* Recognized in 2006
Telšiai old cemetery, Telšiai, Lithuania
About the rescuer and the rescue story
Three cousins lived in Kalnėnai (village near Telšiai): Pranciškus Šaulys, Julijonas Šiaulys and Napoleonas Šaulys, and all three with their families from 1941 to 1944 hid the Jews.
Avram Desyatnik, Reizl Shochot and her youngest son Joshua Shochot were hiding with them. When Joshua Shochot’s mother ran away from the police who came to the Butvydas farm in the village of Kalnėnai to arrest her, the family of Napoleonas Šaulys took her in: they warmed her up, fed her, gave her dry clothes and shoes, because she had lost her clogs while running away.
Yakov Gurvich often visited cousins Šaulys. At that time, he lived in the neighboring village of Vigantiškiai with the Byras and used to come to the Šaulys to meet his childhood friend Avram Desyatnik, who was hiding there, with whom he was imprisoned in the Rainiai and Geruliai Jewish isolation camps and the Telšiai ghetto. No matter which of the Šauliai cousins he visited, everyone welcomed Yakov hospitably and supported him materially and morally.
From the testimony of Jehoshua Shochot and Jakov Gurvitch:
Both of us, Joshua Shochot and Yakov Gurvich, went on a very similar path to survival and escape from death. We both were confined in the Rainiai and Geruliai concentration camps and the Telšiai ghetto and since the end of December 1941 right up to the liberation in October 1944 we were in dozens of villages and peasant families who hid us, fed us, and gave us shelter and comfort. We would like to mention three villages, Kalnėnai, Vygantiškiai and Buožėnai, that are close to each other, about 4–5 kilometers north of Telšiai. Most of the residents of these villages used to hide the Jews on their farms or help the escaped Jews who were looking for shelter. Each peasant of these villages would open the door of his house to the persecuted who knocked.
There were three cousins in the village of Kalnėnai: Napoleonas, Julijonas and Pranciškus Šaulys. Each had their own farm where in 1941–1944 they used to hide the Jews. I know that they used to hide Avram Desyatnik (Adomas), Reizl Shochot and her youngest son Joshua Shochot (Stasys). In 1943 I used to hide in the villages of Kalnėnai and Vygantiškiai (next to Kalnėnai). I myself did not live at the cousins’ but used to visit them often and meet Avraham Desyatnik. Adomas was a good friend of mine in the early days, I knew him from the concentration camps of Rainiai, Geruliai and the Telšiai ghetto. When I would come to one of the cousins’ places, everybody would be very hospitable, and helped me morally and materially. In general, I felt very good in Kalnėnai, Vygantiškiai, Buožėnai villages where I was in 1943. Even though the villagers knew that I was a hiding Jew, nobody would turn me in. Everyone tried to help us as much as they could.
From Joshua Shochot’s letter to the museum on 11 August 2004:
The winter of 1942 was very cold and there was a lot of snow. Kalnėnai, as the name itself tells you, was a very hilly village. Even elderly people used to ski there and go on skies to each other’s places. I very much liked going down the hill with other children from the village, I did not avoid them, I did not realize at all that I needed to avoid strangers.
Rescued persons (Yad Vashem web page):
Reizl Shochot with children
Joshua ir Haim, 1936