‘Thank You, God, That I’m in Israel’

The Fellowship  |  June 6, 2022

Polina, an elderly Holocaust survivor cared for by The Fellowship in Israel
(Photo: Arik Shraga)

Polina might be 90 years old. But both the memory and voice of this sweet Jewish woman living in Israel are still strong and clear.

“I was 10 when World War II began,” she remembers. “My first war memories are of trying to catch the last evacuation train.” Polina’s family—her parents and her two siblings—were able to escape the Nazis, although their documents were stolen and they faced the struggles of living as refugees. But the rest of Polina’s family wasn’t so lucky. Other than one aunt who survived the Holocaust, every other member of Polina’s family died—either murdered by the Nazis or succumbing to starvation.

Polina, too, remembers going hungry. “We were starving,” she says. “We would cut every tiny piece of bread into five pieces. My brother became blind because of the constant hunger, as well as malaria.”

Polina remembers happily the day when her brother’s eyesight returned. And she remembers her family’s return to Moldova, where she married and also taught school.

Sadly, Polina’s husband died young, and she never remarried. But she did fulfill a dream when she made aliyah (immigrated) to Israel, where she lives alone in a small apartment at an assisted living facility. And, there in the Holy Land, Polina does not feel alone. “Thanks to The Fellowship and this country, I receive everything I need,” she says. “The first thing I say when I wake up in the morning is, ‘Thank you, God, that I’m in Israel!’”

You can be a blessing to one of God’s children in the Holy Land of Israel.

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