Rescuers of Jews
Jonas LINGĖ and Stasė LINGIENĖ
In 1943, Stase Lingiene was asked by her sister, the wife of a well-known doctor S.Virkutis, to help with a rescue. A woman from the ghetto had approached them with a request to hide a boy. However, the Virkutis family themselves, who were frequented by patients, could not take the boy. Stase and Jonas Linge took the 5-year old boy – Viktoras Pikelny. They called him Vytukas. The boy lived in a larder and had to be hidden not only from strangers, but from their relatives as well. One day Stase’s brother came to visit them. Everybody heard a rustling in the larder. Feigning embarrassment, the hostess said to her brother, “It’s the rats…”
Viktoras’ father had been killed in a car accident in Vilkaviskis in 1939. His mother and aunt had been very close to escaping – they had succeeded in running away from the ghetto. Together with other escapees they were crossing the river when they encountered a group of retreating Germans. Having recognized the ghetto escapees, the Germans shot all of them dead.
When the front line started approaching, the Linges left with Viktoras – Vytukas for Kačergine and stayed there until early 1944, when the Soviet Army came. They all returned to Kaunas where Viktoras stayed with the Linges for some time, but when his relatives from Moscow responded, he left. At present Viktoras Pikelny, a physicist, resides in Moscow, and both families maintain friendly contacts.