Andrey and Anastasiya Cheremukha, and their son – Valentin

Ukraine

Rescuers' family, 1936Rescuers' family, 1936

Andrey Cheremukha, his wife Anastasiya, and their three children, a Baptist family, lived on a small farm near the village of Kharalug, Korets county, the district of Rivne  (Volhynia), the area, that was under the German occupation from the beginning of July 1941. In September 1942 they received a note from their prewar acquaintance, Haya Tessler, who was looking for a way to flee the ghetto of her native town Międzyrzecz Korecki (today Mezhirich, Korets county). Haya’s husband and parents, as well as many other relatives, perished during the Aktion of May 22, 1942. The Cheremukhas knew the Tessler family, who were grain merchants before the war, and were aware of the fact that the remaining Jews would be killed sooner or later. Thus, one evening, Anastasiya and her eldest son Valentin, went to Mezhirich, found Haya Tessler, her 13-year-old brother Israel, and their nephew, nine-year-old Mordecai Tennenbaum, and brought them, by horse-drawn cart, to their house, dressed  as Ukrainian peasants.

A small hideaway had been prepared for them under the floor, next to the stove heater. These three Jews stayed in this hole for nine months, during which time they only emerged to stretch their limbs at night. In order to earn their keep, the three Jews knitted goods, which the Cheremukhas exchanged for food. After some time, fearing discovery, the Cheremukhas relocated the three Jews to the loft of one of the granaries in their fields. However, this hiding place was too far away and it was dangerous to bring them food there, so the three choose to leave the Cheremukhas and wandered the forests until they joined the Soviet partisans. After the Soviets liberated the area, in January 1944, Andrey Cheremukha  joined them in their  confrontation with the local nationalists. On December 3, 1944, he fell during an exchange of fire. His family was forced to flee to Mezhirich, seeking the protection of the authorities. The three rescued immigrated to Canada and later, in the 1960s, Mordecai Tennenbaum settled in Israel. In 1990 he hosted Valentin Cheremukha, his wife and son in his home.

On September 12, 1990, Yad Vashem recognized Andrey Cheremukha, his wife, Anastasiya Cheremukha, and their son, Valentin Cheremukha, as Righteous Among the Nations.

 

This online story was made possible with the support of:

Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany works to secure compensation and restitution for survivors of the Holocaust.

Since 1951, the Claims Conference - working in partnership with the State of Israel - has negotiated for and distributed payments from Germany, Austria, other governments, and certain industry; recovered unclaimed German Jewish property; and funded programs to assist the neediest Jewish victims of Nazism.