April 15th, 2015 is known in Israel and abroad as Yom HaShoah (יום השואה) or a “Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day”. It is observed as a day of commemoration for the approximately six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust as a result of actions carried out by Nazi Germany.
Ukraine is 4th Righteous Among The Nations list that reflects number of Jews saved in each country as well as rescue operations according to Israel’s Yad Vashem (official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, established in 1953)
Below is small collection of stories of Ukrainians saving Jews during the Holocaust
“Tkachuk, Vasiliy Tkachuk, Marfa Tkachuk, Khristina Zatvornitskaya (Tkachuk), Anna Vasiliy Tkachuk, his wife, Marfa, and their daughter Khristina lived in the village of Lukanovka, Odesa District (today Lukanivka, Mykolayiv District). The Germans conquered the area in August 1941, and one day in October of that year, a Jewish boy knocked on the door of the Tkachuks’ home. The nine-year-old child, Yuriy Mogilevskiy, had been hiding for a few days in a field adjacent to the village and farmers had taken him food every night. The Tkachuks invited Mogilevskiy to stay in their home and, from that day on, he became part of their family.
Initially, the Tkachuks hid Mogilevskiy in their granary or the attic, and he only came into the house at night. Mogilevskiy soon fell ill with typhus and was suffering terribly. He survived the disease however because despite the lack of medication, the Tkachuk family took care of him lovingly and nursed him back to good health. While he was ill, Mogilevskiy was moved to the home of Anna Zatvornitskaya, the Tkachuks’ married daughter who also lived in Lukanovka. When he recovered, Mogilevskiy returned to the Tkachuks, whom he regarded as his adopted parents. Mogilevskiy stayed with them even after the liberation, in March 1944, because his home in Pervomaysk, Odesa, had been destroyed and his parents and other family members had perished in 1941. He remained there until 1948, when he moved to Moscow. Mogilevskiy moved to Israel in the 1990s. Throughout this time, he never lost contact with the Tkachuk family. During the war, the Tkachuks also occasionally afforded shelter to Olga Kreichman and her son Misha and the sisters Roza and Raya Shmilyk. On September 29, 1994, Yad Vashem recognized Vasiliy and Marfa Tkachuk, and their daughters, Khristina Tkachuk and Anna Zatvornitskaya (née Tkachuk) as Righteous Among the Nations.” (source of the story and image: Yad Vashem Memorial – http://www.yadvashem.org)
“Mikhalchuk, Yakov Mikhalchuk, Fedora Kravchenko (Mikhalchuk), Nadezhda Mikhalchuk, Mariya Lisyuk, Dmitro Lisyuk, Paraska Dikun (Lisyuk), Yelena Yakov Mikhalchuk, his wife, Fedora, and their daughters, Nadezhda and Mariya, lived in the village of Rudnya-Novenkaya, Kamenets-Podolsk District (today Rudnya-Noven’ka, Khmel’nyts’kyy District). By 1941 Nadezhda was married and the mother of a little girl. In October 1942, Valentina Neiman, her three-year-old daughter Genya and her sister, Fira Niznik, knocked on the Mikhalchuks’ door. The Mikhalchuks recognized the three Jews as residents of the adjacent village of Savichi (Savychi), and after they told the Mikhalchuks about the difficulties they had faced over the previous 16 months of occupation and about losing their families, they asked for temporary shelter in the Mikhalchuks’ home. Yakov prepared a hiding place for the three Jews under the floor of the storeroom, where they could only lie down and every few nights they were allowed out to wash and to breathe some fresh air. Overwhelmed by the burden of harboring three Jews, Mikhalchuk told his secret to his good friend Dmitro Lisyuk, also a resident of Rudnya-Novenkaya. Lisyuk then offered to help and in December 1942, the Jews were moved into his home, where they hid for a few months. Dmitro and Paraska Lisyuk had five daughters, of whom 18-year-old Yelena was the eldest. She was the only child that knew about the Jews’ presence and she helped look after them and ensured that her younger sisters would not discover anything. After some time, the Jews returned to the Mikhalchuks’ home, where they stayed until the liberation. After the war, the survivors renewed contact with their rescuers and expressed their gratitude to them. On September 29, 1996, Yad Vashem recognized Yakov and Fedora Mikhalchuk, their daughters, Mariya Mikhalchuk and Nadezhda Kravchenko, and Dmitro and Paraska Lisyuk, as Righteous Among the Nations. On October 23, 2000, Yad Vashem recognized Yelena Dikun (née Lisyuk) as Righteous Among the Nations.” (source of the story: Yad Vashem Memorial – http://www.yadvashem.org)
Krivoruchko, Semyon Krivoruchko, Yelena Derun, Safron Derun, Solomiya Derun, Tatyana Semyon Krivoruchko and his wife, Yelena, were farmers living in the village of Kudlai, district of Vinnitsa (today Kudlayi, Vinnytsya District). In mid July 1941 the Germans occupied the area. Two months later their Jewish acquaintance from nearby Nemirov (Nemyriv), Vera Viron, and her four-year-old daughter Yevgeniya came to ask the Krivoruchkos for shelter. Vera instinctively felt the danger and decided not to enter the ghetto established by then in Nemirov. Instead she and her little daughter started wandering the rural area, trying to find a place where people would not recognize them. The village of Kudlai was one of their stops on the road, and since Vera was acquainted with some of the villagers she preferred not to stay there openly. The Krivoruchkos hid Viron and her daughter for several days and then accompanied them to the neighboring village of Bayrakovka (Bayrakivka), where Semyon’s sister Solomiya lived with her husband, Safron Derun, and their 17-year-old daughter Tatyana. The Deruns welcomed Vera and Yevgeniya into their home. At the beginning of the German occupation, Safron Derun, highly respected by his co-villagers, was chosen to be the village head. His statement that Vera and Yevgeniya were his wife’s relatives was enough for the residents of Bayrakovka and they did not ask more questions. Thus, in quiet times the two Jews lived in the village openly, and Vera worked together with other farmers. But when the authorities’ representatives were expected to pay a visit, or sudden searches conducted, Vera and her daughter fled, with the help of Tatyana Derun, to the nearby forest and stayed there until the danger was over. In October 1943, Solomiya Derun gave birth to another daughter, Antonina, and Yevgeniya looked after the baby when the adults were working in the fields. In March 1944, after the liberation of the area, Semyon Krivoruchko enlisted in the Red Army and fell in combat. Vera and Yevgeniya (later Dekhtyaruk) returned to Nemirov and kept in touch with their wartime rescuers for many years. On June 11, 1996, Yad Vashem recognized Semyon and Yelena Krivoruchko, and Solomiya and Safron Derun, as Righteous Among the Nations. On February 10, 2003, Yad Vashem recognized Tatyana Derun as Righteous Among the Nations.” (source of the story: Yad Vashem Memorial – http://www.yadvashem.org)
Members of EuroMaidanPress’s own editor and contributor Paula Chertok’s family were both Holocaust victims and survivors. Her Grandfather helped to evacuate Paula’s mother and Grandmother with plans of joining them later. However that did not happen, since he and all Jews of Mariupol were told to head to the agricultural field call Agrobaza, outside of the city. On October 18, 1941 together with the remaining Jews of Mariupol he was executed by members of the Sonderkommando 10a, part of the Einsatzgrupper D unit. There was only one eyewitness account of a girl who survived the massacre by pretending to be dead when the rest of the people were shot.
Let us remember and never forget all the innocent victims of Nazi crimes. Yom HaShoah.