rescuers of jews

Urbonienė (Dabulevičiūtė) Marija

Šeina Novodzelskytė-Lupšicienė:

<…>We suffered terrible atrocities, saw the cruelty of beastly people. Innocent people were killed just because they were Jews. We were shut in a ghetto, went through the so-called 'actions', endured everything, and survived by sheer chance. An antifascist organisation operated at Kaunas ghetto, and I joined. In 1942-1944 I took part in the underground antifascist activity. The organisation took care of the children. I was entrusted with teaching the children Lithuanian, so that it would be easier for them to adapt themselves to life in Lithuanian families. It was necessary to save the children from extermination. Once, I had to carry a two-year old girl out of the ghetto, a daughter of the Jewish writer Lancman, called Rūta. I took her out of the ghetto early in the morning on 6 January 1943.1 left with a brigade of workers, and then I turned in the opposite direction. I walked along the streets of Vilijampolė till 9 o'clock, and then went to a day nursery to find doctor Baublys. I wrote an application stating that the baby had been left in my care, that its parents had left, and that I could not raise it. I also gave him a Certificate of Birth issued in the name of Irena Baltaduonytė. A nurse called in by the doctor took the girl from me. Then, risking my life, I crossed several more streets, the bridge, and reached Vilniaus Street. I waited till evening in one of the flats so I could return to the ghetto with a brigade of workers bearing our mark, the Star of David. Everything ended happily and the girl was rescued. Later I met her mother in the Stutthof concentration camp and she promised that we would be relatives for life. Unfortunately, she was killed in Stutthof. As far as I know she was sent to the typhoid epidemic block, where no treatment was administered and the prisoners were doomed to die.
After the Kaunas ghetto was liquidated in August 1944, the people who had survived were driven in cattle trucks out of Kaunas to concentration camps. My mother and I got into Stutthof, and my brother into the Dachau concentration camp. New sufferings started. It is difficult to speak about them and it is terrible to remember them. Upon arrival at Stutthof, the first thing that caught our eye was the chimney of the crematorium. We were afraid and often cried. But we also met kind people. We saw a woman in a house near our camp wiping her eyes when looking at us, and later a man who spoke Polish told us that the crematorium was no longer functioning and that we would be working.<…>
<…>By the way, the girl who I once carried out of the ghetto, has survived. She was adopted by the Urbonas family. They raised her and loved her as their own daughter. They educated her, married her off, and even brought up her son, Gintarėlis Gilys. Her real father, Lancman, lived in Vilnius and looked for her, appealing to me. But at that time I knew nothing about her. When her brother Lev Lancman grew up, he found her. We went to Alytus to meet her. Some time later the Lancman family went to live in Israel. Their father had gotten seriously ill, and his two sisters lived in Israel. They all corresponded, and finally Rūta was issued her authentic certificate of birth, documents were arranged, and together with her son, she left for Israel. Marija Urbonienė saw her off like a real mother and they kept in touch for many years. Rūta tried to help her as much as she could. In October 1989, Marija, my son and I went to Israel to visit Rūta. We were very well received. Rūta and her husband took a holiday and drove us around the country. It was especially interesting. We returned home very pleased. Unfortunately, some years later Marija died. I went to her funeral and put some flowers on her grave. Rūta was very upset, and on the anniversary of Marija's death, she came to visit her grave.
In 1993, for having rescued Rūta, I was awarded the Cross for Saving People under Threat of Death.<…>

Vilnius, 2001

Su adata širdyje. Getų ir Koncentracijos stovyklų kalinių atsiminimai.
With a Needle in the Heart. Memoirs of Former Prisoners of Ghettos and Concetration Camps. Vilnius, 2003