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Kirvelienė (Žvironaitė) Emilija

*1911 - 2007
*Recognized in 2005

Užpaliai village,
Utena district, Lithuania

Kirvelienė (Žvironaitė) Emilija


About the rescuer and the rescue story

Ana Keilsonaitė was a prominent member of the Kaunas City Health Protection Commission, an employee of Hospital Cashiers, and a member of the Central Committee of the LSDP. Lazarus Epstein's sister's daughter. The Keilson family lived in Czechoslovakia. When the Second World War started, they fled to Vilnius to escape from the Nazis. But also, here in 1941 they were caught up with the Nazi expansion, they ended up in the Vilnius ghetto.

At Epštein's request, a professor Steponas Kairys (signatory of the Act of February 16, chairman of LSDP). became concerned with the rescue of the Keilson family. At the request of S. Kairys, a professor of Vilnius University Antanas Žvironas (ideological friend of S. Kairys) organized the escape from the ghetto.

Saving the whole family was impossible. It was decided to save the children - daughter Anna and son (probably Macek). The son could not separate from his parents and in 1943 The Keilson family, together with a large part of the Jews of the Vilnius ghetto, were taken to Estonia and shot there.

In 1942 Anna ran out of the ghetto, ran across Vilniaus’ Dižioji Street and on the other side of it entered the courtyard of the Chotkevičius Palace (where since the time of Juzef Pilsudskis were the flats of the Vilnius University professorship), to professor A. Žvironas's apartment. Here, the professor's sister Emilija Kirvelienė took care of her, because the family of Jonas Kirvelis’ lived together with A. Žvironas and his son Ringius at that time.

After some time, Anna (called Anusia) was transferred to Kaunas by Mr. Kirvelis, on his way to "Lietūkis centrum" on official business and handed over to the family of S. Kairys. But here, in 1943 after S. Kairys became the chairman of VLIK (The Supreme Committee for the Liberation of Lithuania), it was dangerous to keep a Jewish woman in their house.

For a while, she was sheltered by a family in Kaunas, from which medical student Vera Janonytė (Lelienė) took her and brought her to her parents in the village of Narvaišiai, located between Užpalai and Jūžintai.

Here Anna was cared for by A. Žvironas's older sister Ona Janonienė. Here Anusia, named Marytė, was safe until 1944 summer, when the front came to Lithuania. In the Janonis family, among three children (Jonas, Genutė and Emiliutė), she grew up as their own child Marytė. In the fall of the same year, Anusia ended up in Kaunas, with V. Žvironaitė, where she lived until the guardian's arrest and exile (1948).

Rescued persons (Yad Vashem website):

Anna Keilson

Information collected using:

Dobilas Kirvelis' article "Righteous Among the Nations from Užpaliai village"
Images from Rūta Paškauskienė's collection


Emilija in the middle

Kirvelis family

In 2004 Anusia Kelsonaite wrote in her letter

Anna Keilson

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