The Security Police Needs High Caliber Traitors On a Large Scale
His Excellency Bishop K(azimieras) Paltarokas had chosen as his chancellor and heir to the bishopric Msgr. Jonas Kriščiūnas, the pastor and Dean of Utena.
The monsignor had barely moved to Vilnius, when he very quickly and unexpectedly ran off to the countryside as a retired pastor. He was later appointed pastor of Vyžuonai where he died.
Asking that I keep it in confidence, he recounted to me what happened to him in Vilnius.
Just after he moved there, the security police subjected him to harsh interrogation for five days. They tempted him with childish promises: '"You will have a car. You will go where you want, even abroad . . ." They threatened him with horrors. One of the direst: "You will return and rot on a collective farm! .. ."
But the most indicative words were: "We have enough small-time scoundrels. We need high caliber helpers to represent us (help us) at international conferences, peace conferences abroad . . ."
Monsignor Kriščiūnas did not consent and was suddenly driven out of Vilnius to retirement.
Thunder From a Clear Sky
On July 14, 1960 I suddenly received a summons to go to the Kazlų Ruda documents office; I was to bring my papers and military card.
Not thinking anything bad, I went.
I presented myself to a young sergeant. He looked at me and looked again and said:
"But we didn't summon you." What! I said in astonishment: "Well, but here is the summons!"
The sergeant took the summons, mumbled something, again glanced at me rather oddly and rumbled off somewhere with my papers.
When he returned, I asked:
"Tell me, why was I summoned here?"
"You will find out yourself," he smiled and still stared at me rather curiously. "Come with me," he added.
He took me to the second floor. He opened sound-proof doors. I went in.
An elderly man sat behind a table. A uniform hung on the wall, a security police hat lay on the chair. He invited me to sit down. I sat down. On the July 14th page of his daily calendar I noticed my name, birthdate and several other illegible words written in Russian. In other words, this day had been set aside for me . . .
He began to question me . . . Very carefully, tactfully he began to point out that by working as an organist I, a young man, was yielding to fanaticism ... I replied, but mostly I remained silent. He then asked whether I had made a final decision to enter the seminary. I replied in the affirmative.
Then he returned my papers, my military card, in passing told me that the documents office had taken care of everything, and dismissed me.
On my way home, I still could not figure out what the security agent had wanted from me.
Several days later I was suddently summoned to the Višakio Rūda District. There, I was taken into a separate room where the security agent I already knew sat behind a table. He greeted me cordially and began without any preface:
"Well, have you reconsidered yet? Do you still want to enter that seminary?"
"Yes, I do! And I've even passed the entrance exams," I could not resist boasting.
"Exams are nothing!" he deflated my ego. "Something else is important..."
And after pausing to think for a minute, the security agent continued:
"Of course, the Soviet Constitution accords citizens full freedom. It therefore allows those who so wish to enter that seminary. But it is no secret that many priests are reactionaries who harm the Soviet government in one way or another. And there are such priests in the seminary . . ."
"I don't know," I sincerely admitted.
"That's why we know," he enlightened me and continued after a moment of silence:
"Well, all right! Let us say you enter that seminary and suddenly during some lecture some professor begins to agitate against the Soviet government. What would you do?"
I reflected. It was a very ugly question. How should I answer? Finally I resolved: "Well, if he were to openly agitate against the Soviet government I would notify you!"
"Yes, that is very good! Well then, sign here," he pushed a sheet of paper toward me.
"Sign what? Why," I was thoroughly surprised.
"Well that you agree to work with us . . ."
"What??? You want to make me a spy?" I even rose to my feet.
"What spy? What spy?" he also stood up. "No one here is planning to make you any kind of spy! We only want you to perform your duty as a Soviet person!"
"And I have to sign for that?" I was actually furious now. "And am I not a Soviet person? The school and the army trusted me. And you do not trust me? If you demand a signature, then don't you believe I'm a Soviet person?" I was totally enraged now.
