Marianna Kopyt, Poland

Marianna Kopyt was a resident of Radom, Poland, during the Nazi occupation of her country. In 1941, she took in her friend Baruch Silberszlak and his two-year-old daughter Ilana Szochat. Ilana and her father barely escaped the Radom ghetto that had earlier trapped her mother and her mother’s family.

Marianna hid Baruch under the floorboards in her one bedroom house and raised Ilana as her own daughter. They lived in constant fear of discovery by the Germans or denunciation by Marianna’s family or neighbors. Several times, the Gestapo came to the house asking questions, but Marianna was able to hold them at bay. Marianna was single and had very little money. In order to provide food for the three of them, she would often go into restricted areas to trade her belongings for food.

Ilana and her father stayed with Marianna until their liberation in 1945. Ilana continued to live with Marianna until 1950, at which time Ilana left for Israel with her father.