by Danutė Selčinskaja
We return to Kaunas with Dita Sperling-Zupavičiene, to the same courtyard at Ožeškienės street no. 21 where she lived with her husband Juda Zupavičius before the war, from which she was expelled in the summer of 1941 and imprisoned in the Kaunas ghetto.
The artist Vytenis Jakas has brought the old residents of the courtyard back, Dita and Juda, Dita’s brother Hirsh, their mother and Juda’s comrade Ika Grinberg, the son of the owner of the building.
In the summer of 2014 Dita travelled from Tel Aviv to Lithuania with the hope of commemorating her husband Juda and his fellow members of the Kaunas ghetto resistance during the 70th anniversary of the liquidation of the Kaunas ghetto.
Vytenis Jakas, who lives in the building, unveiled his frescoes of former residents and Kaunas ghetto heroes Juda Zupavičius and Ika Grinberg on September 22, 2014.
In July, 2015, a memorial plaque commemorating Juda–a lieutenant in the Lithuanian military and a chief on the Kaunas ghetto police force–thanks to the efforts of Danutė Rūkienė and other Kaunas municipality staff. Dita Šperlingienė-Zupavičienė), Lithuanian Jewish Community chairwoman Faina Kukliansky, members of the Jewish community and municipal leaders attended the ceremony.
Dita is now 94 but has forgotten nothing and is glad to share her memories with anyone who asks. She said she was very glad to see her old courtyard again. We also saw paintings of the current residents on the wall as well as Jewish scholars. We were very happy to see our faithful old friends there as well, Fruma Kučinskienė and Vytenis Jakas. Thank you!