Warmth for Body & Soul
(Photo: Yossi Zeliger)
“My childhood ended in one day,” says Manya, a 92-year-old Jewish woman born in Kyiv. “I was nine years old. My father went to war. My mother stayed with me and my two-year-old brother. When the Nazis started bombing Kyiv, there was nowhere to hide.”
Manya recalls escaping with her mother and brother on a train meant to haul animals. For days, they rode among the straw and filth. “We traveled at night, because Nazi planes bombed trains by daylight. During the day, the trains stopped in the forest and we hid among the trees. We drank water from forest streams and ate only what we took with us. It was cold in the forest, but it was impossible to light a fire.”
Can you imagine such a childhood? Can you imagine the cold and hunger and fear that Manya still remembers?
Manya’s childhood suffering is only compounded today, as this elderly Holocaust survivor still has little to eat, and little money for medicine or winter heat.
When IFCJ Canada volunteers recently provided a blanket, Manya burst into tears. “You are people with a great soul,” she said. “I thank The Fellowship for not leaving an old woman alone. A warm blanket is one of the best gifts.”
Yes, a simple blanket is so important to this precious survivor who tells us, “God protects us and will take care of us. We were not shot dead at Babi Yar in Kyiv. Our train was not hit by German bombers.” A simple blanket is the gift that friends like you provide for people like Manya who are so grateful to be remembered.