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Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History
Vilniaus Gaono Žydų Istorijos Muziejus



Published: 2020-12-17


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During the years of the Nazi occupation I did not receive any food vouchers, therefore, the entire Plokszto family, not only the grownups, but the children also, shared their bread with me. They constantly feared for my and their own lives. The family was very poor, because Wladyslaw only worked for two days per week.
In order to help the family make ends meet, Urszula had a goat, and some chickens and rabbits. They hid me in their attic until June 1944.
Halina Plokszto-Vyšniauskienė
On 1 January 1941, a girl named Eleonora was born into the family of Israel and Maria Grinberg who lived in Vilnius. In June 1941, Maria went to visit her sister in Novogrudok with her daughter. When war broke out unexpectedly, Maria left her daughter with her sister and returned hastily to Vilnius where she found the city already under occupation. Maria asked her daughter’s nanny Weronika Tuniewicz to bring her daughter Eleonora back from Novogrudok. Weronika managed to carry the girl out of Novogrudok. She made a detour of around a hundred kilometers to reach Vilnius with Eleonora on her back. Eleonora’s parents ended up in the Vilna Ghetto and disappeared there. With the help of acquaintances, Weronika managed to hide the girl with the family of, Urszula and Wladyslaw Plokszto, who lived on the outskirts of Vilnius. Urszula and her husband took a huge risk as they already had two children of their own – Ryszard and Tadeusz. The Plokszto family hid Eleonora throughout the entire Nazi period. Even the neighbours were unaware of the child they were hiding. After the war was over Urszula and Wladyslaw hoped that Eleonora’s parents would turn up, but they never appeared. Finally, in 1946, the Ploksztos adopted Eleonora, gave her their surname and named her Halina. Eleonora’s rescuer Weronika Tuniewicz was taken to Germany for hard labour and after the war settled down in Poland. It was only many years later that Halina Plokszto-Vyšniauskienė managed to find Weronika Tuniewicz in Slubice and find out more about her biological parents Israel and Maria Grinberg.
From: Whosoever saves a single life, saves an entire universe
Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History, Vilnius, 2019
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