There was a separate group of private cars that were getting ready to follow the buses. They also didn’t get permission to leave even though the corridor was approved on the state level. But someone freaked out and went first, and others followed. We didn’t dare join then, but were waited impatiently for the news: the pioneers made it safely. Next day there was a similar procession of cars, with white cloths, “Children” signs on the windows. Everyone tried to take as many passengers as possible, for example we went with the family with whom we shared the hallway: three women, three children, and my husband at the wheel. On the same day, March 10, they let through the first 50 buses with children, women, and folks with disabilities.
The Russians took the phones or broke the sim cards of the people who left on the 9th, but we found old cell phones and left them in plain sight, while we hid the new ones under the car mats.
Behind our building, there is a mass grave
I wanted to take a photo, but everyone yelled at me: “If they find it, they could kill us.”There were destroyed houses on both sides of the road, along with unexploded shells. By the Epicenter supermarket there was a shot out car with dead bodies inside. I could even see the color of the woman’s hair inside – it was red. We turned towards Vorzel and saw a burned out car with white cloth and a “Children” sign. I thought: how many cars like this will we see on the way and could we end up like this? My friend had a daughter and her classmate with her family... in a car like that. The parents survived, but the girl did not.
The route was strictly prescribed and sign-posted: from Bucha towards Vorzel through Russian checkpoints. There were Russian columns going on the roads, a sea of tanks and APCs, and in each private yard stood their equipment.
We had exactly enough gas to get to the first Kyiv gas station. We were so afraid that we would be stranded in the middle of the road or hit a piece of metal and tear up the tires. The relatives suggested catching our breath, washing up, since we were without water for so many days between the basement and the hallway, but I said that we would wash ourselves in Lviv.
We spent the night in Lviv, then took the bus supplied by the Israeli Department of Foreign Affairs to Peremyshl. From there we contacted Sokhnut, went through a consulate check in Warsaw and flew to Israel.
What is left behind? Behind our building is a mass grave, where 76 people were buried in bags on March 11, 2022. That was the first time the Russians gave permission to collect the bodies that were lying on the streets. They buried more after and that’s not counting the ones buried in yards, in gardens, in flowerbeds. And how many people were left in basements and garages in other neighborhoods: on Yablonskaya, by the glass-manufacturing plant etc… Plus a whole section of nameless graves at the cemetery, where people who could not be identified are buried…