Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė on Wednesday presented 43 Lithuanians who rescued Jews during World War Two with Life Saving Crosses.
President Grybauskaitė presented 43 Lithuanians who rescued Jews during World War II with Life Saving Crosses
© Robertas Dačkus

As most of the rescuers are no longer among the living, the ceremony was attended by their family members, the president's press office said.

"Their self-determination was to choose the fate of the doomed and the outcasts. Moreover, it amounted to sewing on the Star of David with your own hands," Grybauskaitė said in a press release.

"Each story of rescue is the most valuable testament to humanity that we still need today for support. So that is the answer to the eternal question: what an ordinary and defenseless human being can do," she said.

The Jerusalem-based Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial has recognized 896 Lithuanians as Righteous Among the Nations for risking their lives and health to rescue Jews during World War Two.

The Nazis and their Lithuanian collaborators killed about 195,000 Lithuanian Jews during the German occupation in 1941 to 1944. Only 5-10 percent of the Lithuanian pre-war Jewish population survived until the end of the war.

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