Recognized in 2009
Buried in Kleriskes' cemetery,
Klėriškės, Kaišiadorys district, Lithuania
54,693625 (š. pl.)
24,435890 (r. ilg.)
The Dimša family resided in the village of Kleriškes, Žežmariai County, southeast of Kaunas. The Dimšas owned a large plot of land, kept farm animals and earned their living by selling agricultural produce: grain, milk products, pork and poultry; the neighbors considered them wealthy. Kazimieras Dimša liked to entertain and arranged dance parties for youth once in a while; he enjoyed playing violin and encouraged his sons, Albinas and Henrikas, to play accordion and the drums. Kazimieras’ social circle included not only people of his faith and status, but also others, among them the Kalamitskis, the Jewish farming family from the nearby village of Sepioniškes that also dealt with buying and selling livestock. At the end of June 1941 with the beginning of the German occupation, the Kalamitskis left their home and began hiding at acquaintances and in the forest. The local population knew well the head of the family, Isaak Kalamitski, since he grew up in the village and had good business connections in the area. During their wanderings, the Kalamitskis were joined by relatives: Bluma Berkman, Isaak’s mother-in-law, Bluma’s daughters, Sheina and Raya, as well as Raya’s three-year-old son Emanuel. They had fled the town of Semeliškes on the eve of the Aktion, planned for October 6, 1941; by then they already knew about the murder of the Jewish men, among them Bluma’s and Raya’s husbands.
Hoping to find the Kalamickis, the women had come to the house of their former neighbor Katkauskas; the latter did not know where Isaak’s family might be hiding, but he wandered the forests for days until he came across them. In November 1941, after woodsmen discovered his forest hideout, Isaak Kalamicki came to ask the Dimšas for help. He knew that they had recently moved to a newly built house while the old one was left empty. Kazimieras Dimša and his wife put that oldhouse at Isaak’s disposal and soon all the eight Jews secretly settled in there, enjoying their hosts’ hospitality for about one month. In spite the many precautions, rumors began to spread in the area that the Dimšas were helping Jews. Isaak Kalamicki and his extended family had to look for another shelter. During the three years of the German occupation, Isaak and his relatives were many times within a hair’s breadth of death; they saw indifference, sometimes even malevolence from former acquaintances whom they had counted on. Against all odds, seven out of eight survived (72-year-old Bluma died in hiding in 1943). They changed many hiding places and received help from tens of non-Jews. During the years of wanderings, the Kalamickis came more than once to the Dimšas, sometimes for a couple of days, other times for a couple of weeks, and the Dimsa home was always open for them. Right after the war, Raya with her son, as well as Sheina, who had married Meir Shadur, another Holocaust survivor, left the USSR. The Kalamickis stayed in Lithuania and maintained close relations with the Dimšas until May 1948, when some members of the rescuers’ family were deported by the Soviets to Siberia, and others went into hiding. Contact between Isaak’s sons, Yakov and David, and the Dimšas’ offspring was reestablished in 2008. On January 20, 2009, Yad Vashem recognized Julija and Kazimieras Dimša and their daughters Gabriela Dimšaitė-Prakilienė and Antanina Dimšaitė-Palčiauskienė as Righteous Among the Nations.
More information will be available soon
Kalamicki, Berkman, Ida
Shadur, Berkman, Sheina
Shlom, Berkman, Raja
INFORMATION COLLECTED FROM: