Rescuers of Jews

Pranas MAŽYLIS, his wife Antanina MAŽYLIENĖ and daughter Liūda MAŽYLYTĖ-RASTEIKIENĖ

“No one in our family asked why we had to help those unfortunate people. It had to be done and that was it.” / Liūda Mažylytė-Rasteikienė

Liūda Mažylytė-Rasteikienė’s memoirs about the Jews her family saved during the German occupation

Many years have passed since the beginning of the World War II and the end of German occupation. At that time, I was 14–17 years old. Many things are now forgotten but a few most important facts of which I will tell.
That year, just like before, we lived in Kaunas, Putvinskio Street 3, next to the women’s hospital. This hospital was found and built by my father Pranas Mažylis (1885–1966), the professor of Vytautas Magnus University. Our family consisted of my father, my mother Antanina Mažylienė (Bliūdžiūtė) (1894–1992), my brother Jonas Mažylis (1924–2003) and me, Liūda Mažylytė (later Rasteikienė, born in 1926). Our apartment was on the first floor; it was big and had six rooms. My father’s office was in the same apartment too. He used the office to receive patients; there was also a waiting room and a library, where engineer Isakas Judelevičius hid during the war.
I must note that teacher Petronėlė Sirutytė-Lastienė, who was a prisoner of Vorkuta camps during the Stalinist period, helped us a lot so save Jews. She died in 1981. She was a close relative to us – the daughter of my mother’s elder sister Sirutienė. The age difference between my mother and Petronėlė was small, so they grew up almost like sisters. Their friendship lasted all their lives. My mother’s other sister Emilija Bliūdžiūtė, who was a doctor, was also very close to our family. As far as I know, Petronėlė Lastienė was also friends with Bronė Pajedaitė, dentist, and Vera Žvironaitė, teacher. So they created a trustworthy circle of Kaunas intellectuals.
In addition to Grigorijus Teperis and Liliana Levintoff, who were saved by our family with Petronėlė’s help, she also saved Tamara Lazersonaitė – I found this out only after the war. I am also aware that she hid a Jew woman with a 3–4 year old son in her apartment in M. Dobužinskio Street 8–3. The woman and her son spent a few days in the basement of our hospital as well. Although I have seen that woman, I don’t know her name. Nobody would talk about these things those days.
Doctor Fruma Gurvičienė’s daughter Bela was also hidden in the basement of the hospital. As we found out later, the girl spent some time hiding in doctor Ona Landsbergienė’s place, in the family of the famous architect Landsbergis-Žemkalnis. The Gestapo arrested their elder son Gabrielius and they lived right next to us. Probably with Petronėlė’s help again, Bela Gurvičiūtė was brought to our basement. She spent some time there. According to what her mother told us after the war, it appeared to be a bit unsafe there. There was a boiler-room next to the room where she hid. A strange stoker who liked talking to himself worked there. He would try to open the door of the room where the girl hid, see that it’s locked, say “The game is up” and go away. The girl would be terrified each time. Despite this misfortune, doctor Gurvičienė was very grateful to our family and the grandchildren of my father still remember her as their good doctor.
There were more Jews coming to our home at that time. I remember Bronė Subockienė, who hid in docent Vidmantas’ family – she would come to my mother to see her son, who was hiding in some family somewhere near Jurbarkas. Once I had to sent money to that family by post. A well-known watchmaker and jeweller Zrelmanas was also grateful to my mother for she had saved some of his belongings.
Many years have passed. Everything has changed. I only remember, that no one in our family asked why we had to help those unfortunate people. It had to be done and that was it.
You are currently using the mobile version of this website.

Switch to mobile view
Mobile version