Rescuers of Jews

“I lived and worked for you to live”

Petras GIRBUDAS (1891–1967)

Petras Girbudas considered the doctor’s profession sacred. He loved people and people loved their doctor. When the Nazis came and the ‘white armbands’ came into the service of the butchers, Girbudas walked from home to home warning people not to join the fiends of the Lithuanian nation and not to stain their hands with the blood of innocent people. On the very first days, Užventis Jews were herded into a distillery turned into a concentration camp by the bourgeois nationalists. Girbudas found out that they were all going to be shot dead, so he infiltrated the camp to warn the condemned.
The doctor was not alone in his fight for the lives of people. Together with Petras Klimas, Vladas Šleževičius and Alfonsas Songaila, he organised hideouts where dozens of men, women and children were saved. His home was not safe because foreign people would visit his reception room day and night. But the doctor would constantly look for safe places, urge the locals to rescue people persecuted by Nazis, take clothes and food to the fugitives, and provide medical care to them at all times. He would treat active fighters against the invaders free of charge and would not see the Nazi collaborators. Once a wounded murdered and a ‘white armband’ Jankauskas came to his cabinet. Girbudas told him harshly: “I will not treat bloodstained hands.” Although he was marked, the doctor dared to deny the hitman help. /.../
Girbudas saved Rachel Kacav too – he found a place for her to hide and took care of her afterwards. When rumours spread around the town that Rachel was hiding somewhere and the searches started, the doctor spread a counter-rumour through his numerous patients that she had been seen dead in the forest. /.../

“Unarmed Fighters”, editor S. Binkienė, Vilnius, Mintis, 1967
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