АвторAuthor: Oleksandr Nikitin | Translation: Iryna Myronenko
19 June 2022
Before the war, Inna Glushko lived in Pryluky, Chernihiv region, raised her son, and ran her own Instagram business. She was engaged in making knitted handicrafts. On the ninth day of the war, the woman and her son decided to go abroad. Spent 4 difficult days on the road before arriving in Germany. Read the details in the monologue.
In the last weeks before the invasion, I was worried about a possible war, but I didn’t want to believe it until the last minute. My civilian husband had a birthday on February 21, and we visited friends and parents. On that day, Russia decided to recognize the DNR and LNR, and we watched it on television. When friends asked me if I was already packing my anxious suitcase, I even laughed at them and thought they were doing nonsense. I thought that nothing would happen and everything would be calm.
On the morning of February 24, at about 6:40, my mother called me and said that we were being bombed.
“Get up, pack up, go somewhere, do something!” She ordered.
Of course, I turned on the news again, went to Instagram, started writing to all my friends from Kyiv. They confirmed the information about the explosions. Panic began, my husband and son and I got up, began to collect some things, at least. We had no plans to go anywhere, because we thought that in a day or two everything would be over.
“I managed to leave on March 5, the ninth day of the war. We stayed in Pryluky for three days, and then lived with my parents for another week. Then the man said, “No, that’s not right, let’s pack up and go!”
I didn’t want that for a long time, for a few days he ordered me to choose my son and leave. I was afraid, worried, did not know what to do, but on the last night before leaving, we made this decision together. In the morning we woke up, my husband packed my bags. It was only a few hours before the train and took me to the station. My aunt and her husband and I drove to Lviv. Then he wants to go all together, but my uncle and aunt decided to stay. My parents did not plan to survive, because they have a beautiful house, which they recently bought, renovated there. They were sorry to leave him, so there was no thought of leaving.
My aunt and uncle originally planned to visit of their daughter, my cousin, who has lived in Germany for 6 years. But they lost their temper. When they arrived in Lviv and saw the excitement and the “crowd” that prevailed there, they stayed. And in 5 days they returned to Pryluky. And my son and I went on. Our route was as follows: first we left Pryluky by train to Kyiv. There, roughly speaking, my son and I were pushed into the last car on the last two steps and the doors of the evacuation train to Lviv were closed behind us. We rode on the floor. There were 14 people in one compartment and the whole vestibule was also full of luggage and people. I stood in the middle of the night, and then I was given a place where I could sit for a while. We drove to Lviv for 12 hours.
From Lviv, a bus took us to the border with Poland, which we crossed on foot. Then we took a bus to Przemyśl. From there, by train, we reached Poznan. Poznan is the extreme city of Poland on the border with Germany. We arrived there at 2 am very tired, because we had been on the road for two days and hardly slept. We needed to rest, so we rented a hostel where we often spend the night. In the morning we went again to the station, from where we went to Berlin. Then – to Hamburg, where we were met by my cousin, where we stayed for two days. At first I thought of staying in her city. Probably somewhere to find some shelter or shelter, but the sister called all possible options and so nothing was found. Then I came across my Instagram friend, who was in Steinfurt, Germany. She said there are places and opportunities. She invited me to come and promised to arrange a place for my son and me. So that’s how we ended up in Steinfurt.
When we came to a friend, she said that there were several apartments for Ukrainians, but by the time we arrived, it turned out that they were gone. But we were met by a volunteer who had a list of German families who accept Ukrainians. So we were sheltered by a family where we lived for two months. They were very good, Russian-speaking. They have lived in Germany for 28 years and are followed by Germans, not Russians. Because they are forced migrants. Their ancestors were relocated to Siberia during the First World War, and then again allowed to allow Germany. So they came back the same way. The woman I lived with was named Ira, she was 6 years old when they moved here. Her husband Eugene, a little older, but they still do not perceive themselves as Russians. This is true because their grandparents were pure-blooded Germans. It just so happened that they were born in Russia and know Russian, but they do not want to have anything to do with something “Russian”. Many thanks to them for helping me in everything and treating me very well. We walked together, they helped me draw up documents and much more.
Later I learned that on June 1 we were transferred to the Employment Center. This is a kind of analogue of our exchange. So, something has to be decided, because I couldn’t live with people for six months, because they still have their own family, in which I didn’t want to be a burden. So, I had to decide – to look for my home, or to return home. After living with these people for a month, I began to actively look for an apartment. It was very difficult because we had been looking for her for three weeks. They searched the sites, called, wrote … They wrote a lot, probably 15 apartments, of which only 2 answered us, because there was a lot of excitement, because besides us Ukrainians, the Germans were also looking for housing. But we shared the two options that were answered and one of them gave me good. Thus, since May 1, my son and I have been living in our apartment.
I enrolled in German language courses, which will last from six months to 9 months. At the same time I will be registered at the Job Center. While I go to courses, I am not looking for a job. But after I have completed the courses and passed the exam, they will look at my German level and look for a job. I will go for interviews and maybe stay in Germany. My son has been going to a German school for more than 1.5 months, where they have created an integration class for all Ukrainians. He now has 19 people in the class, children from 5st to 11h grade. They are currently studying German, English, geography, mathematics and physical education.
I do housework. Need a toilet in Germany, because the apartments seem completely empty, there is only a bathroom and. I was lucky that the owner of the apartment set up his kitchen. Everything else had to be bought yourself. The neighbors of the people I lived with helped me with that. They helped with things, clothes, furniture, food, household chemicals, and even money. Also, of course, I do my favorite thing – I found threads and knitting needles, I knit, I distract myself so that it is the thing of my whole life. I can’t do without it, and I’m distracted from bad thoughts. She also met many Ukrainians. In our town of 35 thousand people, last week an official letter was published that there are now 221 Ukrainians here. That’s about 70 families. I have already met many people, we meet, keep in touch, walk, stick to each other.
Of course, psychologically it’s all very difficult, because I’m here alone now. My whole family stayed in Ukraine, so I actively surround myself with new acquaintances with Ukrainians. We call almost every day. There were, of course, moments of depression, frustration and panic about how to live. But for now I’m going to stay in Germany. My husband told me not to return yet, because it is not very quiet in Ukraine to live here, if I have already managed to find an apartment. I pay apartment rent and utilities, but the city pays me more. Therefore, you can stay, so it is calmer for me and my son. I will decide my future after finishing the courses. Maybe you know the job here, and the man can come. In that case, we can stay in Germany for a few years.
Чому важливо поширити цю історію?
Якщо українці не розповідатимуть свій погляд на війну в Україні, світ поступово забуватиме про нас. Натомість цим обов’язково скористаються росіяни. Тому не даймо їм жодного шансу.
Why is it important to share this story?
If Ukrainians do not share their views on the war in Ukraine, the world will gradually forget about us. Instead, the Russians will definitely take advantage of this. So let's not give them a chance.
АвторAuthor: Oleksandr Nikitin | Translation: Iryna Myronenko