rescuers of jews

Vaicekauskienė Vladislava


On 31 August 1941, Eta Blankienė and her daughter escaped from the liquidation site at the Geruliai Jewish camp. They were running from the very edge of a pit, hoping to find refuge in the Telšiai Ghetto. Vladislava Vaicekauskienė managed to obtain a permit to take them to the farm as farm hands. They were put up on the first floor and would not go anywhere. Having made the decision to liquidate the Telšiai Ghetto, the Germans started searching for the Jews working in farms. The women were lucky to survive, however, they had to seek other shelter. Priest Prialgauskas with whom Vladislava discussed the matter, provided the women with another hide out with a very poor old religious woman Julelė. Julelė did not have any food to give to them, therefore the Vaicekauskai themselves or their daughter Janina would take food to them every night. Vicious people denounced Julelė for hiding Jews, and everyone around were facing deadly danger. The priest found yet another hide out for them. In this way, changing their whereabouts almost every night, they survived.
Chana Blankaitė-Restienė has never forgotten the people who helped her and her mother to survive. They were priest Professor Kazimieras Prialgauskas, Vladas Visockas, Vladislava and Jonas Vaicekauskai, Janina Vaicekauskaitė-Visockienė and a lonely old woman Julytė, the full name of whom we did not manage to find out.
Janina Visockienė writes in her reminiscences: “From the winter of 1942-43 to the end of the war, Mrs Roza Gurvičienė was hiding in my family, and her son, Jaša Gurvičius, would come to visit her. Jicchokas Gurvičius also used to come. Mrs. Ela Šapirienė spent one night with us, Mrs Volpertienė would also hide in our house. We wanted to save them from death and felt a Christian duty to do that, irrespective of the grave danger to the life of our family.”
This is the past of our nation, which cannot be crossed out from our history or, sewn-up in white yarn, put on a shelf in an archive. There was everything – no more, no less. Every one of us must know where we have come, who we are and what we are going to leave after us. A saved human life is the most precious thing we can leave after us.

From Hands Bringing Life and Bread, Volume 1,
The Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum. Vilnius, 1997