*1912 - 2000
*Recognized in 1994
Kelmė district, Lithuania
About the rescuer and the rescue story
Farmers Vladas and Uršulė Šleževičius’ lived in the village of Labūnava, near Užventis, in the Kelmė district. Had a son Adolfas. Šleževičius’ communicated with the Kacas family from the neighboring village of Vidmantai. After the Germans occupied the area, the Šlezevičius took Kacas’s daughter Adela (Ita) and provided her with false documents of Teresė Pavilionytė. Adela lived with the Šleževičius’s family throughout the German occupation, the Šleževičius’ introduced the girl to their friends and a neighbor as a relative. Adela's brother Shalom Kacas was also sheltered at Šleževičius' house when his rescuers suspected danger or visitors. In the spring of 1942, Šleževičius agreed to shelter four more women - Rachel Leshem (later Kacav), her mother-in-law Liba Leshem, Esther Blecher (later Kreingel) and her mother-in-law Musia Blecher. They were brought by Alfonsas Songaila, because their hiding place with Jadvyga and Petras Klimas’ became unsafe. For three months, the four women hid in the storeroom, but somehow the neighbors found out about them and threatened to burn down the house. The women had to move out again. Alfonsas Songaila drove them again, this time to Bronislovas Černiauskas. Despite the hostile mood of the village, the Šleževičius’ continued to provide shelter to Adela, and other Jews also found an opportunity to hide in their house from time to time. In total, about 20 Jews were hiding with Šleževičius’s family.
Partisans also found lodging in their house. The police learned about his activities but were unable to find his hiding places. The police officers threatened to burn Šleževičius together with his children. The peasant said to the hiding residents under his care: "It would be terrible if the Nazis burned my wife and children. But they also burn your children. I cannot let you go to perdition."
Šleževičius taught his children to love people and hate fascists. Once the bandit Vilius Radavičius entered the house (he fled to the USA at the end of the war). At that time, Rachel Kacav was in the other room with her mother-in-law. Hearing the voice of a stranger, they crawled under the bed. Little Kaziukas, realizing the dangerous situation, lowered the blanket to the ground so that the killer would not notice the hiding women. The bandit entered the room and sat down next to the bed. Rachel stared at his shoes in horror. Two-year-old Janytė started looking for the missing "ciocyte" (aunty). Kaziukas immediately took her out into the yard and quickly returned shouting:
- Dad, the cow ran away!
Father ran out into the yard. The police officer also left. After he left, Kaziukas said to his father:
"I figured out how to get rid of that snake." Aunts are lying under the bed.
Rescued persons (Yad Vashem web page):
Rachel Leshem (later Kacav)
Adela (Ita) Kacaitė
Vladas and Uršulė