"Surviving Has Never Been An Easy Job"


Photo: Arik Shraga

Malka’s childhood story is heart wrenching. Not only did she experience suffering and losses during World War II, but she also survived homelessness, extreme poverty and hunger during the post-war years. She tells her story and takes long pauses after each sentence, giving herself time to relive her memories.

On the very first day of the war, in her hometown of Gomel, Belarus, she saw two air raids. The 6 year-old girl had to run home alone, across the city from her kindergarten, under bombing, only to find the door of her house locked. “My mother was pregnant and had two younger boys — 4 and 2 years-old. Apparently, they ran to a shelter and forgot about me”, remembers Malka.

Evacuation turned into a lengthy train journey. Malka’s mother was already almost in labour during the last days of the journey. She gave birth right after they arrived in a remote village in Siberia. The newborn girl died.

Azanu’s voice trails off. “Only people who experienced the loss of their child can understand what an unbearable pain it is. My son was married and they had a daughter. But then he was killed. When this awful thing happened, I was very lonely.”

With very little food, Malka’s 2 year-old brother died of whooping-cough disease, then shortly thereafter her 4 year-old brother succumbed to starvation.

“Surviving has never been an easy job,” says Malka.

Now, nearly 87-years old, Malka lives in the Holy Land, and thanks to the support of IFCJ Canada volunteers and friends across the world, Malka no longer has to worry about her daily bread.

“God was willing for me to survive and continue my stem. There were so many miracles in my life, which let me survive, that I can only attribute it to God’s will I always believed in God. I thank God for everything, every morning.”

You can bless elderly like Malka with hope in the Holy Land.

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