to their 98 years, Rozalia Choba carries within itself a part of the ukrainian history: anti-nazi resistance, soviet gulag and exile. To all this is added now the russian invasion, which he hopes to survive. The old woman assures that she does not wish to harm anyone, “except Putin“. “If the tanks reach Solonka, I will tell them let them go back where they came from and I’ll even give you bread for the road!” he exclaims.
“I love my land, my people (…) need peace, freedom. We Ukrainians want to have our own state“says this woman who lives in solonkaa town in the Lviv region, a city overwhelmed by the flood of displaced people, in western Ukraine.
Forced labor in Germany and Siberia
From October 2021, Choba follows on television the recrudescence of the tensions with Moscow and the troop concentration and Russian war material on the border with Ukraine that preceded the invasion and the war she had predicted. “Germany did the same with Poland,” says the woman, alluding to the start of World War II (1939-45).
In 1941, when she was 18 years old, Choba was sent to Germany to perform forced laborfrom where he did not return until the end of the conflict.
On his return, he supported the resistance against the Soviet Unionof which the Ukraine was a part, which in 1947 led to a sentence of 10 years in a penal colony in Siberiathe ‘gulag‘ of the communist regime. “Nothing to brag about, I did what I could to help,” she says modestly.
“In a word, I survived, I lived until now and, if God allows me, I will also survive this war”, emphasizes the grandmother.
“Let the people live in peace!”
Choba’s voice is soft. But when he talks about Russian President Vladimir Putinthis grandmother, her head covered with a shawl, stands up and leans on her walker as if it were a tribune.
“Think about what you’re doing, let people live in peaceto the whole of Europe, not only to the Ukraine, because everyone will have problems!” she exclaims waving her hands. “Listen to me, I’m old, I’m 98 years old!” she continues.
Your son Myroslaventering the room with a bouquet of roses, which he gives her as a gift for March 8, also intervenes: “She is our heroine, defended Ukraine; Without her, we wouldn’t be here today.”
Collaboration of the granddaughters
As in many former Soviet republics, it is customary to give gifts to women on this international day that celebrates their rights. In this conflict, as in the one in Donbas, in eastern Ukraine, the latter play a key roleboth in combat and in the rear.
True to the family history of resistance, Choba’s granddaughters weave camouflage nets for the army and his son organizes humanitarian aid in the village.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.