Dmytro and his wife, Maryna, felt overwhelmed as they witnessed their country fall apart in 2014. A clash between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian military turned eastern Ukraine into a chaotic, deadly warzone. This is when life in Ukraine became unbearable.
Dmytro wanted to stay out of the conflict from the very beginning. "I was an opponent of the revolution that occurred in the capital of Ukraine,” says Dmytro. “Tens of thousands of Ukrainians spent several months in the main square of the country at the end of 2013 and in the beginning of 2014. They protested against the corrupt government. It ended with the deaths of hundreds of people.”
The family knew they needed to leave their country. The quality of life in Ukraine started declining as the economy suffered and people lost their jobs. They decided it was time to relocate, so they returned home to Israel on a Fellowship Freedom Flight.
Moving to Israel has stirred up some memories of Dmytro’s Jewish past. In particular, he remembers the story of his grandfather being shot and injured at Babi Yar, the site of the largest single massacre of Jews during the Holocaust.
“Thousands of Kiev Jews were killed there during the Nazi occupation of Kiev. Only a few Jews managed to escape this fate. My grandmother was with my grandfather during the occupation in Kiev. They survived because they were hidden by kind people.”
But even though the Jewish people carry this painful history, Dmytro is excited to learn more about his Jewish roots in Israel. He knows life in the Holy Land will bring his family hope and belonging.
Overall, they feel very grateful at the chance for a fresh start. “It has been a pleasure making aliyah (immigrating to Israel) with The Fellowship,” says Dmytro. “The Fellowship staff was always ready to help, and they answered any questions we had.” The family is ready to work hard and be proud, contributing members of the Jewish state.