Ukrainian Holocaust survivors are being helped to flee Vladimir Putin's army by a US-based charity. Israel has taken in almost 300, including 100-year-old Dova Govergeviz (above), now in an Israeli care home
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Ukrainian Holocaust survivors are being helped to flee Putin’s army by a US-based charity in a ‘complex and dangerous mission’

  • Elderly people whose earliest memories are of Nazi death camps are being rescued and finding refuge in Israel and Germany
  • Bryan Stern, from Project Dynamo, says his organisation has rescued around a dozen Jewish survivors and hopes to rescue another group soon
  • Mr Stern said Ivanka Trump, daughter of former US President Donald Trump, has provided ‘invaluable’ help to the rescue operation, which is being funded purely from private donations

Ukrainian Holocaust survivors are being helped to flee Vladimir Putin’s army by a US-based charity.

Elderly people whose earliest memories are of Nazi death camps are being rescued in a ‘complex and dangerous mission’ and finding refuge in Israel and Germany.

Galina Ploschenko, 88, who was trapped in a retirement home in the eastern city of Dnipro, was nervous when told she would be taken to Hanover. She said: ‘They told me Germany was my best option. I told them, “I hope you’re right”.’

Ms Ploschenko lost her aunt and two cousins in the gas chambers. Around 100 of Ukraine’s estimated 10,000 Holocaust survivors have so far been taken to safety.

Ukrainian Holocaust survivors are being helped to flee Vladimir Putin's army by a US-based charity. Israel has taken in almost 300, including 100-year-old Dova Govergeviz (above), now in an Israeli care home

Ukrainian Holocaust survivors are being helped to flee Vladimir Putin’s army by a US-based charity. Israel has taken in almost 300, including 100-year-old Dova Govergeviz (above), now in an Israeli care home

Bryan Stern, from Project Dynamo, says his organisation has rescued around a dozen Jewish survivors and hopes to rescue another group soon. (Pictured, damage after Russian attacks in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 7)

Bryan Stern, from Project Dynamo, says his organisation has rescued around a dozen Jewish survivors and hopes to rescue another group soon. (Pictured, damage after Russian attacks in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on May 7)

Mr Stern said Ivanka Trump, daughter of former US President Donald Trump, has provided 'invaluable' help to the rescue operation, which is being funded purely from private donations

Mr Stern said Ivanka Trump, daughter of former US President Donald Trump, has provided ‘invaluable’ help to the rescue operation, which is being funded purely from private donations

Bryan Stern, from Project Dynamo, says his organisation has rescued around a dozen Jewish survivors and hopes to rescue another group soon. 

Mr Stern, a US Army and Navy veteran, said: ‘The irony is many of the Holocaust survivors were saved from the Nazis by the Russians. Now Russia is the aggressor.’ 

He added: ‘They don’t want to leave. Many are sick. The rescues are highly complex and dangerous.’

Mr Stern said Ivanka Trump, daughter of former US President Donald Trump, has provided ‘invaluable’ help to the rescue operation, which is being funded purely from private donations. 

Valerie Bendersky (above), 85, was seven when he fled to Kazakhstan to escape the Nazis. 'I was fleeing from Hitler then, now I have fled from Putin,' he said from his new home in Tel Aviv

Valerie Bendersky (above), 85, was seven when he fled to Kazakhstan to escape the Nazis. ‘I was fleeing from Hitler then, now I have fled from Putin,’ he said from his new home in Tel Aviv

‘We email all the time and I can’t say enough good things about Ivanka. She has used her network of contacts to help us save the most vulnerable.’

Israel has taken in almost 300 Holocaust survivors from Ukraine. Among them is Valerie Bendersky, 85, who was seven when he fled to Kazakhstan to escape the Nazis. ‘I was fleeing from Hitler then, now I have fled from Putin,’ he said from his new home in Tel Aviv.

Another is 100-year-old Dova Govergeviz, now in an Israeli care home. She said: ‘I thought, “Oh my God, what a nightmare! Here we go again”.’ 

At least two Holocaust survivors have died since the war began in Ukraine. 

Vanda Obiedkova, 91, died in a cellar in Mariupol, and Boris Romanchenko, 96, who survived four Nazi death camps, was killed in Kharkiv.

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