Holocaust Survivors Reunite With Woman Who Helped Save Them
They hadn’t seen each other for 75 years.
A 92-year-old woman was reunited with the pair of Jewish siblings she saved from the Nazis 75 years ago, and 40 descendants of the survivors also came to thank her for helping their forebears escape.
On November 3, Yad Vashem, Israel’s World Holocaust Remembrance Center, along with nonprofit The Jewish Foundation for the Righteous, organized a reunion between 92-year-old Melpomeni Dina and the siblings she helped rescue.
Dina was 14 years old when the Germans occupying Greece began rounding up Jewish families for deportation in 1943. At the time, siblings Yossi and Sarah Mordechai were in hiding, along with their parents and three siblings in a secret attic. But they had to leave their hiding place for health reasons.
Before the war began, the Mordechais had given Dina’s sister free sewing lessons. To repay their generosity, Dina and her sisters offered to hide all 7 members of the family in the one-bedroom apartment the three shared. They also shared their meager food rations and grew extra crops in a nearby swamp to ensure everyone was fed.
After one of the Mordechai children got sick and had to go to the hospital, the family knew they would have to flee of face persecution. To help them escape, Dina and her sisters provided the family with supplies and took them into the woods to escape into the Vermio mountains.
Dina hadn’t seen Sarah or Yossi since the day she helped them and their family members leave. Their names are now Sarah Yanai and Yossi Mor and they were joined by 40 of the Mordechai family’s descendants.
“The risk they took upon themselves to take in an entire family knowing that it put them and everyone around them in danger,” Sarah said. “Look at all these around us. We are now a very large and happy family and it is all thanks to them saving us.”
Yad Vashem said this could be the last Holocaust-era reunion of its kind, as many Holocaust survivors and their rescuers are too old to travel or have passed away.