Reunited At Last

An eighty-four-year-old Jewish lady is to be reunited with the Lithuanian family that saved her life sixty years ago.

Lea Ingel and her husband Samuel escaped from the Nazis' Jewish Ghetto in Kaunas in 1943, wandering 66 miles through the countryside before they found solace.

Help eventually came from an impoverished Catholic family who owned a tiny farm near the town of Simnas. The Ingels stayed there for two years before the Nazis were beaten back by the Red Army.

Petras Ivanauskai, the head of the good-hearted family, risked the death penalty for aiding the young couple. In fact, Nazi policy was to shoot entire families if a member was involved in helping a person of Jewish descent.

After the war, the Ingels spent several years in a displaced persons camp in Austria, before moving to America in 1949. The couple eventually settled in Queens, New York. Mr Ingel passed on in 1996.

Lea Ingel has been in contact with the Ivanauskai family for many years now, sending regular parcels to the children of her saviours. However, she has never returned to Lithuania, as the memories remain too painful.

The New York based 'Foundation For The Righteous' will be flying Giedrute and Gintautas, the children of Petras - both now in their seventies - to America this month for a reconciliation with the woman they saved.

"For me, it's like I saw them yesterday," Mrs Engel told America's The Sun Sentinel. "I don't have to think what to say to them."


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