Jewish Ukrainian Refugees Find Shelter on the Banks of a Hungarian Lake

Some 400 people live in the 'Machne Chabad' rescue village, the largest camp of its kind in Europe, on the site of a former summer resort for communist leaders

Reuters
Reuters
Send in e-mailSend in e-mail
Malka Olga, a Hasidic Jewish refugee from Ukraine plays with her daughter in a kosher rescue village in Balatonoszod, Hungary on Monday.
Malka Olga, a Hasidic Jewish refugee from Ukraine plays with her daughter in a kosher rescue village in Balatonoszod, Hungary on Monday.Credit: Marton Monus / REUTERS
Reuters
Reuters

Neomi Gluzman Kravchenko plays with her son in a kosher shelter on the banks of Hungary's Lake Balaton – a refuge for her and her Jewish community hundreds of miles from their war-ravaged homes in Ukraine.

The psychiatrist from Kharkiv and millions of other Ukrainians fled after Russia launched its invasion on Feb. 24, finding protection wherever they could with families and charitable organizations.

Many Jewish families passed through the 'Machne Chabad' rescue village on their way to other destinations. "People went to Israel … Some have gone to the U.S.," she says.

Others, like her, are still there over the border in Hungary, pausing a while and wondering if they can wait out the war. Earlier this week, families kept their spirits up with a day of dancing and eating and religious celebration.

Those traditions had flourished in Ukraine before the conflict, said Slomo Koves, chief rabbi of the Association of Hungarian Jewish Communities (EMIH), which runs the center on land provided by Hungary's government.

"Jewish life was so thriving, so strong, so rich. Just before the war, they say it was like on a peak … And that's why it's such a shame that all this just scattered in one day because of the war.

"Everybody hopes that they will have a chance to go back, to go home, and to restart this Jewish life."

About 400 people live in the camp, the largest of its kind in Europe, run by the EMIH and the Ukrainian Jewish Federation on the site of a former summer resort for communist leaders.

Another one of the residents is software developer Saul Melamed, who had already been forced to flee him home in Ukraine's Donetsk region years before the invasion, during fighting there with Russian-backed separatists. That time he headed to Kyiv. This time he had to cross the border to find safety.

"The longer the war lasts, the smaller the chances that people would return," he said.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.
From $1 for the first month

SUBSCRIBE
Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Charles Lindbergh addressing an America First Committee rally on October 3, 1941.

Ken Burns’ Brilliant ‘The U.S. and the Holocaust’ Has Only One Problem

The projected rise in sea level on a beach in Haifa over the next 30 years.

Facing Rapid Rise in Sea Levels, Israel Could Lose Large Parts of Its Coastline by 2050

Prime Minister Yair Lapid, this month.

Lapid to Haaretz: ‘I Have Learned to Respect the Left’

“Dubi,” whose full name is secret in keeping with instructions from the Mossad.

The Mossad’s Fateful 48 Hours Before the Yom Kippur War

Tal Dilian.

As Israel Reins in Its Cyberarms Industry, an Ex-intel Officer Is Building a New Empire

Queen Elizabeth II, King Charles III and a British synagogue.

How the Queen’s Death Changes British Jewry’s Most Distinctive Prayer