Rescuers of Jews

Mongirdienė Olga


Before the war the violin player Eduardas Satkevičius and conductor and violin player Robertas Stenderis were colleagues. Both of them worked in the Kaunas State Theatre. When the war broke out, Robertas Stenderis, his wife Roza and his 2-year old daughter Margalit, found themselves in the Kaunas ghetto. On August 18, 1941, the first Action, the so called “Intelligentsia Action” had been carried out in the Kaunas ghetto. During the Action 534 people had been killed – men from the educated layers of the society. Among them was Margalit’s father – Robertas Stenderis. In 1943, when the Actions in the Kaunas ghetto became more and more frequent, Roza Stender decided it was high time to elaborate her daughter’s salvation plan. Many people had been involved in rescuing the girl, but the main role belonged to self-sacrificing and courageous people – Vladas Varčikas, Valerija and Eduardas Satkevičius and Olga Mongirdiene.
Margalit Stender was taken to the Satkevičius family in November 1943. But their conditions had been extremely difficult, since the son of their closest neighbours openly supported the Nazi regime. The Satkevičius did everything possible to hide the girl, but the curious neighbours noticed her. One April morning in 1944, when Margalit was alone at home, the neighbours, dressed in a military uniform, managed to get inside the apartment. Luckily, the girl did not reveal herself and told them the invented story that she was Irina Petrova; her father was at war, her mother was taken to Germany for forced labour and she herself was bought in the market. In order to avoid police search, it was necessary to urgently change the girl’s dislocation. With the assistance of Vladas Varčikas the girl was moved to Olga Dauguvietienė and then to the family of a singer of the Kaunas State Theatre, Mikalojus Mongirdas. Mikalojus took the girl to the house of his mother, Olga Mongirdienė, in the town of Vilkija.
There Margalit lived until the liberation, when she met her mother Roza Stender. Although Margalit was a very small girl at that time, Olga Mongirdienė, Valerija and Eduardas Satkevičius remained in her memory forever.
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