Survivor Story: Inga Kanyevskaya


Through Claims Conference funding to Hesed Azriel, Inga receives homecare, a food card, medications, emergency financial aid, and winter relief.

Inga Kanyevskaya of Kiev, Ukraine couldn’t have recovered from a broken back several years ago, she says, without vital assistance from Hesed B’nei Azriel, which has “saved me with homecare.”

Inga, now 80, credits her recovery after 10 bedridden months, and her ability to walk again, to her case manager, Claudia. “The first one who came to rescue me was Claudia from Hesed,” Inga says. Claudia organized everything that Inga needed during her recovery, including special home medical equipment. And Claudia was with Inga the first time she stood after 10 months. “I almost fainted, but I cried with joy,” Inga says. “It was a holiday.”

The help Inga receives from Hesed B’nei Azriel is funded through grants from the Claims Conference and administered in partnership with the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee. Inga constantly expresses her gratitude.  “Hesed gives me moral support,” she says.

Born in Kharkov in 1933, Inga and her family were evacuated on a month-long journey to Tajikistan and the Urals after the German army invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. Her father was drafted into the Soviet Army in July 1942, and was killed on the front lines, and her brother died of illness while they were in the Urals. In 1943, the family moved to her aunt’s apartment in Moscow, and later returned to Kiev after the city was liberated by the Soviet army.

Because she was Jewish, Inga wasn’t accepted to university after the war, eventually becoming an accountant. She and her husband never had children, and he died about 10 years ago. Inga suffers from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, and a stomach ulcer. She also has bladder problems, residual effects from her spine injury in 2004. “I am afraid to do things, and I have a lot of pain,” she says. She lives in a two-room apartment and doesn’t go outside.

Through Claims Conference funding to Hesed B’nei Azriel, Inga receives homecare, a food card, medications, emergency financial aid, and winter relief. The food card is filled with 220 Ukrainian hryvnia (about $27) per month, and this makes all the difference to Inga. “The food card is an enormous support for me,” she says. She recently applied for payment from the Claims Conference Hardship Fund. Inga says Claudia has made all the difference in her life. “I can talk with Claudia about everything. Claudia’s heart is open,” she says.