"Of course, we know full well that both the school and the army trusted you," he spoke more calmly now.
"Then you want to turn me into a spy? A spy?" I reged.
"Not a spy! the security agent again became furious. And every time I mentioned that word he grew very angry. "We don't need spies! Only sign that you promise to perform your duty as a Soviet citizen."
"And I must sign just for that?" I could not check my anger. "Why didn't anyone require this before? They always trusted me and without a signature!"
"And we do not trust you!" he firmly retorted. "And I will also tell you this. If you refuse to sign, well, you will not be admitted . . . We do not admit untrustworthy people . . ."
"Then does everyone have to sign?" I was very surprised.
"Well, that is our business. And I will tell you this: I'm giving you three days to think it over. You will then come see me in Kazlų Rūda. And now, you are free to go!"
I felt like I had dropped from the moon. No one had told me, and I personally had never suspected, that such a conversation was even possible in our system. I was completely unprepared for it. I answered that security agent sincerely, without any deception or fraud. I said what I thought. Be a spy? Betray God? My Motherland? No, never, never, never! And what can there possibly be in common between the priesthood and spying?
At that time, I was completely baffled by it all ... I still believed in the reality of the Soviet Constitution, I believed in Soviet humanism. I was only 23 years old
And if I have now completely lost faith in the Soviet system, even detest it—it is thanks to the security agents, who are the true protectors of the Soviet order. Thanks to them!
And I was not and will never be a spy!
And it was only after I told everything to my priests— teachers Kačergis and Žemaitis—that they began to upbraid me, saying I should not have argued so vehemently, I should have yielded, remained silent.
I began to rage at them also. And where were you before?! Why didn't you even mention to me—a lamb—that such a conversation could take place? Perhaps I would have held my tongue and not argued so heatedly, but sign, no! Never!
And when I went to Kazlų Rūda on that third day, the conversation was very brief.
"Well, if you won't sign, then do as you like," the security agent said nothing more and dismissed me.
. . .That day, I visited Algutis at the Braziūkases. Braziū-kas' father returned from Kaunas and said that both Algutis and I had been crossed of the list by the government.
This news no longer surprised me. I even consider it an honor that such a powerful nation—Sputniks circle the moon, rockets can reach around the entire world—is afraid of me, such an insignificant person! They fear that I might destroy the system . . . It's funny.
But something had snapped in my heart. Something went dark .. . I somehow managed to even offer this sacrifice up to Mary . . . Well, I did not deserve this grace . . . Perhaps next year, perhaps in several years, or perhaps I will never be a priest. . . Perhaps I am not worthy . . .
I walked my bicycle from the Braziūkases. I could not ride it. I wept and wept. . .
All my hopes were dashed. How to continue living, what to do, hope for what?
However, neither in 1961, 1962 nor 1963 was my name on the list. The government issued an order not to list anyone who had ever been listed before. In other words, we did not pass the security police inspection, so go, boys, to the devil!
And Again the Security Police
Imagine, they even found me in Pabradė!
One day, a man dressed in civilian clothes comes to the rectory and invites me to the City Executive Committee. I, of course, go with him, and below in the road stands a passenger car with two men waiting. They greet me by name, while I have never seen them before in my life!
They invited me into the car. I got in. They sat on either side of me. The car started off.
Well, that car drove around aimlessly on all kinds of roads, and we talked and talked . . .
They asked how I was. Fine! Of course, good. Am I happy with this kind of life? Very much!
"Well, and have you stopped thinking about the priesthood?" I was suddenly asked.
"I do think about it and will continue to think, only you do not permit it" I replied rather angrily.
"Well, all that depends on you. . . You should not be so stubborn. We are not opposed to it," they pleasantly informed me.
I was silent. Then another spoke up:
"Don't you live with a Marian Father in Višakio Rūda? Then you probably know quite a bit about the Marian monastery . . ."
