Rescuers of Jews

Bražėnas Mindaugas

Sarah Shilingauskaite was four years old when a family friend smuggled her to the Bražėnas home in a potato sack. At one point, the child was baptized so there would be papers to show any suspecting Nazis.
The second child saved by Konstancija Bražėnienė and Mindaugas Bražėnas was a nine year old boy, Alex Gringauz. The boy's father, Dr. Samuel Gringauz, a prominent lawyer and acquaintance of Mrs. Bražėnienė, appealed to her to save his son from the Nazi work camps. She readily agreed and with the help of her own son, Mindaugas Bražėnas, helped bring Alex to safety. The boy was among about 100 Jews being marched to work by German soldiers at an airport near the Bražėnas house in Aleksotas. Mindaugas Bražėnas, 17 year old, who had been forcibly conscripted into the German army, bribed a German officer, approached the group in Wermacht uniform, and took Gringauz into his mother's home.
Alex spent much of the next two years hidden away in the attic. It was easier for little Sarah, who attracted less attention, because she was fair-haired and spoke Lithuanian fluently. "When there were a lot of SS people in the street, I'd stay out of sight," said Mrs. Shilingauskaite-Capelovitch. "But on other days, I'd Towards the end of the German occupation of Lithuania, in 1944, Alex was handed over to a group of Jesuits in Kaunas, who were part of an underground railroad for Jews. In a circuitous route, Alex was transported secretly out of the country with other Jews, until he reached Berlin, where he was reunited with his father.
After the German defeat, Sara's mother returned to Lithuania to claim her daughter. Sara's father and Alex's mother did not survive the Holocaust.

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