Protected by The Fellowship

The Fellowship  |  June 20, 2023

Hana, elderly Holocaust survivor from Crimea living in Israel, protected by The Fellowship
(Photo: Guy Yechiely)

Hana was born and raised in a Jewish farming community in Crimea—between Ukraine and Russia. Her earliest memories were happy ones… and then the winds of war began to blow.

Sensing impending doom for his Jewish family, Hana’s father sent his two daughters off with their mother and grandparents, while he stayed behind to tend the farm. When the Nazis arrived in 1941, his family believed he’d been killed… and they believed that to be the case for the entire war.

For years, Hana and what remained of her family lived life as refugees—fleeing across the Black Sea by ship, watching a refugee boat ahead of her own being bombed by Nazi planes, and subsisting off of whatever scraps of corn could be found in fields as they fled on foot. But they survived, all the while, her “mother and grandmother shed a lot of tears, thinking that dad died on the front. It was only in 1946, when we returned to Crimea, that my father found us.”

Yes, after more than five years of war, after more than five years of surviving the Holocaust, after more than five years of believing the worst, Hana’s family was again reunited.

Hana attended medical school in the Soviet Union, and began a career caring for others as a gynecologist. Despite her hard work, she often faced anti-Semitism from the communist regime under which she lived and served. And despite her 40 years of practicing medicine, she was left with no pension or savings.

Having made aliyah (immigrated to Israel) after retiring, Hana admits she hadn’t done so earlier for fear she would be taking someone else’s place. But, now that she has made the Holy Land her home, she wonders why she didn’t come to her biblical homeland sooner.

And, in her home in southern Israel, this Holocaust survivor knows she can live out her final years in dignity and comfort because of friends around the world who care for her. “I am very glad that I get to know the wonderful people from The Fellowship. I don’t like to complain about my life, and I can be content with little. However, with delight and joy in my heart, I am being protected by The Fellowship.”

Your gift today will bless an elderly person in Israel—someone like Hana—providing basic necessities and lifesaving care.