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Published: 21 september 2012 17:09

Lithuanian president awards people who saved Jews during World War Two

Dovydo žvaigždė
AFP/„Scanpix“ nuotr. / Dovydo žvaigždė

Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė awarded the Life Saving Crosses to almost fifty people who saved Jews from Nazi persecution during World War II. Most of them awarded posthumously.

The president said at the ceremony on Friday that for those who were awarded, human lives were more important than the fear instilled by the brutal system, and they showed with their personal example that there are no circumstances for justifying cruelty.

According to the president, the most meaningful way to remember savers of Jews is to prevent any form of degradation of humanity.

"We cannot allow the dark periods of history leading to tragic losses of the Jewish nation and the whole Lithuania to be forgotten. We should also spread and build up the spirit of tolerance in our society by preventing hatred from thriving," Grybauskaitė said.

The awards were bestowed on the occasion of the upcoming Day of the Genocide of Lithuania's Jews, on 23 September.

The Life Saving Crosses are awarded to people who, despite the deadly risk to themselves and their families, saved Jews from Nazi Genocide during WWII, the presidential decree says.

More than 90 percent of Lithuania's pre-war Jewish community of about 200,000 was annihilated by the Nazis and their local collaborators during World War II.

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