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Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History
Vilniaus Gaono Žydų Istorijos Muziejus



Published: 2022-04-14


Don’t be afraid, my child, don’t you cry. I will be a mother and
a father to you, for you have no home of your own anymore...
Antanas Gobis
When the war broke out, Judith Zakstein was in Palanga pioneer camp. As the children heard bomb explosions, they took to running along the seaside in the direction of Liepaja, but German soldiers brought them back to Palanga where Jewish children were separated from the rest. Blue-eyed and fair-haired 12-year-old Judith did not look like a Jewish child at all, therefore, together with other Christian children she was sent to the children’s home in Panevėžys. One morning Judith’s teacher took her to Panevėžys church where she was met by a priest who told her: ‘Don’t be afraid my child, don’t you cry. I will be a mother and a father to you, for you have no home of your own anymore.’ Fr Antanas Gobis protected Judith and cared for her throughout the war: he would find reliable people for her to hide with, comforted the girl and provided her with food. After the war, Fr Gobis continued to take further care of Judith Zakstein (later Vainberg) who was a complete orphan. The priest remained the dearest person on earth to Judith throughout her entire life. Later he took care of her children too until the Vainbergs left for Israel in 1972. Judith’s children called him grandfather.
From: Whosoever saves a single life, saves an entire universe
Vilna Gaon Museum of Jewish History, Vilnius, 2019
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