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these bishops and knew them as outstanding men of
sanctity and duty. Especially I had been impressed by
the holiness of the late martyred Bishop T. Matulionis

This booklet will help to understand the sufFering.s
and hardships of the Lithuanian clerg\' under ruthless
Communist oppression.



Most Rev. Joseph Rancans
Auxiliary Bishop of Riga, Latvia
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Nov. 18, 1952



620 BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



To the Reader:

"What did the Communists do with the Lithuanian
Bishops?", ask the p(x>ple of the Western World.

Lithuania, as a Christian nation 700 years old, was
the first victim among the countries occupied by the
Soviets. The Catholics of Lithuania were the first ones
who suffered the Soviet terror and persecution. The
Bishops of Lithuania were the first martyrs of occupied
countries. They were predecessors for the martyrs
Cardinal Mindszenty, Archbishop of Hungary, Arch-
bishop Stepinac of Yugoslavia and Archbishop Beran of
Czechoslovakia. The whole free world should know them
as martyrs of Christianity.

The Author



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION 621

MOST REV. TEOFIUUS MATUUONIS
Bishop of Kaisiadorys: Lithuania

It was a touching moment in 1933 on the border of
Soviet Russia and Latvia. Most Rev. Bishop Joseph
Rancans, the Auxiliary Bishop of Riga, now in exile,
then the representative of Latvia's Bishops and faith-
ful, met ten Lithuanian priest prisoners from Soviet
Russia. These priests were exchanged for Communist
prisoners in Lithuania. Bishop Rancans came up to one
of them, put a skull cap, (the sign of a bishop) on the
head, and said, "I am very glad to see you alive, Ex-
cellency". All the other former prisoners, now free
priests, looked at one another with surprise and doubt
in their eyes. They could not believe that one of them
was a Bishop. Even they who had been close to him
and had spent their time with him in the same cell did
not know it.

Kissing his hand. Rev. V. Dainys said, "I beg your
pardon, Excellency. Maybe I was too rough with you
when I was put in charge of our cell and I commanded
you to work. Pardon me, I did not know you were a
Bishop."

There was a friendly smile on the lips of the Bishop.
He was the Most Reverend Teofilius Matulionis.

As the Bishop and his priest friends, the former
prisoners came into Lithuania, their native country,
everyone wanted to see and hear them. »We students in
the seminary in Kaunas, the temporary- Capital of



622



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



Lithuania, were awaiting them very anxiously. We saw
their poor clothes, their pale faces and weak bodies,
and we felt their great love for our Lord. They told
us much more than many books about Christian Mar-
tyrs could have done. We were surprised to hear how
they said Mass secretly in the woods without liturgical
robes, how they heard confessions on the way back from
work, how they were tortured and forced to deny the
Catholic Faith, and how they were strengthened by the
Grace of God to be firm in that Faith.



Most Rev. Teofilius Matulionis and
other Lithuanian Priests as they
came to Lithiuinia from Soviet Rus-
sia October 19, 1933.




BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



623




After they came to Lithuania they
were dressed as priests.



We could not and wc cannot forget the words said
by the Most Rev. Bishop Matulionis in a calm and hum-
ble voice, "I am thankful to God that I could suffer
for Christ. And if I could suffer more for Him I would
do that with pleasure."



We heard those words and thought about the sancti-
ty of the speaker. But not one of us at that time even
harbored the thought that the martyrdom of the Bishop
would continue. The ston of his life is a story of a
martvr.



624 BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION

Bom in Kudoriskis, Lithuania, on July 4, 1873, he
was ordained a priest on March 17, 1900. As pastor in
Bikova, Latvia, he was most popular and loved by all.
According to the testimony of Most Rev. Bishop Joseph
Rancans, Father Matulionis was a priest who was the
first to enter his church and the last to leave it. Later
he was a loved pastor in the city of Petrograd (Lenin-
grad) in a district populated by workers. In 1922 he was
arrested by the Communists and was put into jail for
two years. On February 3, 1929, he was secretly or-
dained a Bishop. He was arrested for the second time
in 1929 and sentenced to ten years in the concentration
camps on the Solovky Islands of the White Sea. In
1931 he was transferred to the concentration camp near
Leningrad. His work in the forests, that of preparing
timber for the city of Leningrad, was very strenuous
and the Bishop suffered from hunger and cold, hard
work and the cruelties of the Soviets. But although he
was weak in physical strength, he was firm and steadfast
in spirit. Later he was transferred to the jail in Mos-
cow. In 1933 the Lithuanian government liberated him.

