21 December 2021
Tomorrow, 22 December 2021, Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, will host a ceremony posthumously honoring Philipp and Anna Bogush from Belarus as Righteous Among the Nations. The Bogushes risked their lives to save a Jewish soldier serving in the Red Army who was injured during the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June 1941. The granddaughter of the Righteous couple, Elena Kimbarovskaia, who lives in Israel, will attend the ceremony and accept the medal and certificate on behalf of her late grandparents. Also in attendance will be Ambassador of Belarus to Israel H.E. Mr. Evgeny Semenovich Vorobyev, members of the Commission for the Designation of the Righteous Among the Nations, and family members. Yad Vashem Chairman Dani Dayan and Dr. Joel Zisenwine, Director of Yad Vashem's Department of the Righteous Among the Nations, will present the medal and certificate to Kimbarovskaia on behalf of the State of Israel and the Jewish people.
Philipp and Anna Bogush's names will be added to the Wall of Honor in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations at Yad Vashem on the Mount of Remembrance in Jerusalem. A memorial ceremony will be held in the Hall of Remembrance at 11:00, followed by the awarding of the medal and certificate in the Yad Vashem Synagogue and the unveiling of the names in the Garden of the Righteous Among the Nations. The ceremony will be conducted in Russian with simultaneous translation into Hebrew. Media interested in covering the event must RSVP in advance to the Communications Division and arrive at the Hall of Remembrance with a valid GPO Card and Green Pass.
The Bogush family lived in the village of Negnichi in the Korelichi district of the Grodno region of Belarus.
In late June 1941, shortly after the German invasion of the Soviet Union, while heavy fighting continued on the front between German and Red Army soldiers, a group of Soviet soldiers entered the village one night, carrying a fellow soldier who had sustained serious wounds. As the Red Army was beginning to retreat eastward, the injured soldier was unable to keep up with his comrades-in-arms. The soldiers left the wounded fighter at the entrance to the Bogush family's home and continued on their way.
Philipp and Anna Bogush were shocked at the discovery of the soldier at the door of their house, but immediately brought him inside. They heated water, removed his military uniform which was soaked in blood, bathed him, and treated the injuries he had incurred to his right knee and hand. The wounded soldier introduced himself as Boris Byvalyi, a Jew born in Kiev who served as the battalion commissar until he was injured.
The assistance the couple extended to Byvalyi, a Jew and a communist with an ideological role in the Soviet army, endangered not only their lives but also those of their young children, Misha and Shura. Despite the great threat, they hid, fed and cared for Byvalyi for several days and nights, until he regained his strength. While the injury to his knee was only superficial and began to heal, the wound on Byvalyi’s hand became infected and there was a fear that without further medical intervention, necrosis could set in.
A few weeks later, in mid-July, Philipp Bogush took Byvalyi, dressed in peasant clothes, to the hospital in the nearby town of Stolbtsy. They had buried Byvalyi's documents, including an identity card and a Communist Party membership card, in the ground. As they parted at the hospital, the two wished each other well and hoped that the other would survive the war.
The Bogush family home was destroyed during the German retreat in the summer of 1944. Immediately after liberation by the Soviets, Philipp Bogush was drafted into the Red Army. He did not have a chance to meet Byvalyi again, who in 1945 returned to the village to thank his rescuers and collect the documents he had buried. He found Anna Bogush and her children, who gave him Philipp's military mailing address. The two kept in touch through letters. Byvalyi offered Philipp to move with his family to Byvalyi’s hometown of Kiev, where he had the opportunity to help the Bogushes financially, but Philipp chose to stay in Negnichi, where he was born and raised.
In the 1970s, correspondence with the survivor was renewed at the initiative of Michael, Philipp and Anna's grandson. Boris Byvalyi still lived in Kiev. He was a widower, suffering from health problems and was unable to accept the Bogush family's invitation to visit them.
On 26 November, 2020, Yad Vashem recognized Philipp and Anna Bogush as Righteous Among the Nations.
To date, Yad Vashem has recognized some 28,000 Righteous Among the Nations from over 50 nations worldwide. For more information about the Righteous Among the Nations program, click here.
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Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, was established in 1953.
Located in Jerusalem, it is dedicated to Holocaust remembrance, documentation, research and education.