Holocaust survivor Vanda Obiedkova is dead during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, becoming the second World War II Jewish genocide survivor known to have died during Russia’s nearly two-month war.
Obiedkova died in besieged Mariupol at the age of 91 on April 4, according to the Hasidic Orthodox Jewish outreach group Chabad. She spent the last two weeks of her life immobile in a freezing basement hiding from Russia seat.
At the age of 10 in October 1941, Obiedkova watched as Nazi forces entered her hometown of Mariupol and arrested her mother, who was among thousands of Jews executed on the outskirts of the city. SS soldiers then detained Obiedkova, but family friends managed to convince them that she was Greek.
“Mom loved Mariupol, she never wanted to leave,” Obiedkova’s daughter Larissa said after fleeing the city.
Larissa and her husband buried Obiedkova under incessant shelling in a public park near the Sea of Azov.
Obiedkova is the second Holocaust survivor known to have died during Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, which is nearing its two-month mark.
On March 18, Borys Romanchenko, a survivor of Buchenwald and three other Nazi concentration camps, was killed by an alleged Russian airstrike in Kharkiv. He was 96 years old.
Romanchenko’s granddaughter Yulia mentioned his house was “completely burnt down” during the shelling of the residential area of Saltivka.
Russia sent troops to Ukraine on February 24 with the stated aim of “denazifying and demilitarizing” its pro-Western neighbor.
Ukrainian officials highlighted the deaths of Romanchenko and Obiedkova by questioning those goals.
Russia shifted its stated war aims to the less ambitious task of “liberator» the pro-Moscow breakaway territories of eastern Ukraine, which it recognized as independent republics shortly before the invasion.