Bank of Portraits / Andriyevski Maria and Vasyl

Andriyevski Maria and Vasyl

Vasyl and Mariia Andriievskyi lived in the village of Troshcha in Vinnytsia region. They got married in 1917. It was a wealthy and hardworking family. Vasyl and Mariia had their own smithy and the land plot. But in 1921-1923 famine started in Southern Ukraine and thousands were doomed to death. Among them were two begging boys, who went door to door. Andriievskyis didn’t let them die and sheltered boys at the family house for one year.

In September 1941 the village of Troshcha was occupied by Germans. In late 1941 and early 1942, the anti-Jewish actions started. Froim Chmelyk’s family was Jewish and suffered from Nazis as well. Froim was a local smith and a friend of Vasyl Andriyevskiy. One autumn day the Nazis killed five members of Chmelyk’s family. So, Froim with his wife Rahil, their children Yevhen and Arkadii and Froim’s sister were looking for a safe hiding place.

“On that evening our father (Vasyl Andriievskyi) told me that Froim asked a few villagers to hide his family at least for a few days. No one agreed, because, as Nazi announcements told, those families who were hiding Jews had to be punished with a death penalty. My mother just thought a bit and then said: Bring them to us!» - from memoirs of Faina Andriievska, daughter of Vasyl and Mariia.    

At that moment Andriievskyi’s family consisted of Andriievskyi spouses, four children, and two nephews. Now, another five people have joined them. Chmelyk’s family spent thirty months with Andriievskyis. Eighteen of them in the cellar and twelve summer months in the stable. There was a path from the cellar to house, so neighbors never saw them.

It was a hard time. Vasyl should search for more food and firewood, and Mariia to take care of the house and all its inhabitants. Older children were helping parents with a house and searching for any opportunity to earn money, and younger were watching for all the coming guests and informing parents about them.  

The oldest daughter Faina got probably the hardest task: she had to sell all precious things in the city and buy some medicines for all the members of two families. The only large city Vinnytsia was 60 kilometers away from their house and Faina went this way back and forth. Each day was a struggle for the lives of five members of Chmelyk’s family.

In October 1943 Rahil gave birth to the child. It was a boy, who got name Misha, in honor of Mykhailo Andriievskyi, Vasyl’s son. Risking his life, the boy walked on ice to bring the baby to Paraska Skryn’ko, who was its wet nurse.

In 1944, with the Red Army’s approach to village Troshcha, Vasyl and his son Mykhailo decided to move Chmelyk family to Rahil’s sister Vienta. She lived on the territory which was under control of Romania and where Jews were less persecuted. They stayed there after the war.

The end of the war was not the end of Andriievskyi 's bravery. During the famine of 1946-1947, they saved two boys whose father died and mother disappeared.

Chmelyk family and is still very grateful for Vasyl and Mariia frank and sincere act. These people quite consciously stood side by side with the persecuted and shared their fate. They defeated an undefeated evil in this way. In 2006 Vasyl and Mariia were awarded the title of Righteous Among the Nations and their children became Righteous of Ukraine. Names of Mariia and Vasyl are stamped on the Wall of Righteous in Yad Vashem memorial.

Victoria Prysyazhniyk

Kyiv

Secondary school №174

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