The Wall Street Journal of March, 22, 2022 reported that a woman named Olga Nychyporenko and her children escaped from the Ukraine. They went to Poland where a free flight brought them to Paris where they got lodging, a year’s worth of medical care and schooling for the children.
Poland, Hungary, Romania, and other European countries are where millions of Jewish “Olgas” sought sanctuary in the years before and during WWll. For them there were no offers of a spare room, a hot meal, or a warm blanket. Instead, those countries were busy rounding them up to be shot, transported to death camps, or hunted like animals in the freezing forests and marshlands of Eastern Europe. Even after the war, they shut their doors to Jews who languished in D.P. camps.
Ukraine was notorious for its Jew-hatred. In 1918-1919 more than 100,000 Jewish men, women and children were murdered by their Ukrainian neighbours in pogroms. At Babi Yar in 1941, 39, 000 Jews, mostly women and little children were forced to dig their own graves and strip before being shot as their Ukrainian neighbours looked on.
Ukraine has changed and Jews do not bear grudges. Jewish charities have rushed to the war zone to help with life-saving food and medicine. But there is an even greater difference between then and now – Israel. Jews, who had nowhere to go then, have a country to welcome them, a country they can finally call home, and, in an ironic twist of fate, Israel has admitted more Ukrainian refugees per capita than any other non-bordering country, most not even Jewish.
There are those who call on Israel to help Ukraine as if Jewish suffering during the Holocaust means it is Israel’s responsibility: President Zelensky, journalists and commentators, many of them Jewish. But anyone who compares what is happening in Ukraine to the Holocaust is insulting the memory of the millions of men, women, children, and even infants who were abandoned by the rest of the world.