Rescuers of Jews

Bružas Stanislovas


The farmers Stanislovas and Valerija Bružas lived with their five small children in the village of Galkončiai near the town of Telšiai (Telšiai District). After the occupation of the area by the Germans, on 25 June and on 28 June 1941 all the Jews of Telšiai were expelled from their flats and housed in the barns of the Rainiai estate and in camp of Viešvėnai, where all the Jews of surrounding towns were detained there. All who were still in the Rainiai and Viešvėnai camps and those who were still alive in the neighbouring towns were taken to one place called Geruliai. Thousands of children and woman from Telšiai country were taken there. At the end of August, there were talks that there would be another massacre. A ghetto quarter was being set up next to the lake in Telšiai, where was located 500 of young women. On 30 August 1941 the rest women and children were shoted.
The Germans, however, allowed the farmers in the vicinity to take laborers from among the survivors still in the ghetto for work during the harvest season. The Bružas family thus took a young worker called Rivka Levit (later, Berelovich), a native of the town of Rietavas, about 60 km west of Telšiai. The rest of her family had already been murdered.
At the end of the work in the fields, the farmers were responsible for returning the laborers to the ghetto. Rivka, however, asked Stanislovas to report that she had run away. The farmer did so, even though he was afraid that he would not be believed. Rivka left them and for several weeks they heard nothing from her.
On December 24-25, 1941 the Telšiai ghetto was liquidated with its inhabitants and the town was declared Judenrein (“free of Jews”). A few days later, Rivka returned to her benefactors' home. Stanislovas and his wife took her in and hid her for over two and a half years. Rivka helped her rescuers in various household chores and in caring for the children, all without leaving the house. The Bružas family farm was surrounded by fields bordering on a grove, in a fairly isolated location. Under Bružas protection, Rivka felt safe and received support and encouragement from the couple and their children. Even after the Liberation, in October 1944, Rivka continued to live under her benefactors' roof for some time more. In 1948, Stanislovas and his wife were arrested by the Soviets as landowners and were exiled to Siberia. Rivka remained in contact with them also during that period and helped them as far as she could. After Stalin's death, Rivka’s rescuers were allowed to return to Lithuania. In 1971, Rivka immigrated to Israel.
Stanislovas Bružas and Valerija Bružienė recognised as Righteous Among the Nations in 2000
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