Rescuers of Jews

Kuprėnas Kazys

Pranas BRADAUSKAS Jadvyga BRADAUSKIENĖ Stasys JUCEVIČIUS Kazys KUPRĖNAS Zeev Michnovsky was born in Lazdijai, Lithuania. The place was occupied by the Germans on June 22, 1941. The Jews were gathered in sheds and were abused both physically and mentally. In the middle of September1941 they were transferred to Katiskes – 1 km away from Lazdijai, where the ghetto was built. In October that year Zeev was told that the ghetto was about to be destroyed. That night he escaped from the ghetto alongside with his girl friend Rivka (the daughter of Rabbi Gerstein). During 1941 – 1942 they had been hiding at the house of a local Lithuanian woman, whose sister was married to a Jew, who escaped from the ghetto also together with Zeev. Some time later they found shelter at an orthodox farmer’s in the village. There they met their friend from before the war – Kazys Kuprėnas. He was married to a Jew from Lazdijai – whom he rescued along with other Jews. He helped the couple reach Kaunas, where there was a big and a rather safe ghetto. There they stayed until October 1943. During their stay they got in contact with Stasys Jucevičius, who offered them his help whenever needed. In October 1943 they left the ghetto and went to his house where they hid for several days. Then he drove them to Lazdijai (105 km from Kaunas) to his parents’ house. After one night there, they were thansferred to a barn in the middle of an open field, which belonged to a farmer named Pranas Bradauskas, whom they were not acquainted with until that day. Jucevičius was in charge of the new location. They remained there for 9 months and Pranas Bradauskas along with his wife Jadvyga took good care of them. They escaped a few days before the release by the Soviet Army, because they suspected that other farmers found out about their hiding place. They had been hiding in the forest until the Soviet Army arrived. After the war they returned to Lazdijai, where they stayed until they immigrated to Poland in 1946. They met Mr. Pranas Bradauskas and he asked them to keep his help a secret for he was afraid of Lithuanian nationalists’ revenge. That was also the reason he preferred not to be in touch with them. At the end of 1970-ies Kazys Kuprėnas’ widow Esher Malcka came to Israel and went to Yad Vashem to tell her husband’s story; Zeev Michnovsky and his wife wrote their testimony. That same year Jucevičius wanted to visit Israel as well. In some years he left Lithuania and went to live in Canada and has been always in touch with Zeev. The survivors opened him a file in Yad Vashem as well. They did not tell the brave story of Bradauskas, for they respected his will to keep it a secret. They managed to locate his children and are in touch with them by mail. For justice, they want to have him known as well.
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