Rescuers of Jews

Ladigienė Stefanija


“In March 1944, I put up with the widow of the Lithuanian army general Kazimieras Ladiga. With six children of her own, she accepted me as the seventh. To her children she introduced me as an orphan who would from now on be their sister. Stefanija Ladigienė's sole motive in accepting me was her profound humanity, love to her next. A deeply believing Catholic, she became my second mother. In those hard occupation and post-war years, she shared her last bite of bread with me. She did not have a separate flat, and the SS headquarters were located in the same building. If I had been caught, Stefanija Ladigienė would have been killed in Paneriai with her children. However, her act, I would say heroism, was so natural as if there could be no other way. This gave me an unusual feeling of security at that time.
I lived in Stefanija Ladigienė's family until her arrest. On 14 March 1946, she was sentenced by a KGB three-man board and imprisoned in Siberia. She died in Vilnius, in my arms. My relations with the whole family remained extremely close up to the present. I feel that her children are my brothers and sisters, and their children – my nephews and nieces.
I remember everybody who helped me to survive Ona and Juozas Strimaičiai, surgeon Pranas Bagdonavičius, Izidorius Rudaitis, Marija Meškauskienė. Unfortunately, to kill thousands of people only a few men with machine guns are needed, and they do not risk anything except their souls. Saving of just one man involved exceptional devotion, indescribable courage of many people, and they were risking not only their lives, but also those of their children.”

From Irena Veisaitė's reminiscences

From Hands Bringing Life and Bread, Volume 1,
The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum. Vilnius, 1997
You are currently using the mobile version of this website.

Switch to mobile view
Mobile version