LITHUANIAN QUARTERLY JOURNAL OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
Volume 33, No.2 - Summer 1987
Editor of this issue: Antanas Klimas
Copyright © 1987 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.
LITUANUS DATA BANK
ELOGE: ANTANAS MACEINA, 1908-1987
Antanas Maceina, philosopher and poet, was born 27 January, 1908 in Bagrėnai, near Marijampolė (now Kapsukas). He studied philosophy and pedagogy at the University of Kaunas (1928-32) and subsequently continued his studies in Louvain, Fribourg, Strasbourg and Brussels (1932-35). Meanwhile he defended his dissertation Tautinis auklėjimas Pedagogical problems concerning the concept of nation and obtained a doctor's degree from the University of Kaunas (1932). On receiving the right to teach as a result of his habilitation work Ugdomasis veikimas (Pedagogical action), he was elected member of the Faculty of Theology and Philosophy at the University of Kaunas. During the first Soviet occupation of Lithuania, Maceina lived in Germany. On his return from Berlin in the summer of 1941, he was appointed assistant professor at the Faculty of Philosophy; in 1942 he was elected dean of that faculty and promoted to associate professor. He was forced to flee, to the West by the second Soviet invasion in the summer of 1944. From 1956-59 Maceina taught at the University of Freiburg (im Breisgau), and taught at the University of Münster from 1959 until his retirement in 1970.
In Lithuania Maceina devoted his studies and writings to education, social problems and the philosophy of culture. In exile Maceina became more concerned with the philosophy of religion. In Maceina's work the treatment of philosophical problems is inextricably tied up with a technological concern; their conceptual expression is enlivened by poetical intuition; and theoretical judgments are imbued with the passion of a social reformer. Philosophy and theology merge into a unity in Maceina's thought, incorporated under a Christian point of view and integrated into a Christian conception of humanity. He is also a poet, having published two collections of poems under the pen name Antanas Jasmantas. His abilities as poet empower him to attain a rare level of emotive persuasiveness along with great verbal simplicity in his philosophical work; as a result, his philosophical volumes seem accessible even to those who have not specially studied philosophy. To solve abstract problems Maceina often chooses concrete situations (The Grand Inquisitor, Job, Soloviev's Antichrist). This enables him not only to deal with the problem in a more graphic way but also to bridge it with reality. Maceina searches for answers to the eternal questions in light of Christian fullness, in order to illuminate the concerns of our age.
Maceina has also been a frequent lecturer at Lithuanian conventions and active in social and scientific organizations. In Lithuania he was concerned with the Christian labor movement and Catholic university youth. He edited the journal Ateitis (The Future). During 1947-49 he was president of the council of Ateitininkai and served as chief of that organization. He is held to be the ideologue of the Lithuanian Front, a resistance organization based on the conception formulated by him, of nonideological politics. In exile, he served on the editorial boards of XX Amžius (XX Century) and of Aidai (Echoes). He was also a fellow of the Lithuanian Roman Catholic Academy of Sciences and a member of the Baltic Research Institute. Maceina has published over 22 philosophical and theological books and in excess of 100 articles in various languages. On occasion of his 70th birthday, Aidai, a Lithuanian cultural journal, devoted an issue to Maceina (1978, Nr. 2).
Prof. Antanas Maceina died after two decades of heart complications on his 79th birthday, 27 January 1987, in Münster, Germany.
Material from the Encyclopedia Lithuanica and Lietuvių enciklopedija XXXVII gratefully acknowledged.
THE 20 MILLION WAR DEAD A MISCONCEPTION
"Our country sacrificed twenty million lives to save the freedom of others," Soviet Ambassador Vladimir Lomeiko stated at the Vienna Conference in the Fall of 1986.
On November 10, 1986, Professor Rein Taagepera, President of the Association for the Advancement of Baltic Studies, made the following comment concerning the 20 million victims:
One of the most annoying misconceptions in the West is that "20 million Russians" died in "defending the Soviet Union" during WWll. In actual fact, this 20 million gap in Soviet population includes non-Russians as well as Russians, people killed by Stalin, as well as by Hitler, and people who did not die at all, but fled to the West. How does one start to address such a widely accepted misconception? In my presentation, I concentrated on a single person out of the 20 million, an Estonian illegally conscripted into the Soviet occupation army and sent to a labor camp where more than half of the conscripts starved to death. In this paper, factual precision was added to human interest because this man kept a diary. Returning to the broad picture, I estimated that, out of the famous "20 million" Baltic citizens formed about 1.5 million. Among these, about 0.4 million fell victim to Hitler, 0.5 million fell victim to Stalin, and another 0.6 million fled abroad to escape Stalin.
