I write here my story - what happened to me during the period of Second World War, that is, during the years of Holocaust – the catastrophe of the Jewish people.
Before the war my parents
Father Icikas Berelovičius, born 1907, mother Šeina Berelovičienė, born 1907, and me Maja Berelovičiūtė, born 1936 ived in Kaunas, Italijos street.
I was the only child in the family. My father was a communist, before the war he was convicted and imprisoned because of his political assessments. My mother agreed with his judgments, but she didn’t join the communist party. Her health was poor.
We had relatives living in Kaunas before the war: My father’s sister Ida Šaterienė with her husband Peisach Šateris and their daughter Lenočka (I guess, Lenočka was born in 1940).
On the first days of the war we tried to escape but failed and returned to Kaunas to our apartment on the Italijos street. After few days the policeman Šimkevičius, my former nanny Paulina’s husband, came to us together with two Germans and they arrested my father. They took my father out of his apartment with his hands up. My mother wept and I was standing close to her. I remember these moments all my life.
The next day my mother met the same Šimkevičius in the street. He told her: „you won‘t ever see your husband again“. So it was, my father was killed in the 9-th fort.
Before the war my mother worked as a nurse in the Jewish children orphanage.
Father was a building worker. When the Russians came in the 1940 my father was appointed as the shoe factory manager.
Mother and me settled in Ghetto together with aunt Ida’s family. We all lived in Linkuvos street.
My aunt Ida Šaterienė in 1942 year, as I guess, passed her daughter Lenočka to some Lithuanians living in Ugniagesių street to hide her.
I was taken out from Ghetto twice. The first time it was Hana (I don’t remember her last name) who took me. It was agreed with Lithuanians Juzė and Jonas Fedoravičius living in the same neighborhood on Ugniagesių street where my cousin Lenočka Šaterytė has been hidden. Both Fedoravičius‘es didn‘t let me to go out to avoid my possible meeting with Lenočka and speaking with her Yiddish.
But rather soon Fedoravičienė herself blabbed to her neighbors that she took a Jewish girl. Then she became scared and decided to return me back to Ghetto.
I wept and said that “I have no yellow star any more”,–I remember that I was scared to go to Ghetto.
My mother, my aunt Ida Šaterienė and her husband Peisach Šateris became involved into the Resistance movement of the Kaunas Ghetto. They kept in touch with partisans. I remember the partisans meetings that took place in our apartment. When the neighbors knocked to us during the meeting, mother didn’t open the door. She usually said: “I’m bathing”. My mother’s name Berelovičienė, aunt‘s and uncle‘s name Šateris – are mentioned in Binkienė‘s book „Unarmed Fighters“.
My mother and aunt Ida became engaged into rescue of the Kaunas Ghetto children. They negotiated with trustworthy people, looked for shelters, sometimes themselves took children out from the Ghetto and passed to doctor Baublys, to the ophanage Lopšelis managed by him. My mother was a nurse, therefore usually she herself injected sedatives to children.
Before taking out me from the Kaunas Ghetto mother wanted to receive my metrics. The first priest she asked for it threatened her to inform gestapo. Then she went to priest Paukštys who said that he wouldn‘t even baptise me, he‘ll just give the metrics. So he did and I received the Birth Certificate as Marytė Fedaravičiūtė. Having this document, at first I was at the Fedaravičius family living on the Ugniagesių street. Later Fedaravičienė returned me back to the Ghetto. When the second time I was taken out from it to Sofija Aleknavičienė, I also had the same metrics. Aleknavičienė lived on so-called Green Mount – Žaliakalnis. There was other family named Rondomanskis, living in the same neighborhood, who also hid Jewish children.
Sofija Aleknavičienė lived together with her adult daughter Bronė who helped her mother and us in hiding. Now her name is Bronė Milienė and I keep in touch with her. They were very good women.
Later on, coursed by security reasons, Sofija Aleknavičienė drove me by truck to the Akuškonių village in Prienai district. There she had an agreement with very good people named Kvedaravičius. They treated me very well, I lived with them like in my own family. I lived there till the liberation of Kaunas.
When the Kaunas Ghetto was liquidated and everybody was on the way to Germany, my mother and my aunt Ida Šaterienė escaped the last moment, just from the lines of people propelled to the railway station. My mother then went to Sofija Aleknavičienė.
Peisah Šateris was taken to Germany and he was lucky to survive. After the liberation he returned to Kaunas.
My aunt Ida Šaterienė died in 1974, my uncle Peisah Šateris died in 1992. They both are buried in the Jewish cemetery in Vilnius.
I’d like to tell separately about my aunt Ida Šaterienė’s disaster and about her daughter Lenočka’s destiny.
Some Lithuanian gendarme lived with his wife in Kaunas, Ugniagesių street, in the same neighborhood where my aunt put her daughter Lenočka to hide. Gendarme and his wife were childless. They learned about Lenočka (the girl was very beautiful) and insisted to take her. Otherwise they threatened to inform gestapo. People who hid Lenočka, were forced to behave according to this situation. When my aunt came to visit Lenočka and didn‘t find her, she went to gendarme and demanded to return her daughter to her. But she received the same answer – the threat to trait them to gestapo. My aunt Ida Šaterienė had no choice but to leave her daughter to this person.
After the liberation of Kaunas she immediately went to this house with the hope to receive her daughter back. But she didn‘t find even traces of this family, despite she looked for them during all her life. This pain was after her constantly. Each time when she heard by radio a Lithuanian name sounded like the certain one, she prepared and went even to the farest place of Lithuania with the hope to find her Lenočka. But it was in vain. Most probably, this family emigrated to the West and, maybe, my cousin Lenočka lives somewhere ...
After the war in 1947 a son Efim was born in the Šateris family. Now my cousin Efim Šateris lives in USA.
Vilnius 2005 11 12
Ida Shater told her life story, how did she lost her little daughter during nacis occupy in the item „Where are you Lenochka?“