Rescuers of Jews

Mykolas Šimelis was born on 10 October 1889 in Golinkai village of Hrodna County (the present territory of Belarus). He studied in a gymnasium in Hrodna and started working from the age of 17. After he graduated from the Pskov (which today belongs to Russia) school of non-commissioned officers, he was called in to the Tsar’s Army. He took part in the battles of the First World War.
When Lithuania gained its independence in 1918, Šimelis’ entire life was linked with independent Lithuania. After he finished forestry courses in Raudondvaris (near Kaunas), he became a free-lance clerk of the state forestry service in 1921 and soon after that a forestry officer of the Bačkonys forestry (near Žiežmariai, the current territory of the Kaišiadorys region). M. Šimelis dedicated the rest of his life to the fostering of the Strošiūnai pinewood.
His unforgettable act of heroism – Mykolas Šimelis saved 14 Jews during the war – cost him his life. 10 July 1945, Mykolas Šimelis was murdered in Strošiūnai forest.
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