Rescuers of Jews

Skirkienė Marijona


Before the war Ona Kavaliauskienė lived in Kaunas and worked as a housekeeper in the family of Ana Langleben-Landmaniene’s parents.
Both young women became friendly, therefore, when during the Nazi occupation Ona Kavaliauskienė noticed her good acquaintance Ana Langleben-Landmanienė among the group of Jews driven to forced labour, she wrote her address on a piece of paper and told Ana, “Just for you to know, whenever it becomes unbearable for you, let me know and I shall take you from here”.
Ana Langleben-Landmanienė could not leave the ghetto without her sick parents – David and Rachel Langleben and her sister Rose, therefore, she stayed in the ghetto and together with other prisoners joined the forced labour works. On August 18, 1941 during the so called “Action of Intelligentsia”, Ana’s husband, Menachem Landman, was killed. The territory of the ghetto became smaller and smaller; people had been either taken to other camps or shot in the 9th Fort.
On March 27, 1944 a very cruel “Children’s Action” had been carried out in Kaunas ghetto, when the Nazis and their local collaborators were searching the entire ghetto, selecting children under 12 and elderly people, who were taken to Auschwitz for extermination. Ana did not go to work on that day and managed to hide her sick parents and sister in an attic of the house, where they lived. Ana prudently hid the ladder which led to the attic. Ana’s parents and sister had not been found then, but the next day the Germans came again and that time they noticed the door to the attic, brought the ladder and drove Ana’s parents and sister out. Ana was beaten by them and her relatives taken away.
After the “Children’s Action” Ana got in touch with Onute and they decided that there was no time to linger. Next day, when Ana went to forced labour works both women met and started to implement Ana’s salvation plan – Ona Kavaliauskienė took Ana to her mother Marijona Skirkienė, who lived in the village Višakio Rūda, Kazlų Ruda region. They crossed the Neman and then they walked about 50 kilometers until they reached the house of Marijona Skirkienė. Some time later Onutė brought her own children to the village. They got very friendly with Ana, protecting her and warning her in case they saw strangers approaching.
Ana Langleben-Landmanienė (later Ana Kots) lived in the village of Višakio Rūda from May 5, 1944 until August 1, 1944, i.e. until the liberation of Kaunas.
According to the memoirs of Ana Kots “Ona Kavaliauskienė… She is unforgettable. She was like an angel. She was trying to give me food better than to her own kids. She had two of them – a boy and a girl. And they protected me. When they saw the Germans, they always warned and hid me”.

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