In their one-room apartment in Veria, Greece, Melpomeni Dina and her sisters sheltered the entire Mordechai family, despite the incredible risks.
By United With Israel Staff
For the first time in decades, two siblings who survived the Holocaust were reunited with the Greek woman who saved their lives during the Holocaust.
The tears kept flowing on Sunday at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, as 92-year-old Melpomeni Dina (née Gianopoulou) embraced Sarah Yanai and Yossi Mor.
Yossi and Sarah told reporters from the Jerusalem Post about their emotional reunion with Melpomeni.
“She reminded me of how we used to play together,” Yossi said. “Thanks to her, we have our large and beautiful family.”
Sarah said that there “were no words to describe this feeling,” and it was “very emotional for us to be together again.”
Both siblings introduced Melpomeni to nearly 40 members of their respective families, including two grandchildren who are currently serving in the IDF.
Mentes and Mari Mordechai and their five children, Sarah, Asher, Shmuel, Rachel, and Yossi were all taken into hiding by Melpomeni and her two older sisters Efthimia and Bithleem after the German’s captured Greece in 1941.
Efthimia knew the Mordechai family well, as she had studied to be a seamstress at Mari’s studio. Since she was very poor and an orphan, Mari had not charged her for the lessons.
“They saved us because they loved my mother for her good heart,” Yossi said.
In their one-room apartment in Veria, Greece, Melpomeni and her sisters sheltered the entire Mordechai family, despite the incredible risks.
Sadly, Shmuel became very sick and died during that time.
The Gianopoulou sisters helped the Mordechai’s escape to the Vermio mountains after the Germans sensed that something was amiss. They provided for the family until the end of the war.
Melpomeni, Efthimia, and Bithleem were recognized as Righteous Among the Nations by Yad Vashem, the State of Israel and the Jewish people in 1994.
Close to 24,000 persons from 45 countries have thus far been identified and honored as Righteous Among the Nations. Their names are inscribed on the Wall of Honor in the Garden of the Righteous at Yad Vashem.
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