On Fox News at Night, Fellowship President and CEO Yael Eckstein pleas for help for Ukrainian Holocaust survivors at risk yet again
March 17, 2022
On Fox News at Night, Yael Eckstein, president and CEO of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship), mentioned the story of a Ukrainian Jew and Holocaust survivor who was in serious danger. This man just recently made his way to Moldova, and now to Israel, with the persistent help of his grandson, other compassionate helpers throughout Eastern Europe and The Fellowship. That man is Boris Minkovich.
“I see Holocaust survivors who, for the third time in their life, are being uprooted and moved,” said Eckstein in her interview. She went on to explain that just the other day she met Boris, who survived the Holocaust, “was evacuated overnight, with bombs falling, and brought to the border in Moldova where The Fellowship airlifted him to Israel.”
“I didn’t have any detailed plan. All I knew was I needed to take my grandfather out of the city and save him,” says Samuel Minkovich (30), who made his way from Russia to Chisinau, Moldova to meet his grandfather and take him to his new home in Israel.
Boris Minkovich, now 91 years old, was born in Sumy, Ukraine. In 1941, as an 11-year-old boy, he was forced to flee Ukraine for the first time, as his family made their way to Uzbekistan where others evacuated hoping to survive the horrors of the Holocaust. When WWII ended, Boris returned to Ukraine, began studying physics in Kharkiv, became a famous scientist, invented several types of antennas, and authored several books. Since then, he never left Kharkiv—until this past week.
Boris initially chose to stay in Ukraine the rest of his life. In recent years, he has lived alone, and as he has grown frail he has needed assistance in everyday activities.
“When the situation became really dangerous in Kharkiv, I understood that my grandfather had to leave the city immediately,” Boris’ grandson said. “But he didn’t agree with me. He said that he was born in Ukraine and will die here.”
Samuel repeatedly attempted to persuade his grandfather to move from Kharkiv, a city that was being bombed nearly every hour. Boris couldn’t quickly get to any sort of shelter, which means he was at significant risk of falling victim to one of Russia’s missile attacks.
When Samuel finally got his grandfather’s agreement, he said was in touch with more than 200 people to ensure the operation to get his grandfather to safety would be possible. “Almost 40 people were directly involved in moving my grandfather from Kharkiv to Moldova,” Samuel said. “First, I found some very good people who came to his home and took him to the city synagogue. There, everybody was waiting for the bus to take them to Dnipro.”
At one point on the journey, someone called Samuel to inform him that his grandfather fell ill and that he needed to get to a hospital. But no ambulance was available, so he continued on the bus to Moldova. Several other Ukrainians helped Boris finally make it to Chisinau, and there he was sent immediately to a hospital.
After hours of driving across Russia, through Estonia, a flight to Poland, a drive to Romania, and then a bus to Chisinau, Samuel finally made it to Moldova himself to ensure his grandfather received the care and attention he deserved.
“I finally met him in the hospital, and I cried like a child,” Samuel said. After a few days there, Samuel brought his grandfather to his hotel and then arranged a visa for him to be able to get on the next Fellowship aliyah (the Hebrew word for immigration to Israel) flight to Tel Aviv.
“My grandfather always was a conscious Jew, which means he knew that in an ideal situation he had to move to Israel, but it was not so easy to change his whole life and make aliyah,” Samuel added. “The team from The Fellowship helped us to arrange the flight, and thanks to them, we didn’t have to wait too much time.”
“Now grandfather is at home—in the Holy Land,” Samuel exclaimed. Boris has been registered in a nursing home in Rehovot, Israel. “He is taken care of here in the best possible way. He is so happy to be here. He wants to see Jerusalem – this is his dream now.”