Joy of Ukrainian Holocaust survivor, 90, at reunion with relatives in Israel

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Joy of Ukrainian Holocaust survivor, 90, at reunion with relatives in Israel

Raisa had been living alone in Odessa after her son died of an illness two years ago

Raisa, 90, was reunited with her three granddaughters including Michal (left) in Israel at the airport (Photo: United Hatzalah)
Raisa, 90, was reunited with her three granddaughters including Michal (left) in Israel at the airport (Photo: United Hatzalah)

This was the moment a Ukrainian Holocaust survivor was united with her only living relatives in Israel.

The 90-year-old, identified just by her first name Raisa at her family’s request, had been living alone in Odessa since her son died two years ago.

She was brought to Israel by United Hatzalah following an appeal from her three granddaughters, who all now live in Israel.

One of them described her rescue as “a miracle”.

Raisa was flown out of the region last week after making it across Ukraine’s southwestern border with Moldova.

She was taken to the frontier in an ambulance arranged by Rabbi Hillel Cohen, the Hatzalah director in Ukraine.

From there, she was taken to a shelter in the Moldovan capital Chisinau before being transferred to the airport in the nearby Romanian city of Iași.

Raisa escorted by granddaughter Michal, an El Al employee and Dov Maisel (Photo: United Hatzalah)

There were 160 refugees on board the flight, which was organised by United Hatzalah, with passengers including both Israeli citizens and those planning to migrate un the Law of Return.

Raisa’s reunion with her family took place on Thursday.

“When the plane arrived in Israel, there were a lot of tears,” said Dov Maisel, Hatzalah’s vice president of operations.

“I’ve seen my fair share of disaster zones and I don’t get emotional easily, but seeing Raisa reunited with her granddaughters brought me to tears as well.”

Raisa’s granddaughter Michael added: “What happened here was a miracle. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

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