*1889 - 1969
Gargždeliai cemetery, Kretingos district, Lithuania
About the rescuer and the rescue story
The farmers Pranas and Zosė Kaspėraitis lived in the village of Imbarė near the town of Salantai, Kretinga County, with their grown son Pranas (1922–1993) and daughter Kazimiera (1939-2006). During the Nazi German occupation in 1941-1944 they set up a hiding place in their house, where they hid from the Nazis Batya Abelman and Moshe Verzbolovsky of Jewish origin from Salantai. In 1951 the family was exiled to Siberia, from which they returned in 1959.
Batya Abelman was born in 1914 in the family of a coachman, until the beginning of the Nazi occupation, she lived with her parents in the Kretinga district, in the village of Imbare in Salantai township. In 1941 Batya and her parents were arrested in June. Parents were shot, and Batya managed to escape. All the Jews of Imbare and Salantai were driven to the Salantai Synagogue (where the Salantai Cultural Center is located nowadays). Ten days later, a group of girls, together with Batya, was transferred to the Šalynas mansion (before that, the Jewish men who worked in the estate had already been shot). The surrounding farmers were allowed to take Jewish women to the villages for work. Pranas Kasperaitis, a peasant from the village of Imbare, brought Batya back to his farm. After working for four weeks at the farmer's house, Batya had to return to Šalynas's mansion. The Jewish girls gathered in the estate were condemned to be shot. However, Batya managed to escape from the common grave pit and make it back a few kilometers at night, to Pranas and Zofija Kasperaitis‘. Batya hid in this family for three years, until the Germans withdrew from the Žemaitija region.
Kasperaičiai also sheltered Moshe Verzbolovsky. For his Lithuanian wife, the Salantai authorities at the time mediated so that the commandant of Kretinga county would allow him not to be transferred to the synagogue (Verzbolovsky was a worthy person of the Republic of Lithuania, although other arguments were presented to the German commandant - he was seriously ill), and Moshe was allowed to live in freedom for several weeks. However, the time came when it became clear that he would not be overtaken by death either, and Zofija Kasperaitiene's nephew took Moshe to his aunt in Imbarė.
After the war, the entire Kasperaitis family was exiled to Siberia. Moshe Verzbolovsky and especially Batya Abelman tried to free their rescuers, but all their efforts were in vain.
Rescued persons (Yad Vashem website):
Zofija and Pranas Kasperaitis with Verzbolovsky and his son Leonas
Zofija and Pranas on the left, Batya Abelman on the right. Kasperaitis's daughter Kazimiera behind them