It could be also added that the Soviet regime managed to annihilate more than 20 million Russians and non-Russians in peacetime.
ELTA, No. 2 (332), January 1987
COUNCIL OF EUROPE UNANIMOUSLY
CALLING FOR SELF-DETERMINATION IN THE BALTIC STATES
On January 28, 1987, the 21-nation member Council of Europe unanimously adopted a resolution asking that the Soviet Union respect the right of self-determination and human rights in the Soviet-occupied Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.
The Strasbourg-based Council acts as an advisory body to its member parliaments in Western Europe and is active in human rights issues.
The Resolution was sponsored by Dutch Labor parliamentarian Harry Van Den Bergh. During debates prior to passage of the resolution, Van Den Bergh called the Soviet incorporation of the Baltic States a "flagrant violation of the rights of self-determination of peoples." He added that the fate of the Baltic peoples had been neglected for too long by Western Europe and said that the rights of the Baltic peoples must become a priority problem for the West. He also urged that the Baltic problem be resolved in the larger context of East-West relations and within the framework of the Helsinki Accords.
British Labor member, Donald Colemans, said that Baltic peoples were "sold into bondage" and now live under a government whose legality is contested. Margaretha Ugglas, a Swedish Conservative, said the West should be "shamed by its silence on the Baltic situation." British Conservative, Stefan Terlezki, called the forced Soviet incorporation of the Baltic States "one of the gravest wrongs of our times."
The resolution was accompanied by a 6-page explanatory memorandum, written by Harry Van Den Bergh. The memorandum includes statements from 11 Western European governments explaining their respective positions concerning recognition of the legality of Soviet rule in the Baltic States.
ESTONIAN SCIENTISTS PROTEST PLAN TO BUILD OIL TERMINAL
An "Open Letter from a Group of Estonian Scientists," including members of the Estonian Academy of Sciences, was recently received in Stockholm. Dated March 1986, the letter calls for protests against Soviet plans to build a large oil terminal at Muuga near Tallinn. According to the scientists, the terminal will be a major source of pollution to north Estonia and to the whole Baltic area. The area under threat by the proposed terminal includes lake Peipsi, the main water source for Tallinn. The scientists hope that international criticism might induce the central planners to abandon the project quietly and then to deny the report as unfounded.
The environmental problem, as also in Latvia and Lithuania, is compounded by a strict censorship, making it virtually impossible to inform the public about the ecological dangers. After the Chernobyl disaster, too, the citizens of the Baltic States received no warning and were left uninformed.
CYCLE OF POEMS ON LEADER OF 1863-1864 REVOLT
Rev. Antanas Mackevičius Hero of Anonymous Author
A cycle of poems about a priest, who was hanged by the czarist authorities in 1863, was recently received from Lithuania. The anonymous author has dedicated the cycle to Father Antanas Mackevičius (1828-1863), one of the leaders of the 1863-1864 Lithuanian revolt against Russian rule.
In contrast to the amateurish flavor of much of the poetry published in the Lithuanian underground press, the cycle, entitled "The Acorn's Oak (Gilės Ąžuolas), is of obvious literary distinction. It combines powerful images and feverish intensity with psychological insight, as it outlines the portrait of a complex, heroic individual. Some of the passages can be read as an allusion to the Lithuanian struggles for freedom during the 20th century. The hopes and the agonies of the freedom fighters are given voice:
Will my word never
never turn into freedom?
Will the two-legged, two-winged eagle
Swallow and destroy the lights?
The author takes issue with some Lithuanian historians, who "are inclined to give Antanas Mackevičius new names, such as democrat, organizer of the liberation struggle, but avoid calling him his true name that of a PRIEST." In his introductory statement, the author focuses on the vital importance of historic consciousness for the Lithuanian people:
"The discovery of the nation's historic consciousness, a subject that fascinates researchers, is being born today. The truth about the nation's consciousness has deep roots that touch the historically distant, the very deepest layer of personalities, which prompted and formed this development of consciousness. It is not easy to return to that reality by the road of truth.
"We should consider as untruthful the interpretation of national consciousness that turns away from the existential causes of individuals and seeks them in popular mass movements, sociology, or political economy.
"To discover a nation's consciousness, one must take a leisurely 'walk on foot' through the gardens of the individuals' souls . . .
"Antanas Mackevičius, a priest . . . one of the leaders of the 1863-1864 revolt in Lithuania, was hanged in Kaunas by the verdict of the (Russian) military tribunal. The spiritual structure of his personality, his way of thinking, his understanding of the meaning of his vocation, his original love of his nation, his protest against the world's political structure, his yearning for perfection they all contributed importantly to the forming of the national consciousness in the second half of the 19th century ..."
