Avraham Takacz visits Kotel
Avraham Takacz visits KotelIFCJ

Avraham Takacz, a native of Donetsk and a Holocaust survivor aged close to 90, arrived in Israel as a refugee from the battle zones of the Ukraine. he fulfilled an old dream and visited the Western Wall for the first time in his life.

"I dreamed about it all my life and here I am," said Avraham Takacz, a shy smile illuminating his face."This is a great privilege that has been placed in my lap - that I have been able to come and pray in the holiest place for the Jewish people. Until now, this place was known to me only from pictures I saw and from the television screen. And here I am finally reaching this place by myself."

Takacz lives in Rishon L'Tzion. He immigrated to Israel in 2014 with his two daughters and grandchildren at the beginning of the period of fighting between Ukrainian forces and pro-Russian militias, when the situation deteriorated."I have already had one difficult war and I did not want my family to go through war also," he said.

In honor of Takacz's birthday, his granddaughter decided to celebrate the day in a special way, and contacted the aid center run by the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews, and asked for help in realizing Takacz's dreams and bringing him to the Western Wall.The Fellowship enlisted to help and provided transportation, arranged convenient and close parking, and made sure that Takacz was able to use a wheelchair.

"I was 14 when the war began in our area. My father was drafted into the Red Army, and they began to bomb our city massively, so we decided to flee."Takacz's family continued to flee eastward as the German army approached, until they reached Kazan, today the capital of the Tatarstan Republic.Together with his brother, he was sent to work on an agricultural farm nearby, where the two worked throughout the war years.

At the end of the war, the family returned to Donetsk, where there was a severe food shortage as a result of the ongoing fighting.A few years later Takacz was drafted into the Red Army, where he learned to drive heavy vehicles, which he continued to do all his life as a truck driver.

Joel Eckstein, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Fellowship, spoke about the exciting visit: "We receive hundreds of requests every day from citizens who need assistance in a variety of situations from poverty and lack of well-being to such happy situations.The Foundation's staff actively works to find a solution for all applicants through the Foundation's programs, hundreds of partnership associations, and sometimes by thinking outside the box and adapting a personal solution according to the needs and condition of the applicant. This case is particularly moving since it is an elderly person who came to Israel with our assistance and now receives assistance along with tens of thousands of elderly and Holocaust survivors in Israel."

The Western Wall Heritage Foundation said that "the visit of 90-year-old Holocaust survivor Avraham Takacz at the Western Wall has caused great excitement among all those who attended the ceremony ... We have a golden opportunity to be partners in realizing his dream of reaching the place of yearning for him and for the entire Jewish people.On his face he described, more than anything else, the intensity of emotion aroused by his visit to the Western Wall."