About the Project
For the first time since World War II and establishment of the State of Israel, tens of thousands of Jewish refugees emerged in the heart of Europe. Entire Jewish communities from various cities of Ukraine, along with rabbis, chairmen, and a large portion of the members of the congregation left their homes. Some refugees lost their homes and, while many lost their jobs and livelihoods. There are also people among them who were seriously wounded and whose relatives were killed in this war.
This project is devoted to chronicling and preserving the personal testimonies of Jewish refugees about the days following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The blood of Jewish refugees, of course, is not redder than that of others. However, the official objective of the Russian "special operation" was declared to be denazification and protection of the Russian-speaking population. That is why the stories of Russian-speaking Jewish refugees, whose lives were destroyed by the "liberators of Nazism," are especially indicative. These people represented an object of double "care" - both as Jews (for whom Nazism is the equivalent of absolute Evil) and as Russian-speakers. Everyone had his own "Jewish" experience of war. One woman recalled how on the eve of Passover she baked matzah with an old Soviet fireplace and felt she was 'coming out of Egypt' for the first time. Another, when the electricity was cut off, used the Hanukkiah as a lamp to give her paralysed mother an insulin shot. A third, after the occupation of Mariupol by the Russians, had to hide her magen-david under her blouse for the first time in her life.
The geography of the exodus includes Kharkiv, Mariupol, Chernihiv, Kyiv, Odessa, Dnipro, Bucha, Irpin, Zaporizhzhia, Vasylkiv, Kramatorsk, etc. The map of evacuation endpoints covers the whole of Europe - from Madrid and Amsterdam to Vienna, Frankfurt and Budapest, as well as Cyprus, cities of Israel and, of course, localities of the West of Ukraine.
The vast majority of our interviewees were not really anticipating a war. And they sacredly believed in "Never again". That is one of the messages - to show that the world can change in a minute. And you have to be ready for that.