1901 - 1970
Buried in Pikeliai cemetery,
Pikeliai, Mažeikiai district, Lithuania
56,419817 (š. pl.)
22,117534 (r. ilg.)
MARIJA BUKONTIENĖ WITH HER SON ALFONSAS BUKONTAS
Peasant farmers Jeronimas and Marija Bukontas lived in the village of Dapšiai, in the Mažeikiai County. The Bukontas had no children, and shortly after the Germans entered the village, they were approached by Vaclovas Martinkus, the Catholic priest from the nearby town of Židikai, who asked them to give temporary shelter to Mordecai Mikhnitsky, an infant. The Bukontas received the Jewish baby into their home and pleaded with the priest to leave him with them permanently. Martinkus baptized the Jewish child in the local church, and thus Mordecai Mikhnitsky became Alfonsas Bukontas. The sudden appearance of an infant in the Bukontas home aroused the wonder and suspicion of their neighbors. The Bukontas couple told everyone he was their son and registered him in the church birth registry as having been born in September 1941. Nonetheless, many of the neighbors were still suspicious, and Bukontas underwent many ordeals before the authorities left him in peace. To gain the trust of the Germans, Bukontas exploited his knowledge of German, which he had acquired while working in Germany, at the Krupp factory during the 1920s. After the liberation, Bukontas was suspected of having collaborated with the Germans. The Soviets interned him in a concentration camp for political prisoners, where he died in 1945. His widow continued to raise their adopted son since his parents perished during the Holocaust. Alfonsas Bukontas became a poet.
On November 26, 1995, Yad Vashem recognized Jeronimas Bukontas and Marija Bukontienė as Righteous Among the Nations.
FIRST ROW FROM THE LEFT: MARIJA BUKONTIENĖ, ALFONSAS BUKONTAS, ELENA LAURAITIENĖ (SISTER)
SECOND ROW FROM THE LEFT STANDING ELENA'S CHILDREN: STEFA, ANTANAS, IRENA.