Rescuers of Jews

Ragauskis Ignas


Ignas Ragauskis studied in progymnasium of Palanga, in 1909 he entered the Kaunas seminary and completed his studies there in 1914. The same year he was ordained a priest and further he worked in different parishes. From 1938 he was the vicar of Vyzuoniai parish.
From the first war days priest Ignas Ragauskis was shocked witnessing the open cynical determination of Jews in Lithuania. Priest Ignas Ragauskis publicly accused the killers of Jews in his sermon held in the Vyzuonai church in the middle of July, 1941.
He kept asking the present parishioners why the people don‘t follow one of the most important Comandments: Do not kill.
Ignas Ragauskis urged the parishioners never participate in the killing of innocent people, not to forget and follow the elementary rules of humanity.
The local white-armbanders once have heared these priest Ragauskis‘ words. After it was revealed that priest had helped several Jewish women to hide, he was arrested and put in Utena prison.
On August 07, 1941, in the Rashe forest near Utena, together with killed 500 Jews priest Ignas Ragauskis was killed too.
From canon Petras Rauda‘s, the dean of Utena in 1940-1944, memoirs:
The question of Jews was painful. At first, all were propelled into Ghetto, forced to go to work. Then they separated the weak ones, the children, moved them till Rashe forest and shot them dead there. There were more tham four thousands people shot.
Priest Ignas Ragauskis and the prosecutor of Daugailiai parish were among them.
It was an awful dark day. I tried to speak with the comendante, he said he was powerless.

(Canon Petras Rauda. Imcomprehensible, O Lord, thy ways. Memoirs. The Catholic Academy, 2000, page 173).
In November 1944, several days after the exhumation of the mass killing victims made by State commission, priest I.Ragauskis‘s remains were re-buried in the old cemetary of Utena. From canon Petras Rauda‘s memoirs:
After few days a security man came to me and said that tomorrow priest I.Ragauskis‘s, killed together with Jews, remains would be here. He asked to make a usual burial in the cemetary. Of course, I agreed, put on liturgical clothes and went to meet. Singing psalms we entered the church. I withstanded Saint Mass and told sermon. There were many people gathered and we made a procession going to the cemetary. There we buried him next to some dean.
I myself had to listen to priest Ragauskis‘s confession during this terrible day of exercusion.

(Canon Petras Rauda. Imcomprehensible, O Lord, thy ways. Memoirs. The Catholic Academy, 2000, page 190).

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