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by Egle Ciobutiene
(Kalba Vilnius, 16 September 1993)
            This is a biographical essay about renowned pianist, Gold Wainberg-Tatz, a Lithuanian-born Jew, who has lived in Israel and now resides in New York.  Her precocious skill in piano is described, together with her subsequent musical triumphs on the international scene.  Toward the end of the article that mentions her travels, one reads:
            "And beyond all that, why not vacation in her homeland of Lithuania to give concerts?  But most importantly of all, like a bird she returns so that in Rokiskis she can visit Father Antanas Gobis, who, during the German occupation, rescued her mother from death, and in addition sheltered several Jewish children.  Father Antanas risked his life.  Recently, officials of the Israeli Government bestowed on him a high national award for aiding Jews.  Furthermore, there is in Israel an olive grove where an olive tree is planted there for anyone in the world who has saved at least one Jew.  Such a tree is named for Father Gobis.  Inscribed on an attractive plaque is his name, surname, and other information.
            "Thus next Sunday evening during our second radio program we shall hear Golda Wainberg-Tatz's muscianship.  Be assured that she is like that bird that always returns to her homeland, and shall enrich us with her musical art."
(Draugas [Chicago-based Lithuanian daily], 18 May 1995)
Gdansk, Poland, May 9
               ----- In order to fix the memory of some 60,000 political prisoners from twenty-five nations and twenty-eight ethnic groups, the sounds of a trumpet and a triple volley echoed in Balys Sruoga's novel, In the Forest of the Gods, a scene set in the former Stutthof concentration camp, now converted to a museum not far from Gdansk, Poland.
              There came from Warsaw, Ambassador Antanas Valionis, General Counsul Sarunas Adomavivius, and about fifty former prisoners and relatives of prisoners who perished, along with representatives of Lithuanian television and the press.
               Leading the religious portion of the commemoration were Metropolitan Archbishop Tadeusz Gotzlowsky, Bishop Andrziej Szlivinski of Elbing, along with Orthodox and Lutheran clergy, and Rabbi Chackel Zak from Kaunas.
               The first wreath was carried by political prisoners representing the nations of all those who died at Stutthof.  Pilypas Naruits represented Lithuania.
               The Lithuanian ambassador laid a floral wreath at the monument and set a memorial plaque at the crematorium.  In the plaza of the crematorium, a short silence for meditation was arranged for all the Lithuanians.  At this point, Lithuanian Ambassador A. Valionis offered remarks and Pilypas Narutis, former Stutthof prisoner, read a special declaration on behalf of the Lithuanian groups of hostages.
               In his comments, Pilypas Narutis recalled that victory over the Nazis was not the end of genocide.  Rather "the Soviet Union, with a deeper level of brutality, brought terror to occupied nations, and with that occuaption a greater and prolonged slavery, annihilating one third of the Lithuanian people in Siberian gulags."
by Jonas Daugela
(Draugas, 29 May 1998)
                It's not likely that there was anywhere in a Lithuanian city -- a Jewish community so well organized as in Siauliai.  Siauliai was a leather and commercial center.  Besides that, it housed the largest shoe factory of all three Baltic nations.  These enterprizes employed over 5,000 workers.  Jews very intimately fraternized with activist Lithuanians and cooperated with them.  Outstanding Jews took part in the autonomous city administration and greatly aided in the rebuiding and beautifying of Siauliai.  In this way, they acquired many good Lithuanian friends.
                 Just as soon as the German Army had entered Siauliai, the destruction of the Jews began, as elsewhere throughout Lithuania.  Immediately and in a short time, organized roving killer squads murdered Jews in all the cities and villages of Siauliai County.  In the city itself, the Jews were confined to a ghetto.  Without doubt, such scenes deeply moved the Lithuanian community of Siauliai.
                 Promptly, Lithuanians set out in every way possible to aid the Jews.  Lithuanian groups were formed into secret cells that gathered  food products, medicines, and material for bandages, and in various ways smuggled them into the ghetto.  Nevertheless, it was not long before each night groups of Jews were led out of the ghetto and shot to death.  Likewise, many of them were herdered into freight cars and sent far away into Germany.
                 Lithuanians sought to devise ways to help at least the Jewish children.  To provide aid to those children, to protect them and hide them --- a voluntary secret network was organized.  Several leading families of Siauliai organized the endeavor and in every manner possible fostered the effort.  But, most of all, in all Lithuania, the well-known Venclauskas family was of service in this matter.
                 K. Venclauskas was a well-known attorney and leading political figure.  He had been a member of every democratic convention.  His wife, Stanislava, was well-known as the protector of students coming form the poor class.  She housed these unfortuante children in her own home, nurtured them, and sent them to the gymnasium [secondary school].  One surmises that there were some one hundred such Venclauskas "offspring"  --- alumni  of the Siauliai gymnasiium.
                The Venclauskases were true vessels of the ideals of Christian humanism.  Mr. Venclauskas died soon after the Bolsheviks invaded Lithuania.  Thus it was that during the Nazi occupation, Mrs. Venclaukskas and here two daughters --- Grozvyle and Danute --- pooled their efforts in aiding Jews.
                 They found a way to approach German officials; and by devising various ruses, they "abducted" from the ghetto as many as several hundred Jewish children of tender age.  Throughout the County of Siauliai, the Venclauskases had been well acquainted with many good and trustworthy farmers and workers.  Accordingly, the Venclauskases rescued youths from the ghetto and hid them in farmsteads.  Without a doubt, these were highly dangerous efforts on the part of the rescuers.  Nevertheless, our villagers were exceptionally trustworthy and noble Lithuanians.  Thus, one has not heard of any accusations or betrayals of any sort.  They mutually defended one another, and mutually aided one another.  Even to this day, there are some surviving rescued Jews.  Some of them live in Lithuania, while others have established themselves in Israel.
