Rescuers of Jews

Stanionienė Sofija


The family of teachers Shmuel and Ronia Rozentaliai with their son Leo born in 1937 lived in Kaunas before the war. In August 1941 Rozentaliai family with their relatives (Ronia Rozentaliene’s parents Olsher and Gitele Shmuilov as well as her brother’s Elijah Shmuilov’s family) were imprisoned in Kaunas ghetto. Ronia Rozantaliene’s parents were murdered during the Great Action on 28th October 1941, and her brother Elijah, who had become an active member of Kaunas ghetto underground resistance organization, was arrested, tortured and killed in the 9th fort.
Shmuel Rozentalis was teaching children in an underground school in Kaunas ghetto; his wife was involved in rescueing children from the ghetto and was looking for places for them to stay in the city. Although it was forbidden for Jewish women to bear children, Ronia gave birth to a daughter. She was hiding her in their flat behind the wardrobe together with her late brother’s Elijah’s daughter Liusia – a girl also born in the ghetto and only several months old back then. A short time later another active participant in the underground resistance, a friend of Rozentaliai, Polia Karniauskaite-Museliene, found a woman, Sofija Stanioniene, who lived in Kaunas on Nemunas street with her husband Jonas. This family was childless; they wanted to adopt the child, and Polia Museliene persuaded them to take Rozentaliai daughter Rona. With a girl in a stroller Polia managed to slip through the crowd of ghetto prisoners on their way to work in the city and safely deliver the baby to Jonas and Sofija Stanioniai. In this family, loved and guarded by Sofija, the girl survived through the war and lived until 1949; then her father Shmuel Rozentalis returned from Dachau concentration camp and took the girl with him. Her mother Ronia Rozentaliene perished in Stuthof concentration camp; Rona’s brother Leo was rescued by Petras Macijauskas’ family living nearby the 9th fort.
The girl Stanioniai saved, Rona Rozentalyte (now Rona Zinger) lives in Australia; her memoires have been published in various releases.
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