"You know, I really do know a great deal!" I boasted brazenly. But in fact the internal affairs of the monastary held no interest for me and I knew nothing in particular. But it gave me the greatest pleasure to boast in this way.
"I think we could find things to discuss," the first one spoke again. "By the way, haven't you received a letter from the Vilnius Chancery?" he unexpectedly asked.
"From the Chancery?" I was very surprised. "I know no one there!"
"Well, forget it, forget it," he reassured me.
They brought me home, told me to think about it and asked me to come a few days later to the City Executive Committee. They would expect me there.
I, of course, immediately told Vytukas and Nikodemas everything. They warned me:
"Oh, Jonas, Jonas, don't play with fire!"
But I was pleased! How intriguing! I had decided to definitely go to that meeting.
Suddenly, that same day I received a letter. The handwriting was unfamiliar. It was written by the Rev. S. Mažeika, Chancellor of the Vilnius Diocese. He asked me to come see him.
I was astonished. I didn't even know him! And I felt uncomfortable, for the diocesan chancellors direct the lives of priests, and not organists!
But I couldn't stand the curiosity.
I went to the Chancery Office. A tall, gray-gaired priest greeted me. It was Father Mažeika.
He asked many questions about the seminary. He claimed he would do everything in his power to have me admitted. And always, as if in passing, he stressed that I should not be so stubborn.
When I returned home, I still could not understand why that chancellor had summoned me. It looked as though he wanted to get me into the seminary. Now that would be something!
I went to that meeting with the security agents. Strange— they knew everything: that I had been to see Father Mažeika. They asked how I liked him, what he had suggested, what he had said . . . And then one of them blurted out:
"You see, he also advises you not to be so stubborn . . ."
Outsiders kept interrupting our conversation in the room. The security agents deplored this very much. Suddenly one of them suggested:
"Couldn't you come to Vilnius? We'll cover the expenses of the trip!"
"Why not? Only I don't know where to find you," I said.
"Now then, go on Wednesday, exactly at one o'clock, to the Pergalė movie theater. Hold a folded newspaper in your left hand and stand by the advertisements . . .
"All right! I'll come for sure!" I promised.
A sense of intrigue awakened in me. Imagine, Jonas like a movie hero! Paces back and forth with a newspaper in his hand, someone sees him, takes him somewhere! . . . That's real adventure! How wonderful!
But Vytukas and Nikodemas began to scold me again:
"Oh, Jonas, Jonas, you are placing your head in a noose . . ."
And yet on the appointed day and hour I passed back and forth at the Vergali movie theater holding a newspaper in my left hand. There were very few people around. I kept glancing around, trying to guess from where that character I was waiting for would appear, what he would look like. But I saw nothing to draw my attention. And when for jus a second I gazed at the movie ads, a man suddenly passed me and said in a half-whisper:
"Follow me at a little distance!" and continued on his way without even glancing at me. I followed his lead. And how intriguing it all was, very intriguing!
We passed the Dzerzhinski club and turned into the yard of a multistory building. Here, he suddenly turned to me, smiled, extended his hand and cordially said:
"Hello, Jonas! Congratulations for coming!"
I had never seen this pleasant man before. He was not one of the persons with whom I had spoken in Pabradė.
He took me to the second floor. He introduced himself and me to another stocky man sitting in the room. I do not remember his name, only that he was a Major. My escort's name was Sprindis, but I do not know his rank.
We introduced ourselves and sat down.
And again we had a familiar conversation. The Major spoke the most.
"And why are you trying to push yourself into this priesthood? You had pretty good grades in middle school, you could enroll in some school of higher learning," said the Major.
"Well, I want to be a priest and that's all!" I replied.
"Why don't you enroll in the university, for instance. Many fields are available there."
"Because I might no longer be able to pass the entrance exams, I've forgotten everything . . . Besides, this is not the time to think about it, because all the applicants have already taken the exam long ago."
"Don't worry about that. We'll help you," he smiled even more broadly.
