Diana Bukhman never imagined a war disrupting her life. But in the past year and a half it happened not only once, but twice.
Bukhman, 39, left Ukraine after Russia invaded. Now she's in Israel, where she's again close to fighting.
She said the trauma she's experienced has recalled the horrors her family experienced back in World War II. Her grandmother Asia's family, including five siblings and grandparents, were shot dead by the Nazi soldiers in their house in Odesa, she said. Asia, then a 5-year-old girl, barely survived. Malnourished, she was taken to a ghetto in Romania with her other relatives. That they weren't killed in a concentration camp Asia called a miracle.
"As a volunteer at a Jewish community I was thinking about helping others" when Russia invaded, Bakhman told ABC News. "I started a chat with my colleagues immediately to buy all the necessary things for the seniors we were taking care of. At the same time I tried to calm my children, saying that it will end soon."
But the Russian attacks on Ukrainian cities intensified and Diana's mom convinced her to leave.
"She said my main job was to protect my sons. So that's what I did," Bakhman said.
She took a bus to the Romanian border with other women and seniors.
"We felt miserable. At some point the situation went out of control. People started shouting, the border guards ordered everyone to lie down because we heard a loud boom. My kids were crying and I called my dad to talk and help me," Bakhman said. "And then suddenly I recalled my grandmother who survived in a ghetto and was shot by the Nazis because she was Jewish. At that moment I thought that I, compared to her, have nothing to complain about. Now I have everything I need to survive and I will do it."
Bakhman started her life with her two sons, Isaak, 11, and Rafael, 10, from scratch in Jerusalem.
"Israel is the only country where I won't feel like a refugee, my mother told me," she said.
But it turned out the opposite. When Hamas attacked Israeli cities last she was terrified again. As we spoke on a Zoom call between Kyiv and Jerusalem, the air raid sirens went off in both cities.
"Firstly I saw messages about the attacks from Gaza. Then I heard the Iron Dome shooting down the missiles. The fear consumed me, but it was different from what I felt in Ukraine. Then it was just a panic attack, inability to do anything. Now I am afraid of terror," she said, holding up a knife that she keeps by her bed. "I'm afraid someone will break into my house and kill us all. I locked the doors and closed the windows".
She found out this week her elder son hid his Kippah, which he usually wears, because he said he's afraid Hamas will come and cut his head off because he's Jewish.
"That was another turning point for me," Bakhman said. She said she realized she had to leave again. She packed her things and is heading to Poland, facing another uncertainty.
The Hamas attack on Israel was a deja vu for Tatiana Kumok as well.
Kumok went from Tel Aviv to Melitopol, Ukraine, in late 2021 to see her parents and reorganize her wedding salon. Within weeks, Russian troops invaded her city.
"But I'm an Israeli citizen. In the moments of danger we come outside to show we're not afraid," she said. "So I took my camera and went to film what was going on, helping my father who's a well known local journalist."
One of the videos Tatiana posted on her YouTube channel shows Russian soldiers patrolling the city while the woman tried to convince them not to terrorize people.
Within half a year, she and her parents had to leave.
"The Russians threatened us, took away our publishing Business. We were waiting for the Ukrainian Armed Forces to liberate the city but it hasn't happened yet," she said.
In Tel Aviv, for Kumok, the war also started right after she relaunched her Business.
"I never saw the city to be so empty," she said. Her parents feel more protected there than in the occupied Melitopol, of course. But they are dreaming of returning to Ukraine and are praying for the counteroffensive that the Ukrainian Armed Forces are waging with painful losses.
President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is one of around 300,000 Jewish people who live in Ukraine, where thousands of pilgrims come to the Kyiv region every year to celebrate Rosh Hashanah at the place of burial of Rabbi Nachman.
Chief Rabbi of Ukraine Moshe Reuven Azman of Ukraine shared photos of his grandchildren sheltering firstly in Kyiv and now in Israel.
"Two different corners of the world, but such shared pain and struggle ... It breaks my heart when I see these faces, but I believe that the light of truth and faith will see us through these trials" he said.
He is now in Jerusalem to help those who were evacuated from Ukraine and support his native country.
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