1919 - 2001
Buried in Anykščiai cemetery,
55,51 42 68 (š. pl.)
25,08 91 67 (r. ilg.)
Veronika Misiūnaitė (later, Kalinkienė) lived in the town of Anykščiai about 70 km west of the district town of Utena. During the war, Veronika lived with her mother and sister in a private house near the Jewish cemetery. The town was occupied by the Germans in the first days of the German invasion of Lithuania and in the course of July-August all the local Jewish inhabitants, over 1,500, were murdered. One morning, in early September 1941, Veronika found in the barn close to her home a wounded Jewish boy called Motl Kuricki, the offspring of a large local family. The boy was half naked and bleeding. Veronika understood that he had survived the murder of the last Jews the previous evening. Even though she knew the penalty for helping Jews, Veronika brought him food and water and tended his wounds. She also took from home, without asking her mother, her late father’s clothes and gave them to Motl. The Jewish fugitive stayed in Veronika's barn for a few days, and when he recovered a little, he left the town. He wanted to reach the front lines and join the Red Army in order to avenge the death of his family. The plan, however, was not put into effect. In October 1941, he was captured by the Germans near Daugavpils (Dvinsk, Latvia) and taken to the local ghetto. In the course of the war, he suffered great hardship and frequently thought that his end had come. Towards the war’s end, he was sent to Dachau, where he was liberated. He knew that his family had not survived and therefore he did not return to Lithuania. Motl (later, Max Curtis) settled in the U.S.A., married and raised a family. He visited his birthplace only in 1996; where he met his rescuer, Veronika
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From Rimantas Vanagas' article:
In 1996, former Max Curtis Kurtis (Motel Kurickis) visited Lithuania. He hoped to find a woman who took him in 1941, when he escaped from the grave through a miracle. Max called her Verutka. As soon as he arrived, he approached the Anykščiai Museum asking to help him find that savior? The same evening Vida Zasienė said: Yes, there is such a woman, alive and sparkling!
The next day Max was already standing in the yard of Verutė Misiūnaitė-Kalinkienė homestead, still not able to believe that this little surprisingly blue-eyed woman is the same girl, who opened her door for him ... Both smiled - and weeped, looking at one another. A little later Veronika Kalinkienė told me:
"… I remembered it was Sunday, my aunt came to the guests, she talked to my mother, sympathised with the Jews, that they could all killed, only suddenly we hear - something crying outside! Look at our familiar Anykščiai - the close Jewish neighbours brought to the graves Max's father and a farmstead seller and told them both to dig a grave. Max's father was a simple Jew, had a horse and a carriage, carried people to the train station and back, fwhy are they doing this?!.
Then a night came and someone knocked on our door; I asked what was there, and I heard Max's voice: let me in, it's me Max… I was very scared of blood, and when I saw Max's bloody hand, I fell of; When I looked back - Max was gone! Where are you, I shouted? He responded from the chamber. He fell into the straws and couldn't get out ...
I can not say exactly how much he stayed with us - maybe two, maybe three weeks. Well, I underwent through a lot! Once I saw a men coming to our house with a rifle; what, I asked, do you need? And he responded "here are dozens of us, we are huntig Jews who have escaped into the cemetery" So I tricked them out of the house. But they used to come often.
When my brother-in-law realised that we were hiding a Jew, he made scolded me that Germans could kill the whole family; then Max retreated through the rye field back home. Then, I heard, he came together with Kac, who, with his two boys, had also escaped from the grave. They hid all four in Jurzdike, in the bathhouse, and went out for a walk only at night. But one night they hit the white stripes, and they shot Kaca at once; when the children fell to their father crying, they shot them as well. Oh Max - but a lucky man he was! - he escaped; later, people told me that he had reached the ghetto of Daugavpils, where his brothers of destiny were gathered.
And right now, in our time… A woman runs to me asking if i am Verutka? I reply that no one calls me that anymore! No, she says, he calls - one man from America…. Alive, found me… ”
Motl Kuricki (later Max Curtis)
MOTL KURICKI (later MAX CURTIS)