rescuers of jews

Vagnoriūtė-Kepalienė Stasė

Stanislava VAGNORIENĖ (1912–1995)
Povilas VAGNORIUS (1908–1986)
Stasė KEPALIENĖ (Vagnoriūtė) (1932)


The family of Stanislava and Povilas Vagnorius lived in the village of Žilvičiai in the Telšiai District. The family had a big farm, many cattle, and apart from the family members, a few hired employees worked on the farm. In the winter of 1942–1943 a nine-year old Jehoshua Shochot found himself in this family and remembers:

Since I was of the same age as the children of the Vagnorius family, we became friends quite soon, I did not feel like a stranger, I felt as if I was a member of the family, a brother. The only difference was that the Vagnorius children went to school in the winter, spring and autumn and I would stay at home. With the help of the Vagnorius children - Staselė and Juozukas I learnt how to read in Lithuanian. My main job in the family was to graze the cattle. In the summer when the children of the Vagnorius family did not go to school, we used to graze the cattle together but in the spring and autumn I was on my own. I was very happy at the Vagnorius family, these were the golden days of my illegal life. These were the happy days as my mother was hiding in the Gaurilavičius family very close to the Vagnorius farm. She used to visit me often.

Jehoshua Shochot stayed with the Vagnorius family till the autumn of 1943. When it was not safe anymore, Stanislava Vagnorienė transferred Jehoshua, who was called Stasiukas by the Budzinskas family. This is how Jehoshua found himself in that family for the second time.

During the award ceremony of the Righteous Among the Nations in Telšiai, on behalf of saviour Stasė Vagnoriūtė-Kepalienė uttered these unforgettable words:

There are a few words that always have to be capitalised: Mother, Motherland, Love, and Life. I would like to remember the mother of Stasiukas Shochot – she has always remained for me the symbol of the Israeli Mother. You should have seen those moments when she would see her children for a short time – how happy she was of that moment which was so fragile and could have ended tragically at any time, how she cared for and loved her boys. She was not the only one like that, however, I have never forgotten her, I have told about her for many times to my relatives and acquaintances. I am cordially grateful to the Ambassador to Israel for this high appreciation of our parents, grandparents – all saviours, thank you for getting all of us here together as the number of the saved and the saviours is already diminishing...