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We Decided to Save Them

Tashchiyan family - Righteous Among the Nations (Photo: Yad Vashem)

The Tashchiyan Family

Why you should know them: The Tashchiyans were an Armenian family who saved a Jewish family from the Nazis.

Grigori and Pran Tashchiyan lived in Turkey during World War I, surviving the Armenian genocide. Pran's first husband, their two children, and most of their relatives were not so lucky, and were murdered by the Turks. After WWI, Grigori and Pran were married and settled in Crimea. There, they had neighbors of all different ethnicities, including the Jewish Goldberg family.

When World War II began, the Jewish family's father, David, was conscripted into the Soviet army. Shortly afterward, the Nazis overran the Crimean town where the Tashchiyans and Goldbergs lived and began to murder the Jews.

To save the Goldbergs' two children, six-year-old Anatoliy and three-year-old Rita, Pran Tashchiyan opened her home to them. The house was surrounded by a wall, a locked gate, and guarded by dogs. From 1942 until 1944, the Goldberg children hid in the Tashchiyan family's home, taking shelter in the cellar, the attic, or the dogs' kennel whenever Nazis came near. The two children's lives were saved.

After the war, the Soviets forced the Armenian Tashchiyan family out of their home, and persecuted them for many years. But it was this persecution - because of who they were, and because of their people's treatment during the First World War - that caused the Tashchiyan family to risk their own lives to save the lives of two Jewish children, children they continued to stay in contact with through the years.

In 2002, the Tashchiyan family was named Righteous Among the Nations, and Pran's daughter told Yad Vashem that her mother explained why she had performed this deed: "Having witnessed the Armenian Genocide, we decided to save them."

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