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Yad Vashem to Honor Righteous Among the Nations from Ukraine Tuesday

20 February 2012

On Tuesday, February 21, 2012, Yad Vashem will hold a ceremony posthumously honoring Vladimir Chaikovski and his parents Pavel and Teofila Chaikovski, as Righteous Among the Nations from Ukraine. Bogdan Chaikovski, son and grandson of the Chaikovskis, and son of the Survivor, will accept the medal and certificate of honor on their behalf.

The event will take place in the presence of Rustam Azhdar, Counsellor of the Ukrainian Embassy in Israel, Sana Britavsky Executive Director of the Genesis Philanthropy Group in Israel, David Levin, Chairman of the Association of Ukrainian Immigrants in Israel, family and friends. A memorial ceremony in the Hall of Remembrance will be held at 11:00 a.m. followed by the awarding of the medal and certificate in the Synagogue at Yad Vashem. The events will take place in Hebrew and Russian. The event is open to the press, in coordination with the Media Relations dept. 02 644 3410.

The Rescue Story

On the eve of World War II, more than 4,000 Jews lived in Buczacz, in the Tarnopol district, about half of the town's population. On July 5, 1941, Buczacz was captured by the German forces. Giselle and Joseph Ackerman lived in Buczacz with their five children: Radzia, Yehudit, Malka, Dora and Chune. Yehudit was born in 1924 and at 17 years old went to work cleaning homes in the city. Among the houses she worked at was that of Michail Chaikovski.

On November 27, 1942, an Aktion took place in Buczacz and some 2,500 people were sent to the Belzec extermination camp. Among those murdered in the Aktion were Yehudit's mother Giselle and Yehudit's three younger siblings. Her older sister Radzia was discovered hiding with her young son and they were shot to death on the banks of the river. After the massacre, Yehudit's father parted from her telling her to "save herself at any cost." In that same year Jospeh Ackerman was murdered.

Yehudit turned to her employer's brother Vladimir, who had been outspoken in his empathy for the Jews and in his willingness to help them. Vladimir hid Yehudit in his rented apartment in Buczacz while simultaneously supplying food to other Jews hiding in the city. Some time later, Vladimir and Yehudit left the city for a village named Kordybanovka, where his parents Pavel and Teofila lived. His parents received Yehudit graciously, hiding her in the grain silo under haystacks. Searches on the Chaikovski's farm ensued, but luckily Yehudit wasn't discovered in her hiding place. Fearing for her life, Vladimir and Yehudit began moving from place to place, with Yehudit posing as Vladimir's sister, Olga.

After the war, Yehudit and Vladimir returned to Buczacz. In 1950, they married and had two sons. In 1999, their eldest son Bogdan moved to Israel. Yehudit herself lived in Israel for a year's time, after which she returned to Ukraine, where she currently resides. Vladimir passed away in Ukraine in 2001.

On June 21, 2011, the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem decided to award Vladimir Chaikovski and his parents Pavel and Teofila Chaikovski, the title of Righteous Among the Nations.