Tatyana Zhuravliova, an 83-year-old Holocaust survivor in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv, recalled painful memories she has had in her heart for nearly 80 years when Russian air strikes began in the capital on Feb. 24. In the early 1940s, when Zhuravliova was a little girl, she fled to Kazakhstan with her mother when the Nazis started massacring Jews in her hometown Odesa.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has turned everything back to 80 years ago for Zhuravliova. The only thing that has changed is that she is now too old to run and hide under the table like she did as a little girl when air raid alerts went off. “I just stayed inside my apartment and prayed that the bombs would not kill me,” Zhuravliova said.
According to a New York-based Jewish group, there are about 10,000 Holocaust survivors in Ukraine, who are suffering from the trauma of war again like Zhuravliova. At least 500 of them are practically trapped inside their house as they are unable to move due to health conditions. This is why Jewish organizations around the world are helping those survivors escape from Ukraine. Zhuravliova decided to flee Ukraine after receiving calls from one of the Jewish groups.
Coincidentally, Zhuravliova fled to Germany, the country that left an indelible scar on her. Upon arriving at a nursing home in Frankfurt, Germany, Zhuravliova told The Associated Press on Saturday that she thinks Germany has learned from the past and is trying to do something good for the Jews.
Two other Holocaust survivors in Kyiv, Galina Ulyanova and Larisa Dzuenko, were also taken to the nursing home on an ambulance. Ulyanova, who is unable to move due to her health conditions, got out of her eight-floor apartment for the first time in eight years. Two men had to carry her down the stairs from her apartment.
Dzuenko, who are suffering from diabetes, had to endure a 26-hour ride on an ambulance, receiving intravenous infusions. “When I was a little girl, I had to flee from the Germans with my mom to Uzbekistan, where we had nothing to eat and I was so scared of all those big rats there,” Dzuenko said. “All my life I thought the Germans were evil, but now they were the first ones to reach out to us and rescue us.”
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