Rescuers of Jews

Radzvilas Alfonsas

Statement by Fr Alfonsas Radzvilas about rescuing Jews in Kelmė One afternoon in the autumn of 1943, when I was the priest at Kelmė, some Jews were brought from the Šiauliai Ghetto to load lorries with potatoes from a heap on the Kelmė estate. After the work was finished, the starving Jews were allowed by the guards to go and ask people for food. Making use of the darkness of night, all 23 people hid, and did not return to the lorries. Four of them came to the presbytery and asked for asylum. I let them stay, and after a day and a half there they were taken to a safer place. Others, also after finding shelter, hid temporarily. At that time the teacher Kazimieras Motušis was in Kelmė, he used to collect and take food to the Jews in the Vilijampolė Ghetto in Kaunas. He was asked to find a safer and more permanent place for them. He found a place in the village of Paliepšiai, with the forester J. Demskis. The Jews were safe there until the arrival of the Soviet army. In this way, thanks to the teacher Kazimieras Motušis, 23 Jews were saved from death. Kazimieras Motušis often took care of and helped the Jews, who were in a terrible situation and suffered from German persecution. Šiauliai, 17 January 1973 (Signed) Rev. Alfonsas Radzvilas Parish priest at St George's Church
From GRRCL archives: original, typed Whoever saves one life... The efforts to save Jews in Lithuania between 1941 and 1944. Genocide and Resistance Research Centre of Lithuania, Garnelis, Vilnius, 2002
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