Courage of Rescuers Lesson to Us All

Courage of Rescuers Lesson to Us All

Lithuanian president Gitanas Nausėda held the annual ceremony at the President’s Office September 14 to award rescuers of Jews from the Holocaust and their descendants the Lithuanian Order of the Life-Saver’s Cross.

“Every September as we mark the Day of Remembrance of Lithuanian Jewish Victims of Genocide, we pay respect to memory of Lithuania’s Jewish citizens murdered during World War II. We also honor the rescuers of Jews, those people who dared oppose the occupational regime without regard to the mortal danger this posed to them and their families,” he said at the ceremony.

The Lithuanian president recalled the historical context in which these rescuers operated, with anti-Semitism dripping from the pages of the press, the mass murder of Jews underway. Despite this, they dared hide the condemned Jews and resist the occupational regime.

“The courage and humanity of the rescuers, however, was stronger than violence and fear. They saved life and they extended lives. We can boldly say their noble example sets the standard for heroism and humanitarianism,” president Nausėda said.

Thirty-seven people were awarded the Order of the Life-Saver’s Cross by presidential decree this year. Rescuer Kristina Kazlauskienė-Arvasevičiūtė arrived in person to accept the medal but all the other rescuers were awarded posthumously and their relatives attended and accepted the award on their behalf.

Full story in Lithuanian here.