A woman who survived the horrors of Adolf Hitler’s Holocaust reportedly died earlier this month in a Ukrainian basement as Russian President Vladimir Putin continues his deadly assault on the sovereign nation.
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“At 10 years old, Vanda Semyonovna Obiedkova survived the Germans by hiding in a basement in Mariupol,” the Auschwitz Memorial tweeted. “81 years later, she died in a basement in the same city as a victim of the horrific war hiding from the Russians.”
Reports of Vanda Semyonovna Obiedkova’s tragic and painful death at age 91 is a pertinent reminder of both history and the present atrocities millions face inside Ukraine.
The heartbreaking lede of a Chabad.org article announcing Obiedkova’s death invokes a visceral reaction while painting a disturbing picture of the plight she and so many others are suffering.
It reads, “As she lay dying in a Mariupol basement, freezing and pleading for water, Holocaust survivor Vanda Semyonovna Obiedkova wanted to know only one thing: ‘Why is this happening?'”
At 10 years old, Vanda Semyonovna Obiedkova survived the Germans by hiding in a basement in Mariupol.— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) April 19, 2022
81 years later, she died in a basement in the same city as a victim of the horrific war hiding from the Russians.
Read more: https://t.co/6QPx6vahFh pic.twitter.com/TyjiyfK09A
This has been a question millions around the globe have incessantly asked since Putin’s assault began Feb. 20. And it’s likely the same inquiry Obiedkova found herself asked in October 1941, when the Nazis invaded Mariupol and captured Jewish relatives.
At just 10 years old, she watched Nazis take away her mother; Obiedkova hid in a basement to evade them. Flash forward 81 years, and she again ended up retreating to a basement, this time hiding from Russian forces.
Obiedkova and her family moved into the basement of a local store last month after the war began. With no heat, electricity, or water, the situation was dire. She was soon unable to walk and became emaciated, according to Chabad.org.
Tragically, she reportedly succumbed to her circumstances.
“Mama didn’t deserve such a death,” Obiedkova’s daughter, Larissa, said.
Larissa and her husband later risked their lives to bury Obiedkova in a local park. The family is reportedly now in a safe location, but the tragic death — especially in light of the familial history — is tragic.
News of Obiedkova’s death emerged as Russian forces put Mariupol under siege, and the situation has turned “critical.” One Ukrainian military leader said this week that the city could be facing its “last days.”
“We are probably facing our last days, if not hours,” Maj. Serhiy Volyna said as Russian forces surround the Azovstal steel plant, primarily seen as the last opportunity to defend Mariupol.
Continue to pray for the situation in Ukraine and the millions displaced and impacted by the violence.
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