Rescued Jewish Children

Rescuers of Saulius Kuklianskis and his children Moshe, Ana and Samuelis Veisiejai pharmacist Saulius Kuklianskis and his wife, doctor Zinaida Kuklianskienė, were raising three children: Moshe, Ana and Samuelis. When the eldest son Moshe finished the elementary school in Veisiejai, the pharmacist Kuklianskis’ family moved to Panevėžys town, and three years later, to Alytus. On the threshold of war, June 21, Moshe Kuklianskis was awarded Alytus gymnasium certificate of secondary education. The very next day, avoiding the bombings the Kuklianskis family left Alytus. After wandering for a long time, facing unexpected and fierce hatred towards the Jews and surviving several dangerous encounters with hostile ‘white-bands’, the Kuklianskis family reached their hometown of Veisiejai. The local police requested the family to obtain a permission to move from Alytus to Veisiejai, and on 12 August 1941, unaware about the arrests and massacres of the Jews that had already started in the neighbourhood, Zinaida Kuklianskienė left for Alytus and was captured by drunken butchers, who had been hunting and murdering their victims for several days. Zinaida Kuklianskienė did not return from Alytus. Supposedly she was murdered 13 August 1941 during the first massacre of the Jews in Vidzgiris Forest near Alytus. Almost a month later, horrible news reached the Kuklianskis family and all other Jews of Veisiejai town: the entire Jewish population of the nearby town of Leipalingis had been massacred on 11 September 1941 and preparations were made for similar actions in Veisiejai. Information arrived that on September 15, all Jews of Veisiejai would be relocated – allegedly for works and residence – to the barracks in Katiškė near Lazdijai.

The quotes are taken from a booklet Life-Giving Hearts (Gyvenimą dovanojusios širdys), published for the 19 September 2008 ceremony of awarding the Life Saviour's Crosses to the saviours of the Kuklianskis family.
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