The story of Shprinya from Ukraine

editor - 12 April 2018

A few weeks ago an assault took place in a town near Vinnitsa (Ukraine) and Shprinya, survivor of the Holocaust, and her adopted son were severely wounded. After being in coma for several days in the hospital she passed away. During the last years of her life she was regularly visited by Christians for Israel and received food parcels. We recorded her tragic life story. Almost everyone in her huge family passed away during the Holocaust. Today we want to share her story.

 Shprinya was born in 1938 in the Ukrainian village of Murafa, near Shargorod. She was one of twelve siblings – two girls and ten boys.

When World War II started, her village became a ghetto. „First came the Germans, then the Romanians,“ says Shprinya. „They took all the able-bodied men for forced labor. However, they didn‘t take dad. He had a prosthetic leg because of an accident. Same with his brother – he had lost a leg to frost bite. My oldest brother was drafted to fight in the Red Army. He was a lieutenant colonel. He went missing in action. My other brothers and sisters starved to death. I know nothing about them.“

In the early 1940s, Shprinya also lost her mother; why she died, Shprinya doesn‘t know.

„Toward the end of the war, my father moved to Vinnitsa, taking me and my only surviving brother with him,“ Shprinya continues. „It was a hard life. We lived on the street… Good people took us in, once in a while, and gave us some food. In return, we helped them around the house.

Then we moved to Moldova. In Soroki, my father put us in an orphanage so we would have something to eat.”

„Father would visit us every week. One day, he took us to the Banya, the Russian sauna. The Moldovans and the Romanians insulted us, calling us “zhidy” [derogative for Jew]. I cried so much that father pulled us out of the orphanage. Then we lived on the street again, begging for food.

Eventually my father met a woman with two sons, and they got married. But the woman was like an evil stepmother to us. She gave us nothing to eat and constantly scolded us. I was only 10. I had no childhood, basically. My brother disappeared some time after the war, in the 1950s…”

When Shprinya was 16, she went to Central Asia, on her own, all the way to Dzhardzhou in Turkmenistan. She stayed for 20 years.

„I got married in Dzhardzhou,“ Shprinya continues. „After one year, my husband died in an accident. For seven years, I stayed alone; then I got married again. I never had children. I adopted one son.“

Eventually Shprinya moved to the village of Voronovitsa, near Vinnitsa, with her family. Her husband passed away 14 years ago.


Koen Carlier (Aliyah fieldworker Ukraine) shares: ‘It was very emotional for us to hear that Shprinya passed away after this terrible assault. Little is known about the Holocaust that took place in Ukraine. The survivors are often isolated and have little financial means. As Christians for Israel we visit the Holocaust survivors, listen to their stories and assist them practically by providing food parcels.


The story of Shprinya was recorded by Anemone Rüger, C4I Project Coordinator Holocaust Survivors Ukraine



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