Hasmik Tashtshiyan, Ukraine

The Tashtshiyan family’s story begins with their experience during World War I. As survivors of the genocide perpetrated by the Ottoman Empire against Armenian civilians, they understood all too well the peril faced by Ukrainian Jews during World War II. In November 1941, the Germans occupied the city of Simferopol in Ukraine.

Over the course of the next two months, thousands of Jews were transported in trucks to the outskirts of the city and executed. By mid-December, 1941, almost all of the Jews who were living in the city had been murdered by Nazi death squads, including the grandparents of Rita and Anatoly Goldberg. Rita and Anatoly’s mother, Eugenia, was desperate to find a safe harbor for her children, and pleaded with her neighbors, the Tashtshiyans, to hide her children. Despite the enormous risk to themselves, and their own two children, Hasmik and Tirgan, they agreed to shelter the two Goldberg children.

Hasmik and her brother built several hiding places in their home for Rita and Anatoly and also shared their food and clothing with them. They cared for Rita and Anatoly until the liberation of Simferopol by the Soviet Army in 1944.

Happily, Eugenia Goldberg survived the war and was later reunited with her children, who were never discovered due to efforts of the Tashtshiyan family. Hasmik and her brother stayed in touch with the Goldberg children long after the war ended.

Edited by Stephanie Surach