* 1912 – 1999
* Recognized in 1991
Kuršėnai village cemetery, Šiauliai district
About the rescuer and the rescue story
Bronė Pociūtė comes from the Pocevič family from Raudėnai. In addition to Bronė, the family had two other children. The children's father represented the farmers in the surrounding villages in legal matters, the family had a farm with 120 hectares, but Pocević liked to gamble and once lost 60 hectares. Later, when the remaining 60 hectares were nationalised, Pocević used to joke that if he had known this would happen, he would have preferred to lose all 120 hectares at cards.
Pranas Grigalaitis comes from a large family with another son and 5 girls. The Grigalaitis family lived in the village of Kuršėnai, on the estate of Eugenijus Matuzevičius and his mother. The Grigalaičiai family was very musical - both sons, Pranas and Antanas, played violins. The young men had even formed a countryside orchestra, which was called "Grigalaičių kapela" ("The Grigalaitis countryside orchestra"), and in addition to the violins, the orchestra also played the double bass, the armonica and the guitar. Many years later, in 1973, Pranas's son Pranas, while working in another part of Lithuania, happened to meet someone who still remembered this orchestra. Pranas was not only a musician, he also had excellent calligraphy skills and spoke Russian and German.
Bronė met Pranas while he was playing. The couple married in 1933 and moved to Daugeliai. Pranas worked in the "Molis" cooperative, the director of which was Sirutavičius. Sirutavičius noticed that Pranas was thoughtful and intelligent, although he had not completed much education, so he employed Pranas as his helper, and Bronė as his landlady and housekeeper. Bronė and Pranas lived in Sirutavičius' house. In 1941 the family had their first son, Pranas, in 1943 a daughter Birutė, and in 1945 their last son Vytas.
During the Holocaust, the family took in a four-year-old Jewish girl found in a well. They named her Aldutė. They survived many dangers, because the Gestapo were stationed in Daugeliai. The girl survived with the Grigalaitis until 1947, when she was taken by her living parents.
After the war, the Sirutavičius were deported to Siberia. The Grigalaitis family moved to the village of Guragiai and received 10 hectares of land, which they farmed until collectivisation. During the collectivisation Bronė signed the documents, but Pranas refused. He was in trouble for this. Pranas then returned to Daugeliai, where he helped to rebuild the cooperative "Molis" and worked as a burner there. Bronė and her children also moved to Daugeliai. A few years later, Pranas died. Bronė stayed in Daugeliai, where she lived for another 30 years, raising cows and pigs.
Pranas, the son of Pranas and Bronė, remembers that there were always musical instruments in the house - a violin, a guitar, an accordion and an armonica. Pranas was a musician all his life, and was the leader of the Daugėliai orchestra. He used to play at song festivals organised by Gaižauskas, who kept asking Pranas to sell his violin. Pranas's violin was indeed impressive - he had bought it from a Russian officer who had somehow got it from the museum in Kaliningrad. It was the violin of a pupil of Stradivarius. Unfortunately, after Pranas's death, the violin was fraudulently taken from the family.
After Pranas's death, his sons Pranas and Vytas used to visit their mother every Saturday in Daugeliai. He remembers his mother as very logical and respectful of other people's opinions, but the mother used to criticise her sons' interest in playing cards when they met.
Rescued persons (Yad Vashem website):
Liuba Funk Chesakov
Liuba Chesakov (second from the right), her husband Zelik Chesakov (third from the left) and Liuba's rescuers, the Grigalaitis family: Bronė Grigalaitienė (third from the right), her daughter Birutė Brazienė (on the left), and her sons, Pranas (second from the left) and Vytas (right). Kaunas, ca. 1995-1997
Bronė and Pranas Grigalaitis
Liuba Funk with her parents