Rescuers of Jews

Olšvang (Osauskaitė, Osowska) Jozefa

Jozefa Olshwang-Osauskaitė

Jozefa Olshwang-Osauskaitė was born into a catholic family, though her mother was a Christened Jew. Jozefa‘s husband, a Jew, a clerk at the Ministry of finance before the war, was evacuated to the Soviet Union with other Soviet officials. Jozefa and her mother left in Kaunas. The superintendant of the house they lived in, a devoted communist before the war, became a zealous Nazi overnight – for that reason Jozefa with her mother had to abandon their apartment. The women were given a shelter by their Lithuanian friends who owned a little house in the different part of Kaunas. The friends helped Jozefa to get a passport in her maiden name (because "Olshwang" sounded too Jewish). Nevertheless, Jozefa and her mother lived in constant fear of being dislosed.

A young Jewish girl Esther Rutkevich escaped from Kaunas Ghetto in the autumn of 1941. Jozefa, though she was endangered herself, came to aid and sheltered Esther in her room. The house owner, Jozefa‘s friend, also agreed to take care of the girl. Jozefa managed to get an Aryan passport for Esther. Since Jozefa herself didn‘t feel safe she tried to find another living place for Esther. Firstly she arranged for the girl a housemaid job in a Lithuanian family, but as soon as the hosts realized that Esther was a Jew Jozefa had to find another place for the girl.

With the aid of Jozefa Esthera Rutkevich-Gavenda survived the Nazi occupation. She left for Israel after the war.
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