ELTA No. 10(329), 1986
ISSUE 50 AND 51 OF UNDERGROUND "AUŠRA" (THE DAWN)
Two new issues of the Lithuanian underground periodical Aušra (The Dawn) have been received in the West. Issue No. 50 is dated September 1985 and is 32 typewritten pages long, while the 51st issue, dated December 1985, has 34 pages.
The 50th issue of Aušra contains an eyewitness account by a cadet in the army of independent Lithuania, entitled "How the Russian Tanks Voted for the Lithuanian Parliament," describing a mutiny in a Lithuanian unit shortly after the Soviet invasion of Lithuania in June 1940. "Who are the Real Pirates?" asks another article, rejecting official Soviet criticism of last summer's Baltic Peace and Freedom Cruise and hailing the initiative of Baits in the Free World. "Decent People" all over the world are asked to help the imprisoned poet Gintautas Iešmantas ("Let Us Save a Talent Who Is Being Murdered"). Two protest statements by "prisoner of conscience" Vytautas Skuodis (U.S. citizen) are addressed to the USSR Procurator General (November 25, 1984) and to the authorities of camp ZhCh (December 2, 1984). Lithuania's incorporation into the Soviet Union is also discussed in an item entitled "Such Was the Will of the Occupying Power." An attempt to denigrate the underground Chronicle of the Lithuanian Catholic Church is ridiculed. A "Voice of America" report on last summer's Baltic Tribunal in Copenhagen is reprinted. "The Memoirs of a Soviet Prisoner" by Vladas Lapienis are serialized in issues 50 and 51.
The 51st issue starts with "A Christmas Contemplation." There is an urgent plea for assistance to three young Lithuanians Ričardas Andrijauskas, Mečislovas and Gintaras Tarasevičius who have been subjected to physical and mental torture, following their unsuccessful attempt to escape to Finland in May 1983. A list of political prisoners in the Mordovian camp ZhCh 385/3-5 is included. "Lithuanian Mothers" address and appeal to the Soviet Mothers' Committee, protesting against the destructive war in Afghanistan. An article, entitled "A 'Dialogue' By Way of a Monologue, or the Memory of Atheistic Truth," criticizes the crude anti-religious propaganda in the Lithuanian Communist press."
ELTA No. 12(331) 1986
THE 71ST ISSUE OF THE LITHUANIAN "CHRONICLE"
The 71st issue of the Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania is dated August 15,1986, and is 39 typewritten pages long. The new issue is dedicated to Bishop Julijonas Steponavičius, who was celebrating three anniversaries in 1986 25 years in internal exile, 50 years of priesthood, and 75 years of age. Messages to Bishop Steponavičius from Pope John Paul II (May 20, 1986) and many Lithuanian bishops and priests are published.
The Chronicle sees a tightening of Soviet religious policies in Lithuania, as evidenced by the arrogant tone of P. Anilionis, the Lithuanian Commissioner of the Council for Religious Affairs. Two Lithuanian priests sharply criticize a "scurrilous" attack against the Virgin Mary in a large-circulation Lithuanian communist magazine. The editors also rebuke an anonymous article in Tarybinė Klaipėda (April 5,1986), which tries to justify the seizure of the Mary, Queen of Peace Church in Klaipėda nearly 20 years ago.
A detailed list of house searches, interrogations and arrest in Lithuania indicates that the KGB is mounting another attack against the Lithuanian patriotic and religious movement. The solidarity of the Lithuanian clergy in face of religious persecution is demonstrated by several documents: A statement dated 1985, protesting discrimination and addressed to M. Gorbachev, was signed by 127 priests of the Panevėžys diocese (which has 130 priests); a statement on a similar topic, dated June 1, 1986, to the Lithuanian priests and administrators of dioceses, signed by 72 priests of the Vilkaviškis diocese; and an undated statement to Gorbachev, protesting the imprisonment of Lithuanian priests, signed by 79 priests.
Excerpts from the letters of several Lithuanian "prisoners of conscience" are published. There are numerous examples of discriminatory practices directed against Lithuanian Catholics, including students.
LITHUANIAN PRIEST VICTIM OF OFFICIALLY PLANNED KGB VIOLENCE
The 70th issue of The Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania includes an extensive account of the life and death of the Rev. Juozas Zdebskis, who was killed in a suspicious automobile accident on February 5,1986. The article is entitled "The Lithuanian Catholic Church Has Lost One More Zealous Priest."
