A small town in Southern Lithuania
Where the Jewish Community is no more
Norvaišaitis Juozas (1902 - 1953 )
Norvaišaitienė Uršulė (1889 - 1952 ), WIFE
Radzevičienė Aldona, DAUGHTER
The farmer Juozas Norvaišaitis lived with his wife, Uršulė, and their daughter, Aldona, in the village of Smilgiai (Vilkaviškis District). In late September 1941, at the end of the third month of German occupation, Juozas encountered four Jews in the forest who had fled from the Vilkaviškis ghetto just before it was liquidated and all its inhabitants murdered. They were Alter Kirkilovski, Haim Chernevski and the sisters Tsipa and Sheina Weber. The Jews asked him for food and dry clothing. After consulting his wife, Juozas invited them to his home, where he gave them food and offered to hide them in the cowshed. They all dug a pit there, placed straw and blankets in it and installed a hidden trap-door. The four Jews then hid there for the winter. In early spring, they went out into the forest, where they built a bunker for themselves, and continued to receive food from Juozas and his family. In time, the Weber sisters found Lithuanian acquaintances who lived in the area, the Šneideris* family, and went to hide with them. Alter and Haim on the other hand, remained under the protection of the Norvaišaitis. At times, they also had to accept help from other farmers since Juozas was suspected by the local police and was being watched. The police knew that he helped Jews but had not caught him in the act. Finally, in 1943, Juozas was deported to forced labor in Germany. Uršulė and her daughter, Aldona continued to help Jews in the forest and sometimes secretly received them in their home. These Jews included the sisters Tsila and Judita from Vilkaviškis, and a young man called Savler. On August 17, 1944, when the area was liberated by the Red Army, the survivors regained their freedom. Alter Kirkilovski settled in the nearby town of Kybartai and remained friends with his rescuers. The other survivors dispersed around the world and contact with them was lost.
On July 16, 2001, Yad Vashem recognized Juozas and Uršula Norvaišaitis and their daughter Aldona Radzevièienė - Norvaiðaitytė as Righteous Among the Nations.
Righteous Gentiles of Vilkaviskis