To:   The Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Lithuanian SSSR , P. Griškevičius

A Statement

In our first statement to P. Griškevičius, Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party we noted that failing to re­ceive restitution for the material loss we suffered, we would erect the cross ourselves. We held the silence of the Panemunė Rayon

Executive Committee to be consent. After a wait of four months, the parish rebuilt the cross. But we enjoyed this beautiful sight for but a brief time.

Four days passed after the cross was erected. On May 15th we found a hole dug in the churchyard, similar to a human grave. We unexpectedly learned that this hole was not for the purpose of burying a man, but our parish cross. We therefore rushed to the cross after the services. As we prayed the rosary, two trucks drove up at 11:30 P.M. In one of them sat six workers with shovels. When they saw the cross being guarded, they ordered the people to disperse and threatened trouble for the young people. The youths were not intimidated by the threats, but continued to ask why and with whose permission the cross was being stolen in the middle of the night. A character sitting in the cab explained that everything has been cleared with the parish pastor Father R. Liukas. The youths replied that the pastor has no right to help the atheists destroy the cross because he himself helped erect it. Aware that the people guarding the cross would not leave, they threatened to bring more officials and left. After they drove off, the youth at the cross finished saying the rosary. Militia vehicles kept driving by. Shortly a car marked LLŽ 10-07 arrived, from which emerged a man who asked: "Aren't there more of us." When we replied: 'When the need arises, there will be more," he drove off.

At 1:30 A.M. the same two trucks re-appeared escorted by three UAZ vans carrying the militia and several passenger cars. The vehicles disgorged security agents, Head of Security Sama­jauskas of the rayon of Panemunė, Deputy Chief Vanagas, Chief Svedaravičius of the Road-Bridges Maintenance Department of the Petrašiūnai District, Assistant Chief Baublys of the Maintenance Department and Project Director Rasiukevičius. They were followed by drunken workers carrrying shovels. Everyone guarding the cross blocked their way and stated they would not allow them to demolish the cross. Everyone spoke in defense of the cross, explaining that to demolish the cross is inhuman, demanding to see a written order to remove the cross, asking why this black deed was being committed at night, for it amounted to vandalism, assault. Svedaravičius was reminded of his base conduct when he broke the cross the first time, while he was now again attempting the same in the middle of the night. He justified his actions by claiming he was merely following the orders of the executive com­mittee. The parish youth assured the assailants that they were real criminals, destroyers of the nation's cultural and moral life and that drunks have no right to lay a hand on the cross. The attackers used foul language and continually hurled various threats. The confronta­tion lasted about 30 minutes. All the while, an old woman loudly wailed at the cross. Convinced that the parishioners would not leave the cross, they gave the order to the militia. When the "keepers of the peace" approached the cross, we notice they were drunk. They immediately resorted to violence, children were savagely pushed around, girls had their hair pulled, their arms twisted. It has been a whole week since that terrible night and the children still have bruises. People were seized and forcibly dragged to the militia vehicles. While being dragged by militia officials, Eugenija Mikulevičienė was kicked and punched. Women and children began to scream. Two teenage boys were seized and the others, seeing they could not resist so many militiamen, dispersed. Cursing all the while, the militia followed the scattering people. The defenders of the cross numbered some 30 people, while there were several times that many security agents and militia employees. The attack was conducted not only by the militia of Panemunė, but also by the militia of the City of Kaunas, Rayons of Požėla and Lenin, there were even two militia vehicles from the Rayon of Kaunas. Militia cadets stood by at the Amaliai railroad crossing. During the assault on the cross, the stretch of road between the Amaliai railroad crossing and the exit to Palemo­nas was closed.

The workers brought by Chief Drasiukevičius of the Road-Bridges Maintenance Department refused to dig the cross out. The digging was done by Chief Svedaravičius himself, Baublys, Rasiu-kevičius and a couple of security agents. Svedaravičius threatened to fire the workers who refused to dig the cross. He partly kept his promise. Workers Kulikauskas and Rasimavičius were docked thirty percent of their bonus pay.

The gates of the churchyard were opened to the destroyers of the cross and the cross was erected in the graveyard in the mysteriously dug hole.

The mother of the arrested Ričardas Petrauskas kept going to the security police in search of her son, for his farewell party into the military was to be held that same evening. That evening, relatives and friends gathered to say farewell to Ričardas but he did not return home. Ričardas was charged with hooliganism and sentenced to ten days in jail.

The handicapped mother of Antanas Žilinskis inquired after her son by telephone. She was mocked that her son would return with a wife. Two days after the arrest, amilitiaman came and demanded 10 rubles from (Mrs) Janina Žilinskienė, but did not say why her son had been arrested.

No one came to look for (Mrs) Eugenija Mikulevičienė, since her husband was on a tour of duty and only her seven-and fifteen-year old children and an old helpless grandmother were at home. A militiaman came, consoled the children and told them to go visit their mother, but when they came they were not admitted, only threatened with being locked up.

On May 18th, Angelė Grebliauskienė was summoned to the Panemunė Executive Committee regarding her statement on the first time the cross was demolished. She was asked whether she had participated in defending the cross and when she admitted she had, she was threatened "Your children are branded." They explained that people who erect crosses along the road will be punished with one year in jail. The following information was learned about the arrested teenagers: Ričardas Petrauskas would have fulfilled his military obligation somewhere nearby, but will now serve on the Chinese border. Antanas Žilinskas should say good-bye to the Kaunas Politechnical School.He only needed to defend his thesis to graduate.)

Discrimination and terror continue against the innocent people who were assaulted that night. Ričardas Petrauskas' sister, a student at Middle School No. 25, was interrogated by homeroom teacher (Mrs) Bandoravičienė and was later summoned to see the school inspector. Ričardas' mother is continually summoned to her children's schools where she is ordered to re-educate her children.

The militia often visits the Grebliauskas family in search of the homemaker. Once finding the children home, they intimidated them and when the fifteen-year-old daughter refused to speak Russian, they threatened to fine her ten rubles. It is very distressing that the arrested friends are charged with hooliganism merely for defending the cross which was attacked in the middle of the night.

The faithful of Petrašiūnai

N.B. Grebliauskas was sentenced to twelve days in jai, and An­tanas Žilinskas was not allowed to defend his thesis. Žilinskas was very savagely kicked and punched by militiamen.

The cross was dug up, taken away and set up in the Petrašiū­nai churchyard.