From Cellar to Supper

From Cellar to Supper

Credit:USHMM

Dora and Shifra Reznik were Jewish sisters who led happy lives (that’s Shifra on the left and Dora wearing glasses) until the Nazis invaded their homeland of Lithuania. Except for the sisters, their entire extended family was murdered. Dora and Shifra escaped, and wandered for months.

At last they arrived at the home of Jonas and Felicija Radlinskas, a Tatar couple who were barely able to feed their own three daughters with their livelihood of subsistence farming. But seeing these starving sisters clothed only in the same shabby rags they had worn for nearly a year, Jonas and Felicija knew they could not turn the girls away.

During the summers, the sisters were hidden in haystacks in the fields, but during the brutal Lithuanian winters, they stayed safe in the Radlinskas’ cellar. To pass the winter days, Felicija would go down to the cellar and teach Dora and Shifra how to sew. And at night, the family would pull the shades tight and bring Dora and Shifra upstairs to share their supper. Being poor, rural farmers, Jonas and Felicija could not read. So when the girls were upstairs, they would read the newspaper to the family, telling them the latest developments with the war.

In August of 1944, there would be no more need to hide and no more need to search the papers for news, as the area was liberated from the Nazis and the Reznik sisters were safe at last. For their kind and brave actions — which carried on for nearly two years — Jonas and Felicija Radlinskas were named Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, Israel’s official Holocaust memorial.

Tags: Advocates and Allies Dora and Shifra Reznik History Holocaust Jonas and Felicija Radlinskas Lithuania Righteous Among the Nations United States Holocaust Memorial Museum World War II Yad Vashem

More From Fellowship Blog

Fellowship Blog

From Paratroopers to Politics

Shaul Mofaz is an Iranian-born Jew who served in the IDF, including in its top position, as well as the Knesset during decades of service to Israel.

Fellowship Blog

9 Israeli Inventions Find Place in TIME Magazine’s 100 Best Inventions for 2019

For a country with a relatively tiny population and size, Israel has produced huge advances in medicine, industry, agriculture, technology, and science that have saved lives, expanded knowledge, and broadened horizons around the world.

Fellowship Blog

The Spy Who Saved the Big Three

Joining an anti-Nazi group at the age of 16, this dearly departed Russian intelligence agent thwarted an attempt by Hitler on the lives of FDR, Stalin, and Churchill.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay informed about issues affecting Israel, the Jewish people, Jewish-Christian relations, receive daily devotionals, and more.