rescuers of jews


In May, 1943 a young mother Bronė Gecevičienė was strolling with her two small daughters Vitalija, four years old, and Ligija, who was one year old. A group of Jewish slave labourers from the Kaunas Ghetto were busy repairing the road. One Jew ran over to her and implored to save his child. Brone was taken aback and said she had to talk to her husband first. It was agreed that in case of their positive decision they would come next evening to the ghetto’s fence.
Bronė’s husband, Adomas, agreed to save the child immediately, and next evening they both went to the agreed place. The couple had spent 1,5 hours waiting there, but nobody turned up. No sooner had they decided to leave than a fence was lifted up and a sleeping baby, wrapped in rags, was pushed through. Trying not to attract the attention of the Nazi guards the couple took the baby and went away.
During the weeks that followed Bronė and Adomas had been trying to conceal the secret from the neighbours, because discovery meant death for all of them. Finally, they decided to visit Bronė’s aunt in the countryside. Perhaps Tikva, who had became Teklytė, could be left there until things quiet down. Bronė managed to convince her aunt that 1,5 years ago she gave birth not to one child but to twins. Bronė admitted that it was difficult with twins especially with war time conditions prevailing in Kaunas and her aunt had volunteered to keep one or all the children. Thus, Teklytė stayed at the estate. She was not the only guest at the house. That estate was home to the German High Command in Lithuania, but the German General never suspected he lived in the house together with the Jewish child.
Teklytė stayed there for two months, but Bronė and Adomas were not resting. They gave up their apartment, they let their maid go and found a new apartment in a faraway neighbourhood. Shortly after they moved in, they fetched Teklytė and all the neighbours assumed that it was a family of five. Teklytė began to speak Lithuanian by that time and was fully integrated into the family.
With the liquidation of the Kaunas Ghetto in 1944, Tikva’s parents perished along with other Jews.
After the war Bronė and Adomas Gecevičiai felt obligated to try and find Tikva’s relatives. They sent letters to various organizations and the municipality.
At the same time Tikva’s aunt, Nechama Zol (Nechama Zolytė), who fled to Kurdistan on the Iranian border to escape the Nazi onslaught, was desperately searching for relatives who might have survived. She also wrote to the Kaunas Municipality and her letter was passed on to Bronė Gecevičienė.
Tikva lived in Gecevičiai family till the spring of 1946. Then sister of Tikva‘s mother Necham Zol took over Teklytė. They both moved to Palestine about 1947.
The life in the young Israeli State was rather hard, and in 1952-1953 Nechama decided that it would be better for Tikva to live with other relatives in the USA. These became Tikva’s new caring parents, gave her an education. She completed her Master’s degree in Sociology.
Tikva was visited by her rescuer Bronė Gecevičienė in 1990.