How an Orthodox Priest Saved Jews from the Holocaust

The Holocaust is the mass genocide of Jews during the Second World War. During this time, the Nazis killed about 6 million people. The most mass murder of Jews took place in 1941 in Kiev in the Babiy Yar tract – in two days the Nazis shot 33 thousand people.

Archpriest Alexei Glagolev (1901-1972) is a priest of the Russian Orthodox Church who saved Jews during the occupation of Kiev by the Nazis. Together with his family, Father Alexei hid them in the basement of the Protection Church, sent them to the apartments assigned to the parish. Those who could not be hidden were issued baptismal certificates and documents for employment in the church – such people were considered by the German government to be Orthodox, which means they were not Jews.

Archpriest Alexei Glagolev with his family: wife Tatiana and children Magdalene, Maria and Nikolai

Tatyana Pavlovna, the wife of Father Alexei’s, gave her passport to a Jewish woman, into which a photograph of the hiding woman was glued. This is how the priest himself recalled it:

“My wife almost paid with her life for her desperate act. The Gestapo (the official secret police of Nazi Germany and in German-occupied Europe) men who walked around the apartments for the purpose of requisitioning asked to see her passport and, when it turned out it was not there, announced that they would take my wife to the Gestapo as a suspicious person. Few returned home from the Gestapo. We barely managed to persuade them to leave my wife alone, confirming her identity with testimony. “

In 1943, Father Alexei was arrested and sent to Germany, but he managed to escape. After the war, the priest continued to serve in various parishes of Kiev until his death. In 1992, Israel awarded priest Alexei Glagolev the honorary title of Righteous Among the Nations (an honorific used by the State of Israel to describe non-Jews who risked their lives during the Holocaust to save Jews from extermination by the Nazis for altruistic reasons) for the salvation of Jews.

Translated by The Catalogue of Good Deeds

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