Arut and Natalya Zagoruyko-Kisheshyan and their daughter Almaza Kisheshyan
Arut Kisheshyan, an Armenian, lived with his Ukrainian wife Natalya (née Zagoruyko) and their four daughters in Kharkov. Almaza, the eldest daughter, was on friendly terms with a young Jewish woman, Reiza Krasova, who lived in the same neighborhood with her Russian husband Dmitriy Krasov and their two sons, Vadim, b.1933, and Yakov, b.1935.
With the German invasion to the USSR Dmitriy Krasov was conscripted to the Red Army. On October 25, 1941 his wife and children found themselves under German occupation. Soon it was announced that all the Jews must leave their lodgings and move to a nearby tractor plant on the outskirts of the city. Like the majority of the Kharkov Jews Reiza did not dare not to obey the order. Living conditions at the plant were awful – cold empty barracks, lack of sanitation, no food supply - people existed on what they had brought with them, very much depending on the help of their non-Jewish acquaintances.
Almaza was very concerned with the safety of her friend, and decided to visit Reiza at the tractor plant. She managed to find her and her children and among thousands of Jews. Seeing the Jews’ plight, Almaza suggested that Reiza should leave the place as soon as possible and offered her a shelter in her parents' home.
Following her friend’s advice, Reiza and the kids secretly left the tractor plant barracks at the end of December 1941, and were warmly accepted by the Kisheshyans. They had a narrow escape, because shortly after their escape, in January 1942, the Germans massacred all the Jews assembled in the tractor plant barracks, among them Reizas's sister with her daughter Rimma.
The Kisheshyans hid Reiza and her sons in a little storeroom, where they had to keep quiet in order not to attract the neighbors' attention. Rescuers and rescued faced not only the danger of discovery, but also suffered from the lack of food: none of the Kisheshyans worked during the occupation and, in order to survive, they bartered their belongings in the nearby villages. Such "food tours" were dangerous and the food that was brought was never enough for nine people. So, in late spring 1942, Reiza decided to try her luck and find a safe place in the rural area, leaving her boys with the rescuers. In December 1942, when Vadim and Yakov had almost lost hope to see their mother again, she returned and took her boys to the forlorn village in the Poltava district, where the three survived until the liberation in late 1943. They managed to survive and Reiza earned a living as a fortuneteller. After liberation the Krasovs returned to Kharkov and never lost contacts with their war-time saviors.
On September 15, 2003, Yad Vashem recognized Arut and Natalya Zagoruyko-Kisheshyan and their daughter Almaza Kisheshyan as Righteous Among the Nations.