Rescuers of Jews

Kazanskytė-Burkauskienė Elena

Olga KAZANSKIENĖ
Edvardas KAZANSKIS
and their daughter Edita KAZANKSYTĖ (GARGASIENĖ)


During the years of the German occupation the Kazanskis family: husband Edvard Kazanskis, former officer of the Lithuanian army, wife Olga and 5 children, lived in Krivių street in Vilnius. Elder daughters were Edita and Elena, then Nijolė and Juratė and the youngest son – Laimutis, born in 1941. On the day of ghetto liquidation – September 23, 1943, a young girl, very lightly dressed and all wet, knocked at the door and asked for help. It was Chana Chaiker (currently Ann Frankfurt). At the beginning she asked to hide her little nephew – the son of her brother, and the Kazanskis family agreed to take the child. Liquidation of the ghetto started on the same day and Chana was not able to get inside. The Kazanskis agreed to take care of her also. Those were the days, when arrests in the city followed one after another, and it was not easy to make such a decision. Before that, Chana turned for help to many of her pre-war acquaintances. All of them sympathized with her, but were not willing to risk their own lives and the lives of their family members. In the Kazanskis family humanism was stronger than fear and they took care of Chana as of their own child. Instead of Chana they called her Anna and later, with the help of Lithuanian writer Kazys Boruta, who was Edvard Kazanskis’ sister’s husband, they managed to get forged documents for her on the name of Anna Chernishova. When one of the close relatives offered to take Chana and hide her in the village, the family refused to part with her and they stayed together until the liberation.
All Chana’s relatives perished during the German occupation. Chana stayed in the Kazanskis family and when the first possibility to emigrate to the West emerged, she went to the USA, where she still lives. Chana never forgot Olga, her husband Edvard and their children. They always kept in touch.
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