Never again ?

We blithely trot this phrase out whenever we mark yet another anniversary of some terrible war or calamity.

Over the past week I’ve been sitting in cramped and stuffy single rooms listening to families whose lives have been turned upside down in a war where soldiers are fighting to carve out a new territory. Or to prevent it.

It’s not the first time that elderly residents of Eastern Ukraine have been forced to flee to safety

As it happens, you have to look hard to find a reminder of the tragedy that befell Zaporizhia between 1941-43

A taxi ride along potholed and bumpy streets ,through the suburbs dominated by the ubiquitous tower blocks, leads to an allotment site on the outskirts

A rusting sign points the way to the “victims of fascism”. The tracks become even more bumpy as it picks its way between sheds and overgrown plots and vegetable gardens

And suddenly it’s there. Among the weeds and wild flowers sprouting between cracked paving stones and broken seating

The memorials are impressive – if you ignore the general air of dilapidation.

But peep over the top of the monument  and you see what is truly shocking. A large, weed covered mound. Probably about 10 metres wide and 50 metres long

Under it lie the remains of some of the  estimated 36,000 people murdered in this city, , about 30,000 were Jews




This obscenity was of course repeated in cities , towns and villages as the Germans advanced Eastwards  – killing Jews and non Jews alike

You can’t compare what is happening now with WW2 (though there are those who will tell you it could lead to WW3)

But as ever it’s the innocent, parents who just want their children to have a decent chance in life , who are paying the price




More than a million people have left their homes in eastern Ukraine since fighting broke out in the East. Some estimates say it could be as high as two million when you include both internally displaced people ( ie those who’ve moved within Ukraine) and those who’ve moved abroad
I’ll be spending the next few days in and around Zapororzhye meeting some of them

We’re about two hours drive from the conflict zone