Rescuers of Jews

Vitkevičienė Emilija

Emilija Vitkevičienė and Kazys Vitkevičius

Shortly after the occupation of Lithuania, six Jewish women from the Bloch, Lipman, Braude and Shneider families from Telšiai and the town of Alsėdžiai, who were determined to survive, got together and began searching for shelter among the local peasants. At first, they found shelter at the outskirts of Alsėdžiai, Plungė region, in the home of Emilija Vitkevičienė, who lived with her son Kazys Vitkevičius (1927), but after two months they had to leave because they feared their identity might be discovered. The six Jewish refugees then moved to the village of Iliai, where the peasant Pranas Kareiva hid them on his poor farm for a year and four months, provided them with their basic needs and treated them just like members of the family. In the winter of 1942/43, when the neighbors began to suspect that Jews were hiding in Kareiva’s home, the Jewish women left and began searching for a safer hiding place. They found one at the nearby village of Babrungenai with the peasants Pranciškus Gadeikis and his sister Julija. The six women stayed in the Gadeikis home until the end of the occupation, in October 1944, where they received both material and psychological support.
After the war Sheina-Dina Lipman (later Shusterovich), Miriam Bloch (later Kleiner), Ruti Bloch and Anela Shneider immigrated to Israel. Sara Braude and her daughter Gita remained in Lithuania.

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