April 30, 2015
Packing and distributing 1,600 food parcels in the Ukraine
By Koen Carlier..
With the sun shining brightly on Monday (March 23, 2015) we packed 1,600 food parcels with the help of 30 youngsters and seniors. A day later the parcels were delivered to small Jewish communities in the provinces of Vinnitsa
with three minibuses.
The Dutch visitors
spoke to the local Jewish population
whenever possible, and one noticed a fear amongst, especially, the elderly as far as the future is concerned! But our visit was comforting and the delivery of food parcels very necessary - particularly during these difficult times since the price of foodstuff increased
between 30 and 80%
during the past few months, and salaries and pensions remained the same!
On Thursday morning (March 26, 2015) we delivered 135 food parcels to the Jewish community inTulchyn
, and then we drove 40 kilometers on the "road of death"
to the Pechora Concentration Camp
where Rita Schweibes
, one of the few survivors, told her story. Her story can be read in the book titled "Geboren om te lijden" ("Born to suffer"
). On Thursday morning we unveiled a small Holocaust monument, on the mass grave of fifty Jews, in the former Jewish shtetl of Bratslav
. This is close to a children’s monument where more than 250 Jewish orphans drowned in a hole in the thick river ice, one early morning in February, 1942.
It was a journey in which we learned extensively about the past as well as the future, as we visited an Aliyah fair in Kiev
where 300 Jewish youngsters had the opportunity to choose between 12 different Aliyah programs! On Friday morning (March 27, 2015) we subdivided into two groups to visit families in their tiny flats in Berschad
. Afterwards we introduced ourselves in the old loam synagogue, where we also spoke about making Aliyah.
Then 40 food parcels were taken to the city of Uman
, and the week ended with a Shabbat meal in the "hiding place" in Kiev
! To summarize: although this ‘working trip’ covered long distances over very bad roads and left many impressions, all of it might, above all, be a blessing for the Jewish people living in remote areas! In the meantime, the chauffeurs continue transporting the olim/immigrants to the airport in Kiev, and this week many of the Jewish refugees, whom we cared for during the past few weeks, left.
The next large packaging and distribution action
takes place in June 2015
, when a German group
will assist us. Food parcels, and expert advice about making Aliyah (leaving for Israel), are given to Jewish refugees on a regular basis all over the Ukraine!
1.600 packed food parcels ready for distribution
Loading the food parcels for distribution to small Jewish communities
Loading of food parcels by locals and volunteers from the Netherlands
Sharing from the Tenach with elderly and Holocaust survivors
Speaking to elderly Jews and Holocaust survivors
Waiting in line to get a food parcel
Official opening of a Holocaust monument in Bratslav
Unloading food parcels for small Jewish communities
Dutch volunteers together with the Jewish community of Berschad
Time to relax in our shelter in Kiev after a week of packing and distributing 1.600 food parcels