rescuers of jews

Vaitkaitytė-Ruzgienė Stasė

Letters of My Grandmother Rozalija to My Saviour Stasytė from the Kaunas Ghetto I said a lot to you but it still seems to me that I have not said everything. My heart will always be with you because all I am thinking about is you.. Stasiuka, if you find it difficult in the beginning, do not get disappointed because I know for certain that you will be satisfied and even happy and you will love him as much as I do. Such a boy can only be loved. How is he now? I learned about my parents and my grandmother who loved me very much from my saviour Stasė Ruzgienė and the certificates obtained from the archives. All of my relatives, parents, grandparents, both on my mother’s and father’s side, became victims of genocide. I was born on 20 October 1940, in Kaunas. Before the war, my mother Klara Chaja Kacaite – Trovberg (Kacaitė-Trovbergienė) and my father Julius (Judl) Trovberg (Trovbergas) were students of the Kaunas Vytautas Magnus University. My grandfather Naum Trovberg (Naumas Trovbergas) had an accountancy firm in Kaunas, where he worked as a chief accountant and auditor. My grandmother Rozalija Trovberg (Trovbergienė) was a housewife. They all lived in Kaunas, Laisvės avenue 25. During the first days of war, three baltaraiščiai (white armbands) came to our flat, demanding gold and threatening to take my father Judl with them. They found no gold and took both my father and his brother, who had come to visit, away. Nobody saw them any more. Presumably, both of them were shot down in the 6th or 9th Kaunas fort. My mother, my grandfather Naum and grandmother Rozalija stayed in the ghetto until its liquidation, later they were transferred to the concentration camp and died. Before the war Stasė Vaitkaitytė (later Ruzgienė) helped by grandmother Rozalija with her house work. When we were taken to the ghetto, she would often come to visit my grandmother. Trying to save me, my relatives created a “legend” that I was Stasė’s child of a German officer. They spoke only German to me and that was the only language I spoke. During the summer of 1944, just before the liquidation of the ghetto, Stasė Vaitkaitytė took me away from the ghetto in a bag. Prior to this, they had given me sleeping pills. We spent a month in a village in the Panevėžys region, living at the place of Stasė’s sister Bronė Vaitkaitytė-Vansauskienė. Later we moved to Kaunas. Stasė had rented a room in a cellar of the police officer’s house, in the district of Žaliakalnis. That is where we lived. Before the liberation of Kaunas I had never entered the corridor, let alone going into the courtyard. I was only whispering. I would wait at the window for my Mother Stasė to come back. Sometimes she would not be back for a few days. She would divide food into portions and I would follow her instructions but I could not understand why I have another mother and where my grandparents were. After the liberation of Kaunas, due to a very difficult economic situation (there was no work), Stasė sent me to the 4th Jewish Children House in Kaunas. My first recollections from the Jewish Children House: crying and my words: “I do not want to live with Jews.” I had been told so many times that my father was German. Later followed a long and difficult life in different orphanages. I studied and I worked. I graduated from the Kaunas Polytechnical Institute, taking the evening classes. As of 1977 I have lived in Mažeikiai, worked in a compressors’ factory in different managerial positions. Until my second mother Stasė and aunt Bronė were alive, we kept close contact. Stasė did not have any children without me and aunt Bronė’s children Genutė, Tereza and Jarikas are like my sisters and brother. Stasė kept two letters written by my grandmother Rozalija Trovberg from the ghetto. You can only imagine what I feel reading them...
From the 4th book Hands Bringing Life and Bread
The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum