Shavlan- A biographical novel based on a true story.

SHAVLAN- A biographical novel based on a true story written by Eunice Blecker.
Sarah Taube cowers in the bakery cellar clutching her three children, listening to the sounds of shooting and shouting by the White Cossacks during a pogrom.

In order to survive, she enters into a bargain with the ruthless Commissar, Dimitri Bogdonovich, an orthodox Jew transformed by tragedy into a high-ranking Bolshevik.

Will Dimitri be able to protect Sarah Taube and her family?

Will Sarah Taube be reunited with her wanderlust husband who leaves for South Africa to seek his fortune and find himself, will she realize her life long dream of going to America?

Little does Sarah Taube realize as she stands at the train tracks with her children, how much her life is going to change.

This family saga is a historical novel based on true events in the life of the author’s maternal grandmother spanning three continents and five decades.

It tells of a woman’s journey to independence while living through World War I, deportation from her village in Lithuania, the Russian Revolution, the Civil War, pogroms, and Lithuanian independence.

As the story unfolds, the reader is witness to the struggles of Jews in the Pale of Settlement and the strategies they use in coping with Czarist rule and the antisemitic society governing them.

The story recounts the experiences of immigrants migrating to other lands, romantic liaisons with gentiles and how some acquiesce trying to adapt, while others join revolutionary groups to overthrow the government.

The author weaves a matrix of emotions and ideas into her characters as they move in and out of her grandmother’s life.

We learn how an uneducated, naïve young girl, raised in Shavlan, a small Lithuanian shtetl, becomes an independent, strong-willed and forceful woman, schooled in the ways of the world — her education obtained by being a witness and participant in world-shaking events.

The novel, rich in detail, brings the characters to life, revealing their individual strengths, weaknesses, and emotions, while showing extraordinary courage as they manage to raise their families and live their lives.

Historical context is provided for the lives of the family members and the author’s genealogy research supports the story too.

An Epilogue puts closure to the story by providing the reader with a brief summary of what eventually happens to the key figures in the story.


Author’s biography:

Eunice Blecker was born, raised and educated in Baltimore, Maryland, USA.  She worked full time as a treasurer for an engineering company whilst raising two daughters.

Fascinated by the stories her grandmother told of the life she led in the old country, Eunice was inspired to tell her story.

Shavlan – Siaulenai. credit:

Eunice has been a member of the Jewish Genealogy Society of Greater Washington for more than twenty years, and in 1996, after visiting her ancestral town, Shavlan, her article “To Walk Their Walk” was published in their Quarterly Publication, Mishpacha, Winter 1997.

Eunice lives in Potomac, Maryland, USA with her husband, Herb and two Siamese cats, Chloe and Lacy.


For those interested in learning more about Shavlan and other Lithuanian shtetls, you are invited to visit the JewishGen website at:  and the author’s website

The book is available for sale at in hard copy or Kindle or

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