I’ve wanted to write a thank you note for a long time. A thank you text to many well-known and unknown people in Germany who are known as civil society. A thank you text from me as a representative of Ukrainian civil society. The Easter holidays are a good time for this. It was exactly two months since the beginning of the war on the Orthodox Easter last weekend. The war counter continues. The “fraternal people” try everything possible to wipe out the Ukrainians if their insight is not enough to make them surrender. Other peoples who do not claim to be our brothers are trying to save and help. On the part of German civil society, both those who have fled and those who have remained in Ukraine experience an overwhelming willingness to help and support. You read, hear and see a lot about it. This is my very personal story and I’m happy to be able to write it.
I don’t personally know many of the people who responded to the call for donations, but I do know that they read the SZ. I would like to thank everyone. A lot of L-thyroxine will soon be making the journey from Munich to Chernivtsi, because there are people in Germany who want to enable unknown Ukrainians to receive the vital thyroid hormone. Because a great friend of Czernowitz and the Ukraine from Heilbronn, 80-year-old Ch. H., is willing to get on the train to Munich to personally take the medicines to the collection point in Munich, which his friends, the pharmacists EM and MK, at purchase prices. Because Ms. EW from Constance is also willing to get the funds and phone the responsible person at the Institute for German Culture and History of Southeastern Europe in Munich about the delivery. Because many, many others who only know me through journaling are willing to send me an encouraging or sympathetic email asking how they can help. There were many gestures that touched me deeply.
There are countless happy moments like this – in the Ukraine as well as in Germany
The vast majority of people who are helped with medication, food and other donations in kind will never get to know the German donors, just as I will not get to know them personally. What we get from volunteers or direct recipients are letters of thanks and sometimes photos. But I can report on two of “my” small families for whom I packed surprise boxes on Good Friday. O. from Vasylivka is coming to the university with her son R. I’ll bring the box out. In addition to “boring” groceries, there are colorful Easter candies and a Lego Ninjago motorbike. R. is a bright boy, like his mother’s face, the same open smile, of course he stretches out his hand to get to know me, a gesture that is not necessarily expected in Ukraine. Even more beautiful. I won’t reveal what’s inside; in the evening there is a message from O., the son is happier than he has been for a long time, how do I know that he wanted a Ninjago, I couldn’t have guessed better. I’m happy too, the choice was actually quite easy, there were only two Lego sets for ages eight and up, I didn’t like the look of the other one.
The young family man from Kharkiv, who is traveling in his taxi, collects the second box. I bought Lego Duplo for his little daughters, otherwise the same groceries and sweets are in it. In addition, a kettle, T. asked me the day before if I didn’t have one to sell that wasn’t electric because their electricity costs were so high. I didn’t have one to give away, but the family can also have a new one. In the evening T. calls, says thank you and sends two photos, in one the little sisters are hugging, the younger one is holding the duplo set, in the second she is smiling alone into the camera. Two very ordinary children’s photos, but when you know the background it makes you want to cry.
Nobody knows what will become of their hometowns, their houses or apartments, when and if they will even be able to return with their parents. It is all the more important to enable them to have these moments of happiness. I would like to express my sincere gratitude for this – to German civil society in general and to individuals in particular. I know there are countless happy faces and moments like this – in the Ukraine, in Germany or elsewhere. I would also like to sincerely thank the SZ for giving my voice space. During this unfortunate time, I look back on many happy coincidences that made small miracles possible. This was also the case on Holy Saturday, when we drove to Romania again to pick up another delivery of aid. But that’s the story of the next episode.
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