The Chronicle claims that the fatal "collision was not accidental, but a carefully planned and executed act of violence." The KGB had kept Zdebskis under surveillance for over 20 years. Subjected to constant threats and sentenced twice, the priest had several close brushes with death under mysterious circumstances.
According to the Chronicle, Soviet authorities issued conflicting reports on the circumstances of Zdebskis' death. The Department of Motor Vehicles reported on Lithuanian television that Zdebskis' automobile had crossed the center lane and collided with a milk truck, killing three passengers in the automobile and injuring a fourth, R. Žemaitis. The Soviet news agency TASS, however, gave a slightly different report of the incident: Zdebskis' automobile, driven by Sabaliauskas, was allegedly passing another car and collided head-on with a milk truck. Neither report mentions the names of the milk truck driver, or the passengers of the automobile which Zdebskis' car was said to be passing.
The Rev. Zdebskis, Sabaliauskas, and an unidentified woman passenger were reported killed instantaneously, while Žemaitis was hospitalized. The driver of the milk truck, slightly injured, was also taken to the hospital. The sole survivor of the collision, R. Žemaitis, is said to have given contradicting accounts; the authorities forbade him to receive visitors. When he left the hospital, he wrote an article to the Prienai region newspaper praising the "Soviet friendship of nations" and thanked them for his cure.
On the day of Zdebskis' death, his rectory telephone was disconnected by the authorities. Friends learned of his death only a day later.
According to unconfirmed reports from alleged eyewitnesses, Zdebskis was stabbed and beaten to death on the street. A photograph of the deceased, apparently made on the street, is inconclusive.
The Chroncile concludes that "the shoving of Father Bronius Laurinavičius under the wheels of a truck (1981), the sadistic murders of Leonas Šapoka and Mažeika (also priests), the liquidation of the Lithuanian Helsinki Croup, efforts to destroy the Catholic Committee for the Defense of Believers' Rights at any cost, and constant KGB attacks on Father Zdebskis, allow one to form the supposition that this collision was not accidental."
Zdebskis was buried on February 10, in Rudamina. Two bishops, 100 priests and a "countless throng" of Catholics, mostly youths, took part in the funeral, which took place under KGB surveillance. The participants were brazenly followed by KGB automobiles. Many speakers eulogized the dead priest and spoke of the problems of the Lithuanian religious believers.
ELTA No. 8(327), 1986
WAVE OF SEARCHES AND ARRESTS
At the time when Soviet propagandists, aided by some credulous Western Journalists, are extolling Gorbachev's "liberalization" campaign, the August 15, 1986 issue of the underground journal Chronicle of the Catholic Church in Lithuania reports another KGB attack against Lithuanians suspected of patriotic and religious activities. Arbitrary searches, seizures and arrests are on the rise. The KGB is especially concerned about the printed work books and human beings are the victims of the new campaign.
A survey of recent searches and interrogations includes the case of Juozas Kazalupskas, whose home in Kaunas was ransacked on April 24,1985. He was interrogated by the KGB on May 16,1985, and threatened with prison unless he stopped his activity in defense of religious rights. In January, 1986, the KGB subjected the Rev. Antanas Šeškevičius, the vicar of the parish of Gargždai, to a four-hour interrogation; he was accused of collaboration with the Chronicle. Underground literature and books were confiscated during a KGB search of the home of Antanas Kelmelis, a metal worker, on April 25, 1986, in Vilkaviškis. The KGB also seized typewritten copies of books critical of the soviet system at the home of P. Blazukas, on April 24, 1986, in Vilkaviškis.
The Chronicle reports that Algirdas Patackas, an engineer, was arrested on July 29,1986, by the KGB in Vilnius, following a search of his home in Kaunas and confiscation of books and manuscripts on May 22. Books were also seized at the home of his father, Antanas Patackas. On May 22, the KGB also searched the homes of Paulius Martinaitis and Petras Kimbrys in Kaunas, and of Arūnas Rekašius, Mindaugas Babonas, and Saulius Kelpša, in Garliava. Typewriters, tapes, manuscripts and books were confiscated, including a Lithuanian translation of "Les Pensees" by Blaise Pascal.
On May 23, Aldona Raižytė and G. Bružaitė were detained and interrogated in connection with the search of the home of S. Kelpša. Antanas Terleckas, a "prisoner of conscience" now in internal exile in Osmukchan (Magadan region) had his dormitory room searched by KGB agent Česnavičius and two agents from Magadan. Seven letters by Terleckas to addresses in Lithuania were confiscated.
ELTA No. 12(311) 1986