Rescuers of Jews

Vytautas Juodka


The 1941-1942 prisoner registers of the hard labour prison in Vilnius contain information to the effect that Juodka Vytautas, born in 1884, was arrested on 12 December 1941, held in the hard labour prison of Vilnius, and transferred at the disposal of the head of Special Detachment on 31 January 1942.
In the card file of the persons arrested and executed in 1941 – 1942, in the archives of the Security police and Vilnius branch of SD, there is a card of Juodka Vytautas (patronymic not indicated), born in 1884 in the town of Slutsk and residing in Vilnius, Domaševičiaus St. 6, flat 9, who was arrested on 12 December 1941 and executed in Paneriai on 31 January 1942 for hiding two Jews in his flat – Miriam and Izabella (full names, patronymics, dates of birth not indicated), escapees from the ghetto.
Vytautas Juodka was educated not only as a solicitor.
From the reminiscences of the famous Russian artist Alexander Vertinsky we find out that when he was on tour in Vilnius, professor of the Vilnius Conservatoire Vytautas Juodka accompanied him on a zither. Juodka's relatives remember that he also knew Sofija Čiurlionienė, who, they said, would reproach him for his somewhat whimsical, undemocratic nature. However, Čiurlionienė did not know that while she was sheltering escapees from the Kaunas ghetto, Vytautas Juodka was also trying to save two lives. The ballet dancer Miriam Podselwer and her daughter, Izabella, had escaped from the ghetto with forged papers and came to Vytautas Juodka for shelter. Unfortunately, Miriam's stay at the professor's home was short – on 12 December 1941 Vytautas Juodka, Miriam and her daughter were arrested.
The tragic story of the rescue was also a tragic dénouement of a love story – Miriam Podselwer was the professor's last love.

From Hands Bringing Life and Bread, Volume 2,
The Vilna Gaon Jewish State Museum. Vilnius, 1999
Keywords: gelbėtojai Juodka
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