To Defenders of Freedom

91-year-old Vanda died in her basement in Mariupol. She had once survived the German occupation the same way in the basement

Vanda Obyedkova was 10 when the German troops entered Mariupol in October of 1941. At that time, Vanda’s mother was arrested and shot together with thousands of other Jews in the city suburbs. The girl hid in the basement and didn’t leave the city for 2 years. Now, 80 years later after those horrific events, she was forced to hide in the basement again.

Vanda’s mother, Mindel (left), was murdered, while her father managed to hide Vanda in a hospital for the duration of the Nazi occupation. Photo:

It was hard for Vanda to stay in the basement of her house because of the cold and lack of water and food. On the 40th day of the full-scale invasion, the woman died. She was buried in a park in Mariupol. Only after that, the family plucked up the courage to leave the city. Vanda’s daughter shared her story. According to her, Vanda gave an interview for the USC Shoah Foundation in 1998 about her life and her experience of the Holocaust. Now, the tape with the interview as well as the family’s home are destroyed.

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