When he visited Rome, Pope Pius XI in his audience,
kissed him and said, "Glory be to the Lithuanian peo-
ple, who gave such a hero." In 1936, Bishop Matulionis
visited the United States.

In Lithuania he had been a chaplain at the Benedic-
tine Convent in Kaunas; but in 1940 he was appointed
Chief Chaplain of the Lithuanian Army. On January



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION 625




Most Rev. Teofilius Matulionis
"Yo2i will not make me
afraid''



9, 1943, he received a further appointment as Bishop
Ordinary of Kaisiadorys. In 1946 he was arrested for
the third time and deported to Siberia. The Commu-
nists accused him of sending a letter to his Faithful. (In
Soviet Russia and in the occupied countries, the Bishops
are not allowed to send pastoral letters to the Faithful).
Bishop Matulionis suffered the Soviet tortures again and
died as a Martyr for the Faith.

Although he was a quiet and humble person. Bishop
Matulionis had a very strong spirit. His virtues of faith
and love for Almighty God made him a hero. During
his tortures he would frequently say to the Communists,
"You will not make me afraid."



626



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



MOST REV. DR. MECISLOVAS REINYS
Archbishop of Vilnius: Lithuania




Most Rev. Mecislovas Reinys

He did not sign a false dec-
laration about the freedojn of
religion in Lithuania occu-
pied by the Soviets.



In 1947 the free world was surprised to hear about
the freedom of religion under the Soviet occupation in
Lithuania. A declaration stating this was issued in the
name of Most Rev. Mecislovas Reinys, Archbishop of
Vilnius. Unknown to many, this declaration cost the
freedom and life of the Archbishop, who was asked to
make a statement that the Catholic Church in Lithuania,
under the Soviet regime, enjoys full freedom and pros-
perity. But the Archbishop refused to do this because
it was so obviously a lie. Then the Soviets dictated the
declaration and the Archbishop was forced to sign it.
Archbishop Reinys stood firm in his decision to testify
only the truth, but the Soviets published the declaration
in his name without his coi sent and he disappeared.
He was arrested and deported.



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION 627

Archbishop Rcinys had a bright personality. He was
born in Madagaskaras, Lithuania, on Feb. 5, 1884. He
was a professor at the Major Seminary in Vilnius. In
1920 he was arrested by the Russian Communists and
put into jail in Polock, Russia. During the same year he
was sent back to Lithuania where the Communists took
him into the woods and allowed him to go free. After a
long walk he found that he was near his native town.
Now in apparent safety, he became a professor at the
University, Vytautas the Great, in Kaunas; and Min-
ister of Foreign Affairs in the Lithuanian Christian gov-
ernment. On April 5, 1926, he was elected Auxiliary
Bishop of the Diocese of Vilkaviskis. Some of his great-
est work was accomplished as a spiritual leader of the
Lithuanian Catholic Youth Organizations, "Ateitis"
(Future) for the students and seniors and "Pavasaris"
(Spring) for the youth of the country.

Most Rev. Mecislovas Reinys was a man of science.
He wrote many religious and philosophical books and
articles. His most famous work, Rasizmo Problema, dealt
with the problem of Nazism.

On July 18, 1940, he was made Archbishop and ap-
pointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of Vilnius. In
1942 he became Administrator of the Diocese. When
Vilnius was being bombarded in World War II, he was
wounded by Soviet bombs.

In 1947 this great spiritual and intellectual leader of
the Lithuanian people became a victim of false Com-
munistic propaganda. He was separated from his
Faithful and deported.



628 BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION

MOST REV. VINCENTAS BORISEVICIUS
Bishop of Telsiai: Lithuania




Most Rev. Vincentas Borisevicius

"Your victory is only for today.
The future belongs to me"



In February of 1946, Most Rev. Vincentas Borisevi-
cius, Bishop of Telsiaij was arrested by the Soviet Com-
munists and brought to the jail in Vilnius, the Capital
of Lithuania. During his trial some Jews testified in his
favor, telling how the Bishop had helped the Jewish
people during the Nazi occupation. But the Communists
paid no attention to this testimony, for they condemned
him to death.

It was a touching moment during the trial, when the
Communists said to Bishop Borisevicius, "You were once
honored, but now you are nothing. We are the victors."



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION 629

The Bishop answered in a calm and firm voice, "Your
victory is only for today. The future belongs to me.
Christ will win and my country, Lithuania, will win."

Bishop Vincentas Borisevicius was born in Bebrininkai,
a district of Vilkaviskis, Lithuania, on November 23,
1887, and was ordained on May 29, 1910. He was Rector
of the Major Seminary of Telsiai. On March 10, 1940,
he was consecrated a Bishop and he became Bishop Or-
dinary of Telsiai on January 21, 1944.