"But why are you being so good to me?"
"It's not right for you to work for the Church. I'm sorry for you, and besides, it's not right for a young person to be so close to the Church," he explained to me.
"But I only want to be a priest. All my life I've thought of nothing else," I sincerely confided in him.
"Well, a priest is all right," the Major sighed. "But then we must know whether we can trust you."
"So far everyone has trusted me as a Soviet person," I boasted.
"That's not enough for us," my escort interrupted. "You probably understand what we have in mind?"
"I don't plan to be a spy," I told him outright.
"No one is urging you to be a spy," the Major explained. "You will merely cooperate with us . . . We will occasionally give you a task, then you will leave us your report in a pre-arranged place and that is all! No one will ever suspect that we're working together. And you won't even sign your own name, but for instance Bijūnas (Peony) .. ."
"And why not Jurginas (Dahlia)?" I naively asked.
"We already have a Dahlia" he calmly replied.
And there you are! They only needed a Peony in that amazing security police bouquet of flowers! They already had a Dahlia and probably a Narcizas (Daffodil) as well. They only needed a Peony! Of course, a bright red peony!
At this point I hesitated ... I suddenly remembered something a priest had said to me very recently: "It is not a sin to sign for them. No one will condemn a prisoner of war if he dons the enemy's uniform in order to flee to his own side . . . For he remains true to himself. . ."
And I thought: "Maybe it is true that no one will condemn me for this and maybe this is not a sin? For I yearn so much for the priesthood and will not be a traitor in my soul! I am only temporarily donning the enemy uniform . . ."
"Here is some paper, write," the Major urged me.
"What should I write?" I asked.
"Well, that so and so, I pledge to cooperate . . ."
. . . And I picked up the pen. I began to write: "I, Rakas, Jonas, son of Jonas, in order to enter the seminary . . ."
"Oh, no, no! You shouldn't write that," the Major told me, for he was looking over my shoulder at what I was writing. "You should not mention the seminary at all! It's not necessary!"
"What do you men, it's not necessary?! But that's why I'm writing this statement." I said in surprise.
"So what if that's the only reason! You can't write that!" The pledge I had begun to write landed in the wastebasket. My escort immediately pushed a clean sheet of paper toward me.
But I sudenly came to my senses: "Jonas, Jonas, what are you doing?"
I was frightened at my own self. Was I really going to sell myself? Had they really lulled me? Had they?" I was sick at myself.
"Here, write from the beginning," a fresh sheet of paper was thrust toward me.
"I won't write anything!" I firmly stated.
"But we're not forcing you," the Major assured me rather pleasantly. "We're only talking with your for you for your own
"The priesthood bought at such a price will not bring me any
"Well, why don't you think it over . . ."
They offered me money for the trip. I refused. They set up another appointment. I remained silent. And only as I was about to leave did the Major again tell me:
"Go see Father Mažeika now at the Chancery Office. He wants to talk with you. You know one another!" he smiled.
I left, furious at myself for my momentary weakness of will.
I went to the Chancery, where Father Mažeika was already waiting for me.
Here I was again greatly astonished. Father Mažeika told me exactly what the security agents had. Only he continually stressed one thing: "We need priests badly, good priests. We must, we must at all cost try to have as many priests as possible. And you are so anxious to be a priest, you would make a good priest. . . And you must bend your pride, your conviction for the good of society . . ."
I was thunderstruck. I understood perfectly what this pillar of the church wanted to say. I understood, I was terrified and I was so silent. . .
I no longer went to any more meetings with either the security agents or Father Mažeika. I received one more letter from him, he again invited me to come see him, but I did not go anywhere . . .
I was ashamed of myself.
I went one more time to the seminary. I was told that my name had not even been placed on the list.
So, despite the efforts of the security police and the Vilnius diocesan chancellor, the doors of the seminary again slammed shut.
(— From the autobiographical book Why I Didn't Become a Priest by Jonas Kudulaitis-Rakas).