                 During the second incursion of the Red Army into Lithuania, Grozvyle remained in Lithuania, whereas Mrs. Venslauskas and Danute withdrew to the west.  At first they lived in Germany; later, they came to America and settled in Waterbury, Connecticut.  From their first days, they immediately engaged in helping others.  They organized mailing of parcels to Lithuania, an especially supported surviving families, exiled to Siberia and imprisoned there.  For these endeavors, Grozvyle, who remained in Lithuania, provided considerable help.
                 In Waterbury, the Jew, Aaron Frenkel, recognized them [mother and daughter].  You see, he was one of those whom Danute rescued from the ghetto and hid with a farmer.  At that time, he was an eleven-year-old lad.  Presently, he is established in the same Waterbury where he operates a meat market, now administerd by his son, Sid.  Both of them speak Lithuanian as well.  At his place of business, Aaron recognized Danue.  Indeed, their meeting was emotional, and once again ties of deep friendship were renewed, characterized by reminiscences of painful days.
                 This year, Danute celebrated her ninety-fifth birthday.  For the occasion, the Jewish Federation of Waterbury arranged an impressive birthday banquet.  To participate in this feast, the sister, Grozvyle, came here from Siauliai.  However, a sudden attack forced her to return quickly to Siauliai for an operation.  The Jews wanted to honor her too.
                 At the entrance to the hall, leaflets in English and Lithuanian were distributed, decribing the destruction fo the Jews, all the horrors of the Holocaust, and the efforts of Lithuanians to rescue Jews.  It was a pleasure to hear Lithuanian spoke by Jews chatting among themselves.
                 During the ceremony, a Lithuanian speech was read by Sid, son of Aaron Frenkel, who had been rescued by the efforts of Danute.  Later, there was read a translation into English.  Afra Farhi, a representative of the Israel Consulate who had come from New York, read a touching speech.  She announced that the Government of Israel was giving the highest order, up to now not yet ever awarded to a non-Jew, for heroism shown by Danute in rescuing hundreds of Jews during the years of the Holocaust.  Furthermore, she [Afra Fahri] gave a $1,000 gift, adding that Danute will receive a monthly $400 pension for the rest of her life.
                 At the conclusion, Danute herself, the one who occasioned this observance, spoke a few works.  She thanked all who were present, especially the delegates of the Israeli Government, for the attention shown to her.  At the end, in a loud voice that the entire hall could hear, she shouted in both English and Lithuanian: "Lithuanians never killed Jews.  Never, never, never!"  The entire proceedings and speeches were very widely written about in the local press.
                 In recent years, Jews have increasingly and stubbornly faulted Lithuanians for the annihilation of their fellow Jews.  Worst of all, it has not been individuals being blames, but the entire nation.  For that reason, perhaps such observances will at least partially open Jewish eyes and show them the face of the giant-hearted Lithuanians.
by Pilypas Narutis
[A survivor of Stutthof]
(Teviskes Ziburiai, 2 February 1999)
                  In Lithuania on the Hill of Crosses in the outskirts of Siauliai, a new memorial has been raised, dedicated to the forty-six prisoners of Lithuania held hostage at Stutthof.  The memorial is a cross designed by architect Leonas Juozonis.  Monsignor Kleopas Jakaitis blessed the memorial.  This memorial expresses the distinct struggle of Lithuania with Nazi Germany which used the most brutal methods to bend Lithuania to the wishes of the occupying forces.
Why Were Hostages Needed?
                  The start of 1943 was also the start of the tragedy of Adolf Hitler.  When the German army, having ventured to the Caspian Sea, experienced a painful defeat in an effort to withstand the Moscow-London-Washington united front, Hitler gave orders to use the occupied peoples as a buffer for the Reich.  The German administration announced for Lithuania the mobilization of young men in an attempt to form a new SS legion.  In this instance, the Lithuanian nation already took a stance with the West against the occupying forces.  The intended Nazi mobilization did not succeed at all.
                   Just as the united Lithuanian nation rose up against Moscow on June 23, 1941, so too the entire nation opposed the Berlin-announced mobilization at the start of 1943.   A. T. von Rentein (ruler of Lithuania), Heinrich Lohse (ruler of the occupant's Eastern lands) and Heinrich Himmler (supreme planner of all killings) met in conference at Riga and drew up a new plan of oppression.
An Unexpected Knock at the Door
               On March 16-17, 1943, Rentein announced the closing of all higher schools of learning in Lithuania (occupied-Poland schools had already been closed from 1939) , while the Gestapo ordered fifty of the known resistant activists to be taken as hostages in order to terrorize the whole nation.
                 I was living in the old section of Kaunas on Valancius Street.  On orders of the Gestapo, Bronius Stasiukaitis and I had been under house arrest.  We could not leave Kaunas, and we had to register with the Gestapo every Monday.  We used to register separately, and the next day we used to meet to chat about what transpired at the registration, since we were aware that some day we might not return to our homes.
                On March 15, 1943, I registered with the Gestapo.  On March 16, as I was about  to  leave for the university, Bronius Stasiukaitis stopped by about 8:00 A. M.  A loud knocking on the door interrupted our converation.  When the door opened, Sveicorius, a
German of Lithuania (a Gestapo official), along with several others, informed me that I was under arrest.  I had the presence of mind to say that I had a student with me with whom I wanted to go to class, and "Perhaps you could let him go?"  Sveicorius, without even asking the student's surname, blurted out: "Let him go!"  B. Stasiukaitis quickly left.  I rejoiced.  Now word will spread about me, and perhaps about another wave of arrests.
In the Gestapo Cellar
                 The Gestapo men asked me if I had a weapon.  Superficially they glanced at the bookshelves, ordered me to dress warmly, seated me in a "Mercedes Benz" and . . . off  to the Gestapo quarters . . . to a level below ground in a dark room.  Here I found Fr. Stays Yla [1908-1983] . . .  Within a day and night, they filled all the Gestapo underground rooms.  In the morning (March 17), they led all of us out of the cellar to a second-story room.  There we found breakfast on a table with dishes and also some chairs.  Here I found a few acquaintances, but mostly unfamiliar faces.  I can't recall in which group I found myself.  All was unclear to me.  Not all had an appetite to eat.  After breakfast, all exited down the stairway to a waiting bus under heavy military guard.  Thus began our journey.  We didn't know where.  We didn't know why.  No one spoke.  No one threatened.
