A small town in Southern Lithuania
Where the Jewish Community is no more
Arlauskas Kazimieras (1901 - 1989 )
Arlauskienė Veronika (1902 - 1980 ), WIFE
Kazimieras (Kazys) and Veronika Arlauskas were poor farmers living with their seven children in the village of Graiauskiai, Vilkaviškis County. The couple’s youngest child, Vincas, was born in 1940.
At the end of June 1941 Vilkaviškis and the surrounding area were occupied by the Germans. Soon rumors of the repressive measures against the Jews reached the farming area. Two Aktionen took place on June 27th and again on September 24th in Vilkaviškis, taking the lives of more than 3,000 Jewish men, women and children. Two days later a man knocked on the door of the Arlauskases. There was a wound in his arm. He had fled from the shootings and was very weak from the blood loss, and pleaded with the Arlauskases to let him spend the night in their barn. Kazys and Veronika let him in and tended to his wound. The man told them that his name was Shlomo Borofski and that he and his wife Sheina had fled from their native Poland on September 1939, when WWII broke out. They had settled first in Kalvarija and then in Vilkaviškis, where the Germans got to them less than two years later. On the day of the second mass killing, which happened on September 24th, Sheina Borofska worked for farmers outside of town and thus her life were spared. Shlomo ran away from the edge of the killing pit, aiming to reach the village where his wife stayed, but felt he would not be able to reach his destination because of his wound.
The Arlauskases cared for the wounded Jew for a few days, until he regained his strength and was able to move on.
Three months passed and Shlomo came back, this time with his wife. They asked to spend the winter at the Arlauskases’ farm, promising to work for their hosts in return. Shlomo was fit for any physical labor; Sheina could sew and knit. The household could do well with a pair of spare hands, and so the Arlauskases took the risk. The children came to know the Borofskis under typical Lithuanian names, Janina and Jonas, but were warned that they must not tell anyone about their presence. When someone outside of the family approached the farm, Shlomo and Sheina would hide in the hay, right behind the house.
Sheina did not only mend and sew clothes for the Arlauskases, but also spun flax and sewed for other farmers. Through those clients she became known to the head of the village. The latter summoned Kazys for a conversation and warned him about the consequences of keeping the Jews. This obviously intimidated Kazys, who then asked the Borofskis to leave; a day later the farm was searched. The Arlauskases witnessed as the policemen deliberately shot into the hay behind the house; it seemed that they knew exactly where the Jews might be hiding.
A few more months passed, and at the end of 1943 the Borofskis reappeared. Sheina was holding in her hands a newborn baby daughter, who was only 10 days old. Understanding that they would not be able to save the baby while hiding, so they asked Veronika to care for her. Veronika new a kind-hearted woman in the nearby village of Gražiskiai. She took the baby and nursed her for the next 15 months.
The Borofskis continued hiding in the area until the arrival of the Red Army in October, 1944. But only in March, 1945 could Shlomo drive to Gražiskiai in search of his daughter. It was not easy for the foster mother to part from the girl. She followed the Borofskis to Kaunas and lived with them for some time. Then the survivors started their journey to the West and in 1954 settled in the United States. Shlomo (Saul) Borofski and his wife never returned to Lithuania but corresponded with those who were helped them to survive.
On December 15, 2009 Yad Vashem recognized Kazimieras (Kazys) Arlauskas and his wife Veronika Arlauskienė as Righteous Among the Nations.
Righteous Gentiles of Vilkaviskis