15-year-old Natalia Levchenko (nee Babenko) saved 12-year-old Jew, Leonid Golverka’s live in the spring of 1942. Natalya’s family lived on the outskirts of Novomoskovsk on the banks of the Samara River, near the Jewish ghetto.
In the spring of 1942, meltwater flooded the ghetto, and the Germans led 400 Jews to be shot. 12-year-old Leonid Golverk was able to hide in the rising icy spring water and Natalia noticed the boy. She swam towards him on a boat and brought him home. Leonid was dressed, fed, and sent to a village to be sheltered with friends. Using a fictitious name Leonid Golverk lived in the village until the Dnipropetrovsk region was liberated in the autumn of 1943.
In 1996, Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center, honoured Natalia Levchenko (nee Babenko) with the honorary title of Righteous Among the Nations. In June 2019, one of the streets of Novomoskovsk was named after Natalia Levchenko.
You can find out about The Jewish Confederation of Ukraine’s major project to honour those who risked their lives to save Jews during the Holocaust here.
By Boris Lozhkin
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