To A Camp of Destruction
                  The order from Berlin to seize fifty hostages was not succeeding well for the Gestapo.  Out of the planned fifty hostages, after a few days, the Gestapo succeeded to grab only forty (They did not find Prof. Zenonas Ivinskis, Lt. Izidorius Kriaunaitis, Petras Vilutis, Dr. Pr[anas] Padolskis . . .)  In an effort to fill the quota of fifty hostages, they seized six more for a total of forty-six.  The hostage were swiftly taken out of Lithuania in two bus loads.  The haste was perhaps due to the fear of the unrest or perhaps an uprising of the people.
                  Jurgis Valiukevicius, a student, was snatched in place of his brother, an attorney; A. Kantvilas in place of Kazys Veverskis; Jonas Sernas in place of his brother, Prof. Jokubas Sernas,.  They [Nazis] confused Vytautas and Algirdas Tumenas who had numerous relatives with similar surnames.  (On p. 102 in Zmones ir zverys, Fr. Stasys Yla writes: "The Tumenases land in the concentration camp by no fault of their own . . . Prof. Antanas Tumenas was the intended hostage . . .")  Juozas Valenta was taken in place of a teacher who managed to hide.
                 Though the forty-six hostages were swiftly taken out of Lithuania, their trip to Stutthof dragged out.  The occupying German officials were debating;  some sought to have at least some of the hostages shot to death (this is what the infuriated Gestapo in Lithuania wanted), until finally Berlin dictated that the hostages be brought to Stutthof.  During the journey, they were held  in prisons at Tilsit, Karalaiciai, and Marineburg.
At Stutthof
                  In two buses (from Kaunas and Vilniujs) the transported group was registered on a common roster (see Fr. Stasys Yla, Zmones ir zverys, p. 21), without any indication of accusations.  Quite a bit later, the one and the same accusation was stamped on the name of each member of the hostage group: "Participated in the resistance and opposed the decrees of the Reich."
           From Kaunas the Gestapo sent a special "kapo" who one Sunday struck and beat certain members of our group: V. Jurgutis, Fr. Stasys Yla, Fr. Alfonsas Lipniunas, attorneys and professors; and on another day --- everyone.  These beatings and injuries (apart from the usual daily annoyances) hastened the weakening process of our group.  In the first month alone as many as nine of our group were tortured to death.  Word of their death ("allegemeine Schwaeche") was announced in Lithuania.  Within a month, the hostage group was close to annihilation.  This was a way of pressuring Lithuania.
Unrest in Lithuania
                   After the school-closing and the hostage-taking there began an unrest in Lithuania in various institutions and among the populace.  Workmanship declined.  A. T. von Rentein searched for a solution; he allowed Lithuanian delegates to gather for "sessions," dictated the outcome which was supposed to be accepted, to improve matters . . . Gestapo officials Jaegeris spoke with families of the hostages, explaining that Lithuania must be compliant, on which basis the fate of the hostages hinged.  A conference of "Lithuania's Delegates" took place in Kaunas on April 5, 1943.  The underground press informed the public about the situation.
                   Whether it would do any good for Germany or for the "benefit" of Lithuania, Nazi Germany needed young men.  Lithuania did have an interest in the matter.  The Red Army was approaching.  Lithuania wanted somehow to prepare to defend itself against the new impending Communist devastation, such as experienced during the first occupation [1940-41].
                    For Rentein, the swift annihilation of the Stutthof hostages was not politically advantageous.  Nor did Berlin want an immediate annihilation of the hostages of Lithuania, since killing them would have done away with any basis for political maneuvering.  With hostages dying off so quickly, Berlin eased up on restrictions, and elevated the group of hostages from Lithuania to the category of "respected" prisoners, and separated us from murderes . . .  Only at the time when Stutthof was evacuated were the respected prisoners mingled with all the other prisoners.
The Monument --- A Witness
                    The new monument on the Hill of Crosses recalls that special time.  The folks of Lithuania are saying: "You recognize a human in misfortune." As to me, I happened to experience the noble people of our nation more so than those in misfortune --- in the clutch of death.  And now I marvel at what great giants of spirit Lithuania reared, what personages dedicated to defend the homeland.  Those heroes were the leaders of Lithuania at that time, with whom I happened to become acquainated within the hostage group in the concentration camp of Stutthof wherein the following died a martyr's death:
1. Stasys Puodziuis (age 47), General Administrative Advisor, April 14, 1943
2. Zigmas Masaitis (age 46), Gymnasium Director, April 18, 1943
3. Algirdas Tumenas (age 34), Economist, April 19, 1943
4. Petras Kerpe (age 53), Attorney, April 20, 1943
5. Broniius Grigas (age 41), Deputy Mayor of Vilnius, May 2, 1943
6. Kazys Bauba (age 53), editor of I Laisve [To Freedom] and Gymnasium Director
in Kaunas, May 14, 1943
7. Ignas Budrys (age 58), Agronomist, May 14, 1943
8. Vytautas Tumenas (age 38), Secretary, Lithuanian Academy of Education, May 15, 1943
9. Antanas Januskevicius (age 51), Gymnasium Director, June 7, 1943
10. Fr. Alfonsas Lipniunas (age 38), March 28, 1945
11. Pranas Germantas-Meskaukkas (age 40), General Educational Advisor, April 10, 1945
(An answer to an article in Zemaiciu saulute at Palanga)
by Genius Procuta of Toronto
(Teviskes Ziburiai, a Canadian weekly, March 16, 1999)
                In issue Nr. 4 of this year in Zemaiciu saulute, Vygantas Vareikis' mention of the "Politics of genocide in Lithuania and the comparatively little rescue activity . . ." greatly caught my attention.  I want to ask him: Compared to what? Rescuing Jews in Poland, France, Italy, Holland or anywhere else?  Do you have concrete evidence for your comparison?  Irena Velsaite, one of those who were rescued, asserts quite the opposite: in Lithuania "comparatively speaking, there were many individual rescuers." (Kulturos barai, December 1998, p. 59).  Whom shall we believe: Vareikis or Velsaite?
