued. For the beginning of this listing see the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, no. 8.)
On November 19, 1973, Vytautas Vaičiūnas, an employee of the Kaunas Executive Committee, returned home for lunch at noontime after visiting a number of construction sites in the city. At his home (46 Hippodrome St.) he found an old acquaintance, Povilas Petronis, a former teacher. After about fifteen minutes, an unknown man rang the doorbell. As soon as the host opened his door, six men ran up from the staircase and forced their way into the room. The intruders, who did not identify themselves or produce any documents, took Povilas Petronis away with them. They left, but not all of them—three remained until 6 p.m., when a search of the apartment was begun. In charge of the search was the security agent Major Limauskas, the interrogator for particularly important cases. Vladimiras Gluščevskis and Vladimiras Engelhartas were "witnesses." The security police usually call in their own people to act as witnesses. Since the search could not be completed on November 19, Major Limauskas dismissed the witnesses at 10 p.m. and departed, leaving three security men on guard in Vaičiūnas' apartment. One of them, Vilimas, later interrogated the landlord.
On the following morning, Major Limauskas showed up with another security man and the witnesses. The search was resumed. A few hours later, three security men took Vaičiūnas' wife, Leonora, to a garden house, where she was searched. After searching her, the security police took [Mrs.] Vaičiūnienė to the Kaunas security police headquarters for an interrogation which lasted nine hours. She was interrogated for another seven hours the following day.
Before starting the search, Major Limauskas announced that the decision to search Vaičiūnas' apartment and to seize significant articles and documents had been made on November 14. The search was concluded at 4:20 p.m. The following items were taken:
1. A large number of folders containing religious and anti-alcoholic-beverage articles, among them: "Kataliku tikėjimo pagrindai" [Principles of the Catholic Faith], "Kad kūrentųsi ugnis" [So that the flame may keep burning], "Stebuklai ir tikėjimas" [Miracles and faith], "Kelias į laimę" [The way to happiness], "Degtinė ne atlyginimas" [Whiskey is no reward], "Šventumo keliai" [Pathways of holiness], "Tėvų pavyzdys" [The example set by parents], "Tikėjimo pagrindas" [The foundation of the Faith], "Tikėjimas išgelbėjo" [Saved by faith]—in all, about seventy articles.
2. Numerous sheets of paper containing various notes.
3. The prayer books: Aukštyn širdis [Lift up your hearts], three copies; Jėzus ir aš[Jesus and I], four copies; Prie altoriaus [At the altar], four copies.
4. Notebooks containing various notes.
5. Newspaper clippings.
6. A large number of notebooks containing various religious and anti-alcoholic-beverage articles.
7. Religious magazines published before the war: Draugija [The society], one copy;Saleziečių žinios [Sal-esian news], three copies; and Žvaigždutė [Little star], five copies.
8. A number of religious books, among them: Tikiu [I believe], Raupsuotųjų kunigas[Priest of the lepers], Tėve mūsų [Our Father], Auklėjimo menas [The art of Nurturing], Ką apie Dievą sako šiuolaikiniai mokslininkai [What the scholars of our day say about God], O vis tik Šv. Raštas teisus [In any case, the Bible is right]—about sixty books in all.
9. Naujasis Testamentas [New Testament], two copies.
10. Many photographs and religious pictures-photographs.
11. An envelope addressed to "The Honorable Povilas Petronis."
12. Magnetic tape (two reels).
13. Several maps of Lithuania on which certain locations were marked off.
14. A rubber stamp marked "Med. f. P. Petronis."
Vaičiūnas explained to the security policemen that the items turned up during the search were the property of P. Petronis.
The security police also found various parts of a paper cutter, several sheets of paper containing diagrams of various details, a technical description of the model Era-M-015, copying machine, etc.
V. Vaičiūnas was interrogated for four days. Each interrogation lasted from five to eleven hours.
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On November 19, 1973, the security police searched the home and outbuildings of Kazimieras Gudas, a resident of Šlienava Village in the locality of Samylai, Kaunas Rayon. Among the items confiscated during the raid were 2,500 unbound prayer books, as well as an unassembled homemade ERA photocopying machine. During his interrogation, Gudas was repeatedly beaten.
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On November 20, 1973, two carloads of security policemen stopped at the home of Parturbavičius in Ežerėlis. Some of the security men went to the home of a neighbor, Zareckas, where they also conducted a search. The security men even searched through a pile of gravel in the backyard.
A typewriter and an ERA copying machine were found at Parturbavičius' home. The security men alleged that the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania was being duplicated here.
Before leaving with their plunder, the security men arrested the resident. Members of the family are being interrogated.
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On November 19, 1973, the home of [Mrs.] Janina Lumbienė at 13 Marksas St., Apt. 4 , Kaunas, was searched. During the raid, a typewriter, a number of poems about Romas Kalanta [a young man who immolated himself in protest against the Soviet oppression of Lithuania—tr.], and a copy of the 17,000 signatures to the petition sent to the Secretary-General of the United Nations were confiscated. During the search, Lumbienė fainted, and an ambulance was summoned. The search was followed by an interrogation.
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On the evening of November 19, 1973, the security police began a search of the apartment of Y, a resident of Kaunas (9 Baršauskas St.). The search turned up 250 kilograms of type for a book entitled Jaunuolio pasaulėžiūra [A youth's world view] and for the prayer book Aukštyn širdis [Lift up your hearts] which were being readied for publication; two suitcases filled with various literature; a homemade printing press; P. Petronis' surgeon assistant's diploma and his license to operate a motorbike. The security men ordered the resident to operate the printing press while they photographed him. The search was followed by an interrogation.
On November 20, 1973, Major Eismantas of the security police conducted a search at the home of Juozas Tarnauskas (See the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania, no. 8, at 12 TSRS 50-čio Street, Apt. 28, Kaunas. His apartment, a storage area, and his place of employment —the Ragutis Plant—were all searched. Among the items confiscated during the search were: the religious books Liturgika [The Liturgy], Jaunuolio kovos[Struggles of a Youth], Jaunos sielos religinis auklėjimas [The religious nurturing of a young soul]; several poems; a notebook, a sheet of paper on which was the color combination yellow-green-red [The colors of independent Lithuania—tr.]; several copies of the prayer book entitled Jėzus ir aš [Jesus and I].
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On November 20, 1973, a search was conducted at the home of N., at 67 Biliūnas Ave., Apt. 8, Kaunas. Seized during the search were: 1,000 unbound copies of the prayer bookAukštyn širdis [Lift up your hearts], two rolls of mimeograph paper, and a papercutter. On November 20 and 21 the inhabitant of the apartment was interrogated by Major Glušovas. In December, he was summoned to the headquarters of the security police in Vilnius, where he was interrogated by Markevičius.
On November 21, 1973, the security police searched the apartment of [Miss] Marija Vilkute, at 23—XIVKran-tas St., Kaunas. The search was witnessed by P. Vilkas and Grajauskas. During the search, a suitcase full of books and various papers was confiscated.
In the early morning hours of November 20, 1973, security policemen began their search of the apartment of J. Gudelis at 5 Vysnios St., Kaunas. The searchers took five hours to go through the apartment, the attic, and various storage areas. They were looking for a "weapon"! Religious literature, notes, and the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania [in Lithuanian] were confiscated during the search. The tenant was interrogated at security headquarters in Kaunas and Vilnius.