Rescuers of Jews

Karaškienė Elena

Juozas KARAŠKA Elena KARAŠKIENĖ While in the Kaunas Ghetto, Fenia Schwab had been continuously looking for shelter for the members of her family, especially for the children of her sisters Anya and Tsilia. In December 1943 Natalija Jegorova, who tried to help this family, like many other ghetto prisoners, took Anya’s children: 6-year old Edita and 10-year old Juta. She gave them away to a Lithuanian woman, named Serafinienė, whose house was located right in front of Gestapo, but she was not afraid of helping Jews. Serafinienė’s house was a hiding place for Fenia’s uncle, Dr. Gutman, and her sister Anya. The house became a meeting place for the members of the Schwab family. Since it was dangerous to be hiding in one place for a long time, a legendary rescuer of Jews, Bronius Gotautas, helped the members of the family find other shelters. Anya’s daughters Edita and Juta have been taken by Juozas and Elena Karaška, who lived in Kaunas. Later on the children had been joined by Fenia’s parents – David and Tauba Schwab. Juozas made a hiding spot in the basement. While making it, Juozas was forced to beware the neighbours, so he had been working at nights. The created hiding place became shelter for David and Tauba Schwab (Fenia’s parents), Edita and Juta (Anya’s daughters), Frida Byron and her daughter Deborah, as well as Frida’s friend Herman Lurie, who became her husband after the war. Unfortunately, Fenia’s sisters Anya and Tsilia did not survive. Anya was arrested together with Serafinienė and was killed. Serafinienė spent some time in prison, but then she managed to escape. Another Lithuanian woman, named Irena Gaižauskienė tried to help Tsilia escape from the ghetto. She gave all her jewelry to the guard in order to bribe him, but no sooner had both women crossed the street than they were shot. After the war, Dr. Fenia Schwab and members of her family stayed in touch with the Karaškas. The family of Frida Byron, moved to the USA. Edita and Juta live in Israel. Karaška’s daughter Gražina visited the USA in 1994, where she met with Frida and her daughter Deborah.
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