• 86-year-old Serafima receives a food parcel. | Photo: C4I
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A Special Visit to Nikolayev

Anemone Rüger - 12 February 2024

“It’s been too long, more than two years since we last visited people in Nikolayev,” said Alina as she got ready to go visit Holocaust survivors and Jewish elderly in C4I’s sponsorship programme with driver Igor. Since the war in Ukraine began, access to the city has been very limited.

Nikolayev is located on the Black Sea, right between Odessa to the west and Kherson to the east. The farther east one goes, the more dangerous it gets. For the past two years, the elderly have been visited by Yelena, a local resident and courageous member of the Jewish community who has turned down many offers by friends from abroad to move to safer places. But now, Ukraine’s C4I felt it was time to bring some help and hope and check on the survivors personally.

 ‘Our visit meant the world to her!’

After the massive bombings in the area Serafima and another old man are the only inhabitants of their apartment building where 30 families used to live. Absolutely lonely and desperate…


“You see many destroyed buildings as you drive through town; many houses without windows,” Alina shared. “It’s very depressing; I don’t know how people live there. We drove by the hotel where we had stayed before, and it was a ruin.”

One of the elderly, 86-year-old Serafima, was nearly the only one left in a 30-family apartment building after heavy aerial bombing. “She was so sweet, so happy we came and broke up her loneliness,” said Alina. “Her window had been replaced after it was blown out in an attack. She looks out on a destroyed building across the street and a tank under her window. Yet, she doesn’t want to leave her familiar home. She wears a fur hat because it’s cold in her apartment. We brought her a generous food parcel. She was radiant; our visit meant the world to her!”

Here are some photos of the elderly who were so thankful that we came to visit:

C4I Ukraine’s Alina reads our card to one of the people she visited: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you…” (Isaiah 43).

“I cannot believe that you’re coming to visit us now!”

Simcha, 96 years old, still goes to pray at the synagogue.

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