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Žiužnienė Adelė

* 1901 – 1967
* Recognized in 1994

Josvainiai village cemetery, Kėdainiai district

Žiužnienė Adelė

55.252453 23.822627

About the rescuer and the rescue story

Adele was born in 1901. She had a brother, but unfortunately the children's mother died early. Adele's father worked as a shop keeper.

As a young girl in Liepaja, Adele met a German officer, George Boll. The couple married in 1917 and a year later, in 1918, the family had a son, Zenonas Boll, Adele was 17 years of age at the time. While living in Liepaja with her German husband, Adele picked up the German language. In addition to German, Adele, who was herself a seeker of knowledge, knew Russian, Polish and Esperanto.

The couple divorced when Zenonas was still young. It is known that during the war George came to Josvainiai to look for Adele and her son, but he asked people about Adele Boll, and people in the town knew Adele by the name of Grigaitytė, and the family did not meet. After the war, Adele never heard from the German officer again, presumably because he was killed during the war.

Adele had a strong and sturdy character and was able to raise her son alone. She was highly educated, spoke many languages and was interested in medicine. She shared her knowledge with others and helped to treat children. She worked as a midwife (as Adele's granddaughter Vidutė, who herself worked as a midwife for 40 years, says: "She caught the children"). This is how Adelė managed and lived for almost 15 years. For security reasons, when Zenonas was about 10 years old, Adelė regained her maiden name Grigaitytė, and Zenonas became Grigaitis.

In 1936, Adelė married for the second time, to Jeronimas Žiužnis, 18 years older than her. This was also Jeronimas's second marriage, and he had 3 children from his first marriage, but he accepted Adelė's son Zenonas, who was 18 years old at the time, as his fourth child, and Adelė warmly accepted Jeronimas's children. The family lived in the village of Sviliai and had a large garden, apple trees and bees.

In 1944, the family was approached by an old acquaintance, Chaja Gelll, asking for help to save her family and several other relatives. The Žiužniai agreed to help, and one night Jeronimas and Zenon drove to Kaunas (about 60 kilometres from their village) in a wagon, and waited by the ghetto fence until Chaja's cousin Chaja Gelll, together with her two children, Rachel and Jacob, came through the hole in the ghetto fence. Zenonas and Jeronimas brought the Jews to their house and hid them in a hut where they kept food. A few days later, Chasia's husband, Israel Gell, joined them, followed by several other Jews. In total, 14 people were hiding with the Žiužnys, two of whom were children at the time. Among those in hiding was an architect who invented a place for everyone to live under the kiln. They used to sneak in through the fireplace. Through the iron bars of the kiln - they would take them off and everyone would crawl in. Inside, they made bunks and ventilation, so that you could somehow manage to be. The Žiužnys falimy helped these people for 9 months. For 9 months, Adele tirelessly took care of their food, hygiene and other needs. She kneaded bread by day and baked it at night. She dodged the neighbours' questions about the chimney smoking at night. She washed their clothes in the stream. She did all this without knowing how long it would last or how it would end. Zenonas would take his horse and bring a lamb, a piglet or a calf, and Jeronimas would go into the forest to hunt.

After the war, the people who were rescued left a written thank-you note to the Žiužnis and Grigaitis, which was signed by all 14 of the rescued people: Israel Gelas, Chazia Geliene, Rachel Gelaite, Jacob Gelas, Codik Bleiman, Boruch Intriligator, Akiva Zaitsev, Abram Rafaika, David Richman, Riva Kaganiene, Jacob Kagan, Genoch Kagan, Itzik Michelson.

After the war, Adele's son Zenonas and his wife Elvyra had their first daughter Vidutė, and later 2 more children. Adele loved her grandchildren very much. Adelė died in 1967, 3 years after the death of her husband Jeronimas.

Rescued persons (Yad Vashem website):

Bleiman Aviatar
Chaja Gell
Chasia Gell
Israel Gell
Baruch Intriligator
Avraham Rafaika
David Richman
Akiva Zaitsev

Information collected using:

Memoirs of Vidutė Palubeckienė

55.252453 23.822627

Signed thank-you note with a list of 14 people rescued

The house where the Žiužnys lived

Adelė Grigaitytė Boll Žiužnienė

Rescued doctor David Richman with his son and daughter-in-law

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