rescuers of jews

Rutkauskaitė-Viktaravičienė Janina

Teofilis ŽARNAUSKAS Marė ŽARNAUSKIENĖ her daughter Janina RUTKAUSKAITĖ-VIKTARAVIČIENĖ Vladas LEVULIS Albina LEVULIENĖ their son Fulgentas LEVULIS Juozas BIŽYS Janina BIŽIENĖ In 1943 both sisters and brother ran away from the ghetto in Kaunas aiming to reach their native town Kapčiamiestis, where they were born and where their parents owned a shop before the war. Many local Lithuanians were their customers at that time. The children hoped to find shelter at one of their former customers. Teofilis Zarnauskas, a resident of Barciai village, and one of their former customers, gave them shelter. He built a bunker in the kitchen, (which was located in a separate building next to the house) with a separate exit facing the forest, and one more bunker in the forest. His wife and her daughter Janina were taking care of food during the period of 8 months. They kept it secret even from all other younger children in the family. When searches started to be carried out in the region, the family found a more secure shelter for the hiding Jews with the Levulis family, who lived in Sadziunai village. Albina Levulis spoke with her brother, Juozas Bizys, who lived in Radvilioniai village, and he agreed to hide one person – that was Sara. Some time later Juozas Bizys managed to get a false identity card on a Russian name and Sara was able to live in his house openly, without hiding. She even found maid’s job with one of well-to-do farmers. Lea also moved to the Bizys family and stayed there until the liberation in July 1944. Ben Zion Fridkovsky, their brother, was constantly hiding with the Levulis family. Now and then, upon the recommendation of his host, he used to work as a furrier’s assistant with local farmers. Sometimes Fulgentas Levulis, who was 13–14 years old at that time, accompanied him. Lithuanian appearance of Fulgentas, who addressed Ben Zion as a brother, helped distract the attention from them. After the liberation, when it became known that the above mentioned families helped Jews, Lithuanian nationalists killed Teofilis Zarnauskas and Vladas Levulis. The rescued people, who moved to Israel, maintain close contacts with their saviours until now.