THE INTERACTION BETWEEN THE RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES OF KLAIPĖDA
AND THE SOVIET AUTHORITIES IN 1945–1954
The purpose of this work is to describe the life conditions of religious communities and Soviet authorities fighting against ecclesiastical institutions in Klaipėda in 1945–1954. The research is based on official documents, periodical publications and memoirs. After the Second World War, Klaipėda was rebuilt and repopulated, and the demographic situation changed. Traditional, as well as new religions emerged in the city and were trying to get place for their activities and the right to execute rituals. At the same time the Soviet regime continued the policy of atheism. The Soviet authorities were trying to create a typical Soviet atmosphere in Klaipėda, but it was not able to stop the development of the religious communities.
This paper covers such aspects of postwar Klaipėda: 1) the situation after the events of 28 January 1945; 2) changes in the demographic situation; 3) the foundation of an Ecclesiastical Cults office; 4) the impact of the Soviet atheism policy on the inhabitants of Klaipėda; 5) the postwar situation of the traditional religious communities; 6) the conditions the Catholic community; 7) the conditions of the Evangelical Lutheran community; 8) the situation of Evangelical Baptist community; 9) the situation of the Orthodox community; 10) the conditions of the Orthodox Old Believers community.
It was a normal everyday occurrence for the residents of Klaipėda to take part in the activities of their religious community. Despite the pressure exerted by the Soviet authorities, the religious communities did not stop their activities. Because of the opposition, later the Soviet authorities made some concessions. Therefore the religious communities had a chance to exist, but they could not exist freely.
Genocidas ir rezistencija, 2007, Nr. 2(22)