Events in Lithuania (48.15)

<<No 48 : 14 March 1978>>

The Trial of Jaskunas

On 26-28 November 1977, the Lithuanian SSR Supreme Court heard in assizes session the case against Genrikas Jaskunas, arrested in December 1976. (CCE 44; there it says how at his arrest several copies of a document entitled ‘Manifesto of the Union of Organizations of Independent Peoples’ were taken away.)

Jaskunas was born in 1927. In 1946 he served in the police (possibly even in an extermination detachment directed against the [nationalist] partisans). In the same year he appealed to the authorities in statements saying that extermination troops pretending to be partisans were terrorising the population for purposes of provocation [to discredit the partisans]. He was condemned to 10 years. In 1957 he received a second term.

Slightly over a month before the trial a letter from Jaskunas (which several people believe to be a fake), in which he asked to be sent neither packages nor letters, was handed to his wife. Jaskunas himself was told that his family had renounced him.

The courtroom was filled, in the main, by employees of a big local chemical combine amongst whom, naturally, there were many Russians. Neither the defendant’s wife, nor his daughter or other relatives appeared in the courtroom.

Jaskunas pronounced his final statement in Russian so that he could be understood by all those present at the trial. He said in particular: ‘Do what you like with me, l shall still call you occupiers.’

The sentence — 10 years in camp and 5 years’ exile — allows one to assume that Jaskunas was charged under Article 68, part 2 of the Lithuanian SSR Criminal Code (equivalent to Article 70 of the RSFSR code).

There is information that Dauetas was also charged in Jaskunas’s case and that he was condemned to 5 years.

Searches and Interrogations

On 20 January 1978, the investigation of the case of Balys Gajauskas, arrested on 20 April 1977 (CCE 45), came to an end. The investigation was conducted by Major Pilelis.

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On 13 May 1977 Gajauskas’s fiancée Irena Dumbrite was interrogated in connection with his case at the Kaunas KGB. On 6 July 1977, a search was made at the home of her sister’s husband Sulskis. The following day Sulskis and his wife were summoned to Vilnius for interrogation. The basic themes were: samizdat literature, whether they had received money from Gajauskas, what their conversations with him had been about and which people from camp had been mentioned. Later Sulskis was confronted with Gajauskas.

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Also interrogated in connection with Gajauskas’s case were Grigoliuniene (three times) and former political prisoners Petrusevicius (CCEs 34, 35) and Laurinskas (CCEs 36-38). They were asked about the Fund to Aid Political Prisoners: whether they had found out about its existence from Gajauskas, where the funds came from, whom Gajauskas had helped. The witnesses gave no evidence that ‘compromised’ Gajauskas.

It is known that the investigators are also interested in Gajauskas’s participation in founding the Lithuanian partisans’ archive.

On 7 December 1977 Irena Dumbrite and Gajauskas’s mother Adele Kiliciauskiene were summoned for interrogation at the Kaunas KGB. Irena went, but without Gajauskas’s mother, who had refused to come in view of her age (76 years old) and poor health, Pilelis questioned Dumbrite about people from the camps who used to visit Gajauskas, and whether Gajauskas used to give them literature. At the end of the interrogation Pilelis said he wished her another husband. In order to question A. Kiliciauskiene Lieutenant-Colonel Kezys (in CCE 47 spelled Kazis) went to her home, taking with him a doctor from the district polyclinic. The interrogation lasted two hours. ‘Neither Sakharov, nor Solzhenitsyn nor Carter will help you,’ said Kezys. He reproached Kiliciauskiene for having signed a protest against the arrest of Petkus and Gajauskas {CCE 47).

On 22 December in the town of Siauliai investigator Pilelis interrogated Jadviga Petkeviciene {CCEs 44, 47). Among others he was asked such questions as these: “To whom used Gajauskas to give money from the Solzhenitsyn fund?’ and ‘Who among present or former political prisoners was known to the witness?’

Immediately after the New Year Pilelis and Kezys again came to Kaunas in order to interrogate Dumbrite and Kiliciauskiene. During one of the interrogations Kezys observed that in all probability Gajauskas would be given 10 years.

The investigators promised Irena Dumbrite to let her know when the trial began.

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At the beginning of March several searches were carried out in Kaunas.

On 1 March second year seminary student Petras Razukas was detained on the street. He was taken to the KGB where investigator Urbonas (who conducted Lapienis’s case, see CCE 46), showed him an order for a personal search. During the search, several typewritten copies of the journal Rupintoelis (The Mourner) No. 3 were taken from his briefcase. Investigator Marcinkevicius (who conducted the investigation into case No. 345 — CCEs 32, 34-36) announced to Razukas that for circulating an illegal publication he would be charged under Article 68 of the Lithuanian Criminal Code (equivalent to Article 70 of the Russian Code). Razukas was put in prison overnight, where he shared a cell with criminals, and on 2 and 3 March Urbonas continued the interrogation. Razukas is being threatened with expulsion from the seminary.

On 2 March KGB employees took Razukas’s friend Vytautas Pukas from the seminary for interrogation. He was asked where he had got his typewriter.

On 1 March, a search was also made at the flat of a woman named Monika.

On the morning of 2 March Marte Vitkunaite was detained on the street and taken home to be searched. The search was conducted by Urbonas and six other KGB employees. A typewriter, Ausra No. 9 (one complete copy and nine copies with only the first 20 pages), tape cassettes and the school essay ‘Man and Nature’ were taken away. After the search Vitkunaite was interrogated at the Kaunas KGB. Vitkunaite explained that she had taken Ausra from an unknown woman after church and decided to re-type it. Investigator Raudis advised her to give frank evidence, otherwise she risked being charged under Article 68 of the Lithuanian Criminal Code. Another KGB official asked her to cooperate with the KGB. She was put in prison with criminals for the night.

In the morning Vitkunaite was interrogated by Urbonas and Marcinkevicius. She was asked about Monika, the seminarist Razukas, and Angela from Skemonis. Vitkunaite said that she was not acquainted with any of them. In view of her persistence, she was taken to Vilnius, moreover Urbonas warned her that now the chairman of the Lithuanian KGB would talk to her. They announced to Vitkunaite that she faced a charge under Article 68 of the Lithuanian Criminal Code. A man who chatted to Vitkunaite in Vilnius said that in the meantime she would be set free and could continue her studies (Vitkunaite is a second-year medical student); if she didn’t hinder the investigation, she would be at liberty until the trial.

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See also ‘The Petkus Case’ in the section ‘Repressions against the Helsinki Groups’ (48.3).