You Bring Her Light and Happiness

The Fellowship  |  October 16, 2023

Varvara, blind Holocaust survivor, receives aid from The Fellowship in Ukraine
(Photo: Alexander Rozhenyuk)

Varvara is completely blind. And completely dependent on others just to survive.

The 89-year-old Jewish woman lives outside Kyiv with her elderly husband and their adult daughter on the small family farm. Her daughter tends their chickens and their cow, and takes care of her aging and infirm parents. It is a hard life, made harder by the ongoing war in Ukraine.

But hardship is all Varvara has ever known. When WWII began, Varvara was only nine years old, the youngest of four children. Life changed when the Nazis invaded her family’s village. All of the Jewish men were gathered up and shot. The rest of the village’s Jewish population was sent to labor camps.

“My father opened the door wide and said, ‘Children, the Nazis are here. Danger is coming,’” Varvara remembers. “I became an orphan that day.”

Although she survived, life remained hard for Varvara—eight decades of subsistence farming, Soviet rule, and now yet another war. “I’m happy that I’m blind because I can’t see with my eyes the horrors of this war, with so many people dying,” she says, “but even in my darkness, I feel the pain.”

But despite the darkness which has once again consumed her life and her home, Varvara has found hope in The Fellowship, who regularly visit with food, with friendship, and with much-needed emergency supplies. “You brought light and happiness to my house. Thank you for your help.”

With your best gift today, Jewish people in need—many of them elderly and Holocaust survivors like Varvara—will receive lifesaving emergency supplies and hope-giving help.

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