Rescuers of Jews

Sasnauskas Antanas


The story of Gedalia Cohen, who was the son of the rabbi of Rudamina (Lazdijai district) Jewish community and was taken to the Katkiškė Ghetto in the autumn of 1941, was written down in Jerusalem by Professor Dov Levin:

Just before the liquidation of the ghetto, I crawled under the barbed wire fence and after three days reached the home of farmers Antanas and Marija Krusas (or Karosas). They put me in the attic, brought a replacement of dry clothes and food as I had not eaten for three days. They hid me and gave me food for no reward. One night, I slipped out of my hideout and got some money from a Christian, who was indebted to me. I returned to my hideout and offered the money to my host, but he refused to take them. He only agreed to take some to buy a cow, as I only ate kosher foods made of milk… With no doubt I would have stayed there until the liberation if I wasn’t informed against. I fled. The next day, Lithuanian policemen came and searched the house and the neighbourhood in vain. Just before I fled, my saviour wanted to return me the money I had given to him to buy the cow. Fortunately, I found other saviours. Farmers Antanas and Marija Sasnauskas hid me in their home. Although the police had promised an award for the help arresting me, this farmer scorned the risk despite that fact that he was a father of four children… I stayed with them until the liberation.

From the testimony of Marija Sasnauskienė:

He came running and was very scared. He asked me to hide him. I was afraid that my family might get shot, but I was very sorry for him too. Therefore I took him in. I would hide him the barn, the granary or the stackyard in daytime. Only at nights he could come into the house.
Winter came. It was cold in the stackyard, therefore Dalkė (this is how I called Gedalia) moved into one of my rooms. There was no stove in that room, therefore I asked my neighbour to build one. I told him I was keeping the cabbage barrel there and I said it would freeze at night... Thus, we hid him for 3 years. Even the neighbours did not know.

Thus Gedalia Cohen was saved from true death by the family of Marija and Antanas Sasnauskas, who lived in Balabostė village, Lazdijai district (about 1 km from Rudamina). All Gedalia Cohen’s relatives were killed in Katkiškė 3 November 1941. In 1945, after the war, Gedalia Cohen parted with his saviours Antanas and Marija Sasnauskas and emigrated to Palestine. There, he got married, lived and worked in Jerusalem until the end of his days.
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