“The Nazis occupied our village when I was only 12 years old. At first they didn’t realize we were Jewish. We looked like our neighbors. But then someone reported us. So our home was registered as a Jewish residence. We knew our days were numbered. Time was a ticking bomb. Then late one night a non-Jewish friend of ours showed up at our house.

“Listen to me,” he told us with great urgency. “Dig a hole under your fence and crawl out two at a time. Someone will meet you at the other end and lead you to safety. Tomorrow all the Jews in town will be executed”.

His name was Kazi Bitdayev. And he secretly took all 6 of us to the neighboring village of Zheguta. He hid us there for 8 months, each week coming back for us and relocating us to a new basement or attic. He protected us. He fed us. He was our angel. After the war we searched for him for decades, desperate to thank him for saving our lives. But it was no use. We couldn’t find him.

In 2021, we finally located Kazi’s grandchildren. And got to thank them. A moment I waited for my whole life. Hashem has truly blessed me.” Zinayida Segal (pictured holding a photo of her rescuer Kazi) passed away last August in Rostov. She is pictured with her daughter Menucha Simcha, and granddaughter Chaya.

May her memory be a blessing.

Source: Chaim Danzinger