rescuers of jews

Mockaitytė Elena

Ona Jankauskienė-Šimkutė and Elena Mockaitytė


Ona Šimkutė (b. 1923, later Jankauskienė) during the period of German occupation lived in Pilsūdo village Šilalės district (9 km from Skaudvile). The oldest daughter in a large, poor family.
Ona Šimkutė had known the Arons even before the war, who was a lumber and horse merchant. When the Germans occupied the Skaudvile, they murdered all the Jewish men, Aron and his two sons among them; his wife, Fradeh, and his daughters, Nechama, Miriam, and Hinda, were interned in the ghetto Batakiai that had been established for the women and children. In October 1941, Aron’s wife Fradeh and her daughter Miriam managed to escape from the ghetto and, after much hardship, reached the Šimkutė family and asked for shelter. Since the Germans were hunting for escaped Jews, Ona Šimkutė’s father hesitated to take in Fradeh and Miriam, but he gave in to his daughter’s pleading, and agreed. With time, because of the increasing risks involved in providing them with a hiding place, Ona contacted Elena Mockaitytė, a prosperous estate owner and teacher, who willingly agreed to hide Fradeh and Miriam (later Libman) in her home. Mockaitytė sheltered them until the end of the German occupation, providing for all their needs. After the war, Mockaitytė was exiled to Siberia because the Soviets considered her a capitalist. In time, Miriam’s husband succeeded in bringing her back from exile and employed her for 18 years in the establishment he ran, until the Libmans immigrated to Israel.