×
91-Year-Old Jewish Woman Who Survived Holocaust 80 Years Ago Dies in The Same City In Russian Attack in Ukraine

91-Year-Old Jewish Woman Who Survived Holocaust 80 Years Ago Dies in The Same City In Russian Attack in Ukraine

Obiedkova’s daughter, Larissa, said, "Mama didn’t deserve such a death."

A 91-year-old Jewish woman has died in a Russian attack in Ukraine. This isn't the first time the woman experienced war as she was only 10 when the Nazis occupied Mariupol, a port city in Ukraine, in 1941.

Vanda Semyonovna Obiedkova was trapped in a basement as Russians bombed the city of Mariupol for several weeks. She died in one such bombing on April 4 and she asked her family, "Why is this happening?" before dying, reports Washington Post.

Obiedkova was also trapped in a basement when her hometown was invaded by the Nazis. Thousands of Jews were removed from this port city and were executed by the Nazis, which also included Obiedkova's mother, per Chabad.org. However, she survived the war only to lose her life in another humanitarian crisis eight decades later.



 

 

Obiedkova’s daughter, Larissa, said, "Mama didn’t deserve such a death." She had stood at her mother's side till the end, powerless as her mother's life dwindled.

When the shelling and bombings began in the beginning of March, the family moved into the basement of a neighboring heating-supply store. Larissa said, “There was no water, no electricity, no heat—and it was unbearably cold.” Larissa did her best to care for her immobile mother, but she told Chabad.org that “there was nothing we could do for her. We were living like animals!”

After her mother died, Larissa and her husband risked their lives to bury Obiedkova at a public park less than a kilometer from the Azov Sea, despite constant shelling. She shared, "Mama loved Mariupol; she never wanted to leave."

Mariupol has a population of almost 430,000 before the Russian invasion began. However, after almost two months of attacks, 20,000 civilians in Mariupol have been killed, according to Ukraine officials. The city is located between Russian-annexed Crimea and areas of eastern Ukraine held by Russia. Ukraine has refused to surrender Mariupol among many other cities, as a Russian control over this port will provide the Kremlin a corridor between the territories under its control. It will also free up forces as Russia launches an attack on the east.



 

 

According to Russian and Ukrainian authorities, who blamed each other, plans for humanitarian evacuations from the city failed on Wednesday. Various videos surfacing from the city show bodies of dead civilians lying across the street. Maj. Serhiy Volyna, commander of the surviving Ukrainian forces, told The Post in voice messages that his men were outnumbered and running out on supplies. They are "dying underground" amidst the gruesome attack from the Russian forces.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky stated on Wednesday that he is willing to trade Russian prisoners for civilians besieged in the city, however the Russian government has refused any arrangement. He claimed forces are guarding injured soldiers and roughly 1,000 civilians who have taken refuge inside an industrial building that has become the city's final stronghold for Ukrainian resistance.

Ukraine has about 10,000 holocaust survivors, per Blue Card. Boris Romantschenko also died when a Russian missile struck his apartment. He survived forced labor when was detained in a Nazi concentration camp. However, he lost his life to the Russian invasion at the age of 94.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is a developing story, and we’ll update as we learn more. Information is swiftly changing and Lessons Learned in Life is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication.

References:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/2022/04/21/ukraine-mariupol-holocaust-survivor-dies-russia/

https://www.chabad.org/news/article_cdo/aid/5495941/jewish/91-year-old-Holocaust-Survivor-Perishes-in-Mariupol-Basement.htm

https://bluecardfund.org/the-blue-card-assistance-for-holocaust-survivors-in-ukraine/

Representative Cover Image Source: Getty Images/John Moore