Tarapas (Tarapavičius) Stasys
*1924 – 2007
Raseiniai cemetery, Lithuania
Tarapas (Tarapavičius) Stasys
About the rescuer and the rescue story
When the war started, Anelė Tarapienė lived with her children - Stasys, Elena and Janina in the village of Berštai in Raseiniai district. Her husband Kazimieras worked as a guard at the Uturiai distillery outside Betygala. After the bombing of Raseiniai, he did not return home for several days. It soon became clear that a tragedy had occurred - Kazimieras Tarapas was found shot dead in a robbed distillery. Anelė Tarapienė was left a widow with four children. True, the eldest Stefa was already married and lived nearby, in the same village, and often visited her home.
Anele was approached by her prewar acquaintance Nachum Zolin, in his search for shelter for a group of Jews from the Raseiniai and Kaunas ghettos. Anelė agreed to provide them with a hiding place and that is how Shmerl Milner, a resident of Raseiniai, his brother Samson with his two sons Aharon and Berl and his wife's brother Feivel Kagan came to the Tarapas family. A little later, nineteen-year-old Nachum Zolin from the famous Raseiniai family of photographers asked for asylum for himself.
Before coming to Anelė Tarapienė, these people were hiding with other residents of Raseiniai district. After some time, Anelė Tarapienė surprised her wards with her determination to accept more people. At great risk, she went to the Kaunas ghetto in 1943 with one goal - to deliver a letter to the relatives and friends of the Jews who were hiding with her, with instructions on how to find the Tarapas’ homestead in the village of Berštai. Anelė Tarapienė walked near the ghetto, talking to Jews returning from forced labor, looking for the specified people. Convinced that the relatives of her wards were probably already dead, she brought home two young engineers, Hanoch Glikman and Barita, who asked to rescue them. Anele took in Chana Vinik (later Judelman), her sister Sara (later Barit), their mother, Mina Vinik, Shalom and Dina Faktorovsky as well.
The men set up a very well-disguised hiding place in the barn under the dirt floor. It came in very handy then the front got near. A couple of hundred meters from the homestead, German tankers were stationed, German soldiers were frequent guests at the homestead. Anelė Tarapienė knew the German language quite well and this often saved her. No one thought to search Anelė Tarapienė’s house. The last week before liberation required great endurance from both the hiding Jews and the Tarapas’ side. Anele Tarapiene and her children were then ordered to evacuate their home, while their wards, the Jews in hiding, remained trapped - locked in a hideout, afraid to go outside because German were heard upstairs. Anelė Tarapienė was able to convince the commandant that she really needed to dig potatoes or take something from home. In this way, Anelė Tarapienė with her daughter Janina or her son Stasys came to those who were hiding, brought food, let air into the hiding place, and after leaving, they masked the hiding place again.
Yes, at great risk, after overcoming many difficulties and fears, all received deliverance.
In 1983 Anelė Tarapienė, her son Stasys, daughters Elena and Janina were recognized as the Righteous Among the Nations, and in 1998 Anelė Tarapienė was awarded the Cross for the Rescue of the Dying. During this ceremony, her children, who actively participated in the rescue of Jews, were also honored with this honorable award.
Chana Vinik Judelman
Sara Vinik Barit
The Tarapas. Stasys and Elena are standing. Anele is sitting in the middle, Janina is on the right, Stefa is on the left