Liudmyla Tkach

Year of birth 1936
Date of arrest 29 September 1941
Place of rescue Babyn Yar
Date of rescue 30 September 1941
Location of the stumbling stone Frolivska St. 3
Stumbling stone installation date 30 September 2021

Life story

1936.12.25 – Liudmyla Sara Tkach (Knysh, after stepfather) was born in Tarashcha, Kyiv region. When Liudmyla was 2 years old, her father, a colonel, was taken away at night.

1939 – Liudmyla’s mother marries her first husband’s friend.

1941.09.29 – Liudmyla and her mother Olena Borodyanska-Knysh Yukhymivna were taken to Babyn Yar.
1941.09.30 (00:30, according to Liudmyla) – the time of the last part of the shooting, where Liudmyla and her mother were taken to. Mother and daughter didn’t wait for shooting to start, they jumped right off into the Yar, that’s why they survived. At night, Liudmyla and her mother got out of the Babyn Yar. Later they looked for a hiding place.
According to the testimony of Liudmyla’s mother, Olena Borodyanska-Knysh: for 4 days they had been hiding at Fedora Shelest’s place. The address was Borychiv Tik Street 19, Apt. 5. Later they stayed at Yevheniia Litoshenko’s place, Prytysko-Mykilska St. 3, Apt. 12. After that they hid at mother’s friend’s place. (only the surname is known – Shkuropadska).
According to Liudmyla Tkach, they had been hiding at Yevheniia Plyuyko’s place for two weeks. Then they hid at her mother’s friend’s place. Later at Nataliia Dolia’s place, Prytysko-Mykilska St. 3. Later Liudmyla hid at Yevheniia’s place, she does not say her surname.
(Here testimonies are confused. We assume that she may confuse Yevheniia Plyuyko and Yevheniia Litoshenko. The testimony of Lyudmila’s mother for the Black Book states that they first hid at Yevheniia Litoshenko’s place and later at Yevheniia Plyuyko’s, who told her neighbors that Olena is her husband’s sister, who went to the front. Liudmyla also mentions the introduction of Olena as her husband’s sister, but says that the other Yevheniia did that. Ludmyla was about 5 years old at the time of the events).
After that they hid at Valentyna Lytvynenko’s place. Valentyna holds the high title of the Righteous of Babyn Yar.
According to the Book of the Righteous, Liudmyla and her mother stayed at Valentyna Lytvynenko’s place, Frunze St. 37. She was a coworker of Luidmyla’s mom at Krasin tram depot before the war.
In December 1941, Liudmyla and her mother were looking for a shelter. They stayed in a village of Popilniia, at local resident Halyna’s place. Her mother was working in the garden. Later, she helped cooking for German soldiers, who came in, as Halyna did, because she didn’t look Jewish. Afterwards, Liudmyla and her mom changed the hiding place, they walked to Bila Tserkva, then to villages Skryva and Mynkivtsi, where Liudmyla’s mother had a friend. But woman’s family was against their staying, so she found another place. There was a woman, Agatha. Liudmyla and her mom had been staying at her place and had been working hard for about a year.
From September 1942 till 1944 Liudmyla and her mother had been living in an empty house in a village Mynkivtsi. Their neighbours Mykhailo and Lukeriia Hryhorenko and their children Lidiia, Olha and Mariia helped them. All of them held the high title of the Righteous Among the Nations.
In January 1943 Liudmyla’s mother Olena Borodyanska-Knysh Khaimova (Yukhymivna) went to Kyiv on a partisan mission. She was suspected, questioned and beaten afterwards, they pierced her skull. On her way back, Olena rescued the wounded soldier Mykola from suicide and returned to the village with him. Her neigbour Halyna took care of Liudmyla.
In March 1943, Germans came into Mynkivtsi and started gathering food for the army. It wasn’t enough for them what they took, so they started taking people to prison. Liudmyla’s mother was taken too, but she managed to escape. Liudmyla ran out after her mother barefoot, so she fall ill afterwards.

Autumn 1943 – a keeper beat up Liudmyla for some spikelets, she lifted from the ground after the harvest. Military actions had started in Mynkivtsi. Liudmyla and her mom, together with Mykola and girls from the village were hiding in a cellar. By November, the village had been liberated by Soviet troops.
In April 1944, Liudmyla’s family started moving to Kyiv. They got the apartment on Frolivska St. 3 (Apt. 15). Liudmyla’s mom sent the wounded Mykola to the hospital. She returned to Mynkivtsi for groceries, leaving Liudmyla in the apartment, the girl was ill. On the way back to Bila Tserkva, her mother had an accident and had been hospitalized. After returning to Kyiv, she had to stay at hospital for a year. Liudmyla lived alone (Mykola was in the hospital), taking care of the neighbors’ children for food.
In the end of 1944 – the beginning of 1945 Liudmyla’s disease hadn’t been retreating, the neighbors took her to a TB clinic. It turned out, that the girl had double pneumonia. She was assigned to one of the dispensaries and was fed potato soup once a day. The neighbors were helping her.
In winter 1945 it was hard for people who were helping Liudmyla to provide for themselves, so she had to sell water and beg at the Zhytniy market. She let tenants in, but they didn‘t pay neither with food, nor with money. The neighbours helped to kick them out.
Winter 1945 – Liudmyla had no means of subsistence, so she asked the local police for help. They sent her to the Krekhiv orphanage in the Zhovkva district.
1945-1947 the girl was living in the orphanage. She was later assigned to care for children with scabies. She was helping nurces and received her first money for that, which she mailed to her mother, who had already left the hospital.
In 1947 Liudmyla’s mother came for her after recovery. Thanks to the help of soldiers, they returned to Kyiv. After returning, Lyudmyla got meningitis.
1955 – Liudmyla married Valentyn Tkach. She attended evening school, received secondary education.
1956 – the couple had a son, Anatolii. Later, because of the family quarrels Liudmyla took their son and left her husband. She had been working at the Mayak plant for 38 years, where she never had any privileges. Soon she got the apartment.
1983 her mother died.
1989 Anatolii Tkach emigrated to Los Angeles, USA.
December 16, 1993 – Lyudmila Tkach flew to her son to Los Angeles, receiving refugee status in Moscow. In America, she felt free from anti-Semitism, received documents on disability and an apartment.
2002 – Liudmyla died.

Links and documents:

  1. Interview with Ludmila Tkach on the Iwitness platform

# 23-26 – information about how Lyudmila Tkach managed to survive.

# 34 – information about the address where Lyudmila was hiding.

# 106-112 – information about photos.

# 98, # 104, # 108 – information about the son.

# 104, # 110 – information about the grandson.

# 108 – about her husband.

  1. Hrossman V., Ehrenburg I. (1980) Black Book. Jerusalem (pp. 23-25)
  2. From the record of the NKVD interrogation as a witness, who escaped from the shooting in Babyn Yar E. Knysh. DA SBU, f. 7, op. 8, file no. 1, p. 61–63.

  1. Levitas I. (2011) Babyn Yar. Tragedy, history, memory. 1941-2011. (pp. 181-182) Kyiv: NIMZ ‘Babyn Yar’ [in Ukrainian].
  2. Photo source: