Rescuers of Jews

Girdžius Pranas

Pranas GIRDŽIUS Petronelė GIRDŽIUVIENĖ In 1965, the family of Saja Gotšteinas left for Israel, and the letters started pouring in to their friends, the Girdžiai, in Dumšiškės village. Their correspondence broke in 1967 after Israel's victorious war against Arab states, when the Soviet Union disrupted diplomatic relations with Israel. S. Gotšteinas did not want to cause any more trouble to that friendly family. The Girdžiai had already taken risks for his life... They knew each other since the time of Independence, when they served together in the army. So in July 1941, when S. Gotšteinas came to Pranas Girdžius asking for shelter, he had no doubts whatsoever. Six other people who had come along were temporarily hidden in the barn. Having found another shelter, they left the farmstead of the Girdžiai, while Saja Gotšteinas stayed. The Girdžiai had six children. Gotšteinas was called Uncle Jonas so that the children would not reveal the secret. He would sleep in the barn or in the cattle-shed, and sometimes he would spend the night with reliable neighbours... “During World War II, right from the summer of 1941, I was hiding at my friend Pranas Girdžius' in Dumšiškės village. The Girdžiai had three daughters and three sons, and they all helped me to hide. I left their home in 1945 when Lithuania was liberated from the German invaders. For the rest of my life I will be grateful to the Girdžiai for saving my life. If it is possible to help this wonderful family, I would be especially grateful,” wrote Saja Gotšteinas in March 1996. From Hands Bringing Life and Bread, Volume 2,
The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum. Vilnius, 1999
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