Grigori and Pran Tashchiyan, and their children Asmik and Tigran Tashchiyan
Grigori and Pran Tashchiyan lived in Turkey, where they survived the Armenian genocide during World War I. Pran’s first husband, her two children and most of her relatives were murdered. This tragedy left a deep mark on them. In the wake of World War I they wandered to Simferopol, in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea where they married and settled down. The area was very mixed with families of different ethnic backgrounds: Russians, Ukrainians, Tatars, Jews, Armenians, Greeks, Bulgraians, and others. Among them was also a Russian family by the name of Kucherenko. Evgenia, one of their daughters had married a Jew by the name of David Goldberg. The couple had two children: Anatoliy (born 1935) and Rita (born 1938).
When Nazi Germany attacked the Soviet Union, David Goldberg was conscripted to the Red Army. Simferopol was occupied on 1 November 1941, and six weeks later the murder of the Jews began. Most of the town’s Jews were killed, among them David’s parents. Evgenia returned to her father’s home, but the danger to her half Jewish children was great. During four months the children were taken from one family to another, until Pran, Evgenia’s neighbor offered to hide the children in her home. Her garden was surrounded by a wall; the gate that was always locked; and the compound was guarded by dogs. Thus from February 1942 until April 1944, the children were hidden in the home of Prand and Grigori Tashchiyan. The couple’s two children Tigran (born 1929) and Asmik (born 1925) were on the outlook, and would warn Anatoliy and Rita when Germans were coming near. Then the children would hide in the cellar or the storeroom, or the attic, even in the dog’s kennel. They survived in this manner for more than two years, until the city was liberated on April 13, 1944. After then, Anatoly and Rita were reunited with their parents.
Following the Liberation in June, the Soviet authorities deported the Tashchiyan family to a collective farm (kolkhoz) in the distant district of Kemerovo. In 1947, Grigori, and his children Tigran and Asmik, escaped to Armenia, but two years later they were arrested and sent back to Kemerovo. In 1956, they were forced to go to Armenia, but not to their home in Crimea. During those hard times, and for many years afterwards, the survivors remained in contact with their rescuers.
Asmik Mkhikyan (Tashchiyan) told Yad Vashem that her mother had told her that they had been motivated by her personal experience and the persecution of her people: "Having witnessed the Armenian Genocide, we decided to save them”, she said.
On November 21, 2002, Yad Vashem recognized Grigori and Pran Tashchiyan and their children Asmik Mkhikyan (Tashchiyan) and Tigran Tashchiyan as Righteous Among the Nations.