Parting Once Again
Mikas & Elena Lukauskas
Following the "children's Aktion" of March 1944 in the Kovno ghetto, which their children miraculously survived, it was clear to Leah and Shimon Joselevich that nine-year-old Chana and five-year-old Petya could no longer remain in the ghetto. They began to desperately search for a safe haven for their two children. An acquaintance was willing to take them for a limited time – she was already hiding the daughter of her former neighbor – and eventually handed the children to Mikas and Elena Lukauskas. The two children arrived at their rescuers' home with a letter from Leah and Shimon, thanking the unknown rescuers for accepting their children. Chana and Petya stayed with their rescuers after the end of the war for another six months, until their mother returned from the Stutthof concentration camp. Shimon Joselevich did not survive.
Letter from Leah and Shimon Joselevich
My dear friends, whose name we don't know.
We have no words to describe your humane deed. We, the poor parents, who are willing to sacrifice our freedom and life so that their children will survive, turn to you. We are sad and happy at the same time, knowing that at a time when mankind has lost its humanity, there are good and humane people who will help and save our children. The chance that we will remain alive is meager, but we are not religious, and we do not care what religion and what nation our children will belong to.
We know that you are progressive and honest people, and we ask for one thing only: educate our children to be honest and useful to society. Be their father and mother. Give them the education you believe in, because a child's character can be molded. We have tried to educate them to love their neighbors, to be honest and good, and we have no doubt you will continue in the same line… We did not want them to be left orphaned and helpless. Now we no longer fear death. We know our children are in safe hands…
Another thing: should we not survive, we ask that our daughter take care of her younger brother. Poor little one. He is young and completely helpless…
One last matter: should we not survive, explain to our children, when they grow up, that their parents fell victims to cruel beasts; that their parents were honest people, who lived for the sake of their children and who died a martyr's death.
We apologize if we caused you pain with this letter, but this is only a part of what is weighing on our hearts. Be happy. Watch our daughter and help our small, helpless son. May fate be better to you than it was to us. Our gratitude to you is endless.
On March 1, 2006, Yad Vashem recognized Mikas & Elena Lukauskas as Righteous Among the Nations.