Balsėnai Village resident [Mrs.] Ona Strumilienė erected a cross on her farmstead under one of her windows. When they noticed the cross, collective farm Chairman Daugėla and Party Secretary [Mrs.] Bielskienė called upon Strumilienė and ordered her to either demolish the cross or to erect it beside the barn on the other side of her house.

    "I know how a cross should be venerated and where it should be erected," the lady replied.

    "We will force you not only to pull down the cross, but also to destroy it," the officials shouted at her.

    Several days later rayon police Chief Rusčenkovas arrived and tried to intimidate the sickly elderly lady, demanding that she demolish the cross.

    "The cross will stand in its place. As long as I'm alive I will not allow anyone to destroy it. I didn't erect it so that you would destroy it."

     Strumiliene's son, Pranas, supported his mother. Ruščenkovas then ordered him to come down to police headquarters where they tried to intimidate him. He was told he would be turned over to the security people if he didn't agree to demolish the cross.

    "I can erect a cross, but to tear it down—never!" retorted Strumila courageously.

    Party officials kept calling at the Strumila home, constantly demanding that the cross be demolished immediately. Later, executive committee Chairman Karecka arrived and tried to shame Strumilienė because she wasn't obeying the officials.

    "If you don't tear down the cross yourself, then we'll demolish it, and you will have to pay the costs," Karecka shouted.

    "I will not tear down the cross; neither will I let you do so. Show me the law that orders crosses to be demolished."

    Hearing this, Karecka was livid with rage.
    Unable to bear the constant threats, Ona Strumilienė wrote a complaint to Moscow, but she never received an answer. A commission from Vilnius arrived, inspected the cross, declared that it was not a work of art, and demanded that it be dismantled because, they said, it was scandalizing the neighbors.

    Two other Balsėnai Village families, those of Antanas and Ignas Bockus, were also ordered to demolish the crosses erected on their farmsteads. 
     Priests are not permitted to make calls at the nursing home, thus many inmates die without receiving the last sacraments, even though they ask to see a priest. For example, ninety-year-old [Miss] Agnietė Brazauskaitė's and her eighty-five-year-old sister leva's requests were rejected by the directors of the nursing home—they were not allowed to make use of the religious ministrations of a priest.


    Religious students of the secondary school are being coerced—they are being forced to enroll in atheistic organizations. Teacher [Mrs.] Sinkevičienė whacked fourth-class student [Miss] Birutė Buivydaitė's palm with a ruler for not joining the Pioneers. Birutė later related how she had then said three 'Hail Mary's,' and the pain had gone away.

     Secondary school teacher [Mrs.] Valavičienė is a noted fanatic of atheism. Once, while deriding girls who kneel in adoration of the Holy Sacrament, she said: "Why do you crawl around on your knees about the pastor?"

    At a meeting of parents of the students from the school in Šilalė on April 6, 1973, teacher Valavičienė stated that parents shouldn't "corrupt" their children—that they should not take them to church. The mothers who were present began to call out that they had come to hear about their children's schooling and behavior, and that they would not listen to this kind of nonsense. The lecturer had to give up and leave the meeting.

    Teacher [Mrs.] Kulikauskienė notes in the school records of believer graduates that they still have not rid themselves of religious superstitions.

     [Mrs.] Petkienė, a teacher at the eighth-year school, tries fanatically to impose her views on her pupils. She once boasted: "When I get through, not one student will go to church on Sundays!" Once a month all the students are compelled to go to the cultural center, where Petkienė "enlightens" them.

    Caricatures slandering religion are posted in the school building—for example, an old woman dragging a resisting child to church. Doesn't Petkienė act similarly by trying to forcibly drag the entire student body in the direction of atheism? Whenever a child doesn't want to join the Young Communist League, Petkienė immediately rushes to see his parents, trying to convince them not to interfere.


    In the summer of 1973, elderly [Miss] O. Merkušytė taught catechism to several children at the church in Šeštokai. To investigate this "criminal act," a commission comprised of Šeštokai Locality Chairman G. Maslauskas, [Mrs.] Šaulienė, principal of the school, and [Mrs.] Junelienė, a teacher, arrived at the church. Finding six children there, the investigators asked whether they were being taught how to pray. Three days later Merkušytė was summoned to the Lazdijai Rayon office and fined fifty rubles. In the decision of Administrative Case No. 30 it is written: "The Administrative Commission of the Lazdijai Rayon Soviet of Working People's Deputies Executive Committee (Chairman: Baranauskas; Secretary: [Mrs.] Kazakevičienė; members: [Miss] Ruškevičiūtė, Brilius, Šerkšnas, Šulinskas, and Jurkevičius), after deliberating in an open meeting this administrative case, has decided that Citizen Ona Merkušytė, who resides in the town of Šeštokai, has violated the May 12, 1966, order of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the LSSR."

    In its decision the commission didn't dare to write down just exactly what offense the elderly lady had committed. When releasing the woman, the commission warned her that no one is allowed to teach children the tenets of their faith, and that if she made one more attempt to teach children, she would be sentenced to two years' imprisonment.