Letter of Felicia Taschdjian to Yad Vashem, 22 April 1990

I gladly respond to your questions, although remembering these times causes me unrest. It was my Armenian sister-in-law Takuhi who introduced me to Valentin Skidelski, whom she had met in the Armenian- Russian student association. Takuhi Taschdjian moved to Italy with her children shortly before the war, and so I took her place in caring for Mr. Skidelski. He had to wear the Jewish star and was forced to work at the garbage disposal. He got a disease and could only move his fingers with the help of his other hand, had to leave his apartment in Neubaugasse and move into shared living on Neustiftgasse. In the beginning of April 1942 I was called by him and he told me in coded words that he had managed to evade a transport to a camp. At that time I knew a Hungarian physician, Dr. Filip, who was going to cross the border clandestinely into Hungary. Mr. Skidelski and Dr. Filip met in my mother’s apartment and Dr. Filip explained to Mr. Skidelski how to cross the border and said it could only be done in full moon. This meant he had to wait for two weeks, and so Skidelski moved into our house – a townhouse with garden in Rax st. When the two weeks were over, Mr. Skidelski said that he was unable to take this dangerous route.

Our 8-year-old daughter Gioninz made this very tough. A child is likely to speak up, but we have informed her about the danger, and she kept quiet. This was a heavy burden for the child. We pooled our food ration cards, and my parents gave us additional provisions for feeding Mr. Skidelski. He stayed with us until the end of the war in mid May 1945. My husband was a free mason, and as such filled with ideas of humanity. We experienced a critical moment when one evening the doorbell rang and the Ortsgruppenleiter – a man names Kuss – came in uniform to inspect. Skidelski was sitting in our living room, and Kuss was inspecting the entire house and garden. He had received a report that we had not maintained blacking out instructions. However everything turned out to be in order, and our guest did not catch the attention of Mr. Kuss.

We were all very happy when the Hitler regime came to an end.

I would like to apologize for my bad handwriting, but I am already 83 years old, and these memories distress me very much. Both my husband Aram and my daughter Gioinz Loiry passed away, and my only grandson Peter Hopfinger know about the case of Skidelski from his mother….

I thank you most sincerely for all your efforts and send my best wishes,

Felicia Taschdjian