Rescuers of Lithuanian Jews honored in Biržai

On March 15, students of the Tolerance Education Centre of Biržai “Saulės” Gymnasium and their teacher Virginija Kalninienė, together with Biržai museum staff, paid tribute to the people who saved the Jews in the Jewish Rescuers Memorial Square.


Gymnasium students tied a white ribbon on the trees as a sign of respect to the people of Biržai who risked their lives but did not remain behind and read their names. During the commemoration, former teacher Vidmantas Jukonis told the students that the most dangerous thing in life is to stay indifferent, and to save a life is to save the world. Gintaras Butkevičius, the director of the Biržai Regional Museum “Sėla,” told the students about his family history. His grandmother, Marija Grineveckaitė-Butkevivičienė, a doctor from Kaunas, also agreed to hide a five-year-old Jewish girl. Edita Lansbergienė, Deputy Director of the Museum, said that Kazys Binkis, a famous poet from Papilys, and his family also hid Jews in their flat in Kaunas.

This year, on March 15, for the first time in Lithuania, the Day of the Rescuers of Lithuanian Jews is observed. In 2019, a park honoring the Jewish rescuers and their descendants was created in Biržai, on the territory of the former ghetto (at the intersection of Žemaitės and S. Dagilio streets). In the same year, on the initiative of Abel and Glenda Levitt, a memorial was unveiled in Pakamponys, where 2 400 Jews were shot on August 8, 1941, commemorating the names of the Jews who were killed there.