• Mother Viktoria (47) and her son Anton (17). | Photos: C4I
SOS Ukraine

‘When the war is over, Christians for Israel will bring all the men to Israel’

Rita Quartel - 26 March 2022

When Viktoria (47) shares her story, tears flow. Only a few days earlier, she had to say goodbye to her husband and eldest son (25). They are not allowed to leave Ukraine. Her youngest son Anton is more fortunate. He is 17 (will turn 18 in two weeks’ time) and can therefore just leave. However, the days before he flees the country are pretty heavy.

As a student in the city of Irpin (Kiev region) he is in the middle of an area of war violence. The bridge to the city is being bombed and together with fellow students he spends several days in an underground parking garage, scared and waiting for what is to come. Anton: “We could hear the military planes flying low overhead. On the first day of the encirclement by the Russian army, the city was sealed off. No one and nothing could get in or out. There was no water and no food. A church was also bombed.”

Fortunately, after a few days, a humanitarian corridor offers a solution, and Anton and other students – including his own brother – are being evacuated. They end up – like Viktoria after her flight from eastern Ukraine – in the shelter of Christians for Israel in southwestern Ukraine. At that time, her husband and the boys’ father, is still in Krivoy Rog, a city in the east where there is heavy fighting. Unfortunately, there’s no chance for Anton to say goodbye to his father.

Viktoria’s grandfather (‘a man of faith’) regularly told his granddaughter about the promises for the Jewish people as told by the prophets. “He was an example to us.” The decision to leave for Israel now was therefore made quickly (within a day). Viktoria: ‘We also have relatives living there, and think that Israel is safe, even though there is fighting there sometimes. Some of our relatives have made Aliyah through Christians for Israel, and my aunt, who left last year, couldn’t keep quiet about it.”

For Anton, the move to Israel means that he will have to join the Israeli army pretty soon, something he doesn’t mind. He also wants to master the Hebrew language and learn a profession as quickly as possible. It still hurts that he had to leave his father, brother, and friends behind, and – like his mother – he hopes the war will be over soon, so that the family can be reunited, in Israel! Viktoria bravely laughs her tears away. “We are not the only ones who have to go through this difficult time now. And when the war is over, Christians for Israel will bring all the men to Israel.”

Yochanan (56), a dentist from Kiev, also hopes for a quick family reunion, although in this case it involves his wife’s sister. She lived with him and his wife and daughter, but at the time the Russian army attacked the city, and many people got evacuated, she was not at home. Since then, they have not heard from her. They don’t know if she is still alive or hiding somewhere. A dark shadow over the already difficult last weeks. Yochanan: “Those last weeks were full of burned down villages, many other tragedies, loss and mourning. Yet, he is not without hope. “We are religious people and believe what the Almighty has spoken through His prophets: I will scatter you, but one day, I will gather you again in the land I promised you. The plans of the Almighty do not depend on our wishes. If He says He is going to do this, then that is what will happen, no matter what.’ And now Yochanan, his wife and 13-year-old daughter leave for Israel for good.

Yochanan (56)

So is 92-year-old Ludmila from Vinnitsa, who is a widow. Together with her daughter and son-in-law, she is the last of the family to move to Israel. Her son and other daughter with their children have been living there for several years now. The very elderly Ludmila looks remarkably fit and talks proudly about her children and grandchildren. She has to leave everything behind but emphasizes several times how rich she feels because of her wonderful family.

Ludmilla (92)

As a Holocaust survivor, she knows all too well the downsides of existence. When World War II breaks out, she is only ten years old. Her Jewish father joins the army to fight the Nazis. With her mother she hides in a village in the countryside. When they are forced to flee, it is not an easy escape. “There was no train, no place on the train or it was too dangerous. What is happening now, reminds me of those days.” All three of them survive the Holocaust. Later, Ludmila marries a Jewish man (‘Steven Spielberg made a documentary about him’). And although they are both proud of their Jewish identity, making Aliyah is not high on the agenda. Until a few weeks ago when the violence of war erupts. Ludmila’s decision to leave for Israel is taken within two hours.

Someone who has dreamed all his life of living in Israel is 82-year-old Vladimir from Krivoy Rog, in eastern Ukraine. “I always thought that making Aliyah was impossible and that I could only go after having saved enough money to make a living there.” When the war breaks out, his hometown Krivoy Rog is in the middle of the battlefield, and when the opportunity arises, he jumps on a bus for refugees heading to western Ukraine. The destination seems to be Romania, but on the bus, he meets Viktoria (see above), who tells him about Christians for Israel and the possibility of making Aliyah. “If I had known that I would go to Israel, I would have dressed better”, he jokes.

Vladimir (82)

Vladimir is a widower, and his daughter has also passed away. He has only one grandson (whom he raised largely by himself after the early death of his daughter), who lives in Israel. Vladimir is welcome to move in with his grandson but doesn’t think that’s a good idea. “He’s 23 and I’m 82, so we have different interests. In the same village is fine, but not in the same house.” Vladimir doesn’t know yet what to expect from the Israeli way of life. “The most important is that I can see my grandson again.”

“Hear the word of the LORD, you nations; proclaim it in distant coastlands:
‘He who scattered Israel will gather them and will watch over His flock like a shepherd’.”

Jeremiah 31:10

Emergency Assistance
Jewish refugees are brought from our shelter in Ukraine to Moldova. Buses then bring them to airports in either Moldova or Romania. From there, they are brought to Israel. The expense of such a bus trip is € 4000 or $4400. This is about € 100 or $110 per person. Would you like to assist one or more Jewish refugees with their evacuation and emigration to Israel? Or do you want to sponsor a whole bus? Please support our emergency campaign. Your support is of vital importance. Thank you in advance!


About the Author