27 October, 2008. New York. An American flag and a portrait of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson are here in Faina Ryzhikova's apartment. Faina El'man Ryzhikova, 82, a Jewish holocaust survivor and guerilla fighter, lives in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn, NY. After asking for help, the Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst assisted her by tapping The New York Times Needieset funds for utility expenses of $50/month for 6 months, the first grant starting on October 3, 2008.
Faina Ryzhikova was born in 1926 in Radoshkovichi, a little village 22 miles northwest from Minsk, Belarus. Back in 1939, this territory belonged to Poland. When the Germans occupied Radoshkovichi, in 1941, they created a ghetto, where Faina and her family lived and worked. In order to escape a planned pogrom by the Germans in 1942, Faina escaped into the forest where she later met the partisans of the brigade “Narodnie Mstiteli” (Avengers of the people), which she joined.
Faina's mother and sisters were killed while trying to escape. Her father survived and joined aina in 1943. Of the 2000 people that lived in the Radoshkovichi ghetto, only 18 survived. She married Vladimir Ryzhikov in 1954 and raised two sons. Faina's husband passed away in 1991, before the family came to the United States.
©2008 Gianni Cipriano for The New York Times
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