The shocking pictures of bombed-out hospitals and piles of bodies, women, children and elderly, are enough to drive one mad. The revulsive pictures seem to be come from the period of the cursed Holocaust.
The Jewish community prepared itself before the war, storing food and fuel and readying shelters (in as much as the rooms now used during bombings can be called shelters). The logical assumption was that if or when a war broke out, it would be fought as a pinpointed assault, as happened a few years ago in the Crimean War. For this reason, preparations within the Jewish community concentrated mainly on Kyiv and Odessa, arranging to absorb Jewish refugees from the area under dispute and provide them with shelter until they were able to return home.
But then, all at once, bombs began falling in the big cities and all over the country, and the picture changed instantaneously. Community heads did and are still doing everything they can to rescue Jews from this inferno. Whoever was able, already left, most taking only the clothes on their back. People left their entire lives behind – property, cars, businesses, industries and money, inaccessible in closed banks – and remained bereft of all possessions.
Returning home no longer seems to be an option. Chaos reigns over all of the Ukraine. Hunger. Theft. Pilfering. Militias made up of armed yet unexperienced Ukrainian citizens roam freely, shooting at anyone who seems suspicious. (To our great sorrow, one Israeli was already shot to death as he tried to leave the country.) Russian soldiers shoot at whoever and whatever they want. Bombs rain down ceaselessly over the country. All of the Ukraine is destruction and flames.
Rebuilding everything that has been destroyed will take many years, if even possible in this backward and corrupt country. Whatever property remains will surely not be returned to our Jewish brethren, and, truthfully speaking, they are lucky to have escaped with their lives!
Many Jews still remain in this inferno, and we are using any and every means to try to rescue them.
After hours and hours of strenuous and dangerous travel under ceaseless shooting and bombing, women and children were tearfully forced to leave their husbands and fathers behind at the border, as authorities refused to let them leave. We are working 24/7, trying to rescue them, employing methods better left unspoken – anything in order to save their lives.
All of this adds up to millions of dollars. Community leaders and rescue organizations work intensely, doing their best to ensure that Jewish blood is not be spilled.
Time is running short, tells us Rabbi Avrohom Wolf, the Rabbi of Odessa and Southern Ukraine.
has bravely stayed behind in the war zone, standing by his community with utter dedication, refusing to abandon the remaining Jews.
"We desperately need help! Every moment is critical! There are elderly and sick people here who must be evacuated together with very expensive medical equipment. At this time, every rescue bus cost tens of thousands of dollars, and that does not even include medication, food, water and gas, all of which is so hard to come by. We are in need of immense financial assistance in order to save lives! We are falling apart!
When a person saves one Jew, it is as if he has saved an entire world!
This is a matter of life and death! Please, do not surrender us to our fate!"