Aharon Weiss was 12 years old when the Nazis invaded Boryslav and started sending Jewish families to concentration camps. But a Ukrainian neighbor, Yulia, agreed to hide Aharon and his family from the Germans, even as her own son Yuzek joined the Nazi’s Ukrainian Police. They survived. But when the war ended, and the incoming Soviets were hunting for Nazi collaborators, Yulia asked the Weiss family for a special favor: to hide the Nazi son that would have sent them to the gas chambers.
When the Soviets invaded Ukraine, Olia Ilkiv, a 27-year-old mother of two young children joined the Ukrainian Resistance Army. But when the KGB caught and arrested her, they subjected her to torture and prison. They also dispatched her children for adoption with changed names in an orphanage. Olia still refused to give up information about her compatriots, assuming she’d never see her children again. But she never imagined, more than a decade later, one of her most hated captors would be instrumental in retracing her son and daughter.
Raised as a patriotic Pole, Stanislav Bartminski became a priest in order to save his nation from Communist rule. But when he took charge of a small parish to organize support against Soviet occupation, he encountered such sectarian hatred in his own parish that his life took another course. Since then he has made it his mission to restore the multicultural heritage of his homeland by leading a movement to restore Jewish and Ukrainian cemeteries, as well as synagogues and Ukrainian churches.