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Zelbienė Aleksandra

*1919 – 2011
*recognized in 1997

Dapkūnai village cemetery,
Šiauliai, Lithuania

Zelbienė Aleksandra


About the rescuer and the rescue story

Sisters Chana and Rachel Pelc, who escaped from the Telšiai ghetto in December 1941, experienced great dangers, and severe trials: their lives were constantly threatened. Hungry and exhausted, they walked from village to village for two years, hiding in the woods, until in 1943 then they got to Aleksandara and Jonas Zelba (they were in their 20 by that time), who lived in the village of Užgiriai, Telšiai district.

From Aleksandra Zelbienė's memories:

In the summer of 1943 (I don't remember the exact month), our neighbor Juozas Banys brought two Pelc sisters, Rachel (14 years old) and Chana (17 years old), to us to hide them from being shot. We had only one room and a kitchen. When a stranger came, we hid them behind the stove. The younger, 14-year-old Rachel's body was covered with sores, she was obsessed with scabies, she had lice, and she was very hungry. She often cried, missing her parents and brothers who were shot. I used to tell her to drink fresh warm milk to clear the blood. I made lye from wood ash and washed her hair stained with kerosene. I treated scabies with an ointment made from sulfur and pork fat. I comforted her with hugs, and I promised to protect her from being shot...

Since the Zelbas’ house was very small, 14-year-old Rachel stayed with them, and her sister Chana was helped to find other hiding places by Polikarpas Macijauskas, pastor of the Kolainai Church, who selflessly saved Jews throughout the war.

Both sisters – Rachel Pelc (later Pulde) and Chana Pelc (later Zak) survived, after the war they repatriated to Israel.

Rescued persons (Yad Vashem web page):

Rachel Pelc (Pulde)
Chana Pelc (Zak)


Jonas and Aleksandra Zelba

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