The Bishop was known as a very devout person and
this saintly life merited for him the glory of the Mar-
tyrs.

I visited him during the bitter days of the summer of
1944, as the Communists were coming from the East
toward Lithuania. One part of Lithuania was already
occupied by the Soviets, but the Diocese of Bishop Bori-
sevicius was still in the hands of the Nazi. I found the
Bishop in Seda, a parish which he was visiting, although
this visit placed him in great danger. I was surprised to
see him in church early in the morning, for his Mass
was appointed for ten o'clock. He had come to church
at seven and prayed until his Mass. Just before Mass,
he was told about the Soviet occupation of Raudenai,
another parish of his Diocese. The Communists had
entered the church and had taken the Blessed Sacrament



52975 O - 54 - 41



630 BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION

from the tabernacle and thrown It on the ground. Some
put on the liturgical robes and others killed a pig at the
door of the church and prepared it for eating. Fathers
John Petrenas and Anthony Traskevicius who were at
the rectory, were threatened and tortured. After two
days they escaped and flew to the West, where they gave
testimony about the actions of the Communists. I was
surprised at the tranquility of the Bishop. He was shock-
ed but not angry. He told the people about the sacrilege
commited in the church of Raudenai but always showed
love toward his enemies. He pledged himself to pray
for them and to make reparation for their sins. This
kindness, even to those who hated him and the things
he stood for, clearly illustrated the saintly life of Bishop
Borisevicius.

But I never thought, at that time, that in two years
the Bishop himself would be tortured and condemned.



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION

MOST REV. PRANCISKUS RAMANAUSKAS
Auxiliary Bishop of Telsiai: Lithuania



631




Most Rev, Pranciskus Ramanauskas

''The Faithful shaidd know how to

preserve the faith after they lost

all spiritual leaders''



The Bishop was preaching in the Cathedral. He was
telling the Faithful how to preserve their faith if they
lost all spiritual leaders. He stressed the importance of
how to baptize and how to instruct the children. He
told the people how to be firm in their Faith.



This Bishop w'as the Most Rev. Pranciskus Rama-
nauskas, who was in charge of the Diocese of Telsiai after
Bishop Borisevicius was arrested. He went to Vilnius one
day, to ask the Communists what they did with Bishop
Borisevicius. They told him that he had been sentenced
to death. Bishop Ramanauskas continued his spiritual



632 BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION

work although he knew he would be arrested, too. One
morning of December in 1946, the Red Police surround-
ed the Cathedral and arrested the Bishop as he was leav-
ing after Mass. He was treated like a murderer and not
even allowed to take an overcoat or hat.



The people wanted to help him but their courageous
spirit could not overcome the force of the police. But
they gathered in the Cathedral and sang the popular
song to the Blessed Virgin, "Mary, Mary, make easier
our slavery, save us from the terrible enemy."

Most Rev. Pranciskus Ramanauskas was bom in
Betygala, Lithuania, on November 21, 1893 and ordain-
ed on January 11, 1917. He became Vice-Rector of the
Major Seminary of Telsiai, and also the author of a
book on the instruction of Catechism. He was conse-
crated Auxiliary Bishop of the Diocese of IVlsiai on
February- 28, 1944.

Bishop Ramanauskas was very- popular among the
priests and Faithful of the Diocese. I visited him in
September of 1944. He was so humble and natural that
at once I felt he was my best friend, although I had just
met him. He stayed in his rectory and worked in his
Cathedral even when his life was in the greatest dan-
ger. He was a real Pastor who gave his life for his flock.



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION 633

BALTIC COMMITTEE
U . G . House of #epresentati«3



-i.




Witness ^ —




SYMBOLISM OF THE COVER

The darkness of Communism rules in
Lithuania which is occupied by the Soviets.
Only the faith of the Cross brings a light to
the oppressed people. The bishops are like
pillars of the religious life in the persecuted
country. But their lives, like the tulips, were
cut down by the Soviet hammer and sickle.



Cover made by Juozas Domeika



All Rights Reserved.



1953



634



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION
Exhibit 10-C



FIFTEEN "LIQUDATED"
PRIESTS IN LITHUANIA



2-Booa-a«oooo-oooooooooaoooc:



Juozas J. runskls

Formerly Editor of the Catholic Daily "XX Amzius"
«nd Director of the Catholic Press Bureau in Lithuania



CHICAGO, ILL.



