Courage, in the eyes of ZdG readers: “Through what you do, you give us a lesson in courage and resistance”
On July 29, 2023, Ziarul de Gardă turned 19. It took a lot of courage to face all the hardships during this period. ZdG wanted to know through its readers the stories of people who showed courage. We present some of the letters sent to our editorial office.
“I had to help them and thank God I could do it”
Liubovi Golub from Cinișeuți village, Rezina district, sent a letter to the editorial office, in which she tells about the courage her father-in-law had several years ago when he saved a Jewish family.
“The story told by my father-in-law, Golub Tudor, happened in his family during the persecution of the Jews in Moldova. In Ghidirim, a village across the Dniester from Saharna Veche, Rezina district, several Jews lived. Back then, they ran away, and hid wherever they could. On the banks of the Dniester, at Ghidirim, there was a very large stone. Some Jews were said to push it into the Dniester and they would not be shot. They surrounded the stone and forced it to move, but at that moment they were shot.
Back then, the Dniester was narrow and people, especially young people, swam from one bank to the other. My father-in-law’s house was near the shore, in Saharna. In the evening, after the incident at Ghidirim, someone knocked on the door. They were a man and a woman, with all their clothes wet. They were shivering with cold and fear. They asked for shelter. They were taken into the house, their clothes were changed, and they were fed. The man’s name was Leiba. He told what happened, how he and his wife crossed the Dniester and reached Saharna. His wife, whose name I have not memorized, could not speak because of her fear. He asked that his wife stay with my in-laws until they decide what to do next. Leiba would leave and come at night so that no one would see him. They stayed like that until the situation improved.
One fine day Leiba came without fear, took his wife, and they left for Chișinău. They called my in-laws father and mother, and in 1957-1958, when my husband was studying at the Construction Technical College, they often took him to their house. They also came very often to their “parents” in Saharna. In 1960, Leiba died, then his wife.
When I asked my father-in-law if he was afraid, and he answered me smiling: “I didn’t think about something like that at the time. I had to help them and thank God I could do it.”Back then it was dangerous to do such a thing. You had to have faith and courage”, writes Liubovi Golub.
“I write and cry. 78 years have passed, but I can’t forget”
Maria Cojocari-Chistruga wrote to us about her father, who during the famine of 1947 managed to save his family. “I am one of your readers, who look forward to each issue, read and re-read it with great pleasure! Through what you do, you give us a lesson in courage and resistance”, writes the reader.
“My family’s tragedy began at the end of the war, in the fall of 1945, when two soldiers, accompanied by a representative from the Village Soviet, brought my father from the front. Dad had post-concussion syndrome and missing his left leg. The whole village gathered. They brought us, his five children, from the sheep pasture. The older brother, Victor, was 13 years old, the youngest, Toderică – one year old, and I (the only girl) – was 7 years old. I remember him very clearly, dressed in striped, dirty hospital clothes, very thin and yellow, with a cloth bag, from which he took out, with dry and trembling hands, a lump of sugar (the daily portion for the hospital tea) and gave it to us, his children. The soldiers told my mother that she could refuse him, that he was disabled anyway and he wouldn’t be of much help at home… My mother didn’t even want to listen to them. Her children would have a father, that was important. They got him off.
I write and cry. It’s been 78 years, but I can’t forget…
Some time passed and Dad recovered a little. He had fashioned a wooden leg from an old log, which he attached to the middle of the body with wicker shoots at first, and later, he sewed some leather straps. The “dressing” of the leg was a big event and we watched with open mouths the whole process, but we were happy that our dad had a “leg”. He left the crutches, and took care of our home and the seven hectares of land we had. It was complicated with the land, everyone worked: our father as he could, our poor mother, who at the end of the summer was black as dust, the older boys, a brother of my mother, and the neighbors with whom we helped each other. Life flowed slowly. In the spring we sowed, in the autumn we gathered the fruit: wheat, corn, rye, oats for horses, fodder for cattle… We had to pay the taxes for land, house, and cattle from the fruit obtained, plus wool, eggs, milk. There was no money.
But it was not to be like that for long. The year of famine, 1947, turned out to be quite a dry year, no fruit was produced, and the taxes increased considerably overnight, as the upper management demanded. Suddenly, through the village, almost simultaneously, cars appeared with heads from the district and village “proxies” with carts, which lifted all the fruit of the villagers from houses, sheds, cellars, and attics, sweeping away the last grains…
At noon, a cart pulled up to our gate, from which three important persons got out, with empty sacks under their arms. We still had some remains in the attic after the taxes and Dad, when he saw them heading for the shed, fiercely grabbed a large ax, sat on the ladder in the entrance of the attic, and called us all around him. He was angry, I have never seen him in such a state before or since. He held up the ax and shouted:
– Dare to come! Try to climb the attic! I will cut off your heads! I fought on the front for all of you, I returned disabled to my children and wife, I’m not of much use to the family, and you think now I’m going to leave them hungry?! Do you want to take the bread out of the children’s mouths?! Come on, try it! I will kill you!!!
No one dared… They left angry but threatened that they would return with the militia. All night my dad dug holes in the animal barn and hid the sacks of wheat there. The next morning the militiamen came and searched all the places, but found little. Taking out the animals and digging in the stable did not occur to their minds. My dad saved us… With the little bread we had left, we, two orphaned girls from my father’s relatives, Dunea and Sasha, my grandfather Ion and my mother’s brother, Ștefan Rusu, survived. Those were hard times…
That’s how brave and strong my father was – Ion Cojocari from Chetroșica Nouă village, Edineț district,” Maria Cojocari-Chistruga wrote in her letter.
To be continued in the next issue