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Israel Unites Us! – March of Life in Ukraine

editor - 18 September 2019

A unique event took place on July 19, 2019 in Ukraine with the support of Christians for Israel. The March of Life (*) in Ukraine was organized for the first time in 2010. Ukraine has already received the descendants of the Nazis from Germany, who came to repent before the Jews. But this year The March of Life took place in Western Ukraine, in the city of Lviv (Lemberg), a region beset by difficult economic and political circumstances.

Difficult religious relations too: Greek and Roman Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox.

Complex inter-ethnic relations as well: Poles, Jews and Ukrainians. The history of the national liberation movement for independence is very ambiguous. Therefore, there was some internal excitement and anxiety in the region due to the organization of the March of Life.

Before the Second World War, thirty-two per cent of the Ukrainian people living in Lviv was Jewish. And up to 200,000 of these Jewish men, women and children from Lviv were killed in the Second World War. The bitter truth is that the Nazis were not the only ones responsible for these killings.

Every 10th dead Jew from about 1,700,000 murdered Ukrainian Jews was from Lviv. Nobody knows the exact number. In the occupied German zone one bullet per Jew. Children and babies were buried alive. In the Romanian occupied zone of Ukraine called Transnistria (a huge area between the two rivers Southern Bug and Dniester) Jews were abandoned to their fate and were taken to concentration camps, pigsties and stables. Many died due to the extremely cold winters because of hunger, illness, cold or weakness. They had better chances to survive in the Rumanian zone than in the German zone. There are about 2,000 Jewish mass graves in Ukraine. Rita Schweibes for example was a captive in the Rumanian occupied zone, that’s why she was able to survive the war. Odessa was in the Rumanian occupied zone as well, but in one major campaign 23,000 Jews were burnt alive in nine different locations.


The municipal administration of Lviv immediately responded to the invitation to take part in the March of Life and the mayor personally ordered to supply all the necessary stage and audio equipment. Because of the anti-Semitism and right-wing extremism, especially in the western territories of Ukraine, extra security guards were provided for the groups of participants to pass from the place of deportation of the Jews from Lviv to the place of the Yanovsky concentration camp. This is the route the Jews had to take at that time before they were deported to the Belzhets and Sobibor concentration camps. The event was supported by the rabbis from Lviv who read the Kaddish. Director Hesed-Arie, representative of the Honorary Consul in the Western Region, President of the Association of Former Ghetto Prisons and Concentration Camps, and many other representatives of Jewish organizations said a few words. There were many tears and prayers!

The uniqueness of the event itself is that the Roman Catholics, Greek Catholics, Evangelical Christians from Ukraine, Poland, Austria and Germany participated in this march against anti-Semitism and for Israel! The event was covered by more than ten different newspaper editions and several TV channels.

On the same day, a conference began with the participation of representatives of different denominations and I had the opportunity to talk about the ministry of Christians for Israel in Ukraine.  A number of bishops and pastors received books written by Rev Willem J.J. Glashouwer. Thank God, everything went fine and plain sailing all the way, and that we were allowed to experience that Israel unites us!


(*) In Poland “March of Live” is called “March of the Living” and is organized each year with a march from Auschwitz to Birkenau.

Nataliya Krizhanovski
Fieldworker Christians for Israel in Ukraine

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