1908 - 1983
Buried in Užpaliai cemetery,
Utena district, Lithuania
55, 63 84 41 (š. pl.)
25, 57 05 84 (r. ilg.)
VERONIKA ŽVIRONAITĖ 1932
Petronelė Lastienė was a history teacher at Gymnasium no.5 in Kaunas. Before the war, one of her students was Tamara Lazerson, the daughter of the well-known Jewish neurologist and psychiatrist, Prof. Vladimir Lazerson. During the period of the German occupation, Tamara was confined in the Kaunas ghetto and she was one of many who were helped by Petronelė. The contact between them was made through Bronė Pajedaitė who visited the Guma factory, in which the ghetto inmates were employed and where Tamara worked. She told Tamara that her teacher, Petronelė Lastienė, was prepared to hide her. Tamara had never visited Petronelė at home before and therefore Bronė had to draw a detailed plan for her to walk from the ghetto to her rescuer's home. After she learned the route by heart, Tamara destroyed the map. On April 7, 1944, Tamara escaped from the convoy of Jewish workers, slipped into a side street and quickly removed the yellow patch. In the early afternoon she was already at the door of Petronelė's apartment. In her diary, she wrote that "she knocked on the door. When she heard 'come in', she fearfully slipped in. Ah, it's you, said the voice, and she found herself in the arms of Ms. Lastienë." Tamara stayed with her teacher for a month, without leaving the apartment, and the only people who saw her were Petronelė’s loyal friends. Petronelė had a good library and Tamara spent her days reading. In time she learned that she was not the only one being hidden by her former teacher. When the apartment became too crowded with fugitives, Tamara, for her own safety, was moved to the home of Veronika Žvironaitė, the biology teacher from the same school. By then, Tamara had already been given a forged birth certificate indicating that she was Lithuanian. When the front drew near to Kaunas, Petronelė saw fit to distance her ward from the possible fighting arena. One day, the two traveled northeast, to the Pakamačiai estate, which was administered by Petronelė's sister Vera, and her husband Petras Effertas. Tamara remained there, a picturesque and quiet place, until the Liberation. When she returned to Kaunas in October 1944, she found that her parents and one of her two sisters had been murdered, and so she again went to stay with Veronika. In 1945, Tamara's three rescuers were arrested by the Soviets, being part of a group of Lithuanian intelligentsia who had signed a petition for Lithuanian independence. After about a year, Bronė Pajedaitė committed suicide in jail. Petronelė and Veronika were deported to Siberia. After her rescuers' arrest, Tamara left Lithuania and in time immigrated to Israel.
VERONIKA ŽVIRONAITĖ DURING HER STUDYING YEAR
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"Fate has taken away the true mother from me, but I have been given three other mothers who have wrapped up their warmth and love around me to care for me as their true daughter.
Unfortunately, these terrible red plague has destroyed these mothers. I became an orphan for the second time. "
VERONIKA ŽVIRONAITĖ (BEYOND)
TAMARA LAZERSONAITĖ (ON THE RIGHT)