Ukraine update – field report from Zhitomir

We had an amazing reaction to the first email from two days ago: https://polishorigins.com/blog/ukraine/ . Your support and words of encouragement are so uplifting. This is what we in Poland, and especially people in and from Ukraine needs most now. I know how the world support empowers them.

In response to the first email one of the questions you asked is about the possibility of making donations via PayPal. We updated the document Help for Ukraine with two trusted charities accepting PayPal donations: https://polishorigins.com/help-ukraine .

As of today (Wednesday, March 2) more than 400 thousand refugees entered Poland. Ukrainians, led by their president Zelenski in Kyiv, are holding on tight.

But instead of repeating information you know from the media, we share with you emails we received today from our friend, a genealogist and tour guide with whom we have been working for many years, Alex Brzhezytsky from Zhitomir. When I asked him about consent of sharing, this is how he responded:

“Absolutely, We are doing one thing. Use whatever you need!
Dzienki bracie! (Thanks brother!)”

(There are pictures and a video included so you may need to allow your email program to open the remote content – graphic and video)

Here is Alex:

Dear friends,

One of my friends told me that it is critical now to have joy in heart and smile on our face. It is so true!

I spend my day with my friends working on block posts. I’m acquiring a new building profession. I know what it takes to build a block post that can stand a not heavy artillery attack. I know the width, the length, the height. I know how to properly make gun slots.

It was funny that the newbies who were joining our work thought that I’m a man foreman. Ha ha!

I learned today that you can work while the sirens are working. You learned to ignore them. Even an explosion from a missile that landed not far as 7 km from our block post made no difference.

I made friends with so many different people that after intense work with them shoulder to shoulder you think that you know them for years.

Nobody needs to be told what to do. Everybody just does what’s needed!

The leader of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchy) condemned putin and said that he has committed a sin of Cain. This is the first murder in the world, when brother killed brother.  I totally agree with it.

 (…)

I was brought up in a Polish catholic family from  Zhitomir. Polish traditions and language were kept in my family from my childhood. I’m the youngest son in the family and both of my parents are gone. My brother moved to Poland with all his family and my sister lives in Russia.  But we are all family, because we care for each other no matter where we live.

Today is Ash Wednesday. I remember this day very well from my childhood. When I was an altar boy at the St. Sophia’s Cathedral in Zhitomir, the priest would symbolically disperse the ash saying: “Remember you are Dust and unto Dust you will return”. This was the beginning of the 40 day fasting. The time for pondering and meditation in preparation for Easter.

Zhitomir has a big Polish diaspora. My great grandFather on both sides, Leon Jaroszewski and Jan Brzezicki were participants of the Polish upraise against the Russian Empire in 1863. My Great Father Karol Brzezicki was arrested and killed by NKVD in 1937. My father Franziszek Brzezicki was arrested by the Gestapo in 1942 and sent to the Majdanek concentration camp in Lublin. He survived it and then in 1950 he was arrested by the Soviets and was sentenced to 10 years of Russian camps in Omsk.  (https://pl.wikipedia.org/wiki/Franciszek_Brzezicki . When he came back from Siberia labor camps he was restoring Zhitomir after Second World War destruction.

Yesterday, my home town was bombed by Russians. The missile from Belarus landed 50 m from the hospital where my elder daughter Evelyn was born in 2002. The explosion was so powerful that it destroyed 10 private houses, several stores. Imploding shock wave was so strong that the windows in the hospital and cadet dormitory blew into pieces.

I came to help with my friends, but there was nothing we could do.

Video: https://photos.app.goo.gl/DtjZAqsjBP6xMiS98

Putin will have to carry the curse of Cain from now on. He is killing innocent people.  He is sending his people into Calvary. From now on they will have to carry the cross of outlaws.

Life is a gift, but should remember that we came out from Ash and we will return from Ash. Let us resist the darkness and hatred. The light always overcomes darkness. My forefathers were able to keep the light and walked through dark hours. Now it’s my turn.

Your friend,

God bless you all,

Alex

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