1892 01 02 - 1949 12 14
Buried in Saulės cemetery,
54,693727 (š. pl.)
25,313541 (r. ilg.)
Shortly before the German occupation of Lithuania, Marija Rusteikaitė, then in her mid-40s, purchased a plot of land in the town of Vaiguva near Šiauliai and opened a Catholic charitable institution there. This institution, which included an orphanage and an old age home, became a shelter for a number of Jewish families during the German occupation. Polina Froman, who, in the fall of 1943, fled from the Šiauliai ghetto with her mother, Eta Gavronskaya, and her two-year-old daughter Shulamit (later Lev), got a job with Rusteikaitė as a clerk in the orphanage. Her mother hid disguised as a nun and her daughter as a Catholic orphan. Earlier, Rusteikaitė also accepted into the orphanage three Jewish brothers from Kaunas, six-year-old Samuil and the four-year-old twins Avraam and Asaf Klibansky, whose mother, Tatiana Klibanskaya, was hiding by Rusteikaite’s acquaintance Juozas Grigonis*. Among the other Jews that received Rusteikaitė’s help were Dvoira Miasnikienė, her daughter Fruma, and her granddaughter Liuba Gisaitė. It was extremely dangerous to give shelter to such a large group of Jews, but all the residents of the town had great respect for Rusteikaitė, and all those she sheltered survived. After the war, Rusteikaitė, an ardent Catholic, was persecuted by the Soviet regime, and her institution closed. She moved to Vilnius but kept in touch with some of the Jewish survivors who she had helped during the German occupation. Rusteikaitė died in Vilnius in 1949.
MARIJA RUSTEIKAITĖ NURSING PATIENTS
"Holiness is only attained with patience, self-renunciation, sacrifice to others, especially to God and neighbor's love“.
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Polinos dukra Sulamita Fromanaitė (Lev)
Polinos motina Eta Gavronskienė
Dveiros dukra Fruma
FROM LEFT: ETA GAVRONSKIENĖ, HER DAUGHTER PAULINA FROMANIENĖ AND GRANDDAUGHTER SULAMITA FROMANAITĖ (LEV)
IFROM THE LEFT: PAULINA FROMANIENĖ, HER MOTHER ETA GAVRONSKIENĖ AND DAUGHET SULAMITA FROMANAITĖ (LEV)