Rescuers of Jews


Doctor Petras Girbudas, a widower with two children, lived in Užventis, not far from Kelmė. 24 June 1941, the town was occupied by Germans. When he found out that Nazis were going to kill the Jews, doctor Petras Girbudas infiltrated the place of confinement of the Jews, told them of their fate and advised everyone to escape. Petras Girbudas started looking for places to hide the Jews by asking around his acquaintances and patients.
The doctor was well known in the local community as was his sympathy for the Jews. Therefore, he could not hide people in his home for more than a few days. However the doctor would take care of the fugitives even after finding shelters for them – he would bring them food, medicine and warm clothes.
Priest Polikarpas Macijauskas (Maciejovskis) was doctor Petras Girbudas’ friend. He would hide Jews in the Kolainiai monastery and provide them with forged birth certificates. Užventis doctor Petras Girbudas and priest Polikarpas Macijauskas became true organisers of rescuing of the Jews in this region.
They would make agreements with local farmers and choose remote farms covered by trees. 18 years old Alfonsas Songaila would bring the Jews from the Šiauliai Ghetto to these farmsteads in a carriage pulled by a horse.

From the Yad Vashem presentation during the awarding of Petras Girbudas with the medal of the Righteous Among the Nations. The ceremony took place in Šiauliai Didžvaris gymnasium, 9 March 2006
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