Rescuers of Jews

Grigalaitytė-Dalungauskienė Bronė

Bronė GRIGALAITIENĖ Pranas GRIGALAITIS The Funkai were artists, they worked in amber. They fanatically believed in God and therefore would not even consider escape from the Daugėliai ghetto. When asked how to escape, Grigalaitis would answer that he would leave a bicycle and those willing could go to the nearest village. There were only three or four who did. Later Grigalaitis would cycle back. A day arrived when the Jews were put in trucks. Children were separated from their parents. Amidst total confusion, Funkas caught a moment and whispered to Grigalaitis that he had put his child in a manhole. Funkas had known Pranas as the latter acted as a go-between exchanging food for things the Jews had. The Jews were driven away. It was raining in the evening. The area was empty, and silence reigned everywhere. Pranas Grigalaitis found some six manholes. He knocked at each of them but there was no answer. He started opening all in turn and found the girl in one of them. The four-year-old child was waist-deep in mud and did not say a word. He brought the girl home, washed her. They called her Aldutė. The girl had dark hair and the Grigalaičiai were scared lest somebody should denounce them. One can rejoice at the fact that the people in Daugėliai were silent during the whole period of the German occupation. The Grigalaičiai were much more concerned about the Gestapo policemen who were stationed nearby. Grigalaitis gave them rivers of bootleg vodka to drink. The most dangerous, however, were the Ukrainians who aided the Germans and were notorious for their cruel nature. Fortunately, they enjoyed drinking, and later they were least of all interested in the child. Aldutė's parents survived. The information about their life after the war is very scarce, because for some time they lived abroad. They were not taken to a concentration camp. Physically stronger Jews were driven to forced labour. The husband was separated from his wife before leaving the Daugėliai ghetto. Exhausting work, hardships of the war took them to the West, and when the war ended they were in the American sector. Statistics show that only one Jew out of a hundred survived the war. Both Funkai survived. Exhausted, they had to undergo treatment for a couple of years but they stayed alive. It was in the American sector where they met. From their stories one can guess that they themselves found it hard to believe that they had survived. The hand of fate, really. Aldutė has also survived... in the home of the Grigalaičiai. Through the Red Cross the Funkai found out the address of the Grigalaičiai. It was a late afternoon, some time in 1947. Two elderly people appeared in the outskirts of the village and headed, half-running, towards the Grigalaičiai house in Guragiai. They saw their daughter, rushed at her, while the girl insisted she already had a mother, Bronė Grigalaitienė...

From Hands Bringing Life and Bread, Volume 1,
The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum. Vilnius, 1997
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