Published November 25, 2011
Boston – During the Nazi invasion of Lithuania, a Catholic family risked their lives to hide Mary Katz Erlich and her parents in their home, reports MyFoxBoston.
After 66 years the Jewish Holocaust survivor, now living in Massachusetts, finally reunited with the remaining members of the Ruzgy family, brother and sister- Egle and Aurimas Ruzgy.
"They took us in and a couple of days turned into a couple of weeks," Erlich said. "Then a couple of weeks and then she said I can't do it anymore. It's a risk."
It was a risk because if the Ruzgy's were caught, they too would be put to death. But Leokadija Ruzgy, a widow and mother of three, took a chance and invited them back before they could leave her sight.
"The kids started to cry as soon as we went over the threshold," Erlich said. "She said I can't let you go because I know you won't survive for one day."
The Erlich and Ruzgy families survived a total of three years living together in hiding. Eventually though, neighbors turned them in and Erlich, her parents, along with Leokadija went to prison for more than six months before they were finally freed by the Soviets. Once they were released, they met again.
"She was waiting for us at the gate to stay at her house," Erlich said.
The families kept in touch for years and when Erlich emigrated to the U.S., they gave the Ruzgys their home.
They started as friends decades ago, but today, they are family forever.
The old friends will spend Thanksgiving with Erlich's daughter in the New York suburbs and then tour the sights of New York City this weekend.