‘Thank You, God, That I’m in Israel’
Polina might be 90 years old. But both the memory and voice of this sweet Jewish woman living in Israel are still strong and clear.
“I was 10 when World War II began,” she remembers. “My first war memories are of trying to catch the last evacuation train.” Polina’s family-her parents and her two siblings-were able to escape the Nazis, despite their documents being stolen and the struggles they faced. The rest of Polina’s family wasn’t so lucky. Other than one aunt who survived the Holocaust, every other member of Polina’s family died-either murdered by the Nazis or by starvation.
Polina, too, remembers going hungry. “We were starving,” she says. “We would cut every tiny piece of bread into five pieces. My brother became blind because of the constant hunger, as well as malaria.”
Polina remembers happily the day when her brother’s eyesight returned. And she remembers her family’s return to Moldova, where she married and also taught school.
Sadly, Polina’s husband died young, and she never remarried. But she did fulfil a dream when she made aliyah (immigrated) to Israel, where she lives alone in a small apartment at an assisted living facility. And, there in the Holy Land, Polina does not feel alone. “Thanks to The Fellowship and this country, I receive everything I need,” she says. “The first thing I say when I wake up in the morning is, ‘Thank you, God, that I’m in Israel!’”