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Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History
Vilniaus Gaono Žydų Istorijos Muziejus



Published: 2021-11-16


In summer 1942, Fr Antanas Skeltys, the administrator of the Salesian monastery in Vytėnai, came to visit his homeland – the farm of his sister Ona and her husband Jonas Poniškaitis in Žalvėderiai village, Šakiai region. His sister confessed to the priest that she had been hiding a 7-year-old Jewish boy named Israel-Iser (later Izaokas Glikas) Glik and asked him whether this was the right thing to do. Fr Skeltys praised his sister for this and suggested taking Izaokas to the monastery to herd geese.
Before the war, Jankel and Malke Glik with their five children Israel-Iser, Peshe, Mina, Leiba and Kopel used to live in Kudirkos Naumiestis. The first killings of the Jews of Kudirkos Naumiestis took place on 4 July 1941 when around 250 Jewish men, old people and teenagers, including Jankel Glik and his elder son Leiba, were killed. In mid-September rumour had it that in the coming days the shootings of the rest of the Jews of Kudirkos Naumiestis would take place. Since it was dangerous for all to hide in one place, the Gliks decided to split up: Malke Glik with 7-year-old Izaokas and daughter Mina forded the River Šešupė and reached the agreed hideout. This is how the Gliks started hiding at people’s homes and at willing farmers’ farms. This lasted till the end of the occupation period. Throughout the years of Nazi occupation, the Salesian Centre in Vytėnai established by Fr Antanas Skeltys, provided shelter to the prosecuted Jews. Izaokas Glikas met more orphans and some of them were Jewish children, too at the monastery. Izaokas’ sister Peshe was also hiding in Vytėnai from autumn 1942 till the end of the war. Fr Antanas Skeltys baptised Izaokas and named him Antanas. Jonas Stašaitis, a teacher from the Salesian monastery, became the boy’s godfather. The wards received a lot of attention and heartfelt care from Fr Skeltys. Izaokas Glikas remembered the exceptional kindness of the priest for the rest of his life.
From: Whosoever saves a single life, saves an entire universe
Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History, Vilnius, 2019
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