19 4 3



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION 635

Americans of Lithuanian descent dearly cherish
this free country of the United States of America, and
are helping her by all means possible in her great
struggle to preserve democracy and freedom for all
peoples in all parts of the world, and while doing so, we
naturally are much concerned about the freedrm of
another land also dear to us, Lithuania, from which we
or our fathers have come.

Lithuania, a land of rustling pine woods, meander-
ing rivers and green meadows, with about three million
inhabitants, is one of the Baltic States. It is a Catholic
country, the one which His Holiness, Pope Pius XH,
called the "Northernmost European Citadel of Catho-
licism", in other words, a Catholic outpost.

Lithuania is one of the most ravaged countries of
this war. She was crossed and recrossed by the contend-
ing armies. Since the outbreak of World War H, she
is under a second occupation. The first occupation
occurred when on June 15, 1940, she was overwhelmed
by the Red Army of Soviet Russia. When the first clash
of arms between Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia took
place, Lithuania became the first battleground ; on her
soil the fearful combat raged, which was followed by
devastating and cruel Nazi occupation. The Germans
squelched all attempts of the Lithuanians to reestablish
an independent state.

The record of Nazi depredations in Lithuania, is
being kept and proclaimed to all the world. But we are
already in possession of well - documented items in
regard to the first occupation, the rule of the Red OGPU
which was as bloody an affair as has occurred any-
where. About 40,000 Lithuanians — men, women, and
children — were exiled to dreadful Siberia. Hundreds
of Lithuania's best sons were murdered amon<? whom
there were fifteen Catholic priests. We are in possession
of authentic evidence sent to us by the Most Reverend
Brizgis and Reverend. A. Biliunas in regard to all that
the faithful had to undergo during the Red occupation
of Lithuania.



636



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



The friendly disposition of the Russian people to-
ward Lithuania is not in question. The Russian people
are as good as any other people. Our protest is not
against them. We proclaim our abhorrence of com-
munistic violence as vehemently as of Nazi or Fascist
violence. Fifteen priests ''liquidated" in a small coun-
try like Lithuania! Their blood would ever linger before
our eyes and their souls would never give us rest if
we kept silent about their martyrdom. This is a maximal
sacrifice not only for their country, but also for the
Church of God. We are well aware that those who are
ever ready to justify every and any act of the Red
executioners will start raising a tremendous storm. No
doubt there is no lack of such defenders of the Red
tactics even in this freedom-loving country. However,
we proclaim straightforwardly and fearlessly that noth-
ing will frighten us into silence — neither words, nor
bullets, nor even death. From housetops we shall preach
the sacred truths of the love of God and love of one's
country. We shall make known the names of those who
died for these ideals. We have dedicated our lives to the
promotion of these ideals, and, if necessary, we are
ready to die for them. And so, we present in brief the
account of the deaths of these fifteen martyrs.

1. REVEREND VALENTINAS BALCIUS

He was barely 36 years
old, having been born May 15,
1905. He was ordained June 15
1935, and because there was
a lack of priests in his home
diocese, Kaisedoriai, he was
soon made administrator of
Pusne parish which numbers
about 2,200 members. The
parish church is a frame build-
ing built by parishioners
under the leadership of Re-
verend Jurkunas and Reverend




BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



637



Zelnis. In this parish the Reverend Balcius proved him-
self to be an energetic and fearless leader of his flock.
At the time of his untimely death he was himself help-
ing with the completion of the church and the fencing
off of the churchyard. Concerning his dreadful end we
received the following message:

"While the Red Army was retreating, he was
hiding in a dugout v/hich he had previously
built with the aid of his brother in a secluded
place. He had hoped to stay there until the Red
Army had passed, but the evil eye of the enemy
sighted it even from a distance. Immediately
the shelter was surrounded by the Reds and the
priest and a small band of weaponless and
harmless parishioners were killed. This took
place June 27, 1941."



2. REVEREND VACLOVAS BALSYS



.^f"^



The second of the mar-
tyrs, Reverend Balsys, was
born August 4, 1905. He was
ordained August 15, 1928 and
was pastor of Lankeliskiai in
the diocese of Vilkaviskis. It
is an old parish, organized in
1612, and at present numbers
about 2,600 members. He to-
gether with two other priests,
Reverend Petrika and Re-
verend Dabrila, were tormented in a bestial manner and
then slaughtered. Their bodies were pierced many times
by bayonnets, disfigured, and crosses were branded on
their foreheads and chests. While still alive, they were
disemboweled and crucified. This happened on June 22,
1941. (See the Lithuanian American Daily **Draugas",
No. 241, Oct. 15, 1941.)




