Righteous Among the Nations
Polina & Akim Oleinichenko and their children, Viktor and ValentinaPolina Oleinichenko, her husband Akim, and their two children, Viktor and Valentina, lived in Mariupol, in the district of Stalino (later Donetsk). During the war, Polina worked as a seamstress, Akim and Viktor worked in a factory, and Valentina was at school. On October 24, 1941, one of Polina’s clients, a Jewish woman married to a Ukrainian, brought her eight-year-old nephew, Benyamin Boriskovskiy, to the Oleinichenkos' home. Some days earlier, Boriskovskiy, along with his parents and most of Mariupol’s Jewry, had been taken to Agrobaza, on the outskirts of the town, to be killed. Boriskovskiy had fallen into the death pit unharmed, but he had lost consciousness. When he awoke that night, despite injuries to his leg and shoulder, the young boy had managed to clamber out of the pit and by morning he had reached his aunt’s home. The Oleinichenkos agreed to keep Boriskovskiy, telling their neighbors he was a relative. Before long, Polina managed to procure a birth certificate for Boriskovskiy in a Ukrainian name, but she still did not permit him to stroll the streets, and during house searches he was hidden under some straw in the yard. In the winter, when the hiding place in the yard was too cold, the Oleinichenkos built a hideaway for him inside an old piano, where he hid whenever outsiders came to the house. The Oleinichenkos did not leave Boriskovskiy alone for even one day during his entire stay with them, and it was predominantly Valentina or Viktor who spent time with him. One day in the summer of 1942, the Oleinichenkos’ neighbors became suspicious that Boriskovskiy was Jewish. The Oleinichenkos decided immediately to remove him from the city and, from then until the liberation of the area in the autumn of 1943, Boriskovskiy was harbored with their friends who lived in an isolated village, and did not know he was Jewish. After the war, Boriskovskiy maintained a warm relationship with the Oleinichenko family, even following his emigration to Israel in the 1990s.
On July 12, 1998, Yad Vashem recognized Polina and Akim Oleinichenko, and their children, Viktor and Valentina Oleinichenko, as Righteous Among the Nations.