Hero’s comes in all sizes and sexes.

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A Romanian seamstress, Elisabeta (Nicopoi) Strul saved many of her Jewish neighbors during the Holocaust, including the man she would marry.

On June 28, 1941, occupying Nazi forces and complicit Romanian police carried out an assault on the Jewish community of Iasi, murdering thousands. 4,000 survived, but found themselves placed in train cars, where 2,650 suffocated or died of thirst.

Many close to Elisabeta Nicopoi did not share this fate, however. The seamstress lived and worked in Iasi, with many Jewish neighbors and coworkers. When she saw these friends forced to wear the yellow Star of David, Elisabeta sewed a patch of her own, which she wore in solidarity. And when the 21-year-old Gentile learned of the plot to harm her city’s Jews, she hurried to warn those who lived nearby.

One of her coworkers, a young Jewish man named Marcus Strul, learned of the impending danger from Elisabeta, and alerted his mother, father, and siblings. Elisabeta warned many others, as well. Not only did Elisabeta warn her neighbors, she hid 20 of them – including the entire Strul family – in a storeroom for two weeks, sneaking them food. The Nazis deported some of the men she hid to forced-labor camps. Elisabeta traveled to these camps, bringing clothing and food. Because of her actions, the Nazis detained, arrested, and beat Elisabeta. But that did not stop her kind actions.

After the war, Elisabeta married Marcus Strul, and in 1963 they made aliyah (immigrated) to Israel, where Elisabeta lived until she passed away in Haifa, Israel in 2013. But many years before, Yad Vashem named this Hero of the Holocaust Righteous Among the Nations.

Photo Credit: Yad Vashem: World Holocaust Center, Jerusalem.

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