Rescuers of Jews

From the testimony of Esther Krengel for the Yad Vashem about Alfonsas Songaila

Now about Alfonsas Songaila. He saved 70 to 80 Jews. He had a horse and a carriage and would find different ways to get the Jews out of the ghetto. He had a goal to save the Jews. Once we asked him: “What makes you do this?” He replied: “My heart. The Germans gave me the first push when I came to town to look at them. When I saw a German hitting a Jew, I swore to myself: “You hit them, I’ll save them!”.
He was 17. He would buy products and throw them into the ghetto for the Jews through the gate or over the fence. He sedated a 6 months old baby and carried it out of the ghetto. He risked his youth. Our lives were dear to us, and we were in danger, but he would have been perfectly safe if not for us. By saving the Jews he risked his young life...

From the testimony of Rachel Kacav for the Yad Vashem about Alfonsas Songaila

He would contact partisans (Jews) and he would work day and night for us. He would look for shelters for us and give us all he had. I remember how Eshter Krengel got sick. We could not walk freely so he would carry our messages. Eshter was lying at his home and she had nothing. At least we worked, knitted and we were fed, and she had nothing. Alfonsas took his last 15 marks, went to the village and bought food for her... Alfonsas had already managed to get 3 or 4 people from the ghetto and Lithuanians were looking for him. He was told that he was an advocate of Jews, and that a lot of evidence had been gathered against him in Gestapo. The Jews left the ghetto and waited for him in the agreed place. The road was under surveillance – the Germans were looking for the Jews. We asked him not to risk, but he replied: “I promised and my word is irrevocable.” Alfonsas did not return in the agreed 24 hours... His brother came and told us to flee. Someone knocked the agreed sign on the door in the middle of the night. I saw Alfonsas. He took of his jacket and I saw that he was all blue and bruised. He had been arrested while carrying the Jews. It was 2 o’clock in the night and it was very dark. He was driving with one hand and tearing the letters given to him by the Jews with another. He tore a hole in his pocket and scattered the scraps. Lithuanians took him to prison and started torturing him. They were drunk and gave the Jews a spade to dig a pit. The Jews offered them gold and valuables so they would let them go. Finally they managed to escape. Alfonsas denied all accusations. Although beaten and bruised, he managed to escape too. He was crippled because of us – his hand was broken and he can not move it now...
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