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Daina's grandmother's story

Lithuania under the occupation


I asked my grandmother, Aldona Cepaviciene, to tell me about her life during the war in 1941-1945.

She was 12 when the war began. In 1943 her mother and her 5 children moved to the city of Kaunas. That was the year of German occupation. All 6 people lived in a small, dark basement, because the house was occupied by German soldiers. But in spite of that, they were quite kind with the family.

My grandmother knew a lot about Germans being against the Jews. Her family lived not far from the ghetto and she saw many things. My granny could see crowds of the Jews being marched to the 9th fort to the shooting by German soldiers . The Jews were dressed in black suits with yellow stars on their backs. One day my granny's brother followed them till the fort and then he could see the Jews' death from the hill, which was near the fort. People were allowed to watch those scenes, because Germans' hate against the Jews was very public. The Jews weren't allowed to walk on the pavement, just along the street.

People searching through rubble In the summer of 1944 my granny went to live in the country for a few months. That was the most terrible holidays of her life. At that time Russians occupation began and the Germans hid in the forests robbing lonely houses in the country and one day they came to her.

The Germans took everything they could take: food, clothes, animals, chickens. But the most terrible thing was, that the girl couldn't find out anything about her mother in the town, because all the connections of communication were broken. She was just 14 years old and very frightened and so she tried to reach the city, where the German and Russian armies were fighting.

There she found her mother alive. She was exhausted of the bombings. Every evening the family had to hide from the bombs. The city was nearly destroyed above them, the houses: the jail, the school, the electric power station, the water supply and all things were destroyed by bombing. My granny's uncle, Juozas Kaluzevicius, was deported to the slave camps by the Russians . The family couldn't find out anything about him for many years, when one day they got the message, that he died from the hunger and deseases.

Kaunas City was in Russian hands. Russian soldiers wanted granny's family to leave the house. The Jews as well as Russians tried to evict my granny's family. Jews and Russians were very rude, dishonest, trying to get as much good for themselves as they could. But anyway, they were humans too and, of course, not everyone was bad, but they were fierce and the family had to move to another place to live.

Daina Maslauskaite


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