‘The Fellowship Is Very Important to Me’

The Fellowship  |  January 22, 2024

Holocaust survivor, elderly, food box, poverty
(Photo: Guy Yechiely)

Born in 1927 to a Jewish family in a small Ukrainian village, Merra remembers a happy childhood filled with Jewish customs, a close nit community, and remembers her family speaking Yiddish.

But that all changed when the Nazis invaded in 1941. Merra was just 14 years old. Right away, her father was sent to the front. He told his family to run far away. Sadly, Merra’s mother stayed behind to care for the elderly in the family too sick to travel, while she encouraged Merra to evacuate. Later, Merra learned that the Nazis spent two weeks finding all the Jewish people in town to murder them. This was her mother’s fate.

Merra spent her teenage years on the run from the Nazis. “Everywhere we went people told us that the Nazis are continuing to move forward, and we must continue.” With just the clothes on her back and no parents to watch over her, Merra remembers feeling such fear and worry that she wouldn’t survive.

Today, she is reminded again of enemies who wish to harm the Jewish people ever since the attacks on October 7. But she also knows today is a different time. Today, the Jewish people have a homeland to protect them, and they also have Fellowship friends around the world who support them. She explains: “I still feel the fear we felt and the feeling that every day could be our last day. The war in Israel now brings back all these memories again. The murderous attacks of Hamas are like the Nazis who simply wanted to kill Jews. At least now we have the IDF that is protecting us.”

And when The Fellowship visited recently to deliver a food box and some companionship, this sweet survivor said, “Thanks to this support I never feel like I am lacking anything, like I did as a child. The assistance I receive from The Fellowship is very important to me.”

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