Like a Son of Her Own

The Fellowship  |  May 6, 2020

Survivor Fyodor Revzin and rescuer Mariya Yevdokimova
Survivor Fyodor Revzin and rescuer Mariya Yevdokimova

Like so many millions of families, two Belarusian families would be torn apart during World War II. One of them was Jewish, one was Christian.

Out of the Ghetto

Sofiya Revzin was a Jewish woman raising two sons in the city of Minsk. When the Nazis invaded, the three were, along with the city’s other Jews, forced into the ghetto. Sofiya and one of her sons were able to escape the ghetto. But her other son, 15-year-old Fyodor, was not so lucky. He was left there, all alone, to await death at the hands of the occupying Germans.

However, before the war Sofiya had been friends with a Christian woman in Minsk. Her name was Mariya Yevdokimova. Mariya’s husband Andrey was forced into the Soviet army. Her two sons, Gvidon and Boris, were all the woman had left. But when her friend’s son Fyodor needed help, Mariya answered the call.

As If He Were Her Own

Mariya took Fyodor in as if he were her own son. She did it despite the danger it posed to herself and her own sons. She did it because it was the right thing to do.

Fyodor sheltered in the Yevdokimova family’s home for a month until neighbors became suspicious. Fyodor then wandered the countryside for months until Minsk had been liberated from the Nazis.

Heartbreaking News and a New Family

When Fyodor returned to his hometown and the family who had saved him, he learned horrible news. The Gestapo had executed both of Mariya’s teenage sons for their help in the anti-Nazi underground. And when Andrey had somehow survived the war and returned home to find both of his beloved sons murdered, he died of a broken heart. Mariya, who had risked so much and had lost everything, was left with nothing.

But Fyodor’s mother and brother had also survived the war and returned to Minsk. The Revzin family took Mariya in, and she was a part of their family – much as she’d made Fyodor a part of her own – for the rest of her life. In 1996, Mariya (seen above with Fyodor) was named Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem.