Rescuers of Jews

Pikčiūnas Antanas


On the eve of the German invasion of Lithuania, the farmer Antanas Pikčiūnas lived in the village of Drebulynės, Jubarkas district, with his wife Julija and three daughters. In 1943 Antanas Pikčiūnas was approached by one of his neighbours asking for temporary shelter for three Jewish refugees. Some months ago these Jews, Yitzhak and Rachel Filtz and their friend Haviva Meriash (later Liberman) ran away from the Kaunas Ghetto with the help of Petronė Butkienė and they were till that time hiding in the house of Jonas Zaronas and other friendly farmers in the area. Now they were looking for a safer place. Although the Pikčiūnas family was very poor they willingly took on themselves the burden of feeding three more people, without getting anything in return. They made a bunker in the nearby forest, not far from their house, where the rescued were hiding during the days. The nights they spent in the attic of the Pikčiūnas house. In 1944 they were joined by Sheina Aleksandrovich (later Jaffa Brindt), Yitzhak Piltz’s cousin, who also ran away from the Kaunas Ghetto on the eve of its liquidation. In their deeds the Pikčiūnas were helped by Juozas and Ona Stasiūnaitis, their friends from the near Veleniskes village, who also hid Jews at their house, among them the Elijashevich couple. Being wealthier, the Stasiūnaitis helped the Pikčiūnas with food for the hiding people. In October 1944 the area was liberated by the Soviet Army and a year later the rescued left Lithuania. For nearly 50 years they lost contact with their rescuers, until their reunion in the 90-ies.
On December 25, 1995, Yad Vashem recognized Antanas and Julija Pikčiūnas and Juozas Stasiūnaitis as Righteous Among the Nations. Ona Stasiūnaitienė recognized on December, 2004.
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