President Dalia Grybauskaitė

Remarks by President Dalia Grybauskaitė at the Life Saving Cross awards ceremony to commemorate the National Memorial Day for the Genocide of Lithuanian Jews

2016-09-28

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Each September we bow our heads in memory of the victims of the Jewish genocide. This year, since the end of summer, remembrance marches have been held across Lithuania to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Holocaust.

Still, amid the pain and tragedy there was a ray of sunlight – those who rescued Jews in Kaunas, Vilnius and Šiauliai, in small towns and villages.

All rescue stories touch our hearts and souls. They tell of great courage and compassion. Readiness for sacrifice to save another human being, to save someone else’s child as your own. Willingness to risk everything that you hold very dear.

Life almost always offers a choice. It was there even during World War II.

Those brave men and women could have lived their life without any risk. They could have stayed safe – all they had to do was to watch in silence, or pretend not to see or hear what was going on.

But the rescuers saw only one path ahead: to open the door and share their home, bread and the warmth of their heart.

It all happened at a time of a very brutal war. But humanity – in action, not words – prevailed.

We will soon hear the names of rescuers – several dozen out of very many.

Most of these wonderful people are no longer among us. But their children and grandchildren – who deeply cherish their family history – are here today. You feel proud and you should be.

Lithuania is also proud as we all stand together in tribute to the strength of spirit and courage of those you love so much.

Let us keep the memory of our silent heroes alive forever.

Dalia Grybauskaitė, President of the Republic of Lithuania

Last updated 2016.09.28 12:31

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