*1885 - 1956
*Recognized in 1994
Šilalė district, Lithuania
About the rescuer and the rescue story
In the first months of the war, Sara Feidelman (15 years old) lost almost all her relatives who were killed near her hometown, Telšiai.
Sara Feidelman (later Shavel) and her older sister Doba Feidelman (later Rafael), together with other 500 young women, were imprisoned in the Telšiai ghetto. In December 1941, when the liquidation of the ghetto was approaching, they fled, thinking that they might be able to hide somewhere near their native Alsėdžiai. For several days they wandered around Alsėdžiai, experienced many difficult trials, until one day they met the priest of Alsėdžiai, Vladislovas Taškūnas. He told the girls he would help them. First, the priest took the girls into his home, where they hid for several weeks together with two other Jewish women from Telšiai. During that time, priest Vladislovas Taškūnas talked to his parishioners and found shelter for the girls.
The speech of Telšiai’ bishop Jonas Boruta:
Your Excellency the President, all dear participants, awardees of the morally and spiritually significant event for our country!
In fact, all the awardees in those painful times did not think that they would be awarded for rescuing the Jews. They did it because their conscience, faith, and moral values told them to do so. They could not do otherwise. The will of Rev. Vladislovas Taškūnas reflects his attitude: "As for my funeral, it must be without any show, very simple: a coffin of unpainted boards between four candles, on the stand on which the coffin is placed, no hearse. No ceremony in the church, no speeches at the grave, no monument on the grave, because if I had raised a monument to myself, in the heart of at least one person, no stone monument would be able to replace it." Priest Vladislovas Taškūnas had many merits - he was a man with a broad heart, he followed the biblical principle - love your neighbor as yourself, love everyone as yourself, no matter how different they are from you.
Priest Vladislovas Taškūnas had graduated from the seminary for priests in Kaunas. At the beginning of the 20th century, he worked in America, edited the newspaper for Lithuanians “Darbininkas”, published in New York, Brooklyn, returned to free Lithuania at the end of the 1930s, worked in the small parish of Vėžaičiai, later in the parish of Alsėdžiai. He was distinguished by his humanistic spirit, he loved and cherished everyone equally - it didn't matter to him whether they were a Catholic Lithuanian, or a Jew of the Jewish faith, or a person of another nationality or religion. And when the year of hard tests came, in 1941 the hunting of Jews in July, and the Rainiai massacre that took place before that - he bravely and publicly spoke out against this injustice and, as much as he could, saved and organized the rescue of people together with the bishops of Telšiai, especially Bishop Vincentas Borisevičius. In 1941 December, before Christmas day, along with other women from the Telšiai ghetto, the last Jewish women of Alsėdžiai were shot. He knew this, so for several weeks he went through all the occupying government offices, protesting this act. He was answered: "(...)" if you continue to protest like this, we will shoot them in the rectory yard and bury them in front of your windows.
At Christmas, one Wehrmacht helper tried to go to confession, but priest Vladislovas Taškūnas publicly condemned him and expelled him, saying that neither he nor the bishop could give him, a murderer, absolution for such a great crime he had committed. Soon priest Vladislovas Taškūnas was arrested, imprisoned in Kaunas prison, then it was decided to take him to the Dachau concentration camp. After that Bishop Justinas Staugaitis took up his rescue. He went to Kaunas, spoke with the highest officials of the occupation government. After a long conversation with the officials of the occupation authorities, Bishop Justinas Staugaitis returned to Telšiai and died three days later. The only thing that was achieved was that priest V. Taškūnas would be interned and imprisoned in the Žemaitija Calvary in Marian Monastery and will not be able to communicate with people, hold mass and listen to confessions. Priest V. Taškūnas saw the end of the war, but he was very worried because when the partisan resistance started, the people who saved the Jews could be killed as accomplices of the Soviet collaborators. In order to avoid unrest, Bishop V. Borisevičius and priest V. Taškūnas used to go to meetings with partisan commanders. However, priest V. Taškūnas was arrested again and spent five years in a Soviet camp. After returning to Lithuania, he was invited to contribute to the publishing of a Catholic magazine, but after one meeting, everything fell apart, because the main condition for publishing the magazine was to shed light on what kind of freedom of conscience and religion exists in the Soviet Union. Priest Vladislovas Taškūnas answered that in this way they should present the Soviet hell as a paradise. He also feared that he would be required to say that after death, there would be heaven, not hell for those criminals. It did not correspond to any moral, religious provisions. Shortly after this statement, priest Vladislovas Taškūnas died.
Mira Gafanovich Kaganovich
Doba Feidelman Rafael
Sara Feidelman Shavel
Dina Lipman Shusterovich
Sara Feidelman Shavel with son Alik