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Marianne Summerfield BEM
Arrived in Britain:
Place of Birth:
February 25, 1939
When we left my grandmother wrote me a letter, when I was one year old. She knew she'd never see me again & she wanted me to have some memory of her. So she wrote this letter, which I've got a copy of. She wrote, ‘I want you to know that I'm a modern grandma. I wear a short skirts'—not short by our standards. And she described herself as being fun, & she would have loved & kissed & hugged, & taken me out to see places. It’s a very moving letter.
In 1941 or ’42, both my grandmothers were arrested & taken by train to Lithuania, travelled for about 5 days. Can you imagine how it must have been? I know this because my grandson got the information. They got out of the truck, were driven to a pit. There they had to dig their grave & then they were shot. I think on that occasion about 5000 people were killed. Every one of them was murdered. The Ninth Fort in Lithuania. We found out after the war.
Of course, very upsetting. My mother always blamed herself for it. She felt she could have done more. ‘I didn't try hard enough.’ But there was no way, they didn’t—no one would sponsor them. She felt guilty. But with some of the restitution money she got—she took the money that was her grandmother's, they got blood money. She took the money & went home & befriended a person or two in need, & with that blood money she bought them a television & things. A lot of their friends said, ‘We don't want to accept any blood money.’ My mother said, ‘No, take the money & use it for something useful.’