“32 saved Jews. The heroic deed of the Zirchenko family is impressive,” Borys Lozhkin

Mikhail Zirchenko
22/02/2019

One of the streets has been recently named after the Zirchenko family in the village of Blagodatne, Dnipropetrovsk region Thanks to Pavel Zirchenko and his son Mikhail during World War II, 32 Jews escaped death.

By the way, Dnipropetrovsk region continues to lead in the number of streets named after the people who saved Jews during the Holocaust.

“I am happy that the project of the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine “The Righteous People of My City” keeps on developing in Ukraine. The heroic deed of the Zirchenko family from the Dnipropetrovsk region is impressive and, without exaggeration, is worthy of admiration,” noted the JCU President Borys Lozhkin.

32 Jews from Yenakiyeve,  Donetsk Region, fleeing from the Germans, in 1941 settled on the outskirts of Rostov-on-Don. A year later, when Rostov was also occupied, the Jews had to hide in the villages of the South-East of Ukraine, without staying anywhere for a long time. Thus, under the leadership of Matvey Gontov, in the winter of 1942 their group came into the village of Blagodatne, Dnipropetrovsk region, where Pavel Zirchenko worked as an accountant in a local collective farm.

The inhabitants of the village of Blagodatne lodged the exhausted from cold and hunger Jews in their homes. Pavel Zirchenko gave the Jews several sacks of flour and vegetables from the collective farm’s barn. Thanks to Pavel, none of the Jews died of hunger that winter. And in the spring, the whole group of the Jews was already able to take part in the collective farm’s field works.

Pavel’s 16-year-old son, Mikhail, a former art school student, forged an official seal, using which Pavel issued fictitious documents for Matvey Gontov and his group.

When the Germans came to the village, the children were hidden on the outskirts of the village, and the Jews with forged documents continued to work along with the rest of the collective farmers.

Under the protection of Pavel, the Jews managed to survive in Blagodatne until the liberation of the village in October 1943.

On November 16, 2004, Yad Vashem awarded Pavel Zirchenko and his son Mikhail the “Righteous among the nations” honorary title.