Ukraine Holocaust survivors find shelter in Israel

STORY: Valerie Bendersky was just seven years old when he fled to Kazakhstan to escape the Nazi invasion of Ukraine.

Now, nearly 80 years later, he has had to abandon his homeland once again, this time in the face of Russian invaders.

"You know, I am not a statesman, but just an 85-year-old man. But I believe if what had happened could repeat itself again, then life is not worth living. Because it is a scary thing, simply scary. But I believe that this will not happen. I am an optimist."

He's one of almost 300 Jewish Holocaust survivors from Ukraine who have been given refuge in Israel since Russia's invasion began.

He had to get out of his home in Kharkiv in a hurry, with the city coming under repeated shelling.

"Just before the war I talked with my brother over the phone…his name is Marat. And I said to him: 'There is something imminent, something is approaching. Could it be that we’ll be living through this once again in our life? They’re not going to let us live the rest of our lives peacefully…' And that’s exactly what has happened.”

Becoming a refugee is especially hard for the elderly who thought they would never have to confront war again.

At 100-years-old, Dova Govergeviz has seen more than most.

She was in her 20s when she had to abandon home for the first time with her mother, taking shelter hundreds of miles to the east in Uzbekistan until World War Two ended.

“But back then, we knew that we had an enemy - Hitler. Hitler and Germany had attacked our country. But now it turns out to be that we’re fighting against the country that we used to call our “elder brother”. That’s why, of course, I want peace between these two nations. The world history actually shows that wars have always been started by tsars, kings… They had started it, but it was for simple people to fight and suffer. So I don’t know… It seems to me that Putin needs to be brought to reason so that he could resign.”

When the invasion started, she initially locked herself alone in her house before deciding that she wanted to immigrate to Israel and stay there for the rest of her life.

Her journey was organized by Zaka, an Israeli emergency rescue and recovery group.

She's now safe in a care home north of Tel Aviv.

Moscow calls its actions in Ukraine a "special military operation".

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