The Holocaust, the darkest time in history for the Jewish people, not only saw millions murdered, but countless families torn apart. However, many families came together to defy evil and do good, saving the lives that would have otherwise been lost. Yad Vashem, Israel's official Holocaust memorial, presents the story of the Moroz family from Belarus, who were named Righteous Among the Nations in 1999:
When the Germans conquered Bobruysk on June 28, 1941, Mariya Moroz was working in the local orphanage. Her husband, Anton Moroz, who was disabled from a work accident, was employed in a wood-processing factory instead of being conscripted into the army. In the autumn of 1941, eight-year-old Maya Blagutina, the daughter of a mixed Jewish-Belarussian couple, was brought to the orphanage where Moroz worked. Her Jewish father was fighting on the front and her mother had been killed in the first few days of the war. Moroz was aware that the Germans often took Jewish and half-Jewish children from the orphanage and they were never seen again and so, after consulting with her husband, she decided to hide the child in her home.
From late 1941 until 1945, Maya stayed with the Morozes, who looked after her affectionately and treated her like their own daughter, who was born in 1940. Many of their neighbors sympathized with their rescue efforts but the Morozes were still compelled regularly to flee their home with Maya and hide in a mud hut because the Germans often conducted house searches for hidden Jews in the neighborhood. A short time after the war, Blagutina’s father found her. He had remarried, and he took his daughter home to his new family. Maya lost touch with the Morozes for many years, and they did not renew contact until the 1990s.