Bank of Portraits / Sarancheva Valentyna
Valentyna Sarancheva lived in Kherson with her family. After the beginning of the German-Soviet war, her husband was mobilized to the Red Army. Valentyna and two of her children, 4-year-old daughter Larysa and 3-year-old son Oleksandr stayed in Kherson.
After the occupation of Kherson on August 19, 1941, the persecution of the Jewish population started. The local ghetto was established in September of 1941. A few weeks after more than 5 thousand Jews were shot dead in the neighboring village of Zelenivka.
Once, escorting her children to the kindergarten, Valentyna saw a 12-year-old girl, who was grazing goats near the local prison. She talked to her, and the girl said that her name is Zhenia Bohuslavska and the goats belong to the warden. Zhenia was grazing them according to his order, while the prison administration was checking her origin.
Valentyna decided to help the girl, so asked the warden to release her. Valentyna told the warden that she needs some help on her farm. She got permission and Zhenia appeared in Valentyna’s house.
First of all, she fed Zhenia, bathed her, and gave her clean clothes. Valentyna didn’t force Zhenia to work and the atmosphere in the family was great, so Zhenia decided to open her secret to Valentyna. Zhenia told her rescuer that she was a Jew. After such confession, Valentyna decided to help Zhenia again. She went to the warden of the prison and told him that Zhenia escaped. But he said that Valentyna should find her worker because Zhenia's Jewish origin was proved.
«As it appeared, Zhenia’s mother was married to the Ukrainian man with a surname Kolisnychenko. Due to this fact, the prison’s administration was checking her origin for so long. So, the prison’s warden was intimidating our mother with the death penalty for hiding a Jew. She already knew about that, because Germans posted these proclamations throughout the city. Our house was under the surveillance of our neighbor, a local policeman. At this time Zhenia was in the pit, dug behind the barn. With a full understanding of the danger, mother decided that it was necessary to leave our house”. From the memoirs of Larysa Lokotosh, daughter of Valentyna Sarancheva
Few weeks after this event, Valentyna packed their belongings and the whole family removed to their relatives in the village of Tymofiivka. They were strangers in that village, so Zhenia was living like Valentyna’s daughter.
After the liberation of the region from German forces in March of 1944, Zhenia was found by her uncle. He was her only relative who managed to survive the war. In 1948, she married Valentyn Zhabotynskyi. The family lived in city of Mykolaiv. For all postwar decades, Zhenia Zhabotynska maintained good relations with her rescuers.
«…Zhenia called Valentyna ‘’mother’’, and my father Oleksandr ‘’father’’, however she met him only after the end of the war, when he came back from the Red Army. She also called my brother and me as “brother” and “sister”…» From the memoirs of Larysa Lokotosh
On November 6, 2004, Valentyna Sarancheva was named the Righteous Among the Nations.
Kherson Museum of Local History