Jadviga Konochowicz, Belarus

On December 17, 1941 – the 5th night of Hanukkah – the German army and their Polish collaborators massacred 500 Jews in Jody, Poland (now in Belarus). Within a month, another 100 Jews were captured and murdered. Alter Silverman and his sister, Chaiye Rivke Smuszkowicz, each with three teenage children, hid with Christian neighbours. Late in 1942, after a German raid which failed to discover them, they needed another place to hide. They found shelter with complete strangers, the Konochowicz family. Poor and barely able to care for their own family of ten, they sheltered the eight Jews in the attic of their barn. Jadviga, then 17 years old, brought them food, which they hauled up in pails attached to a rope. In 1943, the Jewish teenagers left to join partisan brigades. The farm became a safe house and Jadviga smuggled weapons and ammunition. The Silverman and Smuszkowicz families survived the war.