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Tamara and Maria Osipova White Russia

Minsk, White Russia… August 1941 – After Minsk, White Russia (now Belarus), was occupied by the Germans in 1941, Tamara Osipova, a student, joined a partisan group made up of mostly students and teachers. From August 1941 to September 1942, these partisans fought against the Germans and worked to rescue Jews from the Minsk ghetto.

Tamara and her mother, Maria, went to the ghetto and smuggled out dozens of Jewish women and children. Putting their lives at risk, they often had to bribe local officials to save these Jews. Once out of the ghetto, they hid them first in their home. Maria was then responsible for obtaining forged identity papers while Tamara worked to find the women and children safe places to hide.

Elena Krechetovich was one of the many women they smuggled out of the ghetto. After obtaining forged identity papers for Elena, Tamara and Maria were able to get her a job at the local hospital. Along with many others rescued by Tamara and Maria, Elena sought shelter in their home and survived the war.

Maria Osipova died in 1999. Tamara is in her 80s and continues to live in Minsk.