Rescuers of Jews

Petrauskienė Marija

Jonas PETRAUSKAS (1915–1944)
Shot in July 1944 in the 9th Fort in Kaunas

From the letter of Regina Petrauskaitė-Valaitienė:

My, Regina Petrauskaitė-Valaitienė’s, father Jonas Petrauskas, born 1915 in Žvyriai village, Jurbarkas subdistrict, Raseiniai district, was shot in the 9th Fort in July 1944 together with Vytautas Žakovičius.
My parents, Jonas and Marijona, with their daughters Regina, four and a half years old, and Aldutė, two and half years old, lived in Pakalniškiai village, Gelgaudiškis district, Šakiai county. My mother Marijona Kutkytė was from Skaistakaimis village. My father was a craftsman. He was a tailor and would work at home and in the farms. He also had two apprentices who were learning tailoring from him. In the autumn of 1943, my father Jonas Petrauskas agreed with the village doctor, who was living nearby, to give shelter to two women in need. The doctor’s name was Vytautas Žakovičius. I remember him very well as he would treat me and my sister from childhood diseases. Thus, two wonderful women appeared in our house: one younger and one older. They lived behind a curtain in the same room, where my father worked. They were very kind to us girls: they would play with us in the yard and take us to the nearby forest for a walk. /.../
In March 1944, armed men came. My mother and my father were away. I remember this very well, because I was very scared. A neighbour was taking care of me and my sister. The uniformed officers ordered the women to get dressed, take their belongings and follow them. The women did as they were told: they put their clothes in their suitcases, took their pillows and left with the men. All of a sudden, my mother returned and asked the men where they were taking the women, but the soldiers replied that those were the Jews and told her to tell her husband to come to Šakiai first thing in the morning. My mother went to get my father who was sowing in a farmstead of another village. He came back and tried to assure us that everything was going to be alright, that it was no offence to help people in need. In the morning, my father left for Šakiai and never came back. He was jailed in Marijampolė prison, and taken to the 55th ward of Kaunas penitentiary in May. Later he was transferred to the 9th Fort and we received no message from him since 20 July 1944.
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