638



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION




3. REVEREND JONAS DAUGELA

He was born February
2.1, 1909. He was the author's
classmate in the seminary at
Kaunas. He was a jolly, sincere
young man, and at the same
time, serious in his preparation
for his high calling — for re-
ligious work and activities. He
belonged to Kaisedoriai dio-
cese. His ordination took place
in 1937, and because of the
lack of priests, he, while still
young, was made pastor of Stirniai, a new parish or-
ganized only in 1922. It is located in the woods, popular
hunting grounds of the Lithuanian gentry. But the
Reverend Daugela was no sportsman. As a zealous
priest, he was bent on bulding a church, and within a
short time, the church was built. It was not in vain that
he had written these words on his ordination card :
"O, Lord, lead me in the path of prayer, work,
and the love of my neighbor."
Further on his ordination card we find the following:
"In joyful memory of my ordination to the holy
priesthood when I, Jonas Daugela, with tremb-
ling soul ascended the steps of the Lord's altar
in the church of Sventezeriai, June 20, 1937,
to sacrifice for the first time the first Solemn
High Mass. Pray, brethren, that I, while
preaching to others, may not become unworthy
myself."

His prayer was answered. He did not become un-
worthy ; he became a martyr. As the Reverend Biliunas
wrote to us from Lithuania, it happened thus:

'The Reds were about to leave when they
remembered that in Stirniai there yet remained
a priest. They went to the rectory, seized the
pastor, dragged him out, and shot him to
death."




BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION 639

4. REVEREND DR. JUSTINAS DABRILA

Doctor Dabrila was so
well-known in Lithuania that
he merited a lengthy write-up
in the Lithuanian Encyclopedia.
Here, in part, is what the said
publication has about him.

*'Born March 15, 1905, in
Nasiskiai, Vilkaviskis town-
ship and district, priest initia-
tor cf pedagogical movies in
Lithuania. His education start-
ed when Lithuania was still
under Russian tsarist rule. (Lithuania was under that
rule for over 100 years.) High school completed at
Mariampole. Graduated from Vilkaviskis College in
1920. Studied for priesthood in Vilkaviskis seminary
from 1920 to 1926; ordained March 20, 1928. During
1927-28 he studied at the University of Vytautas the
Great, Theological-Philosophical Department, and re-
ceived a diploma; 1929 he studied in a Jesuit institution
in Silesia; 1930 studied philosophy at Valkenburg.
P'urther he studied at the Gregorianum University at
Rome, where he received the Licentiate in Theology in
1934. He left the Jesuit Order because of ill health be-
fore he made any vows. From September 1, 1935 was
chaplain in Vilkaviskis College; from June 1, 1936 was
also professor at Vilkaviskis Seminary. In 1935, in
cooperation with the Catholic Action Center, organized
pedagogical motion pictures. In 1935 he had produced
55 films with appropriate lectures. In 1936 he had
produced a film of 90 pictures portraying M. K.
Ciurlionis, most famous Lithuanian painter. He wrote a
good deal in the Lithuanian periodicals on pedagogical
movies and other subjects. In 1936 he published a col-
lection of Lithuanian songs."

In addition, he was held in so great regard that he was
chosen to be spiritual director at Vilkaviskis Seminary.



640



BALTIC STATES INVESTIGATION



The Diocesan Art Commission, appreciating his artistic
knowledge, made him a member. The purpose of the
said Commission was to assist the pastors in planning
new churches and modifying and beautifying the old ones.

His song book enjoyed unusual popularity — in
a month's time a thousand copies were sold. Within a
year, it ran into four editions.

I used to meet him frequently in Kaunas, the
Lithuanian provisional capital. He was always cheer-
ful and courteous, but at the same time, always busy
and preoccupied with many affairs. It is extremely
horrible to recall in what a bestial manner he was execut-
ed by the communists, June 22, 1941, in Budavone
woods. A message received from Lithuania (see the
Lithuanian Catholic Daily "Draugas", No. 241, 1941)
tells us that he was one of the three priests who we'e
crucified by the communists, having had crosses brand-
ed on their foreheads and chests, and while still alive,
disemboweled.

And he was still young, talented, highly educated,
and so loved by the Lithuanian people

5. REVEREND VACLOVAS DAMBRAUSKAS




Honorary Canon Va-
clovas Dambrauskas of
the diocese of Telsiai was
born September 9, 1879.
His sister-in-law, Mrs.
Elena Dambrauskiene,
lives in Chicago. About
this martyr she tells the
following:

"His parents were

extremely poor and lived

on a rented farm. While

the young Vaclovas was studying in a town school, food



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