Logo Image

Holocaust Memorial Education Center

Shimon and Sara Birnbaum Jewish Community Center

Logo Image

Ignat and Sofya Yermolovich-Shelter During the Massacres

The farmers Ignat and Sofya Yermolovich, both in their late 30s, lived with their daughter Tonya in the town of Mir, Nowogródek District (today Grodna District). Between the two World Wars, many Jewish families lived in the town and the Yermoloviches were friendly with some of them. In the early morning of November 9, 1941, the day of a large-scale Aktion in Mir, the Yermoloviches welcomed six Jewish friends into the shelter of their granary. These were Cyla Kopelowicz, Efraim and David Sinder, Laike and Hinde Monicker, and Hinde’s young daughter. When the Germans started conducting house-to-house searches, they checked the granary but the hidden Jews were not discovered. A few days later, they returned to Mir. Not long after the Aktion, the surviving Jews were concentrated in a ghetto established in the local castle in Mir. On August 10, 1942, three days prior to the ghetto liquidation, a group of approximately 300 Jews fled to the forest. Twenty-year-old Cyla Kopelowicz (later Zakheim) was among the escapees. She lost the others and after wandering for three days, without food and water, she turned to the Yermoloviches for help. Ignat and Sofya hid Cyla in their field and provided her with food, some clothes and boots. The following day, Cyla left for the forest again and was lucky to find and join the Bielski family camp. After the war, Cyla traveled to South Africa where she had relatives. She maintained contact with the Yermoloviches for many years thereafter.

On November 26, 1995, Yad Vashem recognized Ignat and Sofya Yermolovich as Righteous Among the Nations.

Cila Zakheim (Kopolowitz) tells her story of rescue by Ignat and Sofya Yermolovich
Credit: Yad Vashem, “Ignat and Sofya Yermolovich-Shelter During the Massacres” www.yadvashem.org/righteous/stories/yermolovich