“When the Nazis came, they came for us. I was one of three children, but I pretended that I did not belong to my family and that is how I survived,” says 93-year-old Mariya, a cold and tired Jewish woman who still lives in the same village the Nazis invaded as World War II began.
“I was blonde and didn’t look Jewish, so they thought I was Ukrainian. They took me to Germany and I became a servant in one of the commanders’ homes,” Mariya recalls. “But my family was shot.”
After the war, Mariya returned to her village, alone. To the house her father “built with his own hands.” There she spent decades alone. The Soviet era proved no better than the Nazis. “We ate whatever we found. People died like flies and nobody even buried them.” Mariya survived that, too, alone.
Mariya is still alone, even today. A neighbor sometimes brings her bread and water from the well. Mariya lays there, bedridden and “tired of this life, tired of being alone.”
When Fellowship volunteers arrive with fresh food and help with heat, Mariya is proud and doesn’t want to accept help. “I am a simple person and have everything I need.”
But the help and love provided by Fellowship friends is exactly what Mariya needs. The visits and support put a smile on this lonely Jewish woman’s face for the first time in ages, and she says “That you for not forgetting me.”