Bank of Portraits / Varfolomiy Ivan and Nadia

Ivan and Nadia Varfolomiy

Ivan and Nadia Varfolomiy lived in the city of Khmilnyk, Vinnytsia region. They had four children. Ivan Varfolomiy was a skinner, making clothes of animals’ skin. He considered Heim Weiner his mentor and partner.

On June 17, 1941, Germans occupied the city. In autumn of 1941, the ghetto was created. There were many Varfolomiy’s friends in that ghetto, including Heim Weiner.  The last, as well as many Jews from the ghetto, worked outside its walls. Ivan was visiting Heim and bringing him food frequently. During one of such visits, Heim asked Ivan to hide his wife’s niece, Clara Grinberg, whose parents were killed recently. Ivan agreed. At night he brought a 14-year-old girl to his home. For the next three months, Clara was hiding in the attic.  

In March of 1943 Germans started the liquidation of the ghetto. There were only 135 artisans who survived. They were gathered in the camp based on the territory of the local Jewish school. Weiner’s family was also among those who survived, but their days were numbered. So, Heim Weiner asked Ivan for help one more time.

Together they elaborated the escape plan. In April of 1943, Heim with his wife Riva, and their 14-year-old son Isaac secretly escaped from the camp and successfully reached Varfolomiy’s house. They were hiding there thru the night. In the morning Ivan’s brother Mykola came. He agreed to transport them to Zhmerynka, the city which was under the control of Romanians.

But, as it turned out, they were spotted. Dmytro Lukashenko, Varfolomiy’s neighbour, told police about them. The next day police were searching for them in Ivan’s house. His wife Nadia told them, that since the morning she was working in the garden and saw no one. At that moment Jews were already on their way to Zhmerynka. They lived there until the March of 1944 when the region was liberated from Romanian forces.

After the war, they returned to Khmilnyk. For many years they lived nearby Varfolomiy’s, maintaining friendly relations. Clara Grinberg and Isaac Weiner got married. Isaac became a doctor and worked in the local sanatorium. In the early ‘90s, they emigrated to Israel.

On November 17, 1993, Yad Vashem honored Ivan and Nadia Varfolomiy with the Righteous Among the Nations award.

Hanna Rafalska


National museum of the History of Ukraine in the Second World War

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