A story that was recently unearthed was that of a woman named Yelena Vorotchik in Borisov, Belarus, and how she saved her future husband, Yakov, from certain death. In 2015, Yelena was posthumously included in the Righteous Among the Nations:
“Yakov Meilachs was born in 1921 in the city of Odessa, Ukraine. In 1939, Yakov was drafted to serve in the Red Army and after Germany attacked the Soviet Union in the summer of 1941, he was sent to the front lines. A short while after, his unit was surrounded and he was captured by the Germans and imprisoned in a prisoner of war camp in Barysaw, Belarus. While at the camp, Yakov was in constant danger of death due to his ethnic appearance which risked giving away his Jewish identity. Therefore, he changed his name to Vorotchik, which was the family name of his neighbors in Odessa.
Yefrosinia Grenko lived with her daughter, Yelena in Barysaw and worked at a cowshed of the German army unit that guarded the prisoner of war camp. Yelena came to help her mother milk the cows and took every opportunity she could to help the prisoners by smuggling food and tobacco to them. This is how Yelena met Yakov. During one brief conversation, Yelena mentioned to Yakov that he looked Jewish. Yakov revealed his secret and told her his real name, Yakov Meilachs, and that he feared that sooner or later his true identity would be discovered, and that he would be killed. Yelena told her mother of her discovery and they both decided to help him. They bribed a clerk in the population registry to issue Yakov a fake identification card changing his name from Meilachs to Vorotchik. Eventually Yakov managed to escape the camp and hid for several months at the home of Yelena and her mother, where they risked their lives to hide him. After the prison guards were replaced, and there was no danger of Yakov being recognized, he lived openly and worked at a factory. He continued to live with his rescuers, and was presented as Yelena’s fiancé. After liberation, Yakov and Yelena were married and had three children.“