A Mariupol native and proud Jewish community member, Vanda Semyonivna Obiedkova survived Nazi roundups but fell victim to hunger and freezing amid Russian onslaught on the city.
Vanda was 10 years old in October of 1941 when the German troops descended on Mariupol and started to round up local Jews. Her mother perished soon after, in a mass execution staged by the Germans on October 20 that saw between 9,000 and 16,000 Jewish people shot and hastily burried in ditches on the outskirts of the city.
The girl survived as her father managed to convince the Nazis she was Greek. Vanda Obiedkova never left her hometown In 1954, she started a family and lived with her daughter until the Russian aggression happened.
The shelling and bombardments made her family to move into a basement of the neighboring store, where they stayed trapped for weeks without food, electricity and heat.
Her daughter Larisa who took care of frail Vanda Semenivna in her last days, said each time Russian bombardment came her mother would say she didn’t remember anything like this during the Great Patriotic War [World War II].
“Mama loved Mariupol; she never wanted to leave,” Larisa said.
Sick and starving, the 91-year-old woman passed away on April 4, but, as her daughter said, the“there was nothing we could do for her. We were living like animals!”
At 10 years old, Vanda Semyonovna Obiedkova survived the Germans by hiding in a basement in Mariupol.
81 years later, she died in a basement in the same city as a victim of the horrific war hiding from the Russians.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) April 19, 2022