In Vilnius University, Lithuania’s Rescuers of Jews Day was solemnly observed

Prime Minister Ingrida Šimonytė, alongside the first leader of Lithuania post-independence, Vytautas Landsbergis, foreign ambassadors, relatives of the rescuers, representatives of the Jewish community, and students, honoured the nearly thousand Lithuanian names of recognized rescuers of Jews, acknowledged by global justices.

During the event, the Prime Minister recounted the stories of several heroic individuals, such as the Kupraičiai and Radlinskai families, and Sister Juozapė Kibelaitė, highlighting that Lithuania boasts over one and a half thousand such narratives across the nation.

She emphasized the diverse backgrounds of these saviors, including farmers, doctors, orphans, nuns, professors, maids, priests, and teachers, all driven by an inherent obligation to save lives. Despite facing the horrors of the Holocaust daily, these courageous individuals shared their resources and beliefs with those they sheltered, embodying compassion and fortitude in Lithuania’s history.

The designation of Lithuania’s Rescuers of Jews Day in the national calendar honours figures like VU librarian Ona Šimaitė, recognised as Righteous Among the Nations in 1966.

This recognition extends to 924 Lithuanian citizens who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust, positioning Lithuania as one of the foremost nations in this noble endeavor.

According to the Lithuanian Jewish (Litvak) community, without these courageous acts, the tragic toll of Jewish victims in Lithuania could have been significantly higher.

Looking ahead, the community chairperson, Faina Kukliansky, emphasized the importance of preserving these memories for future generations, ensuring that the bravery and sacrifices of these individuals remain integral to Lithuania’s collective consciousness.


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