Jan and Yekaterina Karijev


Yekaterina Karijev and Solomon ZhukovskiYekaterina Karijev and Solomon Zhukovski

Jan and Yekaterina (Katya) Karijev were and elderly and poor couple who lived with their children in the village of Losonsna in the Grodno District. In the 1920's Yekaterina had been hired to care for the children of the Jewish Zhukovsky family in Grodno. Since then she had remained in contact with the family, and was especially close to Solomon, one of the children she had raised. Although Solomon had become a teacher and a convinced Marxist, he was very much attached to his former nanny.

When Germany attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941, Solomon tried to flee from the invading German troops. Yet he was soon forced to return to Grodno. For almost eighteen months he survived in the Grodno ghetto with the help of Yeakterina Karijeva who would smuggle food to him. In February 1943, when the ghetto was liquidated, Solomon escaped and made his way to the Karijev home. Despite the danger, they hid him in a potato cellar and Yekaterina brought him food three times a day.

To keep him busy, Yekaterkina brought him a notebook, so that he could write everything down. In April 1943, several weeks after he had arrived at the Karijev's home, he wrote: "She cares for me as though I were a small child, even empties the bedpan every day. Before dawn she is on the watch to see that everything is covered. She reassures her husband to ease his anxiety, because he is afraid for himself and his children. She brings me a newspaper several times a week and all sorts of good news from town." Although the Karijevs lived in poverty – they had no land or any other assets – they shared all the food they had with Solomon and never expected any payment. They knew of Jews in hiding in the area who were caught and shot and of villagers who extorted money from fleeing Jews and turned them in. Danger was constant. Whenever a policeman would come close, Solomon would run into the forest and hide there for a few days.

Jan and Yekaterina Karijev hid Solomon Zhukovsky until the area was liberated by the Red Army in July 1944. After the war, Zhukovsky continued his warm relations with his rescuers.

On 12 December 2000, Yad Vashem recognized Jan and Yekaterina Karijev as Righteous Among the Nations.


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Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany

The Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany works to secure compensation and restitution for survivors of the Holocaust.

Since 1951, the Claims Conference - working in partnership with the State of Israel - has negotiated for and distributed payments from Germany, Austria, other governments, and certain industry; recovered unclaimed German Jewish property; and funded programs to assist the neediest Jewish victims of Nazism.