Rescuers of Jews

Leonavičienė Ona

Ona Leonavičienė and Eduardas Leonavičius

Ona and Eduardas Leonavičius with their two small children lived in the village of Kampai, in Kėdainiai region. Shortly after the German invasion into Lithuania, their friend Vaclov Vishnevsky, a resident of Kaunas, appealed to the family Leonavičius to shelter his Jewish wife, Fruma Vishnevskaya, whom they knew very well. They agreed, and prepared a hiding place for Vishnevskaya in their attic, where she hid for nearly two years. Their act of rescue entailed heavy risks, because their neighbor, an ethnic German, was collaborating with the Nazis. Despite the danger, the Leonavičiuses also hid Riva Kagan and her sons Jacob and Genoch (aged 12 and 15), and her sister Reznikiene. They were brought to the Leonavičius family by their friend Jeronimas Žiužnys from the village of Sviliai. Jeronimas Žiužnys also hid Jews at his home. It was a dangerous and difficult action – to hide and to take care about 5 people. Fortunately, all of them survived and saw the Germans withdrawal from Lithuania.
After the area was liberated from German occupation, Riva Kagan and her family left and were never heard of again. Fruma Vishnevskaya reunited with her husband Vaclovas and kept in touch with her rescuers until her immigration to Israel in 1973.
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