The SS Officer's Gift of Candy

Maria Chomova and her daughter, Olga Sramkova


Survivor, Dr. Mordechai (Ferdinand) Berger, visiting his rescuer, Maria Chomova, many years later in her homeSurvivor, Dr. Mordechai (Ferdinand) Berger, visiting his rescuer, Maria Chomova, many years later in her home
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By the end of 1944 some remnants of Slovak Jewry were hiding in the snowy Tatra mountains. Intensive German searches forced them to move from one place to another. Among these hunted Jews was the Berger family with their three children. The youngest - Ferdinand, today Mordechai – was only three year old, and suffered immensely under the harsh conditions. Among the peasants from the area that were bringing food to the Jews and partisans, was a 17-year-old girl called Olga. She took pity on the little boy and agreed to take him to her home in the village of Porubka. She didn't bother to ask her mother, but simply took Ferdinand home with her.

Olga and her mother, Maria Chomova, hid the little boy in their home and took care of him until the end of the war. They presented the little boy as Ferko Chomov, Olga's son. There were two other adult Jews hiding in the little house. Despite their modest means and the danger of discovery, the two women’s decision to protect their wards never wavered. There was a moment of extreme danger when an SS officer who came to their home suspected that the little boy was Jewish. Fortunately, as he told them, the child reminded him of his girl, so he never followed up on his suspicion and brought the child candy.

After the war the parents came back to take their child. Many years later, when the Department of the Righteous interviewed her, Mrs. Berger, Ferdinand's mother, remembered how Olga had loved her little son. Olga showed deep sympathy for the pain of the parents who had to part from their little son. In order to alleviate their suffering she went as far as bringing the little boy to their hideout in the mountains so that they could reassure themselves that he was well.

In 1993 Maria Chomova and her daughter Olga Sramkova were recognized 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.