                I have dedicated several years to researching this question.  In 1982 at Tabor Farm in the United States, I read a paper at the meeting of "Santara-Sviesa," entitled: "The Holocaust and Lithuania: New Evidence and An Effort to Achieve Balance."  Relying on various published sources, along with S. Binkiene's book, Soldiers Even Without a Weapon [ir be ginklo kariai], I arrived at the conclusion that in Lithuania about 12,000 people took part in rescuing Jews.  Does that mean few or many?  In my opinion, it means many, knowing what and how much the rescuers risked . . .   Besides, Lithuania was a small, flat land, without large cities and high mountains with out-of-the way villages, as in Italy, France, Yugoslavia --- where it was easier to hide Jews.  The Nazi occupational regime in Italy, France, Holland, and Denmark was much less oppressive.
                At this point, I should like to recall Thomas Venclova [who says] that the Danish government together with King Christian complied with all basic German demands.  "King Christian never threatened to wear the star [yellow Star of David] nor did he ever actually wear one . . .  "  Richard Petrow, The Bitter Years: Invasion and Occupation of Denmark  and Norway (New York, 1979, pp. 164, 228).
                In 1984 and 1986, I visited Lithuania for a month at the University of Vilnius for "academic purposes."  The rector, Dr. Jonas Kubilius, (with whom I was well acquainted at Chicago University at the time of his graduate studies) and several other Vilnius inhabitants knew what I was searching for.  In the Holocaust literature, I found hints that, during the Nazi occupation, an organized group of teachers and library personnel aided Jews.  Among them was the noble Ona Simaite.  So I had come to search for the trail of rescuers of Jews.  I surmise that [Soviet] Security quickly made this discovery.  After all, how could one find anything in a strictly unobserved manner.  Needless, I wasn't engaged in anything that was truly anti-Soviet.  I merely distributed three dozen books and journals that I had brought along.  At worst, I was simply a searcher for rescuers and a book distributor.
                I knew I was on the right track because a few years earlier I became acquainted with Antanas Gureviciius (now about ninety years of age) who, through twenty years of painstaking and systematic effort, had gathered and tabulated a name-list, supported by sources --- "Tally of Lithuanian Rescueres of Jews." Therein are 6,171 men and women altogether.  Let's tip our hat to them and to Antanas Gureviciius who himself during wartime also extended his hand to Jews, and in his old age performed a monumental task that no Jewish or Lithuanian orgnization succeeded in achieving.
                In 1994, at the Jewish Museum in Vilnius, I became acquainted with Michail Erenburg.  At that time, he headed the Research Section of Jewish Rescue, now headed by Viktorija Sakaite.  We engaged in conversation.  At that time, M. Erenburg said: "In the matter of rescuing Jews in Lithuania, there participated at minimum (he stressed and repeated that worst at least several times) at minimum ten thousand people [emphasis in original], among whom were about two hundred priests."  Thus, at last, my estimate prepared in the capital of Canada at Ottawa, announced at the Tabor Farm meeting at "Santara-Sviesa," and confirmed and backed by the list of Antanas Gurevicius --- my estimate was confirmed by the conclusions of M. Erenburg and V.  Sakaite at Vilnius.  Indeed, as Tomas Venciovadays, we did not have a Danish king, but who is he compared to Ona Simaite and Brother [Bronius] Gotautas!
                In fact, a few years ago, M. Erenburg indicated in the Lithuanian press that he reported the evidence of his research to the Yad Vashem Institute in Jerusalem and to the onetime Jewish Educational Institute in Vilnius that was, after the war or during the war, transferred to New York and revived there.  Yet he has received no response from the latter.  Reliable sources tell me that on publication of the bilingual monograph, Gyvybe ir duona nesancious rankos [Hands Bringing Life and Bread], Viktorija Sakaite received threats.  It appears that someone fears both the  rescuers of Jews in Luthuania (although the majority of them are now deceased) and those who toil to immortalize their names.
by P. Narutis
(Darbininkas, Lithuanian weekly, Brooklyn, NY, 22 October 1999)
                On Sunday, September 8 [1999], salvos of the Polish Military Honor Guard resounded in the Stutthof valley, honoring all --- and Lithuanians too --- martyred at Stutthof.  The observance was arranged by the Polish National Museum in remembrance of the fact that sixty years ago the Nazis herded 300 Polish captives into Stutthof to start the construction of the concentration camp.  Up to the end of the war, the Nazis managed to bring to the camp upwards of 110,000 prisoners from various nations.
           This solemn commemoration at Stutthof is especially dear to us Lithuanians because in honoring the 108 martyrs in Nazi camps proclaimed by the pope [13 June 1999 in Warsaw] as "Blessed," Poles and Lithuanians prayed also for Fr. Alfonsas Lipniunas, seized as a hostage of Lithuania and martyred.   This was a special moment, preparing the way for Fr. Alfonsas Lipniunas to be declared "Blessed."  The assistance of the general public will lighten and hasten the work of Msgr. Juozapas Ansius who is very much attentive to the [pertinent] documentation.  (Anyone who personally knew Fr. Alfonsas Lipniunas, or knows anything about him, is asked to send one's testimony to: Msgr. J. Antanavicius, Vysk. Paltoroko g. 12, Panevezys, LT-5300.)
