Kipras Petrauskas and Elena Žalinkevičaite - Petrauskienė

Lithuania

The rescuer, Elena Žalinkevičaite - Petrauskienė, and the rescued child, Dana PomeranzThe rescuer, Elena Žalinkevičaite - Petrauskienė, and the rescued child, Dana Pomeranz

Kipras Petrauskas, the tenor singer and one of the founders of the National Lithuanian Opera, lived, during the years of the German occupation, in Kaunas, with his wife Elena Žalinkevičaite - Petrauskienė, a well-known actress and poet. In the spring of 1942, Petrauskas was asked to provide shelter for a six-month-old Dana Pomeranz, the daughter of a violinist Daniel Pomeranz, a famous musician in a pre-war Lithuania. Petrauskas and his wife gave their agreement, and one day a baby girl was smuggled from the Ghetto and brought to the Petrauskas’ home. Since the Petrauskas family was rather famous in Lithuania and many people were interested in their private life, giving shelter to a Jewish baby was enormously risky for them. So, after a short while they chose to leave the city.

Together with the Jewish infant and their own three children, the Petrauskases moved first to a village, then, in 1944, to Austria and later to Germany. Throughout all these moves, the Petrauskases treated little Dana with warmth and devotion. In 1947, when they returned to Lithuania, the Petrauskases located Dana’s parents and returned their daughter to them safe and sound. Dana remained in close touch with her rescuers, regarding them as a second set of parents. Like her biological father, Dana Pomeranz-Mazurkevich became a violinist.

On August 2, 1999, Yad Vashem recognized Kipras Petrauskas and Elena Žalinkevičaite - Petrauskienė as Righteous Among the Nations.

 

This online story was made possible with the support of:

Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany works to secure compensation and restitution for survivors of the Holocaust.

Since 1951, the Claims Conference - working in partnership with the State of Israel - has negotiated for and distributed payments from Germany, Austria, other governments, and certain industry; recovered unclaimed German Jewish property; and funded programs to assist the neediest Jewish victims of Nazism.