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Miriam and Aaron Gopman papers

Document | Digitized | Accession Number: 2017.635.1

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    Miriam and Aaron Gopman papers

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    The collection consists of a manuscript by Fern Sharon Ellis entitled "Miriam Gopman: The Courage of a Hero and Her Story of Survival” describing the prewar, wartime, and postwar experiences of Mirian Gopman of Tarashcha, Ukraine. Also included are reparation documents of Miriam and her husband Aaron Gopman, Polish and Russian military identification cards of Aaron, and a document regarding Aaron’s arrest in Tarashcha in 1958.
    inclusive:  1946-2017
    Credit Line
    United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Collection, Gift of Fern Sharon Ellis.
    Collection Creator
    Miriam Gopman
    Aaron Gopman
    Miriam Shir (later Gopman) was born on 18 March 1929 to parents Aaron and Rivka (Greenfeld) in Tarashcha, Ukraine, where Aaron worked as a blacksmith. She had three older brothers, Aleksander, Emil, and Simon. After the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, Miriam and her parents, as well as a sister in-law, Mania, and nephew Motcyk, were deported to a ghetto established on Tarashcha street. Her brothers had already been drafted into the Red Army. In the ghetto the Shir family lived with two other Jewish families who were also exploited by local authorities as forced laborers.

    In November of 1941 the Tarashha ghetto was liquidated, but the Shirs and Mania and Motcyk were spared along with two other families due to their specific trade skills. Concerned for Miriam’s safety, Aaron arranged for her to be smuggled out with help from his friend Vladimir, a non-Jewish policeman with whom he had been friends. They gave Miriam the false identity of Maria Nesterenko, a Ukrainian refugee whose parents had been killed. Vladimir arranged for Miriam to be adopted by his brother and his wife. He took her to his parents’ house outside of Tarashcha. After three weeks, she was taken to a small village where Vladimir’s brother and sister-in-law lived. By 1942, Miriam’s parents had been killed, but Mania and Motcyk managed to escape and had directions from Aaron to Vladimir’s brother’s house.

    After Mania and Motcyk arrived at Miriam’s new home, her foster parents realized Miriam was Jewish. They told her they couldn’t continue to hide her and that she, Mania, and Motcyk would need to leave. She and Mania split up. Mania and Motcyk were killed in the spring of 1943. Miriam continued to live under her false identity and found work on various farms in Stavyshche, Ukraine.

    After liberation by Soviet forces in 1944 Miriam returned to Tarashcha and was eventually reunited with her brother Aleksander, her only surviving family member. Miriam studied to become a kindergarten teacher and married Aaron Gopman in 1946. The couple had two children and immigrated to the United States from Poland in 1962.
    Aaron Gopman (1919-2003) was born on 17 December 1919 in Wiśniowiec, Poland (Vyshnivet︠s︡ʹ (Ukraine) to Mordechai and Chava (née Hokhgelerenter). Mordechai and Chava were the proprietors of a shop in the town and did business with many of the local farms. Aaron had two younger sisters, Basia and Marissa. In 1939 Wiśniowiec was occupied by Soviet forces. Aaron was then drafted by the Red Army. He had no communication with them during the war, and only learned that they perished upon his return to Wiśniowiec. He left Wiśniowiec and settled in Tarashcha where he met and married Miriam Shir, a fellow survivor. In 1951 Aaron faced persecution from the Soviet state, lost his position as a business manager, and was imprisoned. Aaron spent 8 years in a series of Russian gulags. He and Miriam immigrated to the United States in 1962.

    Physical Details

    3 folders
    System of Arrangement
    The collection is arranged as a single series.

    Rights & Restrictions

    Conditions on Access
    There are no known restrictions on access to this material.
    Conditions on Use
    The donor, source institution, or a third party has asserted copyright over some or all of these material(s). The Museum does not own the copyright for the material and does not have authority to authorize use. For permission, please contact the rights holder(s).

    Keywords & Subjects

    Geographic Name
    Tarashcha (Ukraine)

    Administrative Notes

    Donated to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum by Fern Sharon Ellis in 2017.
    Record last modified:
    2023-02-24 14:30:46
    This page:

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