"Women of Valor"

Stories of Women Who Rescued Jews During the Holocaust

A little over half of the Righteous Among the Nations recognized by Yad Vashem are women. While many of them acted in cooperation with other family members, some of these courageous women were the initiators of the rescue and acted independently to save Jews. Here are some of their stories.

Elisabeta Strul (Nicopoi)


Elisabeta Strul
Elisabeta Strul

Elisabeta Strul

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Elisabeta Strul

The tree planted in honor of the Righteous Among the Nations Elisabeta Strul. Yad Vashem, 2013

In the evening of June 28, Romanian and German soldiers and police, as well as masses of local residents participated in an assault on the Jews of Iasi. Thousands were murdered in their homes and in the streets, in the courtyard of the police headquarters, and 4,330 of the survivors, as well as Jews from other parts of the city, were placed in closed  train cars; 2650 of them suffocated or died of thirst.

Elisabeta Nicopoi lived in Iaşi, where many of the people who worked with her at a textile plant, as well as quite a few of her neighbors, were Jews. On June 29, 1941, when the 21-year-old Nicopoi learned from her Christian neighbors about the intention to harm the Jews, she hurried to the home of her co-worker Marcus Strul, in the Podul Roşu quarter, to warn his family of the approaching danger and to offer them shelter. Thanks to Nicopoi, Strul’s family, including his father, mother and siblings, were saved when Romanian gendarmes, troops and German army units stationed in the area carried out a pogrom in Iaşi in which many thousands of Jews were murdered. She also had enough time to warn many other Jews, who lived on two streets near the Strul family.

Nicopoi hid about 20 people, including the Strul family, in a storeroom for two weeks and provided them with food. After some of the men she had sheltered in the storeroom were taken to forced-labor battalions, Nicopoi traveled to the place where they were working to bring them clothing and food. On one such occasion, she was arrested by the gendarmerie, beaten and detained by them for several days.

Nicopoi married Strul in 1949, and in 1963, they immigrated to Israel. Her family remained in Romania, and she would visit them from time to time. She died in Haifa on 6 November 2013.

On March 19, 1987, Yad Vashem recognized Elisabeta Strul as Righteous Among the Nations.