                Regading Stutthof, we have several books written by prisoners themselves in Lithuanian and other languages: Fr. St[asys] Yla in Lithuanian and Englilsh, and Prof. B[alys] Sruoga in Lithuanian, Russian, and lately in English.  Those books and the recollections of those who suffered and were tortured, and especially of those hostages of Lithuania at Stutthof, have described the truth that was concealed or falsified for fifty years by the occupation forces.  In the present epoch of Lithuania, it is essential to demonstrate what an arduous path it was for those struggling for God and Country when spiritual directors of youths, such as Fr. Alfonsas Lipniunas, were annihilated.  The earthly path of the past illumines the ideals of the nation's existence for the present.  Fr. Alfonsas Lipniunas is a shining beacon for contemporary youth and for the future, but we need to make him known!
by Jadvyga Godunaviciene
(Draugas, 23 October 1999)
                The publication house of "Margi rastai" in Lithuania has published Atminimoknyga [A Book of Memory] by Professor Sata Ginas-Rubinson, former professor of economics at Vilnius University and a Canadian resident since 1983.
                Four years ago the author published a booklet, The Beginning of the Tragedy of the Jewish People in Lithuania, wherein, briefly and credibly, there are portrayed the tragic events of the Jewish ghetto in Kaunas during the Nazi years of occupation, and the massive killings in that temporary capital [Kaunas] and other locales in Lithuania.
           Atminimo knyga is, so to speak, a continuation of this theme.  Here, nevertheless, the background of these events is more fully illuminiated: the prewar life of the Jewish community in independent Lithuania [1918-1939] and the resistance movement in the ghetto itself and beyond its confinies.  The book tells of Lithuanians who rescued Jews and their children from destruction, and tells about those who aided the Nazis in their bloody undertakings.  For this, in no way does the author attempt to blame the entire Lithuanian nation, as is done not rarely.  She simply relates her authentic life experiences as well as gathered historic facts.
                One theme of the recollections is the experiences of her own family and close intimates, and the fatality of her father and mother.  In the summer of 1941 when the Germans had just taken over Kaunas, several of the local white-banded ones [members of the hastily-formed Lithuanian Provisional Government] broke into the home of the Ginas family, expelled five adult men and fatally shot them beyond the fence.  Miss Sara Ginas, just graduated from secondary school, peering through the window, witnessed with her own eyes this execution of her close friends.  Later, she like other Jews, experienced humiliations and ridicule when these people were unscrupulously divided into those slated for death and those who for the time being avoided a cruel fate.  The author managed to escape from the ghetto, and with weapon in hand, fought against the Nazis and their henchmen.
                After the war, Sara Ginas studied economics at Vilnius University, later taught this same subject, became a professor, married journalist Michael Rubinson --- a fellow Jew together with whom she participated in the resistance struggle, and raised two daughters.  After the premature death of her husband, she decided, along with her daughter Tankia Vasiliauskas and family, to emigrate to Canada, where Ania, the younger Rubinson daughter, was residing.
                [Referring to the author's day in Lithuania] Of course, there began harassment, persecution, noisy expulsion from the Communist Party.  Out of fear, more than one colleague and acquaintance turned away.  In a book about the university, Sara Ginas's surname and photograph were not even published.
                After departure, Sara Ginas-Rubinson took up residence in Toronto where she taught sociology at York University, and then she began to research the problems of the Holocaust in Eastern Europe and Lithuania.  For that purpose she visited more than a few countries.  Almost annually she visited Lithuania.
                The author of the book remains an objective witness of history, not an accuser.  In one chapterof Atminimo knyga, "The Context and Interpretation of the Jewish Catastrophe in Lithuania," she seeks to unearth the Holocaust's political, economic, religious, and other causes.  At the end there is a documentary bibliography and a list of surnames.  In the book, there is mention of Nazi collaborators, mention of people who at great risk concealed Jews, and mention of many close friends and acquaintances who were tortured, and / or fatally shot.
Baltic News Service
(Draugas, 9 February 2000)
                VILNIUS, 8 FEB. (bns) - Israel has awarded "Righteous Gentile" medals to eight Lithuanian citizens.  This is the highest award of Israel conferred on non-Jews.  The award is designated for those who, risking their lives, aided Jews during the Holocaust years of World War II.
                The award ceremony will take place Thursday [10 Feb.] in Vilnius at the Community Center of Jews of Lithuania, announced the Israeli Embassy for the Baltic nations.  Acting Deputy of the Embassy, Ronit Ben Dor, will confer the award.
               Since 1953, when the award called "Righteous Gentile" was inaugurated, it has been granted to 15,000 residents of various European nations, including 422 Lithuanian citizens.  The most recent recipients of Lithuania are: Ustinija Vasiljeva, Anastasija Jemmeljanova, Julija Vitkauskiene and her son, Arejas Stasys Vitkauskas, Eduardas and Ona Leonavicius, Gene Jonusiene Premenckaite, Kipras and Elena Petrauskas, Rev. Stanislovas Jakubauskis, Marija Paskevic and her daughter, Elzbieta Tomasevskaja.
                One medal is awarded to spouses and to parents and children if they, in consort, aided Jews.
                Many of the recipients are now deceased, and so their children will accept the awards.
                "Righteous Gentiles" receive medals and certificates, and their names are inscriped on the Wall of Honor for such Righteous Gentiles in the orchard of the Yad Vashem Museum in Jerusalem.
              [It is estimated that 240,000 Lithuanian Jews (or 94% of the Jewish population, the largest percentage of any country) perished during the Holocaust.]
                                                    (Draugas, 31 March 2000)
                Honorable Sir: As a daughter of Lithuania, "nation of Jew-shooters," I make bold to address you.
                It wounds me greatly that you speak about us with such hatred.  Why don't you remember that Jews as much as Lithuanians equally sufferd the yoke of an occcupant during whose regime not only Jews but also Lithuanians were
                I often ask myself:  Why you don't call as "Je    w-shooters" the Germans who started this "machine of hell" or Poles or French?  Why are we alone the Jew-shooters, when at that time Jews were being uniformly annihilated everywhere?
                During the years of German occupation, there arose people who collaborated with the Nazis.  But they [collaborators] were fewer in number than those who risked their own lives and the lives of loved ones to save Jews.  I knew many such people, but only one Jew-shooter.  People condemned him, avoided him -- he was an "alienated one."
