With the end of the German occupation in Lithuania, some of Lithuanian Jewish children were liberated and saved from death.
The years of fear, suffering and painful losses were over.
Many children lost their parents, brothers and sisters, but became free.
Each story of a rescued child is unique, but the complexity of the situation led to some common patterns in all of those stories.
Generally, efforts of many people were required to save a single Jewish child.
First, reliable people had to be found who would agree to risk their lives and the lives or, at least, the wellbeing of their loved ones in order to save a Jewish child. During those times, all contacts with the Jews were strictly forbidden; therefore this process was extremely conspiratorial from the very beginning.
Attempts were made to obtain forged documents, birth certificates for most of the children. Those were supposed to reduce the degree of risk and would have provided some kind of protection for the rescuers in case of disclosure.
The taken children had to be constantly kept away from the eyes of the strangers, while rescuers had to beware of denunciations and to take care not to reveal their secret accidentally, which endured long months and years.
Hideouts were constructed in various places: basements, ovens, cavities between double walls, or in the attics. Sometimes children had to spend long hours in those hideouts without making a move or a sound. In case of even the slightest danger, the hideouts had to be changed several times.
Often, hunger and starvation were companions of those grim days.
Whereas babies and small children sometimes would not even realise that they were in hiding; but for the elder children – parting with the parents – although living in the ghetto – was often very traumatic. They had to forget their real names and get used to new ones, they had to learn to adapt to a new environment, live in hiding, sometimes even without getting a chance to go outside.
There were cases when children were accepted into hiding for a certain payment or valuables, but people who are remembered by the survivors all their lives – the Righteous – decided to save the Jews out of their good heart and compassion, because they just couldn’t watch the killing of innocent people – including women, the elderly and children.
Each story presented here is unique. The survivors themselves tell about their experiences when all human values were trampled.
Let us listen to the stories of the rescued children of Holocaust – this can not be forgotten...
Organisers of the exhibition A Lithuanian Jewish Child Tells About Shoah