Close call for Grandma in air-raid shelter

Since February 2022, Ukraine has been fighting an unfair war with Vladimir Putin. Russians who support him in principle, one can say, are misguided and just hang on to a life they know. They don’t have free elections in Russia. Some say they are not ready for democracy. Ukraine is not bombing them!! The war is somewhere else. Many who are more fortunate and see the writing on the wall, have either escaped to nearby countries or have gone abroad. My cousins son fled to Armenia to avoid conscription. He had the foresight to escape before the war broke out.

During the Second World War, my Grandfather who was Ukrainian saw the writing on the wall, and knew that if he stayed in Ukraine, no matter who won the war, he and his family would be persecuted by Stalin’s mob. His life did not represent freedom or education for his family.

He traveled to Germany in a refugee convoy, preempting the German defeat. The family spent the last two years of the war in Germany in refugee camps, trying to stay alive!!

My Grandfathers land – still stands in Eastern Ukraine. This image is how we found it in 2013.

My mother told many stories of that unsettling and worrying time. She told of how as a young mother every time an air raid siren would sound, she would grab her new-born son (my brother) and run to the underground for safety. She would take his cloth damp nappies with her as she would not know how long she would have to stay there. Sometimes she would press the nappies to the inside of her clothes to try to dry and warm them for her baby. All the while the bombs dropped from above. During this time in Germany the bombs were being delivered by the British and the Americans. You might ask – where is the justice in War?!!

Meanwhile my Grandmother Olena, would never go into the bomb shelters. She claimed the bombs never hit directly and her heavy, slow legs had been through so much – she had stopped caring!! If I die from whoever so be it!!

On one very auspicious day, she was commandeered by everyone to do as she was told. Hagen (the city where they lived) was going to be severely bombed. Everyone must get into the underground. She was told if she didn’t, she would never see her grandson again.

Reluctantly she fled down to the Bunker with everyone. The bombing attack was so severe that a man leaning at the door lost his life with the blast. Grandma had a narrow escape.

Later in life whenever her post traumatic life got the better of her she used to say-I should not have been saved!!

Today, one year ago Ukraine was attacked by Putin’s illegal war

May people in the world never experience war! The scars will not heal easily.