Rescuers of Jews

From Shulamit Gordon-Lirov’s article
Unarmed Fighters. Ed. S. Binkienė. Vilnius, 1967

[...] Intersection of Kęstučio and Kanto streets. A sign above the front door saying "Oculist E. Buivydaitė-Kutorgienė“. I am climbing up the stairs. I am jumpy. I forget all negative experiences of that day. I was scared to join a brigade of strangers in the morning and leave the ghetto with them. An hour ago I removed my yellow stars and left my workplace unnoticed. I boldly walked the sidewalk the whole way from Miško Street to Kęstučio Street... Who could have thought that I was not a “pure Aryan”? But I felt as if the ground was burning under my feet...
There were many people in the reception. These were, of course, patients. Well, maybe not all of them. I knew that Mrs. Kutorgienė and her son were underground activists; that they were keeping in touch with partisans and that they were helping the Jews from the ghetto as hard as they could... It was great fortune to reach those people.
I saw a tall blonde woman wearing a white coat. Her gestures where energetic and abrupt. She took me to her office, put me in a patient’s chair and dripped some eye-drops in my eyes... – another patient happened to be in the office at the same time. Only after he left, she started talking to me. She had received all the information about me from her son, and she told me that she would get me a document and a place to live. I could not stay in her place – it was too dangerous. Her apartment had been searched several times already. And janitor was watching them all the time... Everybody was suspecting her but could not catch her red-handed...
Eventually, Mr. Jakas made me a document – a temporary identity card. I became Aldona Vaičiulionytė. Mrs. Kutorgienė runs over advertisements in the newspaper looking for a household that needs a handmaiden. These are in great demand – the newspaper is full of advertisements. This is because young girls are taken to Germany and handmaidens are hard to come by... From the multitude of advertisements, Mrs. Kutorgienė chooses the most suitable one – a house in Vaižganto Street, Žaliakalnis neighbourhood. She makes a call and finds out that the hostess is Elzė Miniotienė, a widow with four boys. Persuasively, Mrs. Kutorgienė describes the handmaiden as a nice and honest girl. Mrs. Miniotienė does not ask who she is speaking to and Mrs. Kutorgienė does not introduce herself.
The next day, I went to meet the hostess. She was a tall and very beautiful woman with regular facial features and black straight combed hair. She was calm and dignified, never raised her voice despite having to take care of four boys of 4, 7, 11 and 13! I did not seem to have raised her any doubts. Just in case, Mr. Jakas called her too and also recommended this honest girl... This time, Mrs. Miniotienė did not ask questions either. Only about a week later she asked me who the people that called were. I told her that those were my former teacher and his wife. She was satisfied with my answer, and never again did she ask me questions or inquire who I was and where I came from. [...]

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