                Honorable Sir, I want to remind you that not all Jews were "holy"    [blameless].  Perhaps you don't know or have forgotten that many Jews were collaborators in 1940 during the deportation of Lithuanians to Siberia.  With the arrival of the Communists, Jews were a loyal support of the Soviet Union.  In the little forest of Rainiai near Telsiai, people were tortured not by [the Russian national Petr] Raslan alone; he had many assistants of Jewish ethnicity.
                 Why is there a desire to silence authentic history?  Presenting Lithuania to the whole world as a land of the greatest evildoers and killers is dishonest
                Among all nations one finds scoundrels -- there were some among Lithuanians and Jews.  What a shame, but it's true.
                In writing this letter to you, I feel I have a right to do so.  During the German occupation, I grew up in a family that rescued twenty-six Jews.  I experienced the horror of that era.  I saw everything.  I remember everything!
                Pardon me, Mr. Wiesenthal that I dare contradict you that Lithuanians are not  Jew-shooters! We endured long years of two occupations, having buried hundreds of thousands of loved ones in the expanses of Siberia, in the tundras of Laptevai, and the grass plains at forest edges . . .
                We have reconciled ourselves and forgiven our murderers . . .   You are unable to do so; the bonfire of hatred cannot die out in your heart.  You occasionally stir up the embers.  I want to ask you: Why?
Birute Straupyte Jereminiene
                [Editor's Note: The author of this letter (living in Canada) now writes in abbreviated form about her experiences of how her parents rescued twenty-six Jews from death, and for four years kept them hidden. These are true happenings, by no means exceptions.  Many Lithuanians, prompted by fraternal charity and humanitarianism, risked their very lives to help the unfortunate from the raging storm of the Nazis.]
Baltic News Service
(Draugas, 2 MAY 2000)
                VILNIUS, May 2 (BNS) -- Tuesday, at a commemoration of World War II Holocaust victims -- the memorial Day of Catastrophe, President Valdas Adamkus bestowed [the Lithuanian] humanitarian-rescue crosses on a large number of "Righteous Gentile" recipients or their heirs.  Among the fifty-one honorees were representatives of the intelligentia, Catholic clergy, laborers, and farmers who, as asserted in the president's decree, "disregarding mortal danger to oneself and one's family, aided Jews from Nazi genocide during the years of World War Two."
                Among the recipients, thirty-three persons have died, including three clergymen: Bronius Gotautas, Kazys Kavaliauskas, and Nikodemas Svoglis-Milzinas.  The Jewish Museum of Lithuania and the dioceses of Sauliai and Kaisiadorys accepted the crosses bestowed on them [the priests].
                Humanitarian-aid crosses were also bestowed on representatives of the famous Venclauskas family.  Stanislava Venclauskiene was a celebrated actress of the Siauliai Drama Theater.
                On this Holocaust Day throughout the world, there was recalled the uprising in the Warsaw Ghetto, so cruelly suppressed on 2 May 194[3].
                "The events of those fateful years became tragic for all ethnic communities and nations wherein Nazis and their collaborators carried out the Holocaust.  For many this was a moral and humanitarian test.  We must admit that not all endured this testing.  At the same time, there must not disappear from history the fact that, resisting force and brute-like behavior, in more than one nation Jews were hidden and aided.  Thanks to you, Lithuania was no exception," asserted V. Adamkus.
                 According to the President, "the power of humaneness and life is, by comparison, strong than endeavors to destroy, plunder, and murder.  You behavior was worth more than the activity of world power politics of that era."  Regretting that not a few painful questions of history remain unanswered up to now, V. Adamkus emphasized that no one person, no one ethnic community, nation, will generate any good by toppling the lives and fates of others.
                After the bestowal of honors, the huge audience turned its attention to a guest from Boston -- Rosian Zerner, rescued as a six-year old in Kaunas, by sisters -- Lida Goluboviene and Natalija Fugaleviciute.  More than one Lithuanian understook the risk also in saving her [Zerner's] mother, whereas her father managed to escape from the Kaunas Ghetto to haven with the members of the resistance.
                Masa Grodnikiene, Deputy President of the Jewish Community of Lithuania, on behalf of her fellow Jews, offered thanks to the rescuers whom the Israeli Government honored, granting these noble and fearless people the name of "Righteous Gentiles."
                In Lithuania, Lithuanians who aided Jews are usually honored twice a year -- on  the Day of Catastrophe, and in September on teh Day of Jewish Genocide.
A Book Review by Vincas Valkavicius
(Draugas, 20 May 2000)
               A. Martinionis, ed. A Gureviciaus sarasai: tuktanciai lietuviu kuri gelbejo tukstancius Lietuvos zydu Antrojo pasaulinio karo metais -- The List of A. Gurevicius: Thousands of Lithuanians who rescued Thousands of Lithuanian Jews in the Second World War (Vilnius: Proteviu Kardas Press, 1999), 190 pp., soft cover, available from the publisher (Lithuanian Journalists Alliance of Canada), $10.00 in United States currency, including postage.
                    Gintutis Procuta composed a substantial, scholarly introduction for this book (pp. 5-31) with forty-eight footnotes (pp. 32-39), mostly from English-language sources. It is immediately evident to the reader that Procuta is well-acquainted with Holocaust literature that he meticulously examined.  The Lithuanian introduction is followed by a translation into English (pp. 43-70) rather well done, though there are some stylistic shortcomings.  In the translation, nine liines of p. 6 are omitted, meant for the translation on p. 44; likewise, omitted are five lines on pp. 6-7, intended for the translation on p. 45.  Among the handful of erroneous translations, on p. 60 the phrase "several Jewish families" should be "several hundred Jewish families."  Likewise, Procuta's use of the word "humanistai" would ring more correctly in English as "humanitarians."  The word "humanist" derives from "humanism" -- the philosophy that ignores God, but rather relies only on human values.
               Farther along in the book there is Gurevicius' compilation -- "a list of Lithuanians who aided Jews (pp. 71-113) and three supplementary lists (pp. 114-152).  Spanning pp. 153 to 183 are the "List of the aided and rescued Jews of Lithuania and a supplement (pp. 184-188).  In the first lists the helpers are named and enumerated.  In the latter lists, an effort was made to name and enumerate the aided Jews.  Sources for all the lists are fully footnoted.  In all there are registered 6,271 helpers and 10,137 aided persons.
               [The book has] a chart (p. 41) dividing the helpers into these categories:
179 families
205 soldiers, police
162 clergy
125 farmers
92 women
59 people in liberal arts
42 physicians, nurses
33 servants
16 teachers
10 laborers
12 foresters
119 punished for giving aid
              This reviewer is personally acquainted with the case of aided Alexander Shtromes (p. 178, #4362).  Professor Shtromas was a Visiting Lecutrer at Boston College for the 1988-89 season.  Having learned of his presence in my area, I invited him to my rectory on March 7, 1989, to view my archives of Lithuanian American history.  On this occasion, he began to relate how a village priest and Lithuanian family hid and protected twelve-year-old Alexander during the Nazi occupation.  The priest taught him how to serve holy Mass, garbed in surplice, assisting as a fictitious altar boy.  After forty-five years, Professor Shtromas, deeply moved and ever grateful, began to recite the Latin Mass prayers.  This left me an indelible impression.
              One observes that Guerevicius has overlooked more than a few names and surnames.  Understandably, as a solo investigator, he was unable to gather total information, though he devoted an entire decade to this goal, searching for data in periodical literature, books, and private archives.  No doubt, more witnesses could come forth to testify about aid to Jews in Lithuania.
              To the present day throughout the world there has lingered the view, accepted even by a handful of the Lithuanian public, that only a small number of Lithuanians helped Jews.  Holocaust literature and the general press hav long voiced this position.  This viewpoint was especially propagated a few years ago when the case of Aleksandras Lileikis was written about.  What irony that in her letter of September 30, 1974, to Draugas, the Jewess S. Grodnikaite asserts that Lileikis himself provided help for her.  Alas, Grodnkaite is not included in the Gurevicius lists.
              Every lover of truth should promptly obtain a copy of this monograph and keep it handy.  When uninformed non-Lithuanians begin to hurl accusations that the Lithuanian nation was killing Jews, we can show the gurevicius lists, indicating as the subtitle says: "Thousands of Lithuanians Aided Thousands of Jews."
(2 January 2001)
               One morning in 1942 during the German occupation, Stefanija Andriuniene, Director of Kaunas orphanage, found a five-year old girl, standing at the threshold of the orphanage entry.  Stefanija took her into the shelter and cared for her until 1944 when she [Stefanija] withdrew to the West.
               A few years ago when Stefanija returned to live in Lithuania, she determined to find that five-year-old.  After a lengthy search and inquiry, she found the seriously ill Janina Vytiene receiving medical attention at a clinic in Kaunas.  Little Janina had been left by her Jewish  mother at the orphanage threshold.  In that way, Janina avoided the persecution of Jews and avoided eventual death.
               Stefanija Andriuniene-Egan allotted a suitable sum of money for her protected Janina so that Janina could receive further medical help at the clinic and physically recover.  I. K.
                [In an accompanying photo Stefanija, now living in Kaunas, Lithuania, after her long residency Toronto, Canada, is receiving an award of heroism from President Valdas Adamkus of Lithuania, on Jewish Genocide Day, August 13, 2000, for helping preserve Jewish children from extermination in World War II.]
(Draugas, 12 June 2001)
                On April 17, the remembrance day for World War Two Holocaust victims, President Valdas Adamkus of the Republic of Lithuania awarded the Cross of Helpers of The Imperiled posthumously to onetime pastor of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in  Sestokai --- Father Juozas Inkratas.  This award of the Lithuanian Government was bestowed on Fr. J. Inkratas for aiding Jews from the Nazi genocide during the years of World War Two.
                On April 20, in the mansion of the Republic's President, with A. Benjamin, Israeli Ambassador to Lithuania present, the Cross of Helpers of the Imperiled was awarded to forty-nine recipients.  The award designated for Fr. J. Inkratas was presented to the present pastor of Sestokai Parish --- Father  Kestutis Bekasovas.
                Fr. J. Inkratas was born 2 July 1894 in Gutkaimas, County of Vilkaviskis, homestead of Kybartai.  He studied at the Graziskiai elementary school, and alter at the gymnasia at Marijampole and Vilkaviskis.  He completed priestly studies at the seiniai Seminary, taking final examinations at St. Petersburg.  From 1915 to 1916, he studied at the exiles' school in Rezekne, Latvia, and also taught there.  From 1916 to 1917, he studied further at the priests' seminary at St. Petersburg.   From 1917 to 1918, he worked with the exiles' organization at Rezekne.
                In 1918, Fr. Inkratas returned to Lithuania where he was assigned as assistant priest at the parish in Pajevonys.  In 1926, he was entrusted with to duties as assistant at the parish in Sintautai.  In 1931, he was assigned to the parish at Slavikai, and in 1934 as pastor at Sestokai.  In 1950, he was transferred to Lazdijai.  that same year, on September 26th, he was designated Dean of Lazdijai.
                In 1964, Fr. Inkratas  withdrew from all his duties and became an "altarista" [retired priest] with full rights of an assistant priest. For a time, he functioned in that capacity at Prienai.  In 1965, he was assigned as altarista at St. Anthonky Parish in Kaunas.  In 1970, he was transferred to a Carmelite parish with the rights of an altarista.
                Fr. Juozas Inkratas died 23 November 1973.  He was buried 26 November in Kaunas at the Aukstosios Panemune Cemetery.  His rescued Jewish women were present at the funeral of Fr. Juozas Inkratas.
                BZ., 2001, Nr. 9
NOTE: The testimonies presented here have been translated from Lithuanian
by William Wolkovich-Valkavicius.

Ignas and Elena Anuzis
(Gabriele Anuzis Chvedukas)
Dr. Petras Baublys
Sofija Binkienne (1902-1984)
Dominican Mother Superior Anna Borkowska (d. 1988)
(Nuns of  St. Catherine Convent near Vilnius)
Elena Kutorgiene-Buivydaite (1888-1963)
Rev. Antanas Gobis
Br. Bronius Gotautas
Anastasija Jemmeljanova
Rev. Stanislovas Jokubauskis
Gene Jonusiene Premenckaite
Rev. Kazys Kavaliauskas
Rev. Adolfas Kleiba
Dr. Elena Kutorgien
Mrs. Ona Jablonskyte-Landsbergiene
Eduardas and Ona Leonavicius
Marija Paskevic and her daughter,
Elzbieta Paskevic-Tomasevskaja
Rev. Bronius Paukstys, S. D. B. (1897-1966)
Juozas Paukstys
Kipras and Elena Petrauskas
Juozas Rutkauskas (a Lithuanian Schindler)
Anton Schmid (1900-1942)
Ona  Simaite (1899-1970)
Rev. Juozas Stakauskas
Vincas (1886-1964) & Julija (1900-1964) Stanevicius
Juozas & Bronie Straupis
Sempo Sugihara (1900-1986)
Elzbieta Tomasevskaja
Ustinija Vasiljeva
Danute Venclauskas
Grozvyle Venclauskas
Kazimieras (1880-1940) & Stanislava (1874-1948)Venclauskas
Julija Vitkauskiene (1905-1980)
& Arejas Stasys Vitkauskas (1925-1995), her son
Jan Zwartendijk
Br. Bronius Gotautas
Rev. Kazys Kavaliauskas
Sofija Lukavskaite Jasaitiene (1901-81)
Rev. Nikodemas Svogzlys-Milzinas (1899-1985)
Rev. Jonas B. Borevicius, S. J. (1906-1989)
Father Byla
Capuchin Friars of Petrasiunai
Father Dzegoraitis
Rev. Karl Fulst, S. J.  (1903-1991)
Rev. Andreas Gdowski of Vilna
Father Jonas of Vidukle
Rev. Juozas Inkratas
Rev. J. Kardauskas
Father Korzonas
Father Lapis of Siauliai
Rev. Dr. Liutkevicius
Rev. Simonas Morkunas
Rev. Jonas B. Paukstys, S. J. (1899-1965)
Rev. Alfonsas Radzvilas
Rev. Justinas Steponaitis
Rev. J. Zelvys
Rev. Jonas Zemaitis (b. 1904)
Jonas Aukstikalnis
Vaclovas Baguckas
Kasis Binkis
Jadzia Duniec
Marc Dworzecki
 Natalija Fugaleviciute
Lida Goluboviene
Stasis Iovaisha
Poet Jurgis Jankus of Siauliai
Leonas Jonusas
Vytautas Juodka
Mrs. Karashkas
Jonas Kardelis
Maria Leshchinskiene
Antanas Macenavicius
Juozas Matylaitis
Dr. B. Matulionis
Mrs. Milukaitis of Kaunas
Vytautas Moras
Alfonsas Nasliunas
Yuosas Paulavichius
Peasants Thaddeus and Barbara
Mayor Saneckis of Siauliai
Juozas Slavinskas
Liusvikas Smulkstys (1902-89)
Antanas Starkus (1901-75)
Captain Ignas Vylius
Sister Marija Mikulska
Sisters of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
(About 20 in Siauliai)
Ora Brokaityte
Bishop Vincentas Borisevicius of Telsiai (1887-1947) +
Bishop Vincentas Brizgys of Kaunas (1903-1992)
Archbishop Teofilius Matulionis of Kaisiadorys (1873-1962) +
Bishop Petras Mazelis of Telsiai (1894-1966)
Bishop Kasimir Paltarokas of Panevezys (1875-1958)
Bishop Pranciskus Ramanauskas of Telsiai (1893-1959)
Apostolic Administrator Mecislovas Reinys of Vilna (1884-1953) +
Archbishop Juozapas Skvireckas of Kaunas (1873-1959)
Vincentas Cardinal Sladkevicius, M. I. C., of  Kaunas (1920-2000)
Bishop Justinas Staugaitis of Telsiai (1866-1943)
Julijonas Steponavicius of Vilnius (1911-1991)
Alfonsas Lipniunas (1905-1945)
Stasys Yla (1908-1983)

Kuodyte, Dalia & Rimantas Stankevicius (compilers), Whoever Saves One Life (Vilnius, 2002)

Prunskis, Juozas, Lithuania's Jews and the Holocaust (1979).

Vilnius, National Jewish Gaon Museum, Gyvybe ir Duona Nesancios Rankos -- Hands Bringing Life and Bread (2 volumes; Vilnius, 1997-1999).

Vilnius, National Jewish Gaon Museum, Zydu Gelbejimas Lietuvoje II Pasalinio Karo Metais 1941-1944 -- Rescuing of Jews in Lithuania During World War II War Years, 1941-1944: Index of Surnames (Pavardziu rodykle; Vilnius, 2001)

Wolkovich-Valkavicius, William, "Lithuanian Rescuers of Jews," Bridges, Issue 1 (January / February 2001), 20-24.

The Baltic Tragedy
Lithuania, Land of Martyrs
Catholic Heroes of the Holocaust in Lithuania
The Holocaust and Lithuanian Historical Consciousness
Lithuanian Heroes of the Holocaust
Thirteen Families Helped to Save Jews in Holocaust
Some Heroes Who Hid Jews in Kovno
A Thesis on the Holocaust in Lithuania
Lithuanian Holocaust References
Other Rescuers Who Helped Jews During the Holocaust
The Rainiai Martyrs of Lithuania
 The Horror of the Nazis and Communists in Lithuania
The Catholic Church in Lithuania
Lithuanian Bishops Apologize for Failure to Defend Jews
The Cities and Towns of Lithuania
The Historical Sites of Lithuania
The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania
Franciscan Hermitage on Hill of Crosses
Our Lady of Siluva

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