Rescuers of Jews

Haškerienė Stefanija

Maksimilijonas HAŠKERIS

Jurgita Haškerytė-Misikienė recalls:

Before the war we did not know the Belkinas family. Somebody told my mother that on the other side of the River Nemunas a Jewish family was hiding with the Našliūnas: if she wanted she could go and help them. Thus my parents got to know the Belkinas family.
The Belkinas did not ask for any help from us. When my mother learned about them, she simply tried to help them, on her own and without anybody’s encouragement, just for the sake of humaneness.
The Belkinas moved from the Našliūnas to the family of the teachers Bajerčius. Mother supported them with food and medicine. I usually carried the food to the Bajerčius. They lived in a pine forest, and I was very afraid to go through the forest. We had great difficulties in making ends meet, since my father had been in the hard labour prison in Kaunas for refusing to repatriate his family to Germany, and Mother had been dismissed from her post as unreliable. The husband of my mother’s sister, Ksaveras Gelgauda, who lived and worked in Lazdijai, supported us to some extent.
It became unsafe for the Belkinas to stay with the Bajerčius, and a new place had to be found. That was the concern of my mother, the teachers Klimavičius and Gaivelis, and Doctor Petrovas, who supported the refugees with money, food and medicine. They were taken to Petras Pečiulis in the village of Vangelonys. The Pečiulis received money usually every month.
The Belkinas’ daughter Šeina stayed with the Jakubauskas in the countryside. Their daughter used to take Šeina to us, where she played with my younger sister Gražina in the yard. Šeina saw her parents several times, but she did not recognise them: to her they were just Adam and Eve.
I do not remember exactly whether it was in 1942 or 1943 when the Jakubauskas’ daughter came alone, without Šeina, and said in tears that Šeina had died and had to be buried. Mother gave her some needlework, a dress for the laying out, and some other things. Then Mother went to Doctor Petrovas to talk about the funeral, and about how to inform Šeina’s parents. The doctor was astonished; he said that the Jakubauskas’ daughter had just visited him and had not said anything about it. On the contrary, she had said that the girl was safe and sound. My mother took what the doctor could give for the girl, and she left.
After the war Ovsejus, Rašelė and Šeina moved to Vilnius.
In Alytus we lived by the railway station. The Germans were transporting people to Germany from Russia to work. We knew that they were being taken by force, and they were hungry. The people round about would give them what they could. Mother found a sick and scabious boy and took him in with her. It was Aleksandr Yurchenko, whom we called simply Sasha. He was washed, fed, and lived with us as a member of our family.
Meanwhile, the relations between the Belkinas and our family were not broken off after the war. Now I visit their graves...

From Hands Bringing Life and Bread, Volume 3,
The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum. Vilnius, 2005
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