In 1943, Leah Ruderman smuggled herself and her son, Leonid, out of the Minsk ghetto long enough to beg total strangers, Nadezhda Salauyova and her mother, to hide Leonid. The two women agreed. Leah handed them a letter about Leonid’s family for when he was older. Then she returned to the ghetto where she was murdered in an aktion.
Nadezhda and Anna hid Leonid in their home. When that became unsafe, he stayed with a relative in the forest. Later, they brought Leonid back to Minsk and hid him in their cellar. After liberation, they discovered that Leonid’s father had been killed in action against the Germans. Anna adopted Leonid and eventually gave him his mother’s letter. Leonid was raised knowing he was a Jew. He lived with Anna and Nadezhda until he married in 1963. Nadezhda is in her 80s and lives in Minsk, as does Leonid. Anna died several years ago.
Edited by: Chris McDonough