With the German invasion of the Soviet Union in June
1941, the Jews in Moldova were immediately rounded up and
either murdered on the spot or herded into ghettos. Maria
and her parents were caught by the Germans and put in the
Rybnica Ghetto. In 1944, with the Soviet Army advancing,
the Germans dragged her parents out of the ghetto and
drowned them in the Dnestr River. Maria, who was 17,
escaped this aktion and fled into the town of
Maria knew no one. She sought
help from a number of families -- each turned her down.
She came to the home of Nikolai Koblas and his family.
They agreed to hide her. It was no casual offer &endash;
people caught harboring Jews from the Nazis and their
collaborators were subject to death themselves. But
Nikolai could not be a bystander as he saw the tremendous
and growing evil surrounding him. In spite of the
tremendous risk, the Koblas family took Maria in
andprovided for her until the end of the war. Nikolai's
courage and commitment saved Maria's
Nikolai, now in his 70s and
living still in Rybnica, performed true acts of heroism.
He was recognized as a Righteous Among the Nations
by Yad Vashem, Israel's Holocaust Authority, in May