* 1912 - 1995
* recognized in 2004
Ginkūnai cemetery, Šiauliai, Lithuania
About the rescuer and the rescue story
Aleksandras Bielskis and his wife Zofija lived in Kuršėnai before the war, worked as a shoemaker - bootmaker, and was friends with the family of his colleague Jecheskel Fleisher. When the war started, A. Bielskis and his family hid in the village with friends, later moved to Šiauliai. In Šiauliai, he met Jecheskel again at his workplace.
In the ghetto Jecheskel married for the second time. Occasionally he managed to separate from the column of prisoners returning to the ghetto and get to the Bielskis’ place. There he spent the whole night listening to the news on the radio. In the morning he returned to work and informed his friends about the situation at the front line. The main help was the food that the Bielskis used to give the prisoner. In the ghetto they were each given 190 grams of bread. From the sandwich that Zofija Bielskienė gave to Chackel, his sister Batya prepared lunch for five people: for Jecheskel, his wife Lea, Batya herself, and her husband and daughter. When leaving the ghetto was forbidden and everybody went hungry, the Bielskis passed food through the fence. Upon Jecheskel request Zofija sometimes threw over the ghetto fence a living chicken.
In 1943, with Bielskis’ help, Lea Fliesher made contact with acquaintances in Telšiai who had saved her from being shot, and again asked for shelter since there was a danger of the ghetto being liquidated. The farmer Liškus arrived in Šiauliai in a cart and took Jecheskel and his wife secretly to Telšiai. While waiting for Liškus they hid at the Bielskis’s home.
Aleksandras Bielskis can often be seen in the Šiauliai Jewish community centre. He goes there to meet people and to catch up on news. The community has a small museum, in which, among the views of the prewar city, the portraits of war veterans and ghetto prisoners, there is a picture of President Valdas Adamkus conferring on him the Life Saviour’s Cross. He corresponds with the JecheskelFliesher, and he also looks after the grave of Doctor Epshtein, Lea’s first husband.
Chackel Jecheskel Fleisher
Lea Kopel Fleisher
Zofija and Aleksandras Bielskis
Jecheskel Fleisher just after his release from Šiauliai jail in August 1941