Rescuers of Jews

Prošogalavičienė Justina

KAZIMIERAS and JUSTINA PREIŠOGALAVIČIUS
and their sons VINCAS and NIKODEMAS


Simon Kaplan, living in Kaunas Ghetto was involved in constructing a barbed wire fence around the ghetto, after that Simon was forced to work at a military airport near Kaunas. Later on he was dealing with the delivery of firewood from various farmers to Kaunas Ghetto.
During this period he got acquainted with the Lithuanian family of Preišogalavičius, who possessed a farm near Veršvai, 3,5 km away from Kaunas, near the Nemunas river.
When Simon informed Kazimieras Preišogalavičius about his intention to build a bunker as a hiding place for himself and other Jews, Kazimieras offered to do it on the territory of his farm. Simon was building a bunker with the help of Kazimieras’s sons Pranas and Vincas (who were about 16 and 17 years old) for almost one year. He installed electricity there and also made a tunnel, leading to the river in case of need for urgent escape.
In January 1944 Simon Kaplan received information about denunciation on their hiding place, therefore together with Fira and other Jews they moved to the house of Nikodemas Preišogalavičius, who lived in Kaunas, near the 9th Fort. After three weeks it became clear that the information was false and they all moved back to the bunker. There were around 13 people hiding in the bunker until the end of the occupation.
Simon Kaplan, who spoke fluent Lithuanian and did not look like a Jew used to go out for food and also to do some works for the farmers in the neighbourhood, part of whom knew who he was.
Fira Kupritz, Simon Kaplan stayed by the Preišogalavičius family until the liberation in 1944.
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