Rescuers of Jews

Effertienė Veronika


Petronėlė Lastienė worked as a history teacher in the 5th Secondary school of Kaunas. Among her pre-war pupils was Tamara Lazersonaitė, the daughter of a well-known neurologist and psychologist, professor Vladimir Lazerson. In April 7, 1944 Lastienė greeted Tamara in her apartment, after her escape from the Ghetto. Petronėlė Lastienė, Bronė Pajedaitė ir Veronika Žvironaitė took part in preparing a plan of Tamara’s rescue, drove a scheme of a route from the Ghetto to her house which was given to Tamara several days before and she memorized it. Lastienė also cared for obtaining a document for Tamara on the name of a Lithuanian, Elena Savickaitė. The document helped her in the future, when the rescued left Kaunas, but in the meantime Lastienė kept her Jewish guest hidden for approximately one month. The rescuer lived alone, being divorced and having no children of her own. From the beginning of the German invasion she helped her persecuted Jewish friends in many ways. Tamara was not the first that found shelter in her home. Lastienė was a well-educated woman, her house was full of books that helped Tamara to spend her time in hiding. After some time Lastienė transferred Tamara to her friend and colleague, the biology teacher Veronika Žvironaitė, also the resident of Kaunas. Tamara stayed by Veronika several weeks. When the front line was already near Kaunas for the reasons of safety Tamara was sent out of the city in the village Pakamaciai, Pasvalys region, to Lastienė’s sister Veronika Effertienė and her husband Petras Effertas. Tamara Lazersonaitė came back in October 1944, after the liberation. Brone Pajedaitė and Veronika Žvironaitė welcomed her back since it was already known that Tamara’s parents perished. Brone Pajedaite, Veronika Žvironaitė cared for the rescued until the soviets arrested them together with some other intelligentsia representatives who signed the memorandum for the Lithuania’s independence from the soviet rule. Veronika Žvironaitė and Petronėlė Lastienė spent several months in prison and then were deported to Siberia. Brone Pajedaite was found dead in the KGB facilities in Kaunas in September 1945.

Tamara’s applies to the authorities in their favor didn’t help. After some time Tamara immigrated to Israel and exchanged letters with her rescuers Veronika Žvironaitė and Petronėlė Lastienė till their deaths.
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