Girl found in the forest

galyna2 galyna3 galyna4FAMILY NAME : Unknown
BIRTHDATE: Estimated 1940
BIRTH PLACE: Probably in or around Lviv / Lvov / Lwow , now in the Ukraine

Galina ‘s story
In the summer of 1944, the German Army retreated from the area around Lwow/Lviv.
Soldiers from the Red Army, moving westwards, arrived at an orphanage in this area.
One of the Red Army officers, who was Jewish, noticed a little girl among the children, a little girl he thought looked Jewish.
The staff at the orphanage had named the little girl Subbota, because she had once been found in the forest on a shabat.
The officer decided to adopt the little girl.
In 1945 he was able to bring her back to his wife in Moscow .
The adoptive parents decided to name their daughter Galina.

The basic questions
Who was this little girl?
When and where was she born?
What had happened to her parents?
Who were her biological parents?
Exactly where and when was she found and brought to the orphanage?
Where was this orphanage located?
After the war, from the summer of 1944 to 1945, did the little girl continue to stay in the same orphanage till she was adopted?

There is one official adoption paper in Galina’s possesiom. Will there be any additonal documents in archives in Lviv or Moscow concerning this adoption?

Possibilities, theories, thoughts
photo from 1944 with father
Based on this photo that was probably taken in the orphanage in the summer of 1944, how old do you estimate that Galina was at the time? We think she was around four years old.
photo from 1944 with mother

Based on this second photo taken in Moscow in 1945, with her hair very short, we estimate Galina is around five years old.
If these two assumptions are right, Galina was probably born in this area at the time of the Soviet occupation between the end of September 1939 to the end of June 1941. Where are the Lwow birth registers for this period located, if they still exist?

The place of the orphanage

According to the text on the backside of the photo from the orphanage, a place named Sjehovizi is mentioned.

(Some read the place as Bjehovizi, though we have not found any place with this name, till now.)

Using the different tools available, we wonder if Sjehovizi is a place now called Chaykovichi, and before the war Czajkovice.

This place is around 50 km SW of Lviv.

In 1929 it had 2577 residents and two Greek catholic churches.

Before the Holocaust around 49 Jews lived in Czajkovice.

If indeed Galina’s orphanage was located in Chaykovichit is not very likely that Galina’s family, if the family was Jewish, would have been able to place her in the orphanage. Also, according to the story, she had been found in the forest on a Saturday, so it is more likely her family had lived elsewhere. Perhaps in Lviv/Lwow?

Family likeness

Galina’s hope is that her face, as it has been photographed at different stages in her life, perhaps can help her find her biological roots – her own name and those of her biological parents.
Thanks to Melody Amsel who wrote an article about Galina.
Click and read the article.
Our hope is always that telling the stories of these child survivors in many different forums, will bring in new ideas and leads and help locating relatives.

Previous Comments

written by Jeff Plissner, February 26, 2009
A touching story. How tall is Galina now? Extrapolating back from her current height might provide some clue to her birth year. She appears a tad tall for a 4-year old in the 1944 picture. We Galitzieners are not noted for our height.

Maybe a little older
written by Jeanne Gold, February 19, 2009
I am struck by the photo of Galina with her father taken in 1944 where you estimate her age to be about 4. I suspect she’s a little older, maybe 5. I suggest that because of her body language: her father is smiling and the boy in the background, who is trying to also be in the picture is smiling, and Galina is not. It’s been my experience, starting about 5 years old, for about a year or 2, children often get that expression when they are being cajoled into something they don’t want to do. I am reminded of this regularly as my husband and I are raising one of our 8 grandchildren, who is now 5. This picture got me to thinking of my own children when they were younger as well as the other grandchildren. What I keep seeing are the eye brows pulled down into a frown, the tight grasp around the man’s neck, the stiff legs and the feet clasped together almost like hands. This child does not want her picture taken. And, as I said, if memory serves me, this behaviour begins about 5 or 6 years old. Combined with the next picture, where she doesn’t seem to object as much, she still seems a little uncertain about having her picture taken. So I would think she’s about 6 or 7 in that picture.

written by dana schwartz, February 14, 2009
I was five when I looked like that at that time in Lvov. You were really lucky. But I understand your sadness. I never found my father. Dana

written by Janet, February 13, 2009
Hi Galina could be of Greek or Armenian origin as well. One should search for her birth record not only in Civil registry but in Church as well.

written by Evan Fishman, February 13, 2009
I wish I could give you some concrete leads. However, I don’t think the child in the photo with the “mother” is 5 years old. She looks much younger, between 2-3 years old. Do you know for sure that the two photos were taken in 1944? Do you know that the adults were her parents?

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