Daily Israel Report

Students Thank A Righteous Gentile Who Chose Israel as Home

Newly-identified "Righteous Among the Nations" Klavdia Likholetova was honored in death by students in Holon who wanted to say "thank you."
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 12/11/2011, 4:25 PM

Ilya Lieberman receives his wife's award
Ilya Lieberman receives his wife's award
ATZUM

Newly-identified, little-known "Righteous Among the Nations" Klavdia Likholetova was honored at a unique student ceremony last week by students who came to say "thank you" for the miracle of life, in the upcoming season of miracles.

Likholetova was recognized for her heroism and selflessness in saving Jewish lives during the Holocaust at a special ceremony held at the Eylon School in Holon on Friday -- but it was her husband, Iliya Lieberman, who attended the ceremony arranged by the ATZUM organization, the students and schools staff.

Likewise, Lieberman had accepted the certificate and medal on behalf of his wife when Likholetova was recently recognized by the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial as a Righteous Among the Nations.

Likholetova herself had passed away in 2003 in Bat Yam, having made her home in the Land she had grown to love, had fled to herself after the end of World War II, together with the husband for whose people she had been willing to sacrifice her own life.

In November 1941, she and her parents, Olga and Ivan took in Maria Dawes and her daughter Yekaterina, two Jews left homeless and penniless after a failed offensive by the Russian Red Army. Despite the risk they took, harboring Jews in the Ukrainian port city of Feodosiya, in their tiny home, they willingly hid and cared for them for more than two months.

Like more than 130 other rescuers, Klavdia chose to deepend her solidarity with the Jewish people following World War II. By 1998, she had converted, married a Jewish man, and come to live in Israel.

Her story remained a well-kept secret until only recently.

"We believe it is only fitting to celebrate Klavdia's life with the children of Holon, the third generation of Jews she has had a hand in saving, and those she chose to make her neighbors later in life," commented Rabbi Levi Lauer, founding executive director of ATZUM.

The organization works with Israel's resident "Righteous Gentiles" on a regular basis, making sure they live out their last years in comfort and dignity.?