Rescuers of Jews

Hanfman Andrej

Ija Taubman-Pozdniakoff

“Since my teenage years I was friends with a girl named Darija Dauguvietytė, a spirited, beautiful girl of my age, who came from a family of actors. Both her parents, although divorced, were well known in Kaunas. Her father, Boris Dauguvietis, was an acknowledged director of the Kaunas theater and her mother, Olga Dauguvietienė, was a leading actress in the Russian amateur theater in our city. Darija had four sisters, all of whom were either engaged in a theatrical career or were aspiring to one.

On early October 4, 1941, the day of the Action in the small ghetto in Kaunas I slipped through the barbed wire intending to spend the day outside the ghetto, thus hoping to escape death by execution. Of course, such an attempt was only possible because of Darija and her husband, Andrey.

Sure enough, I showed up on their doorstep on this day asking to stay only until sunset when I could slip back into the ghetto, the first words of their mouth were: “Now that you are out we won’t let you go back as your return to the ghetto will mean certain death for you. We did not ask you to come earlier because we were keeping a place for Lisa, hoping she would come out of the ghetto.” (Lisa was Darja’s first girlfriend, I was probably second, or third).

Darija and Andrey were renting an apartment in a house where the sentiments of some neighbors were openly anti-Semitic. There fore they immediately took me to the house of Darija’s mother, Olga Pavlovna Dauguvietienė, who lived at Kipro Petrausko street. This was a very small, exceedingly modestly furnished apartment that housed Olga Pavlovna, Anastasija Dauguvietytė and Nellie Dauguvietytė. The old expression “poor as a church mouse” is an apt description of their economic condition as they barely had enough to eat themselves.

I was sheltered in their apartment, situated on a second floor which itself constituted a risk because the downstairs tenants knew that nobody was supposed to be in the upstairs apartment during the day. This meant, of course, that during the day I avoided all unnecessary movement. Because Olga Pavlovna, Assia and Nellie not only wanted but had to (if for no other reason at least for appearance sake) live a “normal” existence, each time there were visitors I hid in a wall closet on top of the winter supply of potatoes.

While I was hiding with this generous, courageous family they were also sheltering two Jewish doctors, Monia Nabrisky and Boris Voschin.

In addition to myself and the two doctors mentioned, there were several incidents when there were knocks on the doors in the middle of the night when escaped Jews were asking for overnight shelter. Nobody was ever turned away.

The simple summary of all of this is: if it were not for this family of sisters and their mother I would probably not be alive today.”

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