Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  


2 posts in this topic

Recommended Posts


An 83-year-old Holocaust survivor reunited last week with the Catholic family that rescued her and her family, hiding them from the Nazis in Lithuania.

The Thanksgiving reunion was 66 years in the making, but Mary Katz Erlich, now a grandmother of nine, had no trouble recognizing 81-year-old Aurimas Ruzgys or his 83-year-old sister Egle when she met them at the airport.

“I wouldn’t be sitting here and talking to you today if not for them,” Katz Erlich told Boston Fox affiliate WFXT-TV.

Katz Erlich now lives in Massachusetts, but it was in her small Lithuanian town when she was a little girl where she first met the Ruzgys family. According to the New York Daily News, she and her mother and father sought shelter with the family — who were patrons at her father’s store — after her brother was murdered.


Leokadija Ruzgys, a widow and mother of three, hid them for three years in a small room where she stored potatoes and in a smokehouse out back.

“They took us in and she said a couple of days, then a couple of days turned into a couple of weeks,” Katz Erlich said. “Then a couple of weeks and then she said that’s about it, I can’t do it anymore. It’s a risk.”

Lithuania was filled with Nazi collaborators who helped hunt down Jews, and being discovered would mean death for both families.

“The kids started to cry as soon as we went over the threshold,” Katz Erlich said. “She said I can‘t let you go because I know you won’t survive for one day.”

Katz Erlich said she was allowed to play outside with the other children just one time during the three years, and said she still remembers the feeling of the sunshine on her face. A neighbor eventually turned them in, though when a mob came for them, the third Ruzgys sibling — who died several years ago — lied and said no Jews were living there. For that, she was beaten.

Leokadija Ruzgys and the Katz family were taken to a nearby jail, but because the war was ending they were released six months later, when the Soviets invaded.

They met again when they were released.

“She was waiting for us at the gate to stay at her house,” Katz Erlich said of Leokadija Ruzgys.

Katz Erlich emigrated to the U.S. but the families kept in touch for years. The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous arranged for the only three surviving members to finally meet again, to spend Thanksgiving together.



"Those people who will not be governed by God

will be ruled by tyrants."

William Penn

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

I wonder how many of the rest of us would have had the strength that those Righteous Gentiles had.

06-04-2007 = TSC stamps postal return-receipt for I-129f.

06-11-2007 = NOA1 date (unknown to me).

07-20-2007 = Phoned Immigration Officer; got WAC#; where's NOA1?

09-25-2007 = Touch (first-ever).

09-28-2007 = NOA1, 23 days after their 45-day promise to send it (grrrr).

10-20 & 11-14-2007 = Phoned ImmOffs; "still pending."

12-11-2007 = 180 days; file is "between workstations, may be early Jan."; touches 12/11 & 12/12.

12-18-2007 = Call; file is with Division 9 ofcr. (bckgrnd check); e-prompt to shake it; touch.

12-19-2007 = NOA2 by e-mail & web, dated 12-18-07 (187 days; 201 per VJ); in mail 12/24/07.

01-09-2008 = File from USCIS to NVC, 1-4-08; NVC creates file, 1/15/08; to consulate 1/16/08.

01-23-2008 = Consulate gets file; outdated Packet 4 mailed to fiancee 1/27/08; rec'd 3/3/08.

04-29-2008 = Fiancee's 4-min. consular interview, 8:30 a.m.; much evidence brought but not allowed to be presented (consul: "More proof! Second interview! Bring your fiance!").

05-05-2008 = Infuriating $12 call to non-English-speaking consulate appointment-setter.

05-06-2008 = Better $12 call to English-speaker; "joint" interview date 6/30/08 (my selection).

06-30-2008 = Stokes Interrogations w/Ecuadorian (not USC); "wait 2 weeks; we'll mail her."

07-2008 = Daily calls to DOS: "currently processing"; 8/05 = Phoned consulate, got Section Chief; wrote him.

08-07-08 = E-mail from consulate, promising to issue visa "as soon as we get her passport" (on 8/12, per DHL).

08-27-08 = Phoned consulate (they "couldn't find" our file); visa DHL'd 8/28; in hand 9/1; through POE on 10/9 with NO hassles(!).

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  
- Back to Top -

Important Disclaimer: Please read carefully the Visajourney.com Terms of Service. If you do not agree to the Terms of Service you should not access or view any page (including this page) on VisaJourney.com. Answers and comments provided on Visajourney.com Forums are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Visajourney.com does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. VisaJourney.com does not condone immigration fraud in any way, shape or manner. VisaJourney.com recommends that if any member or user knows directly of someone involved in fraudulent or illegal activity, that they report such activity directly to the Department of Homeland Security, Immigration and Customs Enforcement. You can contact ICE via email at Immigration.Reply@dhs.gov or you can telephone ICE at 1-866-347-2423. All reported threads/posts containing reference to immigration fraud or illegal activities will be removed from this board. If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by contacting us